Friday, January 27, 2012

Culture of Life

So I know the big country-wide topic these days is contraception and the Catholic Church - hmm...that sounds a lot like a paper I know ;-) But that is not what is on my heart right now.

Let me get back to the idea of a culture of life. Many people believe children are blessings. New mothers are overjoyed by the arrival of their children and change forever. Less than a year ago, I experienced that glorious, and at times scary, upheaval of life as I knew it. I love being a mom even if I don't like some of the sleepless nights. I also love bringing my child with me when I go out and there is where the problem lies.

I am unashamedly an attached parent. I walk around with her in a carrier while I grocery shop and she loves it! I bring her places and let her explore while I have some adult moments in the company of my child. I let her learn about Mass by experiencing it every week and many people love to see her. But not all. And so, I must explain myself.

I realize there are some adult only places. I definitely wouldn't take my daughter to a night club and there are other events/locations to be sure. Mostly I think adult spaces are more that way because nothing there would interest children. I don't want Maria to be bored purely for the sake of me doing something I find entertaining. However, I do expect Maria to learn and discover what my daily life is like by accompanying me on errands and other commitments I have in my life.

One of those commitments occurred Saturday. I went to a mini-medical conference  The doctor talked about building a culture of life and accepting children as gifts. Thank you - what a wonderful message. Your words are lovely and were well received by many. Praise God, one of the local doctors actually looked into having her come to that hospital.  There were other presenters that were equally welcomed and informative and I was blessed to see the event take place at a distance.

I had come to help
by manning the registration table. Once my job was complete, I stood in the very back of the auditorium to see if I could catch any of this important family information. Shortly after I entered, I was taken outside by someone that I thought had a question for me. Instead, he told me I was being inappropriate and, though he loves children, she was a distraction to everyone in the audience and I should leave. Did I mention she had only babbled two words?

I completely understand the need for professionalism, especially when talking with doctors. The presenters dressed well and were prepared as professionals would be - complete with powerpoint slides and handouts. Yay for them. There was a NFP couple there to present their story. As presenters, they chose to leave their son with family so as to not be distracted while presenting. Perfectly acceptable decision. I was not presenting and my parents were out of town. I brought my lovely daughter. Even so, I was aware of the need for others to hear the presentation, so I didn't take a seat - I stood in back. I could be out of the room in a second with Maria if need be. Had she started crying or screaming, that would have been the case. She did not and I wanted to hear the presentation while being a witness to the idea of "openness to life" in daily activities. Maria does not know to be silent and I don't think people expected her to be. I felt comfortable bringing her because I knew I wasn't getting credit for being there so if I missed parts because of her volume it would be okay. I did not realize I would be banished from the beginning.

So my lasting thoughts

Our words
  • children are a blessing
  • be open to expanding your family with a gift from God
  • God created you and you should honor yourself, your fertility and your spouse
  • God creates and blesses your children
Our actions
  • children are a distraction
  • a child talking is inappropriate
  • children must not interrupt adult time

It is hard for me to digest that a "family life" event is not welcoming of children if they utter two sounds. A thank you to most everyone else in attendance for loving my child and asking about her. Special thanks to the two moms who were required to pump in the bathroom for showing empathy to me and my child. And...

A question for those promoting family life

How can our words be taken seriously if we scold anyone that has the nerve to bring his or her child to a public, family event?

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