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Thank You Coronavirus

From my observations of the world this year—the year of the coronavirus pandemic—I have come to the conclusion that a spiritual shift is taking place. What do I mean by this statement? Well, for those who don’t believe in the spiritual, I guess you would call it a subtle shift in direction—a change of heart or mentality. To me all these are basically the same things. Our response to a physical virus has ramifications in so many areas of our lives as individuals and as a whole. While not every individual has gone through the same challenges as every other individual, I think the collective whole would say that things have changed or that change is in the air. I suspect that the multitude and variety of changes across the billions of lives on this planet, imply a bigger collective change—or, at least, an opportunity for growth and awakening.

Some of us are re-evaluating our vocation. Millions have lost jobs and had significant changes in occupation. Financial hardship has sent some people scrambling for social security, taking out loans, claiming insurance, and cracking open their retirement accounts, or actually retiring early. While for others, this has been a year of increased prosperity, additional work hours and new opportunities as we work from home and online.

Some of us are re-evaluating our physical health. Going on diets. Exercising more regularly. Experiencing the incredible link between physical health and mental stability, and the distinction between indoor exercise and outdoor exercise which also has an impact on brain serotonin levels. Others have decreased their physical exertions in favour of binge watching and overeating. Still others have had babies this year and can’t seem to shake the last five kilos (11 pounds).

There seems to have been a lot of relationship breakdown this year. Couples that were on the rocks for a long time have been tipped over the edge of the cliff by this shift in the spiritual climate of our world. We’ve been stuck at home more and the things that get on our nerves in our home-based relationships are getting on our nerves a lot more. A great big spotlight has thrown light on our weaknesses and many of us have been given the opportunity to either address those issues or to decide that we have irreconcilable differences.

My own marriage has struggled. With the added pressure of a second pregnancy and child, JD and I have had more fights this year than any other year since we met. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 2020 has been the hardest year in our relationship. We are working on our marriage. We’ve visited with a spiritual mentor. We’ve also added some reading time to our evening routine as a way to connect more deeply. We used to read together regularly before we had kids, so it has been refreshing to do this again and has sparked meaningful conversations. But the things that annoy us about each other are still there and we are continuing to navigate and negotiate the reality of our life as a family of four.

And I’ve experienced some loneliness this year. I’m guessing a lot of people have. Especially those living alone or feeling vulnerable and isolated during this pandemic. When you are told you aren’t allowed to catch up for coffee with your friends and family for an unknown period of time, it can actually spark the question whether you even have many friends or a caring family. I’m very lucky when it comes to family—immediate, extended and in-law. But honestly, I’ve lost a lot of friends, over a lot of years, for a lot of different reasons. In the past decade I’ve altered a few belief systems, married and given birth to two children. I have become more honest and less polite—perhaps we all do this with age? And coronavirus has brought to my attention the fact that I want more friends and deeper relationships with the friends that I have.

So, on the negative side of things, coronavirus has swept more than a million lives right off the globe, and caused physical suffering for many more. Millions of people are grieving and too many have plumbed the depths of loneliness. Domestic violence and divorce have most likely increased this year as well. But on the positive side of things, many relationships have taken the next step. I’m sure there’s been a spike in online dating and online wedding ceremonies. A baby boom is expected to result from lockdown and in my own circle of family and friends a lot of babies have been born during this period of social restriction. 2020 relationships have gone “kaboom!” in both positive and negative ways.

All of this affects our mental health, stability and well-being, and in turn our mental health—our thoughts and emotions—affect our reality. It’s like we are being woken up. We have been forced to ask questions like “Do I have enough friends?” “Am I working purely for money or for love of my job?” “How can I earn more money to support my family?” “Where do we go from here?”

Where do we go from here in this global financial crisis? Where do we go from here in light of the virus? Where do we go from here in our marriages? Where do we go from here in our businesses? Where do we go from here in the larger environment, with climate change and our carbon footprint?

When I was younger, I had this dream of becoming a writer. I never really doubted my ability to write books, even though it took me until I was 25 to complete one that I was truly proud of. But between the ages of 25 and 38 I’ve sold only a small number of copies. I’ve played a sort of tug-of-war with my dream. I’ve been selling myself the lie that, “I don’t know how to market my books.” That’s my justification for my financial failure specifically as a writer. But this year—in this mentally challenging climate, full of questions—my soul has been reminded of my dream to be a successful published writer by earning a profit from my writing. I’m blogging again. I’m editing the books I’ve already written. I’m re-vamping my website. I’m researching marketing and how to be a successful indie author. And I believe I owe some thanks to coronavirus.

