Humanity First

I am 100% for that argument that we should put Humanity First, but I do not in any way, shape, or form believe that some of us are more human than others. That argument sounds very Animal Farm to me. That argument seems very much like it condones human ownership to me. The argument that some humans are less human than others doesn’t sound very scientific to me. There seems to be a severe case of doublethink or cognitive dissonance in the argument that some of us are humans while others are not…yet.

When I was twenty-four, I became pregnant. I was unmarried, back living at home, had been at my job only about a year. I was not financially independent, nor did I know how on earth I would manage. The first thing I felt was overwhelming shame and embarrassment – after all – I was a Christian and sex before marriage was against everything I had been taught. Imagining the disappointment on my mother’s face was terrifying; I was bereft. In the time it took that line to form on the test in my hand, I was overcome with the loss of the life I had imagined, infuriated by my own carelessness, and ashamed of myself in the deepest possible way. I wanted to die.

Really.

The thought of just walking the 20 feet it would take to get to the train tracks popped into my head for a split second, but, in the time it took that thought to materialize, my hand was already on my belly, “But I can’t kill my baby,” I said out loud to myself. His life saved mine.

My mom had always been a single-issue voter: whoever was on the ballot as anti-abortion – that’s who she voted for. So, when I found myself unwed and pregnant, I was hit with the full force of the societal pressure to simply rid myself of the evidence, the inconvenience,  the child. I say societal pressure because abortion was never a personal option for me; I had never stripped humanity from unborn children. I had never been convinced that the child growing inside me was any less of a person than I was. My mother had made sure I knew just how human every unborn child was.

As my child grew inside me, I began to feel flutters then kicks then summersaults. Though it was painful at times, it was oddly fascinating to see hands, head, butt, and feet imprinted on the outside as he pushed against the inside. He was a person with his own personality and schedule. He was the same even after he transitioned from inside to out – full of energy and life. I can not imagine my world without him.

Sure, I had to grow up. I had made the choices that lead me to this juncture and I was responsible for rectifying the situation. Even after it became clear that I was going to have this baby, more pressure ensued. I had well-meaning people try to convince me to put the child up for adoption, so I wouldn’t “ruin” my future. And, perhaps if I had been in a different position, I would have. Instead, I made the best decision of my life and raised my son myself. It was not easy. There were lean periods. But, I am infinitely grateful for his life and all the joy he has brought to mine.

The kindest thing anyone said to me at the time was a word from my pastor. I had gone to see him, to let him know what was coming. Using my words, he stopped me short and said, “He’s not a ‘scandal,’ Heather, he’s a baby.”  My church embraced me and him. I still remember Pastor Nick standing at the podium on the day he was baptized, holding him close and inviting the congregation to love and cherish, counsel, support, and mentor him – to help raise him in our family – the family of God. He put our humanity first. Thankfully, being a Christian doesn’t mean being perfect – it just means God put my humanity first….even ahead of his own son. I’m forgiven because Jesus paid the price for me.

Let’s champion Humanity First… ALL of it.

Psalm 139: 13- 16

13 For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

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