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Hi!

Tod Worner is a husband, father, Catholic convert & practicing internal medicine physician. He regularly blogs for Aleteia ("Catholic Thinking") & Bishop Robert Barron's Word on Fire. He has written for Patheos, the National Catholic Register, The Catholic Thing & the St. Austin Review. When he is not teaching medical students/residents and lecturing on Winston Churchill, he is expertly making a fool out of himself with his children.

Please follow him on Twitter (@thinkercatholic), Instagram (catholicthinker) & Facebook (A Catholic Thinker). 

Planned Parenthood & Joy

Planned Parenthood & Joy

“We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God.”

– Pope Benedict XVI

It has been a dark season in the news. Very dark.

If you haven’t been paying attention, perhaps you missed it. But I doubt it.

In the last few weeks, several videos have emerged from the self-described Center for Medical Progress in which notable Planned Parenthood representatives have been clandestinely filmed discussing the process of obtaining intact fetal organs, pricing them and selling them. Video after video show frank, polished professionals discussing what is assuredly a very dark, very sad business.

And as I saw these videos, a question kept posing itself in my mind.

How does society feel about pregnancy?

Think about it.

This is not some academic exercise or trick question. It is not an effort at clever philosophy or metaphysical sophistry. It is a simple question whose answer should immediately populate your mind.

How does society feel about pregnancy? 

Here is what came to my mind.

When a person announces their pregnancy, there are hearty congratulations. In short order, questions are asked about due dates and how the mother is feeling. Like clockwork, there emerge public commiserations about morning sickness, backaches and food cravings. And then there are private commiserations which, I am told, are better left private. An announcement has been made. Now the eager wait begins.

Shortly thereafter, the planning begins in earnest. Planning for the baby. Studies, sewing rooms or spare bedrooms are lost forever to the preeminent nursery. The bickering over whether to get a sneak ultrasound peak at whether it’s a boy or girl gives way to bickering over whether the nursery will be pink, blue, or…green. Cribs are purchased, rocking chairs are tested, and invariably it is asked, “do we throw the diapers in the trash or in this diaper genie thing?”. Diapers and onesies and impossibly small socks. Suction bulbs, thermometers and vats of Desitin…sweet, sweet Desitin.

Names are bandied about. Family names, new names, traditional names, invented names, middle names, nicknames, names with profound meaning, names that remind of former boyfriends or girlfriends and are thus vetoed and cast into the Abyss of Names We Will Never Use. Habits are tightened up. No drinking, get good sleep, let’s go for a walk after dinner, watch your step and hold my hand, and here, here, let me get that.

 

 

Baby showers are attended where gifts rain down including beautiful picture frames and poems for the wall as well as little rubber seats that can freakishly make a baby look like they are sitting up on their own. Name games, stories told, anecdotes that make you laugh and anecdotes you can’t (alas) get out of your mind.

 

Picking a pediatrician (I mean the best pediatrician). Selecting a daycare (I mean the best daycare). Breast feeding classes. Birthing classes. Discussion about delivery style and pain medications. Arranging maternity (and paternity) leave. Ultrasounds, heart monitors, blood pressures that worry us more about the baby than about ourselves. Preparing older brothers and sisters for the new arrival. Getting last minute advice from Mom or Dad.

And don’t forget…having that complete stranger smile at your wife, approach her and innocently ask if she can touch your wife’s beautiful, full belly.

You see this, to me, is pregnancy…

And thank you, truly, but no one need show me an ultrasound to know my wife carried a growing child. And, while I appreciate it, no one need defend to me the dignity of the baby. And, no it won’t be necessary that anyone need draw a bright line defining the beginning of “personhood”.

Because every action I have mentioned above…every wondrous moment of the process of being pregnant…declares it. Declares humanity, declares dignity, declares personhood. Every. Moment.

This is not to say that pregnancy is without stress, fear or anxiety. And it is not to minimize the pain and uncertainty that comes with miscarriages, complicated pregnancies or pregnancies for which some are unprepared. But even this anxiety, this fear, this uncertainty, this pain testifies passionately to the humanity, the dignity and the personhood at the center of the pregnancy.

Indeed.

It has been a dark season in the news. Very dark.

So I must return to my original question:

How does society feel about pregnancy? And how do I feel about pregnancy?

Joy.

Indescribable joy.

No matter what anyone says. No matter what anyone does.

Simple. Inextinguishable. Joy.

 

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Image credit: Wikiart

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