A simple way to raise an Independently Pro-Life Child

 
THE SIMPLE WAY TO RAISE A PRO-LIFE CHILD IS TO CELEBRATE LIFE.

We already do this in many ways in nearly every American household but we can build on it in a more intentional way.  Do you celebrate your kiddo’s birthday?  Do you remember how you felt about your birthday as a kid?  It’s just all about YOU and it’s FANTASTIC.  The biggest complaint you’ll hear from twins or kids with a Christmas birthday is that they have to share THEIR day.  As a child, you are the MOST in touch with your ego that you will ever be.  Wouldn’t it be great to tap into that self-importance and use it to give our next generation a fundamental understanding of the beauty and significance of life?  All we have to do is think outside the birthday box.  WHAT IF we celebrated the day our life began just as gaily as we celebrate the day your mother gave birth to you?  WHAT IF we put away our anachronistic stuffy issues with talking about conception and instead we raised our kids knowing and celebrating their LifeDay with the same tangible vigor that you remember from the first birthday cake you can recall or the anticipation of not being able to sleep knowing the next day would bring on your first taste of “double digits”.  That kind of KNOWING who you are and when you began is meaningful insight into grasping the importance of ALL LIFE from it’s beginning.  “A person’s a person no matter how small.”[1]

SO HOW DO WE MAKE LifeDays A THING?


For starters, come up with the date for your child’s LifeDay.  Some people have this down to a science.  As a Natural Family Planner, I had it written down like a crazy lady.  That is NOT necessary.  You can do the math and come up with an educated guess.  Here’s a calculator if you want to plug in your family members’ numbers:  Conception Calculator.  This is not my calculator and there are lots of other ones on the internet to use.
I came up with this LifeDay idea when my third baby hadn’t had his  birthday yet.  Everett and I were sitting on the couch with my two older kiddos.  Wesley was 5 and Juliette was almost 3 (she’s the cutie holding the stethoscope up to Everett in the pic above).  They were asking who IS this little boy in my belly.  Can he hear us?  Can he see us?  What color are his eyes? Does he like vanilla ice cream or chocolate?  Would he want to play with legos with them?  The anticipation to KNOW their brother was intoxicating.  I was graced with an idea in that moment.  Their brother is a PERSON.  He isn’t just GOING to be their brother… he IS their brother.  In true parenting fashion, I made something up on the fly.  I asked Wesley and Juliette when their life began.  Wesley proudly answered, “5 years ago in Georgia”.  NOPE.  Wesley’s LifeDay was in Mannheim, Germany where we were stationed at the time.  Drew had just gotten home from a tour in Afghanistan.  I thought for a second about how wonderful it felt to be starting our family and heading back to the states with such hope and aspiration in our hearts.  Wesley’s life with us had certainly begun long before the day I happened to give birth to him.  I could just melt into those memories, but pull it together, mom.  Your children will flit from the topic if you don’t seize the moment NOW.   So I ran (well… waddled) to get a globe and show Wesley and Juliette when and where their life actually began.  Buying time, I pointed to San Antonio where we were currently stationed.  As for Juliette, I happened to know off the top of my head that Veteran’s Day in Las Vegas (no, I’m not kidding and that’s why I can remember it without a calendar) was definitely her LifeDay.  I pointed to Las Vegas up here not so far from Arizona where she was born.  Wesley’s date took a minute, but while I was calculating, I spun the globe WAY over to Germany and told Wesley his life began HERE, 9 long months before we checked into the hospital in Georgia to give him his birthday.   January 18th, 2007 is what I settled on for Wesley.  This was FUN so we calculated my LifeDay and my husband’s and their new baby brother’s and anyone else we were curious about.  We decided we should celebrate our LifeDays every year from now on because what kid doesn’t want to celebrate another ME day?!  We did just that when Everett’s LifeDay because his was actually the first one to come around.  We enjoyed the day thinking about how different our lives would be if Everett’s LifeDay had not come to be. This tiny 15 week old baby had changed our lives forever and so had Juliette and so had Wesley.  So now we have a tradition that the LifeDayer chooses something delicious for us to eat and a fun family outing, whether it’s a camping trip or a day at the zoo or a fun movie night or whatever feels like a joyful commemoration of the start of ME!!!

