Growing up I certainly don't ever remember hearing anything about abortion. If it was mentioned in church, it was certainly never talked about in my family or anywhere else that I would have been. It wasn't until I was out of college that I actually started to hear about it. Before our first child was born I worked in a doctor's office. I remember a young lady (maybe in her very early 20s) coming in who had marked on her registration papers that she had had 5 previous abortions. She was very pretty and full of energy; not someone who appeared to be bogged down by her past.
One day the topic of this young lady and her number of abortions came up. There was a nurse assistant there who was pro-life and she expressed her opinion that this was wrong. Me, being the ignorant person I was on the subject, started asking her questions. It wasn't that I was pro-abortion, it was just that I really didn't have any opinion on the subject. After some further discussion she asked me how I could not have an opinion. I didn't have an answer for her. I went home and thought more about it. I will never forget the day that I bounced into work and told her, "Guess what, I finally decided that abortion is wrong and that the government shouldn't be allowed to say it's okay!" I'm not quite sure what I expected from her, but at least she was gracious and just smiled and said she was glad I had come to that conclusion.
Fast forward a few more years and two children later. I hadn't spent any time after that last conversation thinking much about the abortion issue. I was pretty much entrenched in my "2 kids only, I want a career" mentality.When my second daughter was about six months old, I had a very powerful conversion experience - one that left me convinced that anything related to an anti-life agenda was something I could have no part in.
I began to read and research my faith like a starving person looking for food. It was at this time that my husband and I started to wonder what this all meant for our family. We had to take a crash course in NFP so that we had some time to adjust to all of this new information and try to figure things out. A good friend of mine who was very instrumental to my conversion, suggested, among other things, that we sign up with the Living Rosary association. By signing up, my husband and I would each be assigned a decade of the rosary to pray every day for certain intentions in conjunction with others around the world. When I got my assigned decade in the mail, I wasn't too surprised to see that it was the third Joyful Mystery - the Birth of Jesus. We both agreed that God was calling us to more children.
In our opinion, God reaffirmed our ideas about increasing our family size, as well as cemented the thought that we were to be involved in the pro-life movement, by blessing us with our third child on January 22nd of the following year. We consider her our conversion child, and the one who got us involved in pro-life activities.
As time went on and our family grew, getting involved in things became more difficult. I was involved with our parish pro-life group and we did a couple of events throughout the year. Our biggest surprise was getting kicked out of the annual Kiddy parade held during the town's summer festival. They kindly asked us not to bring our political agenda to the parade (we used to do all kinds of obnoxious things like had out balloons and pencils and stuff)!
I used to feel bad about not being able to head up different pro-life events, or keep up with all the phone-tree alerts that I came across, but then it dawned on me that in our own way, we were still spreading the pro-life message. As our family grew and we made more of a scene every time we left the house, I found solace in the words of St. Francis: Preach at all times. Use words when necessary. Our willingess to be open to life was a big part of spreading the message! I know it's tough to raise a lot of children in today's world, but just remember the message that you carry with you to evreyone who knows you, or even just sees you (and no, it's not "You must be insane!).
So that is where we are at. We try to get involved in things whenever we can. Now that the kids are getting older, it's getting easier because we can get them involved even if we can't be. This past fall they participated in passing out pre-election flyers to local churches and, at the last minute, we sent our eldest on a bus to Washington DC for today's March for Life. A big step for all of us. I just pray that everyone returns home safely!
Our pro-life commitment is a big part of our family and our education. Even if you can't be formally involved in committees or planning events, you can still do a lot to spread the word. With the internet, it has become even easier. No more phone calls, just send an email. Pass on important alerts with the click of the mouse! Alleluia! And, if you can do nothing else, you can pray! Pray the rosary, pray novenas, offer up those late-nite nursings for the unborn. The possiblities are endless and the graces you receive will be abundant!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn, pray for us!