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Not that long ago, our dear Bella was a mere thought in the distance. We didn’t see her coming up behind us two years ago and she has long since then passed us with a “I’m taking on the world!” perspective, casually looking back at us to make sure we are watching and occasionally ready for an encouraging hug. But before she became a truth in our lives, she first scared the heck out of this momma. I did not believe I was ready for a baby and was terrified that we would fail. Kyle and I however had a few things going for us: strong marriage willing to take on anything, faith in God, supportive family, loving friends, educations and good enough jobs. What I am wondering more and more about lately is what if we didn’t have those things? What would I do? What would we do? Would Bella be here? I think most importantly, what would other Christians have done?

I encountered a girl, probably high school age, in that predicament the other month (yea, took me that long to get to this, sorry) at Target in the family planning area. We were alone in the isle and you could tell that as soon as I entered the isle and did not quickly leave she was incredibly uncomfortable. She made sly glances to the pregnancy tests and looked at me one time before just grabbing the most expensive test off the shelf and walking away. Something in me made me blurt out “Excuse me.” And not just once but twice until she slowly turned around and said, with her head down but looking me in the eye, “Yeah?” In my mind I was thinking “What the heck are you doing Colette? Don’t make this any harder for her just shut up and move on!” But something else made me say “You really don’t have to buy that brand, the Target brand works just fine.” Thank God her response wasn’t “Ok crazy lady.” Instead she let go of the tension in her shoulders and slowly held her head up a little higher and said “Oh, do they really work?” “Yeah, it predicted her” I said pointing to Bella in the cart. I smiled at her and said “Just thought you might like to save a little bit of money is all. Good luck.” She thanked me, got the Target brand test and left.

Of course, my now college educated psychological mind was thinking, “Go after her! She needs your help and your phone number in case she needs someone to talk to!” and my creepiness radar was saying “No weirdo! She’ll be fine!” So, I let it go, not wanting to intrude but I really could not stop thinking about the situation. I gave a teenage girl pregnancy test advice which seems silly but what do others do? Give her the stink eye and judge her to death? Granted, she should not be having sex, but the fact is, she did and now might be carrying a life that GOD made. As the mother of that potential breath on Earth, should we Christians really be giving her the stink eye?

This is what has me upset. As a girl who gets pregnant you have the world judging you, but even more than the world, you have the church judging you. It seems to me that our judgement is not helping prevent abortions but is probably pushing more girls into getting them. I understand we do not support premarital sex, but kids are doing it! Are we really going to limit our minds and hearts in teaching about God to what they shouldn’t be doing or should we also show love and redemption in sin?

I am not suggesting is that we ignore the fact that premarital sex is wrong. If you aren’t able to take on a baby, don’t have sex. But what sort of love are we showing to people who fall if we just push them aside and shame them?

More importantly, we say that we value the human life and that the human life begins at conception therefore abortion is wrong. Yet, what do we do to girls who get pregnant?

Is shaming them instead of supporting them really showing an accurate reflection of what we believe the value of a human life to be, both of the mother and her unborn child?

Something to think about. Show our love and we show our God. Show our hate and we show nothing. I prefer to show God. I know that giving a girl pregnancy test advice is not a big deal. But maybe showing her acceptance and a caring heart in a time that shame was written all over her face is enough to make her feel loved in that shame and think twice about her solution to a positive result, if that is what happens. And you know what else? If it happens again I will give her my number. Not because I’m “educated” in talking to others, but just because I am a Christ follower who hopes to help shine His light in a dark world and maybe that light shone in her dark moment will result in something glorifying to God. I did not have shame when I took a test and found out I had Bella. I had no shame and I don’t feel I experienced it from others because I have a ring on my finger. So I was afraid but I loved her immediately. Can we help take away the shame of pregnancy, of carrying a child of God, so that mothers, no matter what their sin, can be free to immediately love their child and have the support of the church? Maybe then people will take our cry to end abortion seriously when we accurately reflect our value of human life.

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Parenting was always something that worried me.  Having sort of rough examples growing up, I was not sure what parenting was supposed to look like. When I became a Christian I thought I had a better idea and through my many adventures as a nanny I thought I had an even better idea.  When our friends started having kids and I worked at a shelter for pregnant mothers I felt that I would have a good handle on what parenting is and how to parent well when we had our own. When I got pregnant that world was turned upside down with parenting theories, should’s and shouldn’ts being thrown at us and constantly conflicting advice. Now that Bella has been here for a while (9months! can you believe it?) I don’t really know that my mind is settled with how to parent correctly.  Of course, we have our ideas of what parenting should look like (we don’t care if she plays with our shoes, but I probably wouldn’t get a used helmet) but sometimes I am shocked by what shocks other people (playing with our shoes, I mean, she crawling on the floor anyway) and then shocked at what shocks me that other people do (never saying no or overly reasoning with a 5 year old). Through my extensive training (that sounds pretty good doesn’t it?) in parenting through school and various jobs, I feel confident that I can help a family in need of better parenting skills, but I still wonder if there really is one correct way to do things or at least one style that is better than the others (although we are all individual couples which would suggest we all have different styles…).

What are your thoughts?