All posts tagged: pregnancy

Stories of Grace 17: Finding Grace Through Adoption

This reflection is the 17th installment of the popular Stories of Grace Podcast: Growing up, bedtime at the Brummond house was quite an extensive ritual. After we took a bath, my mom would let my brother and I pick out three books EACH that she would read to us before tucking us in. One such book that sticks out in my memory is Happy Adoption Day, a short children’s book based on a song. The lyrics to the chorus were something like this: So here’s to you, three cheers to you Let’s shout it, “Hip, hip, hip, hooray!” For, out of a world so tattered and torn, You came to our house on that wonderful morn And all of a sudden this family was born Oh, happy Adoption Day! I have known I was adopted from the time I can recall being able to understand what that meant. I am so incredibly thankful that my parents were always honest and open with me about being adopted, but that they didn’t let it become my whole …

Welcoming the Child: Foundations of the Hospitable Imagination

Bearing and bringing life into the world is the primordial act of hospitality, the universal experience of co-creating with God and welcoming the stranger, essentially the “first” work of mercy. Many will argue the political nuances of life issues and prioritizing who deserves the loudest voice in a world clamoring for one’s conscience and one’s action. But when we draw a collective breath and the dust settles, we must acknowledge the most basic reality of human life. We have all come into this world as tiny, vulnerable, powerless children dependent on our mother’s bodily hospitality and a warm and nourishing landing spot after birth. All of us. Without exception.   I definitely didn’t “get” this until I was pregnant with my first child and went through the miraculous, traumatic, transformative experience of pregnancy and birth. A lot of things came into focus after that pivotal moment in my life as a woman. I understood for the first time what it meant to literally give your life for another (though I did not actually die). I …

The Crucible of Motherhood

Several months ago, Jessica Keating, Program Director of the Office of Human Dignity and Life Initiatives at Notre Dame, delivered a lecture in the Institute for Church Life’s Dante lecture series in which she used the phrase “the crucible of motherhood.” This phrase struck me as singularly important and true. The image of refinement by great heat and intense struggle seems apt for a vocation initiated by excruciating pain and physical endurance—well beyond the actual act of giving birth. I’ve also come to see, particularly in this election season, that words matter. A LOT. After three long pregnancies and three natural births of three very large children, I’d like to see those defending the lives of innocent children in the womb use more language empathizing with the mother herself. Women need to be able to say in one breath how difficult and even awful parts of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood can be while also affirming the infinite value of the prenatal child and his or her absolute right to life. The dignity of the person …

Interview with Marianne Stroud, CNM

Marianne Stroud has been assisting at births since she was a teenager in South Africa, tagging along with her mother who worked as a midwife there. Today she is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and mother herself, as well as a convert to Catholicism, who works at a practice that was founded to offer women an authentically pro-life approach to women’s health services. The Fertility & Midwifery Care Center, based in Ft. Wayne, IN, employs both CNM’s and OB/GYN’s (including her husband, Christopher Stroud) and utilizes the Creighton Fertility Model/NaProTECHNOLOGY to offer a full range of obstetrical, fertility, and gynecological care. She is also the Board Chairman of Women’s Health Link, a not-for-profit organization designed to help women connect with pro-life healthcare and other various services. The following is the text of the telephone interview Stroud granted to Church Life Journal, as part of our wider attempt to foster a greater attention to the pastoral needs of women in the Church today. TG: Could you speak to possible misconceptions about a Catholic approach to fertility and infertility? …

Review: “The Gift of Birth” by Susan Windley-Daoust

“They were ‘doing birth’ to me rather than helping me ‘give birth,’” writes Susan Windley-Daoust of her first experience of childbirth, which she had hoped to do naturally but that instead resulted in “failure to progress” and a C-section. “That birth experience ended up being spiritually abusive by the ongoing treatment of me as an object (and not just an object; close to an object of ridicule). My experience may have been worse than some, but it was not that unusual” (14). So many women are terrified at the notion or scarred by the past experience of giving birth in the U.S. today. In The Gift of Birth: Discerning God’s Presence During Childbirth, Windley-Daoust speaks to the need for healing and also for truth: for women to recognize and reject the culturally accepted, destructive lie that “childbirth will break you: you can’t do it without the drugs; that’s just life and it needs to be this way” (14). Her first birth gave her the impetus to be “extremely intentional and attentive” to her three subsequent …