The ‘Hood’s full of babies, live ones and dead ones. I’m on Facebook. I finally succumbed to the temptation a couple of months ago after our daughter had been after us to do so for almost a year, and the grand children were mentioning all the fun they had. Who could resist?
After I joined I was surprised to find the number of folks my age, and a generation younger who flood my FB page with pictures and tales of newborns, toddlers and about to be babies. (Like a shark’s rows of teeth, I’m of the generation that is ready to fall off and float to the sea bottom.) I read delightful tales of christenings and first steps, bits and pieces of the young ones antics and parents’ weary responses, and look at tons and tons of cute fat cheeked baby pictures, smiling mothers and gooey eyed fathers. I am particularly fond of experiencing the Auld Folks melting softness, glowing love and warm joy coming through their announcements and updates. Mine are all too old for diapers and bottles, but the stories invoke the memories, and breed hopes that I may yet see and hold one of my own great-grandchildren before I drop off the Shark’s Lip of Life.
Well, isn’t that nice, you may say. But, it isn’t everything. Read on.
I am even connected through Facebook to a few folks who are a couple of rows of teeth behind me, behind even the Moms and Dads who tell the bright laughing stories. They have their own stories and pictures, too; not a few of them, oddly enough, about the births of their own babies, and they show the pictures, and bring on the cooing and congratulatory comments. The difference here is that there are only Moms, no Dads, in the pictures or behind the cameras. No Dads are in the picture that is, if you get my drift.
Believe what you see, and you could conclude we are becoming a place of fatherless children being raised by mothers young enough to go clothes shopping with their daughters or dancing with their sons. The kids’ll never hear, “Wait till your father comes home!” Dad, like the salmon, is downstream, somewhere. Who will take his place? If no one does, what will life be like for men and women raised by other women barely more than older sisters, and tired grand parents when Mom needs to go to work waitressing or cleaning out some mall somewhere? Will the the nearest thing to a father be Mom’s date? What fathers have become in this arrangement is the functional equivalent drive by dads.
I am happy, I suppose, for the fact that these youngsters gave birth, but I have a heaviness of heart about their reasons for doing so, their own futures and their children’s. All the more reason for praying, then. While I have no way of knowing if these children were conceived as part of the growing trend of “intentional” pregnancies among young women, many still in high school, I do know of one person who said she has no thought of marrying. “Marriage isn’t done these days.” Lord, help us all if children are becoming simply a notion, an accessory.
One wonders, at least I do, what may have been the case if during the now almost mandatory pre-natal testing indications of some serious deformity or genetic disease had been detected. A child is not a wardrobe item to be returned. Not quite yet I pray, though the link does highlight our increasingly hard-hearted and eugenically oriented culture.
Such cruelties as are discussed in the article above are ancient cruelties one may hope. It may be a vain hope when one considers what horrors went known and unchecked in Philadelphia for years until Dr. Kermit Gosnell was indicted. God alone knows how many murders were committed there in conditions which rivaled a slaughter house. You may, if you have a strong stomach, read the actual indictment. Having read a few indictments in my time I was struck by many things, the anger of the Grand Jurors, their scorn for the “politics” of abortion which influenced the treatment of Dr. Gosnell and his “clinic” and the damning criticism that Gosnell was allowed to operate as he did because his clients were all poor minorities.
Anger, scorn and criticism are more than justified. The people who believe that abortion is a matter for a pregnant woman to decide do not try to tell us that a Dr. Gosnell is anything but an aberration in that trade. They daren’t. Rather, they want us to know, and feel good about, the fact that safe and responsible, clean and pleasant abortions are what the industry provides. We have come a long way from leaving unwanted infants on the town dump for passing gulls and crows. It is possible, now, to remark without seeming outrageously cynical and two-faced if one is a NARAL or NOW member, that abortion would be unnecessary if we just had better sex education and more efficient and available contraception. The real truth is far more scary, especially when one begins to think seriously about that nasty word eugenics and its many shades of meaning and many ways of application.
Perhaps, some day, we will go so far as to awaken from this nightmare, this craziness affecting us all, wherein on the one hand we don’t blink an eye at children giving birth while fatherhood disappears down a dusty trail and on the other hand headlines in major newspapers spin a story about a 40 percent abortion rate in New York City being due to restrictive laws on abortion elsewhere, or opine that there’s no big deal, anyway since we’ve always had abortion. Are they asking us to relax and learn to enjoy it? At least it’s legal, now, and would go away altogether if everyone could avoid conceiving in the first place.
Except, of course, if you’re fifteen and need to have your own baby to dress and take pictures of.
UPDATE: Perhaps we may finally be able to accept as true, and live up to the truth, that, as Walker Percy pointed out in 1981 , we are human from our conception, and each of us unique. Of course it implodes the myth that we have all of these rights and choices which has led to the mayhem we have been inflicting on ourselves lately. We will have to understand that rights, so called, do not trump responsibilities, and choices which we think we have a right to make in many cases should be avoided for the harm they do to others. Perhaps salmon will some day speak, too. The Bradan Feasa, did he say a word to us then, would probably begin by telling us how wrong we have been.