A Letter to My Infant Daughter

Dear Mary,

From the moment of your conception, you were genetically distinct from me, your momma. You were not an extension of my own body, but were your own self.

From the moment of your conception, I had an obligation to respect your body, just as I respect mine. I had an obligation to provide a safe and healthy environment in which you would be able to grow and develop until you could sustain yourself outside.

You will hear, as you grow up, that in fact, I did not have such an obligation, and that it would have been legally permissible for me to terminate your existence. But we live in a world where what is legal is not always what is right. I follow the laws of this country, but I follow the moral code of our Christian faith. And that moral code is very clear about your value and your personhood prior to your physical birth.

Psalm 139:13-14

“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made…”

You were created, my child, from the moment of your conception with a soul, with a purpose, and with intrinsic value given to you by your Creator.

From the moment of your conception, it became my obligation, and my joy, even through the suffering, to put my own interests aside to serve the interest of your well-being. It became my obligation to put my own convenience aside. My own comfort aside. My own plans aside.

Because nothing in this life points to the idea that it is good for us to serve our own interests. Nothing in this life points to the idea that following our own plans leads to happiness. Nothing in this life points to the idea that we should be expecting or deserving of comfort and convenience. Those things are not what life is about, and those things are not owed to us.

What is good for us is to serve the needs of others before ourselves. From the moment of your conception, you gave me the gift of being able to practice that, in a very real way, the entire time you grew inside of me, and beyond. What is good for us is to trust that sometimes, our plans for our lives aren’t always the best, and that maybe God’s plans, at times in the form of a small human life, are better- and could hold blessings for us down the road that we can’t even imagine. What is good for us is to accept discomfort and inconvenience as gifts that can help us to grow in holiness and love. What is good for us is to know that we aren’t owed anything, and that anything good we receive is a gift of grace, unearned.

There are people that will fight for the legal right to terminate a life growing inside a woman’s body. We need to pray for those people. We need to pray that the value of life from the moment of conception is seen and understood. We need to pray that we stop clinging so tightly to our perceived right to comfort and convenience, and start clinging tightly to trust in God, who endows each soul with intrinsic value, and who will sustain those called to motherhood.

We also need to pray that those who fight to give pre-born babies a legal right to exist will also fight for the rights of those children to have a safe and healthy upbringing. If a mother in difficult circumstances values her baby’s life and gives birth, we need to fight for her right to support her child and sustain a livelihood. Because life doesn’t lose value once born.

My dear daughter, we believe that from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death, that life has value. Immense value, regardless of what the laws say. And we need to pray for, and love on, and speak the truth of this to others.

Because, from the moment of your conception… you were you. And your right to exist came not from me, but from God. And He is and will always be our ultimate standard of justice.

Love,

Mom

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