“His sonogram was simply an introduction to the person we are getting to know”

By Dave Andrusko

I’d like to end the week with a beautiful excerpt from an essay Maria McFadden contributed to  “The Silent Subject: Reflections on the Unborn in American Culture,” edited by Brad Stetson. The title is “Motherhood in the 90s: to Have or Have Not.” I am aware of this  terrific essay solely because Sarah Terzo posted it at her invaluable site, Clinic Quotes.  I will repost McFadden’s remarkable excerpt and then add two quick comments.

“… What is a sonogram? A picture, produced by sound waves. It is a factual thing, a part of reality, difficult to manipulate. Which doesn’t mean that it doesn’t involve emotion. When I saw James’s [her son’s] first sonogram, at 4 ½ months, I fell hopelessly in love. I could hardly feel him moving inside me yet, and I had been worried, after my miscarriage, that there would be something wrong. But on the screen my husband and I saw a perfectly round head, beautiful spinal cord, legs kicking, and hands grasping.. As we watched, the baby (we didn’t know the sex) opened its hand and proceeded to suck its thumb… What makes a sonogram so dangerous and emotionally troubling for abortion advocates is the obviousness of a separate life inside a woman’s body, not an appendage. The fetus seems so happy in its own little world, so safe and unconcerned in a close, warm womb where all its needs are automatically met.

The view of the womb we get from a sonogram illuminates what ought to be the safest time in a human’s life. Instead, the sanctuary of the womb is invaded routinely, with the support and even encouragement of society. The Planned Parenthood clinic across the street from our apartment offers abortions up to 16 weeks – just about the age of James’s first photo, which I have lovingly placed in his first photo album. In the sonogram, he held his hand with his thumb out and his fingers tucked in; he still holds his hand that way. In my womb he was active at night and had hiccups several times a day; he still does. His sonogram was simply an introduction to the person we are getting to know. How can doctors deliberately tear out little beings who are able to move around and suck their thumbs? And how can their mothers allow it?

Now that I have James, I see myself quite differently. I have someone who thinks the world of me! I have someone who, as long as he lives, will be able to say “my mother…” and mean me! I have someone who must be put first, and that is a relief. And I have someone who, God willing, will live beyond me, which makes the world seem a more comfortable place. And right now I have an adorable baby who smiles melts my heart a perfect release brings tears of joy. I wouldn’t have missed this experience for anything.

[1] The womb as sanctuary. It  ought to be “the safest time in a human’s life,” she tells us. “Instead, the sanctuary of the womb is invaded routinely, with the support and even encouragement of society.” The abortionist tears out the child. “And how can their mothers allow it?” How indeed.

[2] “I have someone who must be put first, and that is a relief.” Having children is the ultimate growth experience—for the parents. When I read this, I couldn’t helping think of Rick Warren’s famous opening to The Purpose Driven Life: “It’s not about you.”

Indeed, it is not.