Loving life

Loving life

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Those who know me today see me as an outspoken pro-life advocate. I have lost friends after discussions about how we can’t kill a living human baby, alive since conception in a woman’s body. I have argued in front of the library with female politicians who want my vote. I ask them if they are pro-life. Not one has

Janet LaPlante focuses on life experiences and how they enable us to grow in our spirituality. Opinions expressed are the writer’s and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

Janet LaPlante focuses on life experiences and how they enable us to grow in our spirituality. Opinions expressed are the writer’s and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

responded yes. What I hear is, “I am against abortion myself, but support a woman’s right to choose.” I respond that pro-choice is pro-abortion and I walk away.

Even if you don’t know me, you might have read something I wrote about how precious is each and every grandchild of mine. You might be one of the many who have prayed for my grandson since before he was born, when it was discovered he had a serious heart ailment. My daughter chose to “stand in the light with her son” instead of the suggested abortion. Eight years later he is running strong and delighting everyone with his charm.

I had my first child in 1971, when Roe v. Wade was being argued. I had married while still in college and had to take the pill for a year because I was working to support my first husband through law school. I became afraid of what birth control could be doing to my body, so stopped and thankfully conceived immediately. I became a working mom at a time when there weren’t many of us. After law school, I had a miscarriage that almost tore me apart physically, mentally and spiritually. Then thankfully, I had another beautiful daughter and immediately after, my only son.

I adored my children and did everything with them, including parent participation preschool, where mothers attended a weekly class on parenting and worked one morning in the preschool. My children and I met friends that are still close to us today. Sadly, their father and I divorced after twelve years. I began working and dating again and discovered anew the questions of how a single mom with a deep faith was supposed to act. It’s not easy.  Let’s just say I didn’t make all the best decisions and found myself in the confessional often. There was another miscarriage and frightening lessons of lost love and broken hearts.

When I was transferred with my job to Arizona in the early ‘90s I fought a custody battle with my former husband, since the state of California did not allow me to move the children out of state. It was devastating for all of us when they moved back and I became the traveling parent to be sure I remained in their lives. I think it must have been then that I really knew what being a parent really meant. I lived with the pain that our divorce and custody issues had hurt them terribly and later when their father became ill and died, I did everything I could to reconcile with him and keep his memory alive for our children.

The good news was that I met my wonderful husband Kirk on the day I interviewed for the new job and I never let him go. I joked that he needed an annulment from his first marriage to marry me and if he wanted a child, we better get going because I was already 39 years old. We had our delightful daughter when I turned 40 and I began the days again of preschool, ballet lessons and watching her receive the sacraments of the Church. Through all this time, my faith is what sustained me and continues to be my strength through the stresses of everyday life, and my joy in the everyday thrills of being a mother and grandmother.

There have been other miscarriages and divorce in our family, but there have also been the baptisms and the prayers at night to Mary for the health and safety of each person I love. I know those who have chosen abortion and regretted it for a lifetime. I know those who have given up their child to another couple and live knowing that child is blessed. I know single men and women who have lived without children and found a life to call their own.

So, whether you know me or not, you might see me with the Bishop in front of Planned Parenthood on Christmas Eve or my husband there every month with the Knights of Columbus. You might read an article I wrote to a politician telling him or her that they were risking more than my vote when they voted for abortion.  You might see me at church praying the rosary after Mass for an unknown child, so that child might live.

If you do know me, you realize that I will always have the conversation, but you will not change my mind. I can listen, but I will always be praying for your heart to change. I will thank God each day for the lives He has given me to know and love. I will defend all life in the words God gives me to write.

Janet LaPlante graduated from the University of San Diego, while it was still known as the Sacred Heart College for Women and the Diocesan College for Men. She wrote a column “Joy from Janet” for her community paper for seven years and her book, “My Children’s Children,” will be published in 2014. She has held many offices, including President of the Phoenix Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. She and her husband of 26 years have four children and sixth grandchildren. Janet’s writing focuses on life experiences and how they enable us to grow in our spirituality. Opinions expressed are the writer’s and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

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