For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.” Psalm 139:13-16
I once came across a #ShoutYourAbortion article that stated that the world is better off without involuntary mothers. That it’s better for themselves and their children for them to wait until they actually want motherhood to bring a child into this world. This broke my heart on so many levels, but mostly because the involuntary mothers are some of the best mothers I know.
These involuntary mothers in my life come in all shapes and sizes - scared young single moms, newly divorced women who now have children with multiple fathers, surprised newlyweds who didn’t quite chart that cycle correctly, frustrated married women who can’t imagine fitting one more in their tired wombs. These women in my life have all bravely accepted life and motherhood even when it wasn’t what they desired in that moment, and I have learned so much by their sides. I can’t imagine what a world would look like without involuntary mothers.
Because really? Amongst the real hardships, each of these women see their children as pure gifts. They had no “part” in wanting them, in willing them into existence, like voluntary mothers do. They truly know their children belong to God, who knit them together in their mothers’ wombs. They have a certain humility about their motherhood, knowing that it was bestowed on them even when they did not want it, and have let it shape them in profound ways. So while we need to stand up for the dignity of the unborn, we also have to stand up for the dignity of motherhood, voluntary or involuntary.
You’ll see in the upcoming weeks of this study that while choosing life at conception is the beginning, the choice of life continues throughout our entire lives. There are people I’ve witnessed involuntarily face sickness and death with the same bravery, courage, and grace as the mothers who chose life. There are poor children and their families who have left their imprint on my heart and who deserve the same dignity. Christ has “written all the days that were formed” for each one of us, not just some of them. It is our hope with the rest of this study that we will come to know what it means not just be “pro-birth,” but truly pro-life in all its forms!
Do you know any involuntary mothers? Consider asking them their story, how their motherhood and choice of life has shaped them. Say a prayer to our Blessed Mother, the most famous involuntary mother, to strengthen all mothers in their choice of life.
To Jesus through Mary-Emily Naylor