Monday, June 18, 2012

A Baby Changes Everything

A new baby is expected in our family.

No, for once it's not me who's pregnant.

Our oldest daughter and her husband recently announced they were expecting their first child around Thanksgiving time. We were asked not to say anything for a few weeks because they wanted to be the ones to tell family and friends so that folks didn't end up hearing about it via Facebook. That's a problem we didn't have when I was last expecting.

So, I kept my mouth shut and contemplated all these things in my heart, which was difficult, but good.

I realized that a baby really does impact a lot of people. Besides the fact that I'm going to be a grandma and my husband will be a grandpa for the first time, there are all the excited siblings who will be aunts and uncles for the first time--twelve of them on both sides! Plus, there's another set of excited first time grandparents and several sets of excited first time great-grandparents. (That's what can happen when two first-borns get married). Then there are the excited great aunts, great uncles, second cousins and at least one step great-great-grandma. Yep, there are a whole lot of people looking forward to this kid's arrival; not to mention his or her mom and dad.

A baby changes everything.

When I was expecting, I was either working full-time or raising other youngsters or both and it seemed to me that I was always tired, nauseous or hungry and it was very difficult to contemplate the cosmic significance of being pregnant and creating a new life. That's one of the really cool things about being a grandma-to-be: I have the time and energy to think about these things. Holding a new life inside my body was a privilege and an honor to me. Despite the fatigue, nausea and weight gain, there was always something very mysterious and special about hiding a life inside my womb, very close to my heart. I felt protective of the child growing within me and part of me didn't want the pregnancy to end. It was so much easier to keep the baby safe inside me than to have to deliver him or her into this dangerous world.

But that's not how life works. A baby must be born, if he or she is to live. The child must enter the world, with it's harsh sounds and lights and the baby's first response to this sudden loss of comfort and safety of the mother's womb is to scream. But there is no more precious sound to the parents' ears than that first cry of their newborn infant.

Imagine that, all you parents of toddlers and teens: the most precious sound to a new parent is their baby's cry.

A baby changes everything.

When I was pregnant--I think it was the second or third or maybe fourth time--someone gave me a holy card with this meditation by Cardinal Mindszenty:

The most important person on earth is a mother.
She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral.
She need not.
She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral--
a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body.
The angels have not been blessed with such grace.
They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven.
Only a human mother can.
Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature;
God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation.
What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother? 

A baby changes everything. A woman becomes a mother. A man becomes a father. Another human being comes into existence who hadn't existed before.

Yes, a baby changes everything...except it's own diaper!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love in the Age of ObamaCare

Dear Diary,

I’m a bit nervous about my upcoming pre-natal visit at the women’s health clinic. I know I shouldn’t be. My chance of having a baby with any abnormalities is very low. I’m optimistic because even though I’ve terminated pregnancies in the past, I believe the time is right for Sandy and me. We’re now ready to be parents. And because we secured one of the first maternity licenses in the newly expanded health care reform bill, this must be a sign from Mother Earth that all the stars have aligned properly for this great event. Even my horoscope this morning predicted everything would be positive for me!

So why am I nervous? Maybe it’s because I’ve heard stories about the crazy anti-choice protesters who walk like zombies around the clinic day after day. I REALLY don’t want to have to talk to any of them. They totally creep me out with their constant chants and prayers and strange rituals. At least the government is on our side. The new limits on extreme speech have curtailed the numbers of kooks there at any given time. I’m so glad we have a government that’s on the side of women’s health!

Okay, maybe the real reason I’m nervous is because I keep thinking about my friend Marie, who was pregnant a few months ago. She went in to the clinic for her first pre-natal visit and they did some sort of blood tests on her and told her that her baby would be deformed and that she’d better terminate the pregnancy soon. I still don’t know exactly what sort of tests they’re doing now, but I’ve read that they’re super accurate and we’ve really come a long way in being able to diagnose abnormalities before the pregnancy starts making a real baby.

I know my tests will be all be normal because I really want this baby and I know she (or maybe he?) is already a baby. After all, that’s what I learned in my ethics class in college. If a woman wants to be pregnant, then she is. If she decides it’s not a baby, then it’s not. All my other pregnancies were at awkward times in my life…first it was trying to finish high school, then once (or was it twice?) in college…then there was the summer internship (oh, the fond memories!)…and the WRONG guy (ugh!) But now I know the time is right. Sherry will be a great provider (she’s got a super fantastic job as a medical records analyst working for the government) and she says she’s ready to be a parent. So…this baby is going to be great for us. I’ve already got the day care center picked out!

