Today, I’m ecstatic at the birth of my little niece, Kenzie Grace Strasser. What a miracle to welcome a new life into this world. As I think about her parents, her life, her little body, and her personality that will soon emerge, I am reminded of all the unborn especially in China.
Today during office time, a few students shared a little bit about their own debuts into this world. The first student “Ann” said that in her family, her parents already had a son and a daughter and didn’t want any more children. So, when her mother found out she was pregnant with her (Ann), the mom went to the store and bought a case of beer, went home, and drank it all at one time in hopes of getting rid of the baby. Ann said that for 7 days, her mother didn’t feel her little body move inside of her. Then, on the seventh day, her mother felt the baby move and decided to get a check up to find out the result of her attempted abortion. The result obviously was that Ann’s mother was still pregnant with her. At this point, the mother must have accepted the life that was growing within her. Today, Ann is a lovely, personable freshman student with a huge smile. I asked Ann how she felt when her mom told her this story:
“At first, I felt sad and disappointed, but then I could understand my mother’s feelings. She had a lot of difficulties.” She then said that she thought she was really blessed, and I completely agreed.
The other student “Emily” said she was another kind of miracle. Her parents had had one child already (a boy) before she was born. After their first child, the mother got pregnant again, but it was a boy and the parents really wanted a girl. So, they decided to abort the baby. As nature would have it, the mother got pregnant again. When they checked the sex, the doctor told them it was a boy again. But this time, the mother didn’t agree to have an abortion. So, when she gave birth, the parents were surprised to deliver not a boy, but a little girl, Emily.
These stories really break my heart. Especially the selectiveness of parents and even the fact that parents share these stories with their children. I can’t imagine being Ann with the knowledge that her mother had tried to get rid of her. And these are just the stories of 2 students in a group of 3 students. I’d be naïve to think that these stories are exceptions across China.
So, as we talked a little bit about abortion, I also realized its pervasiveness and convenience for students across college campuses in China. There are flyers and magazines advertising for it all over the campus and on the public buses. Students don’t need to be a certain age or have the approval of anyone to get an abortion. “We only need money,” they said.
To put this in perspective, 300 yuan is about $45 US dollars, the price of a decent winter coat in China, a train ticket to Beijing, or a small space heater. All in all, it is affordable for most students.
So, although I rejoice at the birth of my niece, I also have some heaviness in thinking about China. This is just some of the heaviness that I have been feeling recently, but I have a lot more that is difficult to express. When I don’t write for awhile, sometimes it’s because that in writing some of these things, the darkness of the situation imprints itself on my soul.