BUT SERIOUSLY, WHY BOTHER?

Parenting is hard.  Why add another thing for me to have to remember and do?  Because children are ego-maniacs.  The fastest path to true understanding for them is self-important evidence.  My life began at my conception, my beginning, on my LifeDay. Therefore, I should be judicial in handing out LifeDays because there are no takesies backsies.  There is only starting a life and ending it and I am capable of both.  Wesley is 11 now and his LifeDay is a part of him.  A few weeks ago he saw me watching an interview on TV with a person discussing the changing late-term abortion laws.  He asked, “What’s abortion?”  NOT how I would have liked to broach the subject, but we were in it, so I had to say something.  I was so very relieved.  This was my big moment and it went something like this.  “An abortion is when you don’t allow a person who has had their LifeDay to have a birthday.  There are lots of reasons this happens to over 2500 people a day in America[2] and every one of those reasons is sad and unfortunate.”  No need to start a long a parental condemnation of those who make a choice that is perfectly legal in America or hop up onto my well worn political soapbox or start spewing some Catholic religiosity code unearthed from a cobwebbed corner of my own childhood brain.  Without another word, Wes curtly said: “I would never do that to someone.”

MY WORK HERE IS DONE, FOLKS!!  HAZAHHH!!!

But seriously, if I never do anything else right for the rest of my life, I can go to my grave with that one little statement from my 11-year-old son echoing in my ears and it will all have been worth it.  I know that his pre-teen ethos may come to blows with his teen and college years mind.  I also know that there are many more moments to come that I will use the LifeDay foundation I have built to help my kids navigate their world and they won’t all be as glorious as this one.  BUT, this first tiny victory was the motivation I needed to get off of my rear end and tell the world about my big idea.  You having taken the time to learn about my LifeDay idea means the world to me.  I would LOVE a glimpse of how you have managed to integrate this celebration into your family life so PLEASE tell me your plan or thought on it so that I can share and grow this LifeDay celebration.

I am going with a group of girlfriends this Sunday to see the movie Unplanned. I CAN’T WAIT. This song just says it all for me…
#UnPlanned @UnplannedMovie
https://youtu.be/ttXoXMBfZ8Q

[1] Seuss. (1954) Horton Hears a Who! /New York : Random House,

[2] 2500/day Statistic based on 2014 Abortion statistics from Guttmacher Institute:

Guttmacher Institute (2018, Jan). Induced Abortion in the United States.

https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states

LifeDay

Abortion.
Yikes!  It’s not something we usually like to think about or read about or parent about but stick with me, because I’m going in a positive direction with this, for sure.  I’m a crazy libertarian so I won’t be beating you over the head with my religion stick or drilling women’s liberation chants down your throat.  My libertarian human rights perspective on this is to allow you to do and be and choose for yourself with reckless abandon… right up until it takes that right away from another human.  In that way, Abortion is something I chat with my children about on the daily without their even knowing it.  SOOOO… I have a small challenge for you that could get us BIG RESULTS.

Today is an especially spectacular day in our house because it is my son Wesley’s 12th LifeDay.  That begs the obvious question, what’s a “LifeDay”?  Simply put, your LifeDay is (#EarMuffs!!!) the day you were conceived.  YIKES AGAIN!  We don’t talk about THAT event with CHILDREN, right?  In fact, we’d rather pretend we allow a magical gargantuan bird careening through the air with a random tiny human swinging from its beak to fly into our living room and expect us to take a liking to the crying bundle of “joy” and care for it for the rest of our lives.  Let’s be real though if we’re okay with that fairytale, I’d definitely like to add that this stork delivery also packs an instruction book on how to keep this human alive and not screw him up too badly, but apparently that’s a bridge too far.  Seriously though, we talk about conception in our house all the time and we celebrate it!  The antiquated “I’ll tell you when you’re older” parenting is just not compatible with modern life.  If you don’t give them answers to their natural curiosities, Alexa will.