There is so much opportunity in the air. Do you sense it? In amongst the chaos and death of coronavirus, there are new things springing to life everywhere. The Bible talks about the seed that falls to the ground and dies so that the plant can grow in its place and bear fruit. Rebirth starts with death. This was so true for me after my mother died in 2011. On New Year’s Eve my status update was something like “good riddance 2011.” And I know that a lot of people feel that way about 2020. But so many things changed for the better in 2012-2013 that I learned experientially what the Bible meant about one thing dying in order for new things to be born. I met my husband because of changes in my belief system that occurred as a result of my mother’s death. And even though it’s been a tough year for our marriage this year, I am excited for our relationship to grow and blossom through the fire and testing that coronavirus has afforded us.

I truly believe that the year 2021 is a year of opportunity. While 2020 has been an amazing year for some, it has been heart-breaking and painful for others. But this ache—this shift in spiritual direction or mental health: the changes and the questions—it’s all a wake-up call to make things better for ourselves and others. What I really want is for people to see the opportunity—the dream come true, the renewed passion, the rebirth in amongst the death, rubble, turmoil and trauma that the pandemic-year, 2020, has brought us—and to build something fresh in 2021.

So, I say thank you to the coronavirus pandemic and to the year 2020. Thank you and goodnight to you … and may tomorrow bring fresh hopes and dreams and something new to this planet as the year 2021 begins.

How Abortion Saved a Woman’s Life

I am Pro-Life and Pro-Choice.

I know this is a confusing statement for many, but I’m of the opinion that we should save as many babies as we can, while also allowing for the fact that some women need medical terminations or abortions to save their own lives, to prevent their baby from suffering a horrible death and/or life, or perhaps to prevent their own suffering.

In my first blog, I wrote about a woman whose baby would have died a painful death if it was born into our world. In this blog, I am sharing the story of a mother who would have died if the baby within her had continued to grow. Both of these mothers had medical terminations in order to prevent or cut short suffering and death. Both are Christians. These women are very brave souls who had to make tough decisions in situations where there is no possibility of a happy ending.

How Abortion Saved a Woman’s Life:

A 35yr old mother of five fell pregnant with baby number six. She loved being a mum and was happy to have another child, but there was one small problem. Her fifth child had been delivered via caesarean section and the next baby’s placenta was pushing against the scar tissue and prying open the surgical wound as the baby and the placenta grew.

At 10 weeks gestation, the mother started bleeding. She presented to the hospital and upon initial examination the doctor said she would likely have a miscarriage. She was told to come back in a week if she hadn’t miscarried and was still bleeding. It was lucky she came back a week later, because the results of the next ultrasound were much more serious. It was only a matter of time before this woman’s placenta would rupture and she would bleed to death, killing both her and the baby.

This woman was advised to have an emergency hysterectomy. In fact, unless she refused to continue medical care, there would be no leaving that hospital without one, because that’s what the doctors deemed necessary to save her life. Of course, having a hysterectomy while pregnant means forfeiting that baby’s life. The baby, the placenta, and the entire uterus all had to be removed to save this mother from the brink of death. A mother of five children. Five children who desperately needed her to stay alive. But even if there were no other children, this woman would still deserve and have the right to live.

This was one of those impossibly tragic situations where there is no saving the baby without saving the mother but there is no saving the mother without letting go of the baby. This poor woman didn’t even have time to process what was happening. She barely had a decision to make because there were no alternatives, except death. This was a no-brainer for the doctors involved.

But for the mother, it was the hellish process of going from carrying a perfectly healthy baby one minute, to not only losing that baby, but also losing the possibility of any future babies:

“They operated on me that morning. Hysterectomy at 35. Healthy baby gone. They didn’t find out for me if the baby was a girl or a boy. No offer of counselling. No walk through of aftercare except a print out on an A4 sheet. I was put in the ward for women whose hysterectomies were due to cervical cancer. They were happy to have theirs. I was just numb about it for a while. Sad to have lost a healthy baby, but the choice was out of my hands.”

How devastating to be offered no support after a medical termination, which is technically a form of abortion. This was a loss, a grief, a death, and yet no one seemed to treat it this way. Being judged for it—as though you have done something wrong—only adds salt to the wound. And yet broad-sweeping generalisations about abortion being wrong, mean this woman has to hide or experience other people’s judgement.

I want to live in a world where women are free to talk about medical terminations, abortions, miscarriages, still birth and so on. There has been too much silence, judgment and a lack of support for too long. Let’s be the change.

