This year, I started my garden plants indoors. Today, I looked at some of my plants, and noticed something interesting. Here’s the photo — see if you can see what I saw:

My seedlings

These six plants are all the same kind of plant (beans, I think, but I’ll have to double-check my list); they are all seeds from the same packet, planted into pots the same size, the pots were all filled with the same soil, and the pots themselves were positioned just like this on the tray. Although this wasn’t a science experiment, everything done to one plant was done to all of them.

Here’s what I saw, that you can see by looking at the picture — each plant is at a different level of maturity, and at a different height. One of the plants is barely emerging from the soil (left middle); another has come up an inch or so; a third is a couple of inches taller; a fourth is another inch or so taller than that one; and the last two, while of a similar height, are even taller.

I was made to think of “due dates” when noticing the different heights and stages of maturity of these otherwise identical plants. Forty weeks from a woman’s last menstrual period is what is given as the “due date.” Many women are induced or given C-sections before they even reach that date. I wonder how many babies are like the plants in the picture above — though made of the same “stuff” and “started” at the same time, and grown in the same environment, they develop at different times, some growing faster, and others growing slower. And anyone who has ever picked the fruit of any plant (apples, blueberries, tomatoes, bell peppers), instantly recognizes the folly of looking at one’s calendar to determine with exactitude the precise time for ripe fruit. On the back of seed packets, it lists how long it takes for seeds to germinate, and how long from planting the seed until harvest — but this information is given as a date range — 7-10 days, 110-130 days, and so forth. How foolish a farmer would be to go out to his orchard and say, “Ok, it’s been X days since the apple tree started blooming, so we’re going to harvest all the apples now,” and then start pulling apples off, without looking to see if they’re even ripe. Yet this happens all