Safest Place on Earth

I'm thinking a lot today about motherhood, the potency and the beauty of a calling that both softens and strengthens, that makes us willing to lay down our lives and, conversely, to fiercely protect. I think of a Dr. Who episode where a clearly tender-hearted woman pulls a gun on three soldiers.

"There's nothing you could say that would convince me that you'd use that gun," says an officer.

"I'm looking for my children," the mom replies, and everyone's convinced.

My thoughts turn to one of the most contentious aspects of motherhood, the one that divides us to the point of screaming epithets at each other. And I think it's time to discard the traditional and divisive labels of the abortion debate. I'm not comfortable with either the pro-life or the pro-choice extremes, but I'm definitely pro-motherhood.

I believe in life. I believe that all life should be treated with respect and that human life should be treated as sacred. But I'm not convinced that a fertilized human egg equals human life. I believe that, containing all the glorious potential of human life, it's precious. But the sacredness of human life is, for me, tied up in the presence of the soul and I don't know at what point the soul or "the breath of life" is bound to the body.

I believe in choice. I believe that the pains and privations of pregnancy and childbirth are ennobling when we become subject to them by choice. I suffered severe nausea in pregnancy. I repeatedly dreamt I was at a banquet and loading up my plate with delicious-looking food, only to wake up and find I couldn't tolerate the thought of eating any of it in real life. It was HARD but worth it, because I was willingly doing this for my child. And no, I didn't know what I was getting myself into the first time, and yes, I HATED it, but the sacrifice which I accepted deepened my love for my unborn child and also deepened my conviction that I was strong and I could do hard things. So I believe that women should be empowered with information and access to contraceptives allowing them to be conscious agents in the planning of their families. And I believe that our laws should never force victims of rape and incest to continue a pregnancy against their will. But I do not believe that abortion is an acceptable back-up form of birth control.

I believe in motherhood. I believe that it's a glorious, even holy calling to secure, nurture and protect our infinitely precious children. And I believe that the safest place on this planet should be inside our mother's womb.

Don't we all?


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