When does life begin? I know many have debated this issue and I won’t be the one to settle it here. Yet I feel inclined in my late night insomnia induced pondering to share my two cents.
Conception. No doubt about it. That moment when a very persistent sperm meets the specific egg that was dropped at that exact time of the month is the instant life begins. Yup, as soon as I read the plus sign on my pregnancy test I knew I was a mom. Ask any woman when she finds out she is pregnant and I think she will tell you the same thing. Of course it takes many more months to form a healthy, viable baby, but from the very start we already assume full responsibility for the care and growth of that baby in our womb.
Physically, some women go through many difficult challenges in their pregnancy journey (infertility, IVF, cerclage, bedrest, progesterone shots, c sections, and so many other serious medical issues) while others have less complicated pregnancies yet still also experience many of the same changes having to adjust their eating and drinking habits, take prenatals, go to countless doctors appointments and deliver (no small feats). Of course every mother equally sacrifices their bodies as they grow a tiny human inside their womb. Pretty sure we all in the final uncomfortable months wonder how we can possibly expand any further as our skin is stretched to the limit and we can’t even fathom there is any more room left inside for the baby to grow more. Yet somehow we do, and somehow that baby continues to grow and form until it’s time for that precious child to meet the world.
Emotionally, from the moment they conceive, hopeful parents prepare for their baby’s arrival and envision who that baby will become. A mother and father’s bond and love for that baby often grows exponentially along with every cell of its body. From the week to week updates on the apps or websites we check and the doctor visits where we can physically see the baby on ultrasounds, we know those little growing cells are alive and creating a being from day 1. But more importantly in our hearts that child has already taken his or her position in our family as our child and that will never change no matter what happens on the long road ahead.
I know there are those who will still debate this issue scientifically or rationally noting that at that first moment we can’t claim there is a living baby inside of a mother yet. I imagine these people have never been pregnant before themselves. I find myself hard pressed to believe that anyone who has carried a child and/or witnessed the miracle of creation for themselves as a father would be of the opinion that the mother wasn’t carrying a life, granted in its beginning stages, when they first got pregnant. While I don’t advise anyone to get pregnant just to see what I mean, I feel I can safely wager that if they did they would have to agree. You can’t experience the process of reproduction and watch your baby grow, develop likes and dislikes, flutter, kick, and turn in habitual and distinctive ways, without realizing that this very tiny being is becoming a unique person with each passing day and soon, if you’re lucky enough to get to participate in the miracle of birth, your awe will overtake any doubt as you behold that tiny, perfect little person and ask, “Wow, you were in there all along”? Yet somehow you have an instinctive sense of knowing that very child was in fact in there, growing inside of you, becoming who this child was made to be, and bonding with you from that very first second. If, I pray, when, your little one looks back up at you with their eyes full of wonder and you have the great fortune of seeing them continue to form and evolve as they get older, I am certain you’ll have no way of disagreeing that from the very start your child was alive and every moment of that life is a true blessing.
This isn’t a political debate, there is no hidden agenda or religious belief being pushed on anyone. Just the truth in my heart that I wanted to share with the universe tonight as a mother of five: one in heaven, two in my arms, and two more in the stars (though they only formed in my womb for less than two months each they are also a part of our forever family).
Owen, Jordan and Avery, I love you all just as much as your siblings on Earth. 💙