Many thanks to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf over at his blog What Does That Prayer Really Say for the post he wrote today with a great article about fetal cells that are left behind in the body of the mother.
Our Selves, Other Cells
Quite a few times during my Project Rachel counseling - this concept - microchimerism - has come up. It's a fancy word for when cells of one person mingle with another person. The article states the word comes from the Greek word for a mythological animal that is made up of several different animals - a Chimera. It seems science is just starting to scratch the surface of the whole idea. But, this article does a nice job of summarizing them and dumbing them down sufficiently enough for even me to understand.
The basic premise is that some fetal cells from any pregnancy, whether the child is brought to term, lost to miscarriage, or lost to abortion remain present in the mother's body - forever. These cells are even then passed on to other children the woman may have, so my daughters carry some cells from their sister they don't even know about in their bodies, and their children will carry them, and so on and so on and ...
The repercussions of the scientific facts are mind boggling and awe inspiring. The article goes on to explain the positive and negative effects these cells have on the mother. For my purposes though, the reality of cells left over from each of my pregnancies lingering around in my make up explain a lot.
When I wonder why I can't seem to let this whole "I'm post abortive" thing go. Why I'm unable to resist the gentle nudges of the Holy Spirit to perform acts of positive and healing redemption. Why now that I've opened my heart and soul up to Grace that there are moments when I can feel her. That presence takes many forms. For instance, right now it takes the form of tears streaming down my face as I again ponder the words of PJP II, "...nothing is definitively lost."
Not only is nothing definitively lost, it's definitively still here. She's here...inside of me. I carry her with me even now. I carried her with me when I ignored her. I carried her with me when I tried to run away from the very idea of her. I have carried her with me every day since that day all those years ago. I carry her with me just like I carry my other two within me.
When I have those thoughts that I'm in this struggle completely and utterly alone, that it's my cross to bear and not my husband's because it was before I even knew him, that she is not part of my family now - I'm completely wrong. I'm never alone. One thing is for sure, once you become a mother, you are guaranteed to never, ever be alone again.