Our little one just had her first birthday this past week. The “1st Birthday” is probably the most Instagrammed and publicized birthday in our culture. Whose little baby will look the cutest with their smash cake? How many gifts did your little one get? Will they wear a tiara or crown? Pinterest is teeming with first birthday party ideas, decorations, and cakes. Our little girl didn’t get a smash cake (though the grandparents did want to have her taste a bite of cake – more about that funny episode here). She didn’t get a party, or any presents from us. Now, we aren’t trying to be cruel, we just don’t think that only celebrating a birthday is very meaningful because then you neglect an even more important day.
The definition of a birthday is “the anniversary of the day on which a person was born, typically treated as an occasion for celebration and the giving of gifts”. However, no one remembers the day they were actually born, fortunately – labor and delivery isn’t super fun for the mom or baby. As the one giving birth, my daughter’s birthday was quite rough for me. 😉 So remembering your birthday isn’t the same as remembering some other blissfully happy event, like your wedding anniversary or high school graduation. What are we really celebrating? It’s not as though something was created that day – our daughter simply moved locations – from my womb to the outside world. Now, I’m not trying to downplay the wonder of childbirth – there is much to celebrate in its own way. But for those of us that believe that life begins at conception, wouldn’t we want to celebrate the day our child was actually created?
Only celebrating birthdays can refer back to the idea that unborn babies are not really human until they leave their mother’s womb. Pregnancy is just a limbo stage where the fetus is neither dead nor human; it’s something in between. Now, can you take a pro-life stance and celebrate birthdays at the same time? Of course! I’m not accusing anyone of supporting something that’s wrong; as I said before, birthdays are special in their own way, but that’s not when your child’s life really began. But only celebrating birthdays brings up the idea that nothing really happens in your child’s life until they are born.
So instead of celebrating our daughter’s birthday, we celebrate what we call her “Life Day” – the day when we believe she was conceived. Now, obviously this may be difficult to pin down after your children that have already been born, but you could take their due date and subtract 40 weeks to get their Life Day. For future children, we write down on the calendar when there is a possibility that (ahem) conception could have occurred. Our daughter’s Life Day is August 17, while her due date was May 13 and birthday is May 18.
Life Day is a testimony of God’s miracle of life within your family, and a birthday is the day when you get to officially meet that miracle of life in person. I think that both are special days, but a birthday doesn’t really make sense without a Life Day. It is awkward sometimes to tell people that we celebrate the day our child was conceived, but it really is what makes the most sense. Our children might feel left out for having to have a “Life Day party” instead of a birthday party, but they will always know that life begins at conception.
This concept also applies to who is determined as a mom. Mother’s Day happened recently, and I had several people wish me “Happy First Mother’s Day!” I had to kindly correct them that this was actually my second mother’s day because last year my daughter was still in my womb but she was alive. Pregnant women are moms just as much as the stay-at-home mom with 5 kids and the empty-nester mom who takes on the grandmother title. For those that have had miscarriages and no living children, I still consider you a mom – God has just chosen to bring you more sorrow than joy in your motherhood at this time. You don’t ever un-become a mom, just like your children don’t ever un-become your children.
The idea of a Life Day goes against the grain of what the world says to celebrate, but making a stand for the truth will do that. If you are pro-life, it only makes sense to celebrate a Life Day if you are able. I believe it’s more important to have our actions fall in line with our beliefs than to go along with what everyone else is doing.
As an additional note, I did not have any concept of this whole idea of Life Day until my husband brought it up to me – the majority of this blog post is coming from his brain! So kudos to my husband who always challenges the world’s beliefs with what the Bible says. If you have any thoughts on this controversial post (!), please share in the comments below!