The weather here in my little corner of the world has been wet and cold. There is a threat of freezing rain, so we have decided to cancel our youth group for tonight. This has left me with time for my mind to wander a little.
I was watching television for a bit while I ate my lunch, and there was a commercial for "First Response," which is a product to help women who are trying to conceive, specifically helping them know the best time for conception. The woman talks in glowing terms of knowing when we're pregnant from the moment of conception. Times have changed. Women used to have to wait a good long while before they could confirm pregnancy. When I had my first child, I did not use a home pregnancy test. I went in and had a test at the doctor's office and waited for a day. Even then, when I found out, it was fairly early.
I also thought as I watched this commercial, of an occasion where a young 30-something woman I know shared her experience regarding her infertility; all nine months of it. Yes, she considered not being able to get pregnant in under a year, when she was only about 27 years old, "infertility." In the same venue as this woman's testimony, there was another woman who talked about waiting three years to conceive a child. I thought at the time what a huge contrast this was. I also know many women who have waited many more years; one friend of mine waited for ten years.
Many of us would be horrified to hear someone talk about genetic engineering, whereby we seek to control things like the sex of our child. We would be horrified to think of taking control of a pregnancy in its early stages to prevent having a child with developmental difficulties. Yet at the same time, we want to have our children when we want them, and we want to know the moment we've conceived. We really like to be in control, don't we?
Childbirth is a miracle. For those of us who have had babies, think back to that first moment you felt that vague fluttering of a child inside you. I remember the first time I felt it. I was on a commuter train, on my way to work, on a cloudy, rainy day, and as the train sped along, I felt those little rumblings that would eventually be the feet and hands of my daughter, my first child. I sat there, in amazement, wondering at the beautiful thing that is a child inside of me; a child who is closer to my heartbeat at any given moment than any other human being. It's incredible. Yet we want to take the mystery out of this.
Some women will have serious difficulty conceiving a child. Some will put themselves through tests and emotion-saturated procedures, and will never know the experience of having a child. Some will have this continue for years. I guess I can understand how these women would want to know as soon as possible. But we must not forget that having this technological information does not give us any more control over children, or over the birth of a child.
I liked not knowing the sex of my babies. I liked the wonder and the day dreaming. I loved the mystery of childbirth. It was the kind of thing that is unmatched by anything else. I think we've lost a lot of that with the technological advances. Are we happier mothers because we know all of this information as compared to the women of the past who knew very little? I wonder.