I’m just so thankful we have a government who actually cares about women’s health and the health of our families! I shudder to think of what could’ve happened if President Obama had been defeated when he ran for his second term. Thank goodness those radical Catholic hospitals and colleges were forced out of business! All they cared about was pushing their radical “no birth control and no abortion” agenda on the rest of us. Can you imagine what would’ve happened to women’s health if they had prevailed? No free contraception. No free sterilizations. No free abortions. No free sperm clinics. We’d probably be running out of food right now. Instead, the government has assured us that we have at least another ten years or so of food stores in the federal warehouses. But since the new parent licensing act has been so successful in preventing overpopulation, we have plenty of food ration cards to go around.

It’s also a really good thing that the preventive services act has expanded to include preventing abnormalities in children and preventing Alzheimer’s and other gross diseases in old people. Just think of all those old folks homes that would be full of elderly if the government hadn’t stepped in to prevent such tragedies.

To think it was only a few decades ago that people were allowed to have four, five or six children! If it weren’t for the old pictures, I wouldn’t have believed it. My friend, Marie, tells me her mom was one of ten. TEN??? That’s just so gross. I’ve heard there are still some large families in existence, but thanks to the new child tax, those overpopulating kooks will be taxed out of existence soon. Of course, if they want to continue violating the laws, they can pay their fines. That’s fine with me. (lol!) My future kid’s school can use the extra money!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

That's why we call him the socialist president

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

White House spokesman, Jay Carney says,
"I don’t believe there are any constitutional rights issues here,"
when commenting on the the administration's Health and Human Services mandate which would require Catholic employers such as schools, hospitals and charitable organizations to provide a full range of contraception, sterilization and abortifacient services to their employees.

What part of "...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." don't you understand?

Let me get this straight, the administration has stated:  
"...this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing access to important preventative services,”
...because they've decided to give the Catholic Church an extra 12 months to get their doctrine in line with the Obama administration's birth control policies. 

Again, Jay Carney stated, 

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Gift of Youth and Beauty

It's a very Catholic idea. Give God your youth and your beauty. When you see young men and women, in the prime of life, handsome, beautiful, smiling, raidiant with joy, and they give it all up to be united with God as a priest or religious, what do you think? Catholics see it as a gift of something precious and beautiful. Some folks might sigh and say, "What a waste," but Catholics see it as giving it all to God. These courageous, generous men and women have chosen to give everything they have to God. They even give the things we think belong to us alone, like youth and beauty.
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist 2010 Aspirants (From the Sisters' Web site)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Being Pro-Life

"What does being pro-life mean to you?" the reporter asked me after the annual Respect Life Mass at the cathedral in Denver on Saturday. (Update: read the article here).

How do you answer a question like that? I knew she was looking for a few quick quotes to enliven her article, but the soundbites didn't come rolling off my tongue very quickly.

I stammered a bit then told her that for me, being pro-life meant I was living my vocation as a mother to ten children. I saw her eyes widen and she started writing furiously on her notepad. "Ten children..." (that would make good copy!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why I Love Jesus (and Religion too)

Just in case you're one of the two people on the planet who hasn't seen Jefferson Bethke's video, "Why I Love Jesus But Hate Religion," (which, at this writing, has over 12 million hits on Youtube), then you'll want to watch his stylistically appealing but content confusing video before proceeding so you'll know what I'm talking about.

 I'd like to thank Mr. Bethke for having the courage and the zeal to make his video and put his ideas out there for the world to see and discuss. I believe he's actually doing a service to lukewarm Christians to get them to start thinking about what they do and why they do it. While I strongly disagree with his characterization of religion, I agree with his words about Jesus' saving grace and that He alone is the cause of our salvation. I think what Mr. Bethke meant to say was that empty religion is of no avail. When we do religious things merely to get the approval of others, we aren't doing it for God, therefore we can claim no merit. (Matthew 6:5). Yet, even in the case of the person who goes about doing good merely for human approval, I can see that God could cause much good to come out of it. (Romans 8:28). Others will see his good works and glorify God. (Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 2:12). So even though my good works might not help me, they will most certainly help others.