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June 28, 2006

What's Abortion, Mom?

Just the sort of question I haven't wanted to hear. And today J9 asked it.

By some parents' standards we're pretty permissive. The boys have seen all of the LOTR movies, myriad times. We've read them Greek myths and talked about false gods and beliefs. They've known street kids and learned how to look for syringes at the park and what to do if they see one. By other standards, we're over-protective. They have carefully guarded them from any sexualized media. They haven't spent the night with anyone outside the family. We spend limited time away from the kiddos. They only learned what divorce was in the past year. Only last month did the two older boys get a "talk" about how God brings babies into families.

The concept and reality of abortion is something I've wanted to protect them from. Knowing some babies are killed? While they are defenseless and still growing in mommy? And that it done intentionally? What a horrid idea for a child to learn.

J9 is quite politically-inclined. He has a Katherine Harris t-shirt. Wants to form a Young America's chapter in the neighborhood. Is proud to be an American, and a Republican. Somewhere along his reading he's seen the word abortion. He saw that word on my screen this evening, and that's what prompted the question.

"What's abortion, Mom?"

My first answer, "Honey, it's bedtime and I'm too tired. Let's talk about that later." Yup. The lazy answer.

A minute later I called him to me. "What do you think abortion is?"

"I don't know. I've just seen the word."

And I weighed. Do I bring him a step further into the knowledge of how fallen our world is? Can I delay it? Please, my son is only nine-turning-ten-this-week. I don't want him to know about abortion yet.

I was his age when I first read Diary of an Unborn Child. My mom had a tract from Last Days' Ministries. I think there were daisies on the front. I know I had a concept of abortion before then, but that's when I really became aware of what abortion truly was.

I have a small pregnancy diary online from when I was expecting C5. Along with it are pictures of several stages of development. So I took J9 to that webpage and we looked at the pictures and I told him about how babies grow in the womb. We talked about how they start with just two cells and the difference between those two cells and a 10 year old is simply time and nutrition. We talked about how funny they look at 6 weeks old. We laughed at the 24 week "old man" baby picture.

And then I told him.

Abortion is when people go to a doctor to intentionally kill a baby before he is born.


I watched his face. His eyes flitting from picture to picture. The look of horror, bewilderment.

He sat on my lap and we hugged and were sad and silent together.


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It's so hard to be a parent.

Posted by: kristen at June 29, 2006 12:21 AM

OMG, that is so sad.

Posted by: SUZANNE at June 29, 2006 12:57 AM

No doubt, showing the pictures added to his reaction. What a sober moment.

Posted by: Kim in ON at June 29, 2006 07:14 AM

I'm dreading this with my own babies too. They ask so many honest questions already.

Posted by: Charity Grace at June 29, 2006 08:49 AM


Posted by: Carol at June 29, 2006 08:54 AM

Tears for this sad moment in your child's life, and for all of our children. It is awful that we have to tell our kids this stuff, but we can pray that God will raise up our children to one day put an end to abortion. Praying it will be so!

Are you hinting that we would do well to make a visit to Prague? We have been mulling that over and many others have suggested it. What should we see/do there??

Posted by: Marla at June 29, 2006 09:04 AM

One of several parenting moments I'm not looking forward to. You handled it really well, though, FWIW.

Posted by: Jocelyn at June 29, 2006 10:53 AM

so sad, really I didn't see abortion from the perspective you just showed, although I'm against abortion, but this is the first time, i see it from your perspective.
thank you, for the post, and for the lesson, of how to take care of children.

Posted by: eyad at June 29, 2006 11:16 AM

this post breaks my heart. This is not a conversation we have had to have...yet. But when I started teaching my children about safety and strangers--it killed a part of me inside to take away that piece of innocence that "Everyone is my friend" and make them know that all some people want is to hurt them in unspeakable ways. I will not be rushing the day that we cover this topic.

Posted by: Dana at June 29, 2006 11:31 AM

This is such a hard time. Last year, when my oldest was 9, we passed a beautiful billboard with a picture of a newborn baby with the caption, "Hey! I could feel pain before I was born." My son asked me what was pro-life? When I explained (with minimal detail)about abortion he said vehemently, "Mom! That's just crazy. What we should do is call the police and let them know that people are killing babies like this." I literally couldn't speak to utter a response. How could I break his heart by telling him that our lawmakers say it is OK to do this?

Posted by: Sherri W at June 29, 2006 12:34 PM

Oh, my. Please tell J9 that Aunt Fluffy misses him so much. And just to see a "C" with a "5" by his name...wow. And J's birthday is tomrrow! I just remembered. Can you please email me your phone number. Aunt Fluffy needs to call! I love you all. I think of you daily. I think of you everytime my sister refers to me as Aunt Fluffy on Jenna's behalf.

Posted by: Little Miss at June 29, 2006 10:58 PM

Greetings-- got your note from your visit to MY blog! :)
I feel a special kinship to moms of 4 boys. Someday I'm going to write a book! Phew! My guys (even the smallest) have all seen LOTR, too. And they actually saw it in the theater...This was after we read aloud the book to them (and hubby and I previewed it with a trip to the theater first!). I sometimes feel a bit guilty when other moms (Christian moms) look shocked. On the other hand, I am careful to ban "real-life" movies with killings, violence, nudity and foul language. The boys and I have also discussed Greek myths, false beliefs of other civilizations and marveled at how we all started with the same story from Adam but some of us got it a bit "wrong" like playing "telephone" and passing it down the line. Hmmm... We've been through the abortion thing, too. Hubby has had a "sex" talk with the oldest, 12. But what bothers me is when they asked about "rape," after hearing it on the news. I remember as a youngster feeling quite mysterious about that myself. I tried the best I could to put it in understandable, yet not too revealing, terms. We do live in a fallen world. Parenting is tough, sometimes, eh? LOVE your blog!

