— Posted by Christine (June 2, 2014 at 8:25 am)
In the realm of pro-life work, we often talk about the unborn child as the most vulnerable member of society. Indeed, with 21 percent of pregnancies ending in abortion, a person is more likely to die from abortion than from car accidents, homicide, and cancer combined.
The baby in the womb is not the only vulnerable one, though. The woman who chooses to carry an unexpected pregnancy to term also makes herself vulnerable to the hardships and fears that Mike spoke about in his recent post at Biking for Babies.
We often address suffering by trying to alleviate it. We try to alleviate hunger by volunteering in soup kitchens; we try to alleviate pain by prescribing medication; we try to alleviate sorrow with a smile. All these efforts are worthy and essential, but perhaps one of the most powerful ways to address suffering is to embrace vulnerability, to walk alongside someone and take on their suffering as our own.
In my pride, I often cut myself off from others by refusing to be vulnerable. In doing so, I deny them the opportunity to show compassion. I withdraw to a place where self-pity and self-absorption grow like mold, pervasive yet often undetected. In contrast, when we make ourselves vulnerable to others, we invite them to be vulnerable with us. By acknowledging our own struggles, we open the door for them to share theirs.
How do we make ourselves vulnerable? We make ourselves vulnerable when we ask for help. We make ourselves vulnerable when we work up the courage to ask someone’s opinion and then actually listen. We make ourselves vulnerable when we offer constructive feedback, even when we are not sure how the other person might react. We make ourselves vulnerable by being open to new things – perhaps accepting an unexpected invitation or initiating a conversation with someone we don’t know very well.
One of the most powerful ways that we can make ourselves vulnerable is by acknowledging that our lives are not perfect. We often expend so much effort trying to prove that we have it all together, giving others the impression that we are above their sufferings and struggles. We create a culture in which a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy is pressured to abort her child in order to maintain the façade of a perfect life. If we can instead embrace the imperfections in our own lives without discouragement or distress, we take on a small role in creating a culture where living “perfectly imperfect” lives is okay.
As we work to provide better options for the woman who faces an unexpected pregnancy through material and financial support, let us also work to create a culture where she can openly seek and accept that help. We begin in our daily lives by making ourselves vulnerable to others so that they may, in turn, be vulnerable with us. In this way, we are telling them that life may not be easy, but no one has to walk alone.
And that’s a message any woman considering abortion needs to hear.
[Cross-posted at Biking for Babies]