Share this blog, and let the women in your life know that you are willing to listen without judging them. Offer your support. I would also love the opportunity to hear from anyone who wants to share their story.
Email me at: elissaanne.author@gmail.com

For further support in Australia contact:
www.pregnancyhelpaustralia.org.au
Phone – 1300 139 313
For further support in America contact:
https://exhaleprovoice.org/
Phone – 857 728 1318
Text – 617 749 2948

Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Blog#1

Pro-life or pro-choice?

I am both.

I want to launch back into blog writing by starting a series of discussions about abortion. As a child I was taught that abortion was murder and murder was a sin, therefore, abortion was also wrong. I didn’t begin to question this until adulthood when I heard about some of the reasons for medical terminations and realised that abortion is not a black and white issue. Abortion is not always right or always wrong and ultimately, I do not believe we should ever judge the woman who has had an abortion because we have not lived their lives or walked in their shoes. I want to share some of their stories in order to broaden our views about this sensitive issue.

Sometimes there are medical reasons for having an abortion. This is better known as a medical termination. For my first blog in the series, I would like to share the story of a mother who walked this difficult path:

A woman in her early thirties who had had one miscarriage and two subsequent children, was trying to conceive another child. She underwent fertility treatments and conceived after a year. While she was pregnant she discovered that her baby had a large cystic hygroma. This is a growth on the head or neck that contains cysts that continue to multiply. The baby’s lymphatic vascular system did not develop normally. Her lungs had fluid in them and were not developing in a way that sustains life after birth. Her heart and other organs were also surrounded by fluid.

Multiple specialists gave this baby a poor prognosis. In other words, they told the mother that her baby was going to die one way or another. They said that if the baby made it to full term, they could put the baby on life support through a very complicated procedure while still in the womb. The baby’s life would be sustained by medical equipment after birth, only to die a very slow and painful death outside of the womb.

This woman and her husband made the agonising decision to have a medical termination at 15 weeks gestation. This was not an unplanned pregnancy or an unloved baby. This was a baby who was very much loved and longed for by parents who had to undergo treatment just to conceive in the first place. This was a hopeless situation in which the baby girl’s parents had to make an excruciating decision to end her life in order to spare her more pain.

So, at 15 weeks this baby was induced and born into the world to minimise her suffering as she died. Her parents held her tiny lifeform in their arms and grieved the loss of their darling daughter. They were so grateful just to meet her and have the memory of holding her. Even though they experience some guilt and, at times, a lack of support for their decision, they are convinced it was the right decision for their circumstances.

“Do what is right for your baby. Don’t listen to others who think they understand … they don’t. You cannot know how it feels until you are

faced with a choice that really isn’t a choice. You may think you

would never make the decision to terminate, but will find you change when you are presented with all the information from multiple specialists.”

The mother of this precious baby joined support groups to process all that she had gone through. She later had another healthy baby.

Judgement in the book of Obadiah

In the short, poetic prophecy of Obadiah violent language is employed:

Obadiah (8) “In that day,” declares the Lord, “will I not destroy the wise men of Edom, those of understanding in the mountains of Esau? (9) Your warriors, Teman, will be terrified, and everyone in Esau’s mountains will be cut down in the slaughter. (10) Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever.”

Then we have a clear statement of judgement:

Obadiah (15) “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.

Followed by this prophecy:

Obadiah (17) But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob will possess his inheritance. (18) Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors in Esau.” The Lord has spoken. (19) People from the Negev will occupy the mountains of Esau … (21) Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.

Judgement in Obadiah is focused on the descendants of Jacob and Esau. Jacob and Esau were twin brothers who parted ways in Genesis and Esau’s family are not included in the genealogy of the Israelites. This prophecy mentions violence that has been committed against the tribe of Jacob by the tribe of Esau. The result of violence is judgement! In this case the judgement sounds an awful lot like the crime. “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21:24) type judgment. Jacob will set fire to Esau and there will be no survivors.

The judgement on Jacob is one of deliverance! He is set free from the violence of his brother. And the judgement on Esau is to experience the consequences of his actions: wrath. Eye for an eye. Or as we would say today, “what goes around comes around.”

Yet the last part of the prophecy says that there will be deliverers ruling Esau and the kingdom of Esau will be the Lord’s. This sounds like a victory for God and alludes to something more than the literal destruction of Esau. Keep in mind that the prophecy was written in poetic language and that it is not literal. Jacob is not literally a fire. Esau is not literally stubble. These descriptions tell us that Jacob will overpower Esau as fire overpowers stubble. What if the phrase “destroyed forever” refers to the violence of Esau being destroyed? Then God–who is love and not violence–becomes the ruler of the kingdom of Esau. So judgement results in the cessation of violence and the deliverance of those who are being violated!