Pro-life but Anti-kid?

A new prolife group called Pregnant on Campus floated across my facebook feed last week. (I’ve told you before, and I mean it–I really do get all my news from facebook.) When I went on a fact-finding mission, I found that the group itself is actually not new, but is hitting some news outlets lately because of a newly redesigned website. 

In a summary from campusreform.org, we read that that group has been founded specifically to combat the message of Planned Parenthood on college campuses. They are looking to provide pregnant students with resources to help support their pregnancy, instead of aborting the baby.

Pregnant On Campus enables students at over 530 colleges to locate nearby pregnancy and parenting resources. Each school profile provides emotional, financial, and material resources including but not limited to: peer-to-peer support; off-campus housing; clothing and food assistance; child care; adoption agencies; counseling, available also for post-abortive women; and community or religious organizations.

Any organization looking to counteract the message of Planned Parenthood on college campuses has a worthy goal in mind, and will find they have their work cut out for them.

But if we look again at the interview on Campus Reform, we see that at the heart, the philosophy of this organization is flawed. The fact that they would like to lessen the number of college women having abortions in admirable, but both their starting assumption and their final solution are problematic. At the heart, their basic message to women is the same as Planned Parenthood:

Becoming pregnant in college does not have to change your life at all.

“It’s a site where pregnant students [can] search for resources that are available for them at their own campuses so they don’t have to choose between their baby and their education,” SFLA Director of Communications Kristina Hernandez told Campus Reform.

The solution for Planned Parenthood is abortion. The solution for Pregnant on Campus is financial support and provided daycare.

This may be a pro-life solution, but it is not a pro-child solution. Kids who grow up in single-parent households are worse off than children who grow up in a two-parent home.  And as we have talked about before on the blog, daycare is not good for children. 

Sadly, this organization with a noble goal is answering the problem with feminist solutions. They are telling young women that they can have their baby and continue on their career path. That they can, in fact, have it all. These girls will be in for a big let-down when their baby arrives and they try the juggling act of classes, friendships, homework, day-care, and the fact that they love their little baby so much it hurts. They’ll find the promises that you can have it all ring a little hollow when they feel torn in all different directions. 

There is no easy solution here. We know that abortion is not the answer. But neither is lying to young women, telling them that their life and plans will continue with only a short interruption. The responsibilities that come with pregnancy do not disappear with government intervention. We need to encourage these young women to take on the responsibility that their pregnancy requires, whether that looks like going home to parental support or putting their baby up for adoption.

Posted in Daycare, For New Moms, Having It All, Pregnancy | Leave a comment

Let the Children Come

teeLast week I promised to talk more about Jesus’ attitude about children.

First of all, Jesus came to earth as a helpless baby; He grew for 9 months in a poor girls’ womb and was born at an inconvenient time for His earthly family.  The Incarnation should provoke many responses in us, not the least of which should be awe for the dignity of the lowliest newborn baby.  Jesus spit up, soiled diapers, needed to be fed and rocked and potty trained.  If it was noble for Mary to do this, how is it ignoble for you and I to do the same things?

Jesus always interacted with children in patience and love.  We see in the gospels that Jesus doesn’t have to be physically present with someone to heal them, yet when Jairus asks Him to heal his daughter, He follows him to his house, takes the little girl by the hand, and speaks to her to heal her saying, “Talitha cumi,” which means, Little girl, I say to you, arise.” (Mark 5:41)  I love the sweet intimacy of this story.

When the disciples argue about who among them is the greatest (in Mark 9), He says,

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And He took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”  (Mark 9:35-37)

The most familiar passage to most of us, of course, is in Mark 10:13-16:

And they were bringing children to Him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.

Did you know that this is the only passage in the gospels where Jesus is said to be indignant?  That’s food for thought, isn’t it!  Jesus hugged kids, blessed them, touched them, and said His kingdom belonged to such as them.  In a culture where children were children were often seen as possessions, little better than slaves, Jesus was indignant when His followers hindered the children from coming to sit on His lap.  His words and actions proclaim that, in the words of the old Sunday School song, “they are precious in His sight./ Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Our society is in many ways child-centric, but in other ways, we don’t value kids any more than first century Jews and Romans.  We’ll run our kids to a million activities every night of the week so that all will admire our dedication to our kids’ dreams (and their talent, which obviously reflects well on us).  We don’t allow them to get bored (because we fear that sitting around the house all day would be boring for us).  We work longer hours to make a little more money, which we insist gives our kids more opportunities, more toys, more fancy vacations, never stopping to consider that maybe they’d enjoy us joining them to play with the legos they already have more than getting the fancy new lego set.  We say that we’re devoted to our children, but our timecards tell a different story.  We come home late, feed our children a late dinner, put them to bed late, and rouse them at the crack of dawn to be on time for daycare and work.

How often are we willing to put our adult agenda aside to just cuddle a little child on our lap, as Jesus did?  What in the world do we think is more important in life than leading our children to Him?  What are we doing in our lives that could hinder them in that?  Jesus knew that His time on earth was short–just three years of public ministry.  Instead of maximizing His political impact by initiating urban ministry and focusing on the rich and powerful, He is recorded time and time again as leaving the crowds to minister to the poor, blind, crippled, outcasts, racially unclean, worthless, and children. God’s economy is upside-down from ours.  Service to the least of these is service to Him.  As mothers, our time with our little ones is also short.  What a privilege we have to follow Christ’s example as servant leaders!  Let’s strive to emulate Him in our interactions with the little children He has put in our lives.

