What I learned from pulling calves.

book by margaret wise brown, my world book, goodnight moon

if I lived in a
gentler world, instead of here
I’d hug everyone


I had a revelation that I wanted to share it with you. I was taught to fight for life at an early age. I don’t think my parents were purposely trying to teach me to respect life with the things that they did, but in a way they did. I remember talking about abortion at school, I think I was in the 7th grade, and I remember being surprised that anyone would think it was okay to abort the baby that they were carrying. Looking back now I think my genuine surprise came about because my parents had subconsciously taught me that life matters even when it is small and unseen.

I grew up on a farm. At an early age I was encouraged to go outside and play in the shade. (I would say sunshine, but being a redhead I needed to be careful about being in the sun.) I was taught that I needed to run and play to grow, I was made to realize that our actions today affect our tomorrows. Being a picky eater my mom and dad often begged me to try new foods and to eat different kinds of vegetables because it would help me grow. I was taught that what I ate formed my body. I was taught that my inaction had consequences just like my actions did.

I can’t count the number of times that I had to jump in a truck in the middle of the night, or the middle of the afternoon, with my Dad and go help him pull a calf. When a cow is trying to have a baby, you can wrap ropes or chains around the baby’s feet and pull to help the cow give birth. Sometimes it was raining, sometimes it was snowing, sometimes Dad was late for work, or barely home from work when he would notice a cow in trouble. It didn’t matter if the cow was old or young, or early for the season, or if calving season was supposed to be past, we did everything we physically could to save that calf. Yes, saving that calf meant money for my dad when it was time to sell them, which is different because an unborn child actually costs you money. However, a pregnant woman holds promise just like a pregnant cow (stay with me!). You don’t know if the child in that belly will be a doctor who will cure a disease, or if they will be the secret service agent that will one day take a bullet for the President, keeping the US from being thrown into chaos. That calf brought my dad money to buy me clothes, that unborn child might be the humanitarian who clothes thousands.

I was taught how to dress for freezing temperatures, and other kinds of weather, because if it was freezing outside and there was three feet of snow on the ground, the calves were in even more danger of dying. During the snowiest and coldest winters, we would have to drive the fields every 3-4 hours to check for newborn calves. If we found one we had to take it to the barn, or my grandpa’s basement, to make sure it got dry and didn’t freeze to death after being born. Fighting for life was physically taxing, muddy, cold, and often done in the dark where no one could see your actions but the person sitting beside you. But we did it year after year, because that is what you do when you are a farmer. Sometimes Dad would be at work, my mom and I would have to help the cow ourselves, or call nearby homes until we found an uncle or cousin who could come help us. This was before there were cell phones so we would have to race to the house and call from the landline, and hope someone was near their landline when it rang.

Some people would be embarrassed to be seen in shoes covered in cow manure, or would be horrified to reach their hand inside of an animal and have their hand covered in blood. But to save a life sometimes you have to get messy and see terrible things. The cows would sometimes fight us when we tried to pull their calves. They would get up and run from us, or try to butt us with their heads. We often had to herd them to the corral and put them in the shoot and catch their head in a gate (made for cows) so that we could pull the calf. They wanted to stomp my dad and kill him, and would try to hurt my dad year after year. But my dad saw the promise in their bellies and spent hours and tons of resources to help their babies live. There are forces in this world that want death and destruction. If people are left alone to face the world, to make decisions with no guidance or no advice, they often choose death.

I choose to be actively ProLife and I will be tweeting about 40 Days for Life and other organizations. I will choose to share pictures and prayers on Facebook and Google+ in hopes that you too will see the promise being carried in a belly. I hope you can be brave enough to pull on some boots and stand beside me, even in the dark, and fight for life. There are several ways to do this. You can financially support an organization like And Then There Were None, or you can pray quietly in your home, or you can go with a group of people and hand out flyers in front of an abortion clinic. I hope that you don’t shout at the women (or workers) entering those places. I hope you lovingly talk about life and the promises God has for us, because shouting angrily about a loving God doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Often the women or girls, going into an abortion clinic are scared and think that no one loves them and they have no support. Those who read your timeline that are considering an abortion, are often in bad relationships and/or have no resources to care for a baby. They do not need guilt trips or threats, they need love, money and safety. Is there a way for you to provide those things to women in need?

I hope that I have been subconsciously encouraging my son to stand for life. I hope he one day is confused by the idea of abortion. I hope he never wavers in his assurance that babies are a gift from God and deserve protecting at all stages, in all conditions, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic background. I hope that when I talk with joy about pregnant friends he sees that babies are to be desired. I hope that he never hears me quietly whispering about “oops babies” or “accidents” or “mistakes” and begins to think that it is okay to refer to another human in that way. I also hope that he doesn’t hear me whining about those on welfare and think that the embarrassment of having to be on assistance is a good enough excuse to encourage a girl to abort a child. I will teach him how to tend to plants, and we will visit my father’s farm, and I hope he learns by my actions that life is to be protected.


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