27 December 2007

Personal Differences

Quite often I am pegged in the six pack (I admit sometimes I am the one who does the pegging) as the misfit, as the conservative one, the one who doesn't think the way everyone else does. I decided it is time to do some musings on what makes me, well, me.

When we decided to do some writing and see what we came up with, I did give some thought to how it is that the six of us have remained friends for so long when, quite often, in many ways, we are drastically different. I have always said that women are their own worst enemy. I truly believe this to be the case. Women are critical about everything: how we look, what we believe in, working mom vs. stay-at-home mom, breast-feeder vs. bottle-feeder just to name a few. I had never really thought I was so different as a female growing up, even in those difficult teen years. It was when I had just graduated from college that I really began to feel the pressure of how different we, as women, can be...

The year was 1992. I had just graduated from the University of Dallas, a very conservative Catholic school. I had spent most of my college years involved being involved in college politics. I was a member of College Republicans, Crusaders for Life, as well as co-chair of Young Conservatives of Texas, UD chapter. I went out praying in front of abortion clinics, even marched at the pro-life rally in D.C. in 1991 on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It was an incredible experience, and I was surrounded by people, including many strong women who felt just like me. Then I came home after graduation and reconnected with my high school friends, and I discovered how it feels when people, particularly women, don't believe in what you do.

1992 was an election year. Bush (41) was up for re-election. A relative unknown named Bill Clinton was seeking the presidency as well. I was at dinner with Diane and Brenda, and the election came up. I said I was voting for Bush. It never occurred to me that these women I had known for so many years (8 to be exact) could possibly vote any differently. How can you not be voting pro-life? I asked. (I do realize that this is not the only issue, but this was and is still a big one for me) You're a woman! How can you not be pro-choice? was the response I received. I was absolutely dumbfounded...how could this be? Why don't they think the way I do? How can I change their mind? How can they be my friends?

You see, I used to take politics very personally. I used to feel slighted if someone didn't feel the way I do. I came to realize that I would live a very anxiety ridden life if I continued to feel this way. I do, at this point in my life, feel both compelled not at all apologetic for my beliefs. So, it is at this point that I can explain why I am not pro-choice, but instead 100% pro-life. I am putting it all here in black and white for you to read. Not to start an argument, but to help explain who I am and what I believe.

I do believe that life begins at conception, that God gives each of us a soul from the moment that little sperm hooks up with an egg. That is the core of my belief, and because of it I feel there is no possible reason to end that life. There is always another option. There have been many experiences in my life that have solidified this thought for me.

When I was in college, I was diagnosed as rupturing ovarian cysts. This was very painful, but the more important issue was that there was a possibility that I could not have children due to the scarring that could occur from this. I would stand outside of abortion clinics on Saturday mornings praying the rosary for the women who would go there that day that they would have a change of heart. I knew that there were other women who definitely could not have children and would love the opportunity to adopt the baby they were carrying.

In my senior year of college, I decided to look at the abortion issue from another dimension. I was a psychology major and had to write a thesis on a given topic. I set out to study the psychological effect abortion has on a woman. This was a year long project that involved interviewing women who had had an abortion. These women suffered for years with the guilt of what they had done. Many turned to drugs and alcohol and hit rock bottom. It wasn't until they had gone through intensive counseling that they could deal with their pain. To me, this is one of the biggest disservices that the women's movement has done. They tell you it is your body, your choice, but they don't tell you you're going to feel like crap emotionally for a very long time, if not forever. A couple of years ago, I actually had a friend tell me about her abortion 20 years after she had it and about how bad she still felt. In the end, I never felt it was her choice, but one her parents and boyfriend foisted upon her.

Last, and probably most importantly, I think that becoming a mother made me pro-life in a way that no other experience could. I love these new commercials by the Veritas Society with the very early pictures of babies in the womb. I don't think I can begin to describe in words how carrying a baby makes me feel, but I will try. I, as a woman, as a mother, have been given such a special privilege to not only create life (with the help of God and my husband :) ), but to feel it develop and grow inside me. There is nothing like seeing the heart beat at that very early ultrasound, or even better, hearing it! There is nothing like feeling the baby kick for the first time. We are so blessed as women to be able to do this important job of carrying, and developing that new life in-utero. It is so special and so important that I do firmly believe that to end that life is not only detrimental to the baby, but also to the woman. There is always another option!

So, ladies, this is where my entry ends. I was finally able to answer the question posed to me 15 years ago. These are my beliefs, and I am proud of them. I also feel secure enough in myself and in our friendship to be able to explain to you.

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