And Jesus called them to Him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)

Posted in Biblical Defense, Having It All, Philosophy of Motherhood | 1 Comment

Hidden Art Friday

christmas pants

Christmas pajamas–done!  The girls picked out the flannel on their own this year.  It is getting easier to make four sets of these, as the mistakes you make on the first pair are fixed on subsequent pairs.  I even used these directions for super seams, so they look pretty on the inside, too.

Are you traveling with your kids this month?  We’re leaving next week and will be flying AND driving hundreds of miles over the next few weeks.  In addition to packing cold weather gear (my SoCal kids haven’t used their coats, boots, snow pants, hats, or mittens since last Christmas in the Midwest!), I’m restocking my “bag of tricks” and loading up my ipod and nook.  If you’re doing the same thing, don’t forget my road trip survival tips post (written in the summer but also applicable to our airplane rides in the winter) and my list of great audiobooks for road trips, followed by Anna’s road trip suggestions.  And please do share in the comments if you have any particularly successful tips that the rest of us facing travel with kids need to know about!

Nancy Wilson had a great reminder that the goal of this season should be joy as we anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth.  If we’re not doing it with joy, maybe we shouldn’t be doing it at all.

When Anna shared some of her family’s favorite fairy stories, our dear friend Christina asked us to post on fairy tales.  We’ve discussed the topic a bit with each other, so don’t fear that we’ve forgotten about it, but in the meantime, I remembered that Auntie Leila wrote about fairy tales a few years ago, and I generally agree with her philosophy of literature.

 

 

Christmas posts from last year:

Anna discusses how her family handles Santa.

Emily shares how she’s trying to cultivate generosity in her kids at Christmastime.

Our theme week on Christmas presents: Anna’s take | Emily’s take

 

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Posted in Christmas, Getting Out and About, Hidden Art Fridays | Leave a comment

When Mom Leaves: Illness

Today, I’d like to finish up my series on daycare. (I know, it’s been a few weeks…I get distracted!) If you’ve forgotten where (or why) we started, here’s the beginning post in the series.

I remember taking my oldest son to the doctor’s office for his first ear infection where he was almost a year old. I was bummed, and worried (new mom!), but the nurses were amazed that we hadn’t been in before that. When I asked why, they said that it is not uncommon for a baby to have 4-5 ear infections in his first year of life.

What my doctor’s nurses didn’t tell me that trip is that whether a child is cared for in their own home or cared for in a day-care setting is one of the main factors contributing to the number of colds, and consequently secondary ear infections, in babies.

Daycare centers are breeding grounds for disease. You see all the things you would expect to see, like colds and coughs and the flu, but they also breed other nasty diseases, like hepatitis A. In fact, when you look at who’s at risk for hepatits A, it’s daycare workers and children, especially those under 1. For the under-1 crowd, who are constantly creating messy diapers and are constantly putting their hands in their mouths, it’s very easy to see how a nasty disease like this would spread in a daycare setting.

A nationwide survey showed that the spread of hepatitis within communities is often linked with daycare centers that provide care for children under two years. Large centers for infants and toddlers have the highest risk of outbreaks. (Dreskin, 71.)

Children in daycare, especially infants and toddlers, are at increased risk for acquiring and spreading infectious diseases, compared to children not in daycare. They have more respiratory, gastro-intestinal, skin and epidemic childhood infections, and are at a higher risk for serious secondary infections, e.g., meningitis, than are children in home care. Infectious diseases are more common and more severe, and more complications occur in the younger ages. (Bell, 116.)

Ask any pediatrician, and he will tell you: babies kept home are healthier than babies in daycare.

A common reaction to this fact is the idea that while babies will be sicker in their first few years of life, encountering all those germs early in life will lead to better immunity later.  But can we just step back for a minute and examine what we’re claiming? How could it ever be a good thing to expose an infant or a baby to disease? Their little immune systems are not as developed as ours, and their bodies as less able to handle sickness. They can’t express to us how they’re feeling, and sometimes it takes something truly drastic happening to us to realize how sick our children truly are. And given the number of cold viruses out there, how could we ever guarantee that a cold our child had as a baby would truly provide him immunization? While there is a place in responsible parenting for a parent to teach his child to ‘take their knocks,’ it does not seem like subjecting a baby to illness is the right place to start.

Instead of looking to expose our children to nasty and potentially permanently damaging diseases, let’s view ourselves as protectors. This starts in their earliest days, where the number of people that they’re exposed has a direct influence on their health. Let’s not keep telling ourselves that they’re resilient, in this area and in many others, and instead admit that they are tiny little people who need us to keep them safe.

Part 1 I Part 2 I Part 3 I Part 4 I Part 5

 

Works Cited:

Schlafly, Phyllis, Ed. Who Will Rock the Cradle. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990.
Bell, Reed. “Health Risks from Daycare Diseases.” Schlafly 115-122.
Dreskin, William and Wendy. The Day Care Decision. New York: M. Evans and Company, Inc., 1983.

Posted in Daycare, For New Moms, Having It All, Using Our Minds | 1 Comment
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