Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Detachment of the Womb

Thoughts on the first nursery

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

It has been a slow process: science makes small steps and our reluctance follows at a distance. With each new voyage into human development comes questions of morality and a hesitancy of acceptance. We, nonetheless, are pulled along by the novelty of their discoveries and the convinience they offer to us. As a result, the secrecy and protection of the mother's womb has become "open to the public." The once quiet nursery--protecting, nurturing and deveolping the helpless life--now faces the spotlight of research and the sounds of morality wars.

In the days of our scientific ignorance, these developing lives could be left unmolested to grow and thrive in safety. The fetus was seperate from the mother only by the knowledge of it's unique soul; the question of it's humanity was rairly raised. Mothers and Fathers loved these pre-born lives: they cheriched the health and futures of their unborn children. Yet these babies often died. Many hopes were cut short by pre-natal complications: carrying these lives was a dangerous endeavor. How could they be protected? What could be learned of the growing life? Could modern medicine and science help carry these children into the outside world? Thus, science reached into the womb in an attempt to answer these questions.

Parenthetical statement: (I firmly believe that moderm science is marvelous. God, at this point in history, allows man to play a part in preserving life. The complications that once meant sure death for mother or child are now treatable. Oh how many lives have been saved! I want to make clear that my point is not to disagree with advances promoting well-being. During my second pregnancy, we were told that the results of a routine ultrasound had come back showing an abnormality in our son's brain. A follow-up ultrasound showed that all was normal, however, in the weeks of waiting, I had exhausted my internet searching capabilities to find all the medical treatment options for this potential diagnosis. For those of you who have actually experianced the life-saving medical advances, I don't want to undermine them. I praise God for these advances and the lives they have saved. I only attempt to illustrate that our probing into the secrecy of the womb could perhaps have some negative associations.

Thus, science took up her instraments of research and began to open the secrets of the womb. Scientific advances have been made in stride with the research. We remain open to new advances which allow us to discover the gender of our little one or even to see his tiny fingers brush by his face. I remember the love I felt and the reality it became when I saw my first son on the 3-d ultrasound screen. What a perfectly formed baby! I wanted to take him out right them and cradle him in my arms.
However, if this reasoning is used to proove the humanity of a fetus, what can be said of it's previous looks: and here lies the dangers of probing into the womb.

What do you think of when you hear the word "embryo"? A round, cell-like ball? Glowing with enhanced colors showing us the various components? The warm and fuzzy pictures of motherhood do not usually pop into most people's heads. "Oh how cute...she's cradling her little round blob." This sounds horrible, I know, but when the developing human individual (as the deffinition states) is seen in this stage of the "knitting together" process, it isn't the cutest thing in the world. The beautiful expectant mother is nowhere to be seen in these pictures. Just a round little blob, floating in mid air like some mass of cells. Not so! This is a person, being nurtured and developped in the womb's nursery.

It seems to me that the womb has been detatched from it's maternal home. The developing child is left alone: turned out from the nursery to survive on its own. Science is trying to determine when it becomes human...we mothers so rarely speak up for it anymore. Many mothers, in fact, expell it from their boddies as if it were only the "idea" of a child, not a developing human.

Mother and child as one is such a beautiful thing: God at work in the mother's body nurturing, protecting and developing this newly formed life. The first nursery can be found here. Shouldn't it be serene? Peaceful? Safe? Shouldn't it be securely connected with the mother...not detached in pictures and seperated from view of the whole picture. I fear that we trade simplicity and rationality when we view the fetus as seperate from the mother's body. I fear we are allowing war and chaos into this quite, peaceful, protected womb. Is this what you want to allow into your child's first nursery?

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