Profiles of Life in the Womb and Beyond

On Ash Wednesday, we entered into not only the liturgical season of Lent, but also into the 2010 “40 Days for Life” campaign.   In hopes of encouraging as much participation as possible in this important spiritual work of fasting and praying for all unborn children, I have put together a photo essay titled, “Profiles of Life in the Womb and Beyond.”   The essay includes a sequence of four profile pictures taken of Jesse, the youngest of our six children. Obviously I did not take the first picture, as it is an ultrasound image taken of my son in my womb at 38 weeks old.

I was so captivated by the clarity of this ultrasound profile, however, that I positioned Jesse’s head at the same angle and took pictures of him as a newborn baby, at 6 months and then at 20 months after his birth, respectively.  Each profile is unmistakably Jesse’s, and the sequence of images wordlessly confirms that the adorable toddler we now love to snuggle and smother with kisses was and is the same little boy whose heart beat below mine for the first nine months of his childhood.

I know that involvement in the Pro-Life movement can sometimes feel like swimming in mud. When I was pregnant with Jesse at age 41, the only way the medical establishment would refer to my son was as “my pregnancy.”  The most common phrase I heard from people after announcing our good news was, “Well, I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into,” as if they still thought of the enormous bump in me that was him, just some kind of “choice”!  It was so discouraging to see how hard people’s hearts were toward this new little life, and what an alarmingly different experience this pregnancy was from when I was expecting my first daughter, 18 years earlier.  Truthfully, though, I am not disheartened.  I am certain that even the big icons of other civil rights movements, like Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King, Jr. had muddy moments in their own counter-cultural quests, and yet they pressed on to victory, and so will we.

Thanks to amazing advances in ultrasound technology, no one except the most willfully uninformed can honestly believe that an unborn child is just a “blob” of tissue.  Because of an ultrasound’s ability to open the eyes and ears, and therefore the heart of an unprepared mother to the sight and sound of the real child developing within her, it is estimated that twice as many woman “choose” to keep their babies alive when they see in an ultrasound than when they are only given verbal counseling about the life within them.  For just these reasons, ultrasounds of unborn children have become, to my mind, the ultimate example of a picture being worth a thousand words, so I guess I could have also titled my photo essay “Life in 4,000 Words”!

Please join my family and me in the 2010 “40 Days for Life” campaign as we fast and pray that the parents of all unborn children would have the courage and love to let their baby live.  During the days of this campaign it is my personal prayer that God would strengthen and encourage each and every person involved in the Pro-Life quest as we press on to victory for the rights of the unborn.

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