Posted by: Lori at June 30, 2006 11:03 AM

Thank you for sharing your family with us!

Posted by: Mist at June 30, 2006 02:34 PM

I've shared this before... (not here) at another blog. The way my boys found out about abortion was unexpected. I was scheduled to speak on the radio giving my testimony about abortion. (I have a few audio clips of it on my blog... not finished posting all of the clips though, but there are about five 2 minute excerpts.)
I got a babysitter from my church that was aware of what I was doing. I guess I figured she would know not to listen to the program live with my children in the room... but she did.
I came home... my 4 younger ones said, "Mommy, we heard your voice." They really had no idea what I was talking about, but my older boys figured it out. All they did was look down and stare at the floor. When the babysitter left, I took them aside.
"Why Mom?"
They wouldn't even look at me.
It was painful.
My husband came home and we talked to them about it. They weren't ready to talk to just me. They were hurt... mad that I would have done such a thing.
The younger of my 2 older boys was quicker to forgive. I apologized to them. Asked them to forgive me. My husband explained it way better to them than I could. My oldest son, after several days, came up to me and just hugged me.
"I love you, Mom." he said with tears in his eyes.

"I know."

Posted by: 4ever4given at June 30, 2006 04:10 PM

Oh, TulipGirl, your post broke my heart! I literally cried as I read that, and imagined the scenario with my son. I just don't have words. {hugs}

Posted by: Anne Basso at June 30, 2006 09:50 PM

The only feeling that I can compare the feeling I got reading this post to is the feeling I got when I heard about an amber alert on my radio this week.

A woman stole her own daughter from her foster family. The mother is a heroine addict.

My heart breaks knowing that sin is so awful that it doesn't discriminate and wait until children are "old enough" to deal with its ugliness. And in so many ways I am still a child that can't cope with terrible realities like abortion and drug addiction.


Posted by: Devona at June 30, 2006 11:40 PM

Thank you for understanding. . . and for sharing. . .

Posted by: TulipGirl at July 1, 2006 10:43 PM

My heart is so heavy, reading this and knowing that my day is coming.

A few months ago, I had to shield my childrens' eyes from the huge pictures of bloody, mutilated fetuses as we left the library. There was one at every corner we needed to be at, and my three-year-old didn't understand why I was covering her eyes. Tears pricked my eyes as I grew sad, and angry, for so many reasons. It won't be long before her questions will keep coming, and I won't be able to just cover her eyes.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Posted by: serina at July 2, 2006 09:29 AM

My husband recently answered this question for my 10yr old daughter after she had seen an ad for CareNet in World Mag. She was just heartbroken -- it was beyond her comprehension that anyone would kill a baby. A few months ago, she happened to be in the room while we were watching Larry King Live at a friend's house -- the show where Dr MacArthur was invited to discuss the priesthood with several Catholic priests -- and the subject of homosexuality came up on the show. Of course, she wanted to know what that was. I explained to her that it was when a man wants to marry a man or a woman wants to marry a woman (she's innocent to the "facts of life" at this point, so we just keep things simple!). She looked at me, puzzled, and asked, "But they can't have babies, right?" I said, "Noooo." She responded, "Gosh, that should tell them something right there! You think they'd get a clue!"

Posted by: Suzanne at July 2, 2006 08:01 PM

Tears from me too. Oh, I'm just feeling so grieved right now that little children have to learn these horrid things someday, and I dread the day I'll have to explain this to my own children

Posted by: Amy at July 5, 2006 05:56 PM

It looks as if I'm the first man to make a comment.

I don't want to suggest to you what you do with your own kids since each parent must decide when is the right time to tell their kids about difficult subjects.

Personally, for a boy aged 9 (and remember boys don't grow up as fast as girls) I think I would simply say that abortion is a great evil that bad people do and wait a few more years before going into detail. After all, boys ask all sorts of casual questions and forget about them the next day. Not every question asked requires a full and complete answer.

One might have to do things bit differently for girls - epsecially as they approach puberty.

I'm reminded of the story of the boy who asked his mother where he came from. Oh, said, mum after a bit of a panic - ask your dad. So he did and poor old dad gulped, and told the whole story of the birds and the bees.

"Oh", said junior, after this long and detailed explanation: "Coz, Freddie next door says he comes from Nigeria"!!!

Sometimes the apparently "deep" question may not be so deep after all.

A comforting thought, I hope, for prospective parents!

Posted by: James at July 6, 2006 05:48 AM

I read about this and had mixed feelings. You obviously never had an abortion. Before I became a christian I did. I have 3 children now,and am happily married. So what do I say to my children? That I intentionaly set out to murder my unborn child? That I made a mistake? Actually I feel that it was not a 'mistake', I can't imagine my life had I had that child at that time in my life. Am I for abortion? No. You were right in being brutaly honest with your child, but would you have been so blunt if you were in my shoes? Probably not ( I'm guessing). I only hope that you also set out to teach your children that all people fall short and that we need to forgive and show tolerance for one another in this world of sin. I'm not proud of what I did more than 11 years ago and I'm sure that more woman feel the same who have walked in my shoes. judgment is the last thing a person needs weather they are a recovering drug addict, alcoholic or a young girl who made a decision to abort. All of the above are ugly things, all people make bad decisions. Behind the sin is a real person,we don't know what every ones reasons for making the decisions that govern the life they lead are.Hating the sin is understandable, But healing comes from those who love the sinner.

Posted by: Mrs. B at January 1, 2007 06:20 PM

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