Third Place Winner: Paola Victoria Castillo
‘A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small!’
“A person’s a person, no matter how small!” This phrase from the book Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss is so true. In the Gospel of Luke, we read about the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. John, a preborn baby, acknowledges that he is in the presence of Jesus by jumping for joy in the womb of Elizabeth. At the very moment of conception, a human being is present in his tiniest form, and throughout the nine months in the womb, he will continue to grow and be dependent on his mother to survive. Similarly, I am still growing as an 11 year old and am dependent on my mother for the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, and shelter. A preborn baby is just like you and me: a human being!
Yes, a preborn baby is truly a human being, just like you and I are! It is amazing that the babies in the womb only a few weeks, days, or even hours before they are born are the same human beings that are now born. They have just grown in size! For instance, I was able to hear my younger brother Felipe’s heartbeat each month at my mom’s prenatal checkups as well as just five hours before he was born. Then, an hour after his home birth, I held him in my arms and heard his heartbeat again. He was the same exact baby; he had just grown in size! Moreover, last summer we visited my little cousin Wesley just two weeks before he was born, and this summer we saw him as a very energetic one year old. He was the same exact person; he had just grown in size! When I reminisce through photo albums of when I was a preborn baby, I looked different in appearance in the pictures of my sonogram, but I was the same exact baby; I had just grown in size! Likewise, throughout my infancy and childhood, I have grown up and matured. I am still a person; I have just grown in size! “A person’s a person, no matter how small!”
There are several things I can do to remind others that preborn babies, as small as they are, are persons just like you and me! First, as a tradition, my family enrolls pregnant relatives and friends in a spiritual bouquet of Masses to let them know they have a shower of prayers coming their way. I even draw a picture of Mary and Baby Jesus for them. As a matter of fact, we did this for my godfather and his wife who are expecting their first baby this month. Second, my family and I tell others about the lives of Saint Gerard Majella and Saint Gianna Molla, two patron saints of expectant mothers and the preborn. Third, I participate in a Spiritual Adoption Prayer Adventure sponsored by Holy Heroes. Throughout this nine-month journey, I pray for preborn babies and learn about their life in the womb.
In addition, my family and I donate diapers, wipes, and baby clothes that I crochet to a local pregnancy center that helps expectant mothers. Moreover, my siblings and I wear pro-life T-shirts from the Culture of Life Studies Program that say “100% PRO-LIFE.” Wearing them is a great way to show that we support life! Furthermore, we wear “Precious Feet” pins that are the exact size and shape of a 10-week-old preborn baby’s feet. Many people inquire about them, and this gives us a chance to explain about human development in the womb. Another way I participate in building a culture of life is sharing pro-life materials with my peers such as Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman, as well as the comic book series Umbert the Unborn: A Womb with a View and Labor of Love, featuring the preborn’s life inside his mother. Also, we have a wonderful, animated video called Skiff and AJ’s Fantastic Voyage produced by Lumen Entertainment that teaches children about the value of life in the womb. We recently shared this movie with our neighbors who have five children under the age of 10, and Theresa, the oldest, exclaimed to me after seeing it, “That movie was so good! I really wish we owned it!”
These are just a few things that we can do to help build a culture of life. It doesn’t matter how little the actions are, what counts is if we do them with love. May we jump for joy when we meet preborn human beings, just as John the Baptist did in his mother’s womb when he first met Jesus who was in Mary’s womb! Let us always remember that “a person’s a person, no matter how small!”