You looked something like this drawing while you were in your mother’s womb, waiting to be born into the world – though you had unique and wonderful differences. You took this time of waiting to practice blinking and breathing, preparing your still not quite refined lungs to breathe air. In the last 11 weeks of your life in utero, your weight doubled! The extra layer of fat you developed protected you from the change of temperature in the transition from the womb to the world. If all went well, you initiated your own birth. In the last phase of life in utero, you dropped lower in the womb in a head-down position and then triggered labor to begin.
At any moment in the last two months of your mother’s pregnancy, you could have been born. Perhaps, you were premature. Today’s advances in medicine allow very premature babies’ lungs to get what they need. Many babies born a whole month early need very little extra help at all. The only change for babies after birth, whether premature or not, is a change in external life support – then, mothers provided through the womb; now, survival is helped outside of the womb.
Nothing magical happened to you when you were born that made you human. You were always human from the moment of your conception! You didn’t change after you were born, except in the way in which you received oxygen and nourishment. You were always growing, developing, and striving to survive and to thrive – and you continued this growth, development, and quest for survival while being born, as well as after your exit from the womb. You are still developing, surviving, and hopefully thriving, today!
Parents can experience something wonderful in the moment when they first see their baby’s eyes, and, so, it’s natural for them to feel the most awe after birth. Newborns themselves, however, cannot see very well. But they can hear, and were listening – and even learning – for months before birth, as fetuses.
As a newborn, you yourself readily recognized the voice of the woman who carried you for the first nine months of life and preferred that voice to all others. Stories read to you and lullabies sung to you in utero were still recognized by you after you were born into the world. You had been hearing them, learning their particular rhythms and cadences, and growing familiar with them. So, it’s only natural that you preferred them to any new story or lullaby introduced to you after birth. Scientific research proves this. And, yet, you may still be amazed by the facts. Why? Do you not know that you were you, unique and wonderful you, at the instant that you were conceived?
Before God formed you in the womb, He knew you. Our Creator knit you uniquely together. By Him, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Created in His Own Image, you are His beloved creature of flesh and spirit. Your body is amazing and beautiful, but mortal. Your soul is even more amazing and beautiful – and immortal. Body and soul, you are one beautifully amazing human being! You were lovingly created by God to know, love, and serve God in this complex and amazing life – and to be happy with God forever in the next. You were created for a reason, for you have a divine mission that only you can fulfill. May you always remember that your life here on earth has divine purpose – and that eternal bliss waits for you. Rejoice and be glad!
What was true on your very first day of life in utero is still true today, no matter how old you are or in what kind of physical circumstances you live: it is good, it is very good, that you are here. And God blesses you as you strive to be the person of love, truth, and goodness that you were created to be.
Every life is sacred.
© 2016 Christina Chase
The Endowment for Human Development:
The Archdiocese of Baltimore, Respect Life: http://www.archbalt.org/family-life/respect-life/spiritual-adoption/upload/Bulletin-announ-w-baby-images.pdf
Psychology Today: Fetal Psychology
Baltimore Catechism part 1
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.