One day I talked to someone who told me that many years earlier her baby had died just before he was born. She told me that when she was well enough to return home she was not prepared for the reaction of the people who lived in her street. People she had seen as her friends. Several people crossed the road if they saw her coming; it seems they did not want to talk to her or acknowledge her in any way. She was the mother of two small boys and so she had to explain to her boys what had happened to her baby, their baby brother. Her husband was supportive and they carried on with life as best they could, feeling very lonely and isolated. Later in her life after she had had time to think through all her conflicting feelings, she wanted to do something to help other women and families that had experienced the loss of a baby. Going into her church one morning, she noticed that the beautiful daffodils had all been destroyed by having the flowers chopped off. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jandnphotos/121964056/
She decided this was a sign from God to get involved in the thorny subject of abortion. In her understanding as a Catholic woman these were babies being destroyed by abortion. After many years, I met this woman again and enquired how her work in the pro-life movement was going. She told me she had given up the work because abortion was not like the loss of a baby at birth. It was a loss but it was so much more besides, and she could not understand why these women had chosen abortion when they were being offered help in abundance. On asking her to explain she told me that the women she had met were touched by evil and yet were not willing to turn to God to have their sins forgiven. Her understanding of abortion is so different to my – I acknowledge that her understanding was forged in the fire of her experience of baby loss and Catholic doctrine. I asked her if she would like to learn more about the background of abortion and she said she did not have the time to devote to it as she was running a prayer group.
Maybe the best way forward is to acknowledge that we do not understand what is happening for another person, it is their life, we have to care for the life we have been given.