Yesterday, in honor of the March for Life, I started working with my girls on Pro Life Prints. We continued today. We talked about the sanctity of life, particularly the wonder and fragility of preborn babies and how we need to pray for their protection, all while doing artwork. Kids listen better when there’s paint involved, I think.
I didn’t plan to talk to my girls about abortion. We have been praying for the March for Life and for an end to abortion during family prayers, but I don’t ever use the word “abortion,” and they are not familiar with the term or the concept. We simply pray for all unborn babies and their moms.
Yesterday, however, when we were talking about protecting unborn babies, Miss said that one of her friends had told her that “the lady who also wanted to be president” thinks that it’s okay to kill unborn babies. Then she asked, “Mom, how could that even happen?”
This was not a discussion I wanted to have. But that’s really the question isn’t it? How could that even happen?
My stance on discussing grown-up issues with my kids is that I will answer all questions truthfully, but in an age-appropriate way and only as much as they ask for. So I started by explaining that some people do not understand that preborn babies are precious and should be protected. Then I said that there are doctors who sometimes cause babies to be born too early. So early that they aren’t able to live outside their moms’ tummies.
The girls didn’t ask much more about it, but a little bit later I did talk to them about how important it is for us to keep doing the things we do, like praying for babies and moms and giving to the local crisis pregnancy center, because we have to help moms and dads as part of helping babies. They seemed to like that idea. They asked me if I had needed help from a crisis pregnancy center when I was pregnant with them, and I told them I hadn’t, because I have their dad, who is so wonderful, and their grandparents, and aunts and uncles and lots of friends. So many people supporting me. I told them that some moms don’t have that and so they get scared. (We have talked about this to some degree before because they have many friends who are adopted and so we’ve addressed why their birth parents might not have been able to care for them, and what a brave and loving choice it was for them to allow someone more able to be the parents of their babies.)
I think it’s important to include the support for parents, particularly moms, in the discussion of why and how we are pro-life.
Through doing this project and hearing a lot about the marches of the past week, I found myself thinking about the way that unplanned pregnancy is typically talked about in this culture. It got me thinking about how I want to teach my little part of the next generation about life and parenthood and unplanned pregnancy.
I don’t want them to ever see a new life as a tragedy or an inescapable problem. I don’t ever want them (or anyone) to think that if they do experience an unplanned pregnancy, that they have no choice but abortion. I have found that this small art project we’ve worked on for the past two days is one small way of opening up some age-appropriate discussion and starting to shape their thoughts on the topic.
Naturally, my husband and I will have discussions with our kids about making good choices, being responsible, and why it is better to wait until they are married to have children (that’s a whole ‘nother ball game that I won’t go into here!), but it will never include,”Your life will be ruined if you get pregnant (or get someone pregnant) before you’re married.” We have family members who have faced unplanned pregnancies and have chosen life, with beautiful results. They will know those stories.
For now, we will keep working on our Pro-Life Prints. We will keep talking about the miracle of new life and how to help protect it. We will keep talking about the beauty of God’s creation.
I will continue to pray that we will all keep asking the question, “How can this even happen?” and working to make it stop.