Sunday, March 6, 2016

Being Pro-Life When it Isn’t Easy

by Strahlen Smith
Catholic Stand

I held the pregnancy testing stick in my hand, praying not to see the second line but I didn’t have to look down to know it would be there. I’d been here before in other surprise pregnancies; my body and heart already told me what my mind could not grasp. We’d already had our “last” child. We were done having babies, and here I was: Pregnant and Pro-Life.

It’s easy to say you’re pro-life, but when push comes to shove, what does it really mean? Is the pro-life movement just people who bury their heads in the sand, people who don’t understand what challenges life presents? Is being pro-life solely about the life of the unborn or does it extend to others too?

Being Pro-Life While Losing Your Baby

Even before we knew we’d lose our first baby to an ectopic pregnancy, before I had to make a horrible choice, I was pro-life, but I didn’t fully understand what being pro-life meant and had never taken the time to connect my claiming to be pro-life with my lukewarm existence.

This ignorance ended on May 10, 1996, when I began bleeding and again on May 13th when the doctor told me with a shrug of his shoulders as he wiped off his hands, “It’s just a miscarriage.” Other dates are a blur of pain and weakness as I lived in a fog knowing my baby would die inside me.

I went in often for blood work, sitting in the ob-gyn office with smiling, happy women massaging rounded bellies, asking me how far along I was. There were times I couldn’t speak as I sat desperately hoping this unplanned child would survive, knowing it would not do so. I wondered how to explain I was closer to the end of my pregnancy than they were to theirs, even though i had a flat belly.

I’d begun bleeding at about seven weeks. Four weeks later, when the “pregnancy tissue” was finally found in my fallopian tube, I was sick and weaker than I’d thought possible. I tried to find ways to stop the “procedure,” begging the doctor to let the baby develop a little more and just be born early. I even thought about surgically moving my baby to the uterus where she would have room to grow or even to take it out and let her grow it in a dish. I cried out, “For Heaven’s sake, just do not let my baby die. ” I begged God to please not let me be the one who had to make a decision about my life or hers.

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