Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Our newest godchild

Here is our newest godchild! Several months old (taken in March)
Well, the newest member of the ever-expanding tribe of Daoust grandchildren made it into the world safe and sound this past December. (Yeah, I'm late posting about it.) Isn't he a cutie? Starling and I are his godparents.

We are particularly glad to have this little guy around because his mom's pregnancy was classified as very high risk. You might remember that she had had a heart attack a couple years ago, caused primarily by the effect of pregnancy hormones on the lining of the arteries leading to her heart. Her heart completely stopped beating on its own and was not re-started for forty-five minutes, after which she was in a medically induced coma for several days.

Besides the risks involved in the pregnancy, my sister also faced near-constant pressure to "terminate the pregnancy" (the polite euphemism we're using for abortion these days...where there is a euphemism, something ugly can't be far behind) -- mostly from medical staff. Some of the things that were said to her by doctors, nurses, and "specialists" border on jaw-droppingly unbelievable. But she also faced pressure to abort from at least one friend and various strangers. We're not talking about passive pressure here...a surprising number of people felt very bold about asserting their opinion that she was irresponsible to continue the pregnancy. Starling posted about her SIL's situation on her Facebook account and someone she knows was very outspoken about how "irresponsible" it was to continue a high-risk pregnancy. This person got pretty worked up about it, too.

What is the difference between the worldview held by these people and the worldview held by people like my sister? In the first, preserving one's own life, no matter what the cost, is all-important. It is a pragmatism that has its roots in reductionist/materialist assumptions: "This life is not just good, it's the ultimate Good -- the only good -- so preserve it at any cost." The worldview held by my sister and people like her, on the other hand, is rooted in the assumption that there is a transcendent, enduring aspect to each of us -- a soul. Life is good, yes, but we're all going to die at some point. And that means that there is something more important than preserving your bodily life -- namely, preserving the beauty and integrity of your soul. It is not whether you die that matters ('cause you're going to at some point); it is how you live. What does it matter if you live a few more years, if doing so requires you to sacrifice the life of your child? On the other hand, sacrificing yourself for another is a profound act of love...and in the end, that is what endures, even after our earthly bodies have passed away.

I am so proud of my sister and her family!