By Sarah Levesque (Rated G)
Just recently, Father’s Day was celebrated, and many people honored their dads, a custom I think is very important. But I saw something that day that seriously bothered me. I saw proud mothers of babies hailing that day as the first Father’s Day for their family, but some of these babies were over 4 months old, which means that last year, these children were in utero, and their mothers were almost certainly aware of them. They were already alive, with their own bodies, their own souls, their own DNA. So, for these babies, last year was the first Father’s Day that should have been celebrated. And it bothered me that these proud mothers who never thought but that their unborn children were alive last year would call this year their family’s first Father’s Day, for fathers become fathers when their child is conceived, just the same as mothers become mothers at that time. If we want the world to accept that truth, we need to start changing how we talk. I have heard the argument that a father doesn’t become a dad until he can help the child directly, but surely he is helping that unborn child by caring for the mother, just as he might care for the child later by maintaining the structural integrity of their home.
Similarly, we need to watch what we call pregnant women. In our culture, we tend to call a pregnant woman a mother-to-be, but this is incorrect, for she is already a mother. We also tend to tell the pregnant mother’s other children “you are going to be a big sibling”, when we should be telling them “you ARE a big sibling”. We welcome children into the world when they are born, but were they not part of the world already? True, they experienced very little of it, but that does not negate the fact that they were, indeed, part of the world before birth.
If we want to change the world, to show it how the unborn are persons who are endowed with rights by the Creator just as a newborn, a toddler, a child, a teen, an adult – for size and development make no difference to personhood – then we need to stop using phrases that back the world’s lies and replace them with words that point to the truth.