On a recent trip to Portland we visited OMSI science center. The last exhibition I entered was titled 'prenatal development'. I was drawn in as I wanted to see Kathleen again. Of course not my actual Kathleen but a baby at 19 week gestation. I felt a great need to remind myself again of how much a baby she was. I quickly passed the early gestations and reached 19 weeks. I took a picture. Then I turned my attention to another baby, gestation 23 weeks. I noticed the fine blond hair on his head. It was then I realized this baby was real. That they were all real. If I had taken the time to read the sign on the way in I would have known that 'the embryos and fetuses in this exhibit are real. They are presented here to offer an unique look at the journey each of us made from a fertilized egg. Acquired from medical universities and hospitals the survival of these embryos and fetuses was prevented by natural causes or accidents'.
I wanted to run. And I did. Only to return five minutes later. I was intrigued by the beauty, by the perfection, by the creation. How many chances in life do you get to see actual babies at these
different gestations? I only stayed a short while. I could not contain all the emotions inside of me. Emotions of sadness and sorrow. Someone laughed. I shed a tear. And left.
I wondered if the parents to these children ever knew their destiny? They were all collected before 1940. At least these days we get to hold our babies and have a say about what happens to their little bodies. Those parents probably didn't.. And I wondered how visitors reacted to this display? With disgust? With awe? I am not even sure yet of my own reaction. A huge part of me screamed that this is just wrong. That these little humans should not be on display, suspended in liquid. That it is undignifying. Yet seeing these little babies was so powerful, fascinating and thought provoking. It would be virtually impossible to see this display and not be amazed at the creation before you. As a sign said by a baby at 32 week gestation: “What started as a single cell has developed into highly organized systems of billions of cells”. How true - a highly organized system, formed by God, loved by God.
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13
I don't know if the display was right or wrong. I am not looking for answers either. My only hope is that someone may see this display and decide against abortion, from ending a life that should have been. How can you not when you see that little body, those perfectly formed little fingers and toes? Or maybe someone will have the opportunity to grieve a baby they lost but never got to see. Maybe models would have the same affect, maybe not.
I thought about posting my picture but I won't. If you want to see these babies you can - either at the exhibit or online. It will be your decision, not mine.
Would I want to see it again? I don't know. But for those who do see it, may good derive from it.