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July 31, 1998     The Message
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0 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana July 3 !, Choosing life for child transformed moth METUCHEN, N.J. (CNS) m Elva Messiah was born on Father's Day a year ago m a gift of the Father, her mother would say. Elva Messiah is the daughter of Sonya Jackson, the New Jersey woman who made national news in early 1997 when she asked to be released from jail to have an abortion. She later changed her mind and now serves as a national pro-life speaker. The child's name is significant, Jackson told The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Metuchen Diocese. Elva is the name of a strong black woman, the baby's great-grandmother. Messiah, which means "the anointed is coming," speaks not only of the grace of God which brought the child to life, but perhaps to her future when she will "talk the word and save more babies," her mother said. Looking back at the turbulent times that put her in the national spotlight, Jackson describes herself as "a woman in the middle of a big controversy." Her decision to have an abortion, even though she was more than five months' pregnant and incarcerated at the Somerset County Jail, drew the attention of the American Civil Liberties and the National Organiza- tion for Women, who worked tirelessly to ensure that would be upheld. "I believe, at least in the beginning, that these peo- ple were looking out for my best interests, to make sure my civil rights weren't violated," she says now. "But babies are alive today because of her. after awhile I began to feel pressured by them," added Jackson, who also has two sons, 11-year-old Jonathan and 6-year-old Jovan. The ACLU and NOW were met head on by a group of pro-life individuals who came together to save the life of one child and change the life of one mother. They were supported by the prayers of pro-life people all over the country. "I call them my entourage of angels," Jackson said with a smile while waiting to make a presentation at a Communion breakfast at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Lambertville. Joining Jackson at the breakfast were Richard Col- lier, attorney and president of the Lega ! Center for Defense of Life; William Calvin, president of Lifnet, a pro-life educational Organization; and Judi Paparozzi, a St. John's parishioner who now works as Jackson's attorney. They are part of the "entourage" of which Jackson speaks, along with Richard Traynor, executive director of the Legal Center for Defense of Life, and the Rev. Dean Gavaris, a Protestant minister who directs Gate- way Pregnancy Center and helped Jackson get the sup- port and information she needed to come to a decision Jackson admits that she did not know the truth about fetal development and never considered what really happens during an abortion. "I wasn't given the proper information" by health 7, personnel provided by the jail, said Jackson, described herself as a Christian who hac "I think if people were given the truth choose life," she added. Jackson was in jail because of drug traffic violations in various municipalities. was instrumental in arranging for her to three-day weekends during the months following siah's birth, which allowed her to sic her children. Jackson said a turning point in her decision her baby came when Rev. Gavaria visited the suggestion of Collier, who had been a "guardian ad litem" for the unborn child. "I never felt any pressure from the pro-life tee," Jackson said. "Dean came to say simply loved me and to let me know that whl made I was still loved by God." : i Toda while Jackson admits that being a I n't what she had planned, she also says it l whole life around. None n't been for the grace of Gcd." Jackson now works for Lifnet and is in the helping to establish a state chapter of Education and Resource Network), the American pro-life group in the nation. Calvin reported that Jackson has left her h0rae tho irlHlp nf thp night fn cn,snpl pynpcfanf ers. "Other babies are alive today because he said. Jackson credits those who helped her ing God to work through them." The Secret's Out Breasffeeding and Natural Family Planning Natural Family Planning offers mothers who breastfeed an advantageous way of moni- toring the return of their fertility! NFP is safe for mother and baby. The Creighton Model of NFP is 99.6 percent effective in avoid- ing a pregnancy. NFP works News and Commentary By SOOZI SCHELLER Contributing Writer cooperatively and naturally with the woman's reproductive system. Until the 1970s parents had ver' limited scientific infor- mation available to them about the return of fertility after child- birth, especially breastfeeding mothers. With new scientific advances came a new under- standing of the meaning of var- ious biological markers and a standardized way to record them, particularly the woman's mucus sign. During the last 30 years, these important break- throughs in NFP have become a tremendous aid to families with breastfeeding mothers. The table in this article includes definitions for different reproductive categories follow- ing childbirth. These categories depend on how the infant is fed. When the mother feeds her infant only with breastmilk, there is a delay in the return of fertih'ty. A Natural Family Planning Prac- titioner can help a couple deter- mine this delay. After the initial dela even while totally breast- feeding, a mother's fertility can return before menses. When the breastfeeding baby begins solid food or when the family uses supplements, like water or for- mula, the mother's fertility can return even before menses are observed. When the child receives both breastmilk and supplements of any kind the mother qualifies as breastfeed- ing-weaning. For the breast- feeding-weaning mother or for mothers who do not breastfeed at all, there can be no delay in the return of fertility. Fertility can return before menses are observed. The NFP Practitioner can assist parents in recognizing the return of their fertility in any of these situations. Anne Kempf, Rose Hoffman and two other mothers have Ovulation Method to monitor the return of fertility while breastfeeding. They answered some basic question about the NFP process: How did you recognize the return of your fertility through NFP? Anne responded, "There is a dramatic change in the mucus!" The other mothers echoed the same words, but one added that with her first child, "I felt anx- ious at limes because I went so long (11 months) without a peri- od. During that time, I took some home pregnancy tests, which came out negative. But when my fertility finally did return, there was a dramatic change in my mucus pattern." What was the NFP Practi- tioner's role in the process? The words used by the vari- ous mothers to describe their practitioner's role included: very helpful, comforting, knowl- edgeable, encouraging and reas- suring. One mother gave a detailed response, "My practi- tioner and I met more frequent- ly during this time. She kept saying, "You'll know. You will see a big change. It won't sneak up on you.' I needed to hear those words constantly. She reassured me about the accurac of my observations and helped me make comparisons." What differences did you experience going through the process with the first child vs. the second child? "I'm much more relaxed with Reproductive Categories following my fertility returned with the first one. I know exactly what to look for this time so I'm not at all worried," stated one mother breastfeeding her sec- ond child. Another mother who began charting for the first time while breastfeeding added, "Although it is a challenging time to start charting, I'm glad we did it. I have confidence now. We remained open to life and I have a health record that's very important to me." Anne, who has charted while breast- feeding three different times, described how each situation can be different. For instance Totally Breastfeeding Child receives mother's breastmilk only, NO supple- ments. Breast feeding/Weaning Breastfeeding used with any form of supplementation (formula, water, solid foods) Post-Partum  Not Breastfeeding  Child receives NO breastmilk and receives only supplements. Delayed return of Consult an NFP for details. Fertility can return menses occurs. NFP practitioner : . Fertility can return delay and before occurs. Consult an titioner for details. with one child, m,rin .n,,, ..... i., , ,,-,', " ........ 0 .......... .t. L/li[II [ne could be Rose we needed to su three months. That category ing. Once Grace's were resolved, we were go back to the totally feeding category." NoW The circumstances the birth of each child io ily are unique. ples give the variations. tioner plays a while couples in tions monitor the return fertility. abruptly but for the other two it did not. With the variety of sit- uations, NFP has helped her monitor the return of her fertil- ity in each case. When her first child was born, Rose Hoffman, now an NFP Prac- titioner Intern, had a full-time job. She described, "Because of my work situation, I was unable to pump breastmilk for our daughter. At two months of age, we began supplementation with formula, but I continued to nurse her for all but three feed- ings a day until one year." Her third child had an intestinal problem and difficulty with "e'""'n" ST. M medical news .... from a Catholic Health Care perspective is a courtesy of Services