There we were, sitting on the couch, my son, Wesley, my daughter, Juliette, and Everett and I.  Everett was in my belly and just getting to the point where Wes and Jules could press their hands up to his playpin and feel him drumming away for his audience.  This got them brimming with questions.  Is he ALIVE?  Can he hear us?   Who is he?  What does he look like?  Does he like trucks?  Does he want to play with me?  I can’t WAIT to go on adventures with him!!
I wanted to give Wes and Jules a sense of their little brother’s personhood NOW, not after I gave birth to him.  So, in true parenting fashion, I made something up on the spot.  We calculated Wesley’s “LifeDay”, and mine and Juliette’s and of course the little drummer/tapdancing gymnast in my belly and anyone else they were curious about.  I know what you are thinking, but it doesn’t have to be the exact date, it’s the act of celebrating it that matters.  The LifeDay concept has become a celebrated realization of SELF in our household.  IRL Translation:  “I’m fantastic and this is the day I became me.  Lucky you!”  Unlike a birthday, It’s not about mommy’s harrowing tale of childbirth or the random set of syllables your parents came up with to call you for all eternity, or even which side of the family you got your dashing good looks from.  Your LifeDays are about YOU.  We all know that our little ego-maniac children eat that up with a spoon!!   So we commemorate each of our family members’ LifeDay every year by doing something FUN together and making a memory.  They thoroughly enjoy our #LifeDay tradition.  There is, in fact, no cooler feeling than when someone tells me that one of my babies told them it was their LifeDay that day and they couldn’t wait for the family adventure we were going to take to celebrate!  #BestFeelingEVER!!

Back to adulting.  My plan is to use my kids’ LifeDay as a familiar touchstone for introducing “the birds and the bees” later and all that that entails.  I don’t know about you, but I KNOW that in this modern world, I need as much help as possible with figuring out how to gracefully ease my kids’ brains into understanding what sex is about.  And while I’m at it, I also have to try to stay one step ahead of the kids at the lunchtable so that they get these revelations from ME and not Mikey the all-knowing and incredibly loquacious third grader whose high school brother has lavished him with a fount of “knowledge”.  So, if I’m the one doling out the info, the goal is to do my best to give my kids this deeply personal ownership of their personhood’s conception with their LifeDay celebration.  I hope it will help them understand where life comes from and how to respect it.  I think that celebrating life from its beginning gives my kids a solid foundation for how important their life is, and eventually, hopefully, the importance of the lives of others.  By taking advantage of the self-important nature of our kids’ thoughts and their world, we can help them understand the HUGE concept of the beginning of life in a way that makes the most sense to them (without them needing to bleach their eyes with the thought of the nitty gritty of their parents procreation victory).    My kids know and will excitedly tell you, “MY LifeDay was the beginning of ME and I am the person that began that day!”

Every year when Wesley and Juliette and Everett wake up on their LifeDay I read this poem (picture below) to remind them of how awesome they are and how great it is to be alive.   I feel called to bring this message of gratitude and honor of life to anyone who will hear it.  I think that if we keep sharing this idea with parents and grandparents and aunts and anyone who is an influencer of the next generation, then we can make a true impact on the culture of our world.  I told you I was thinking BIG with this!!

So here’s my ask… I want to challenge you to celebrate your children’s LifeDay with them.  Please.  Share the LifeDay concept with the children and adults in your life and celebrate life so fragile and fleeting and the wonder that paints our journey.  I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and stories about Celebrating LifeDays and see if we can make this thing soar higher than a mythical avian baby delivery service!

From my LifeDay I became ME BoujAche.jpg

Although this poem is copyrighted, I do own a sublimation, vinyl and embroidery business so I can print it for you onto anything from a mug to metal wall art to wooden wall art with any background you’d like so that you can have something tangible to remind you to CELEBRATE LifeDays.  These make beautiful parents-to-be gifts with an ultrasound in the background (I can change the picture to anything you’d like).  Samples of these will be posted soon!  Email me at MA@BoujAche.com for more details.

This poem is protected under US Copyright TXu 2-052-824  ©2017 Marianne Renee Abell
“From my LifeDay I became ME” is subject to US and International Copyright laws. Reproduction and distribution without consent of Marianne Abell and BoujAche Chronicles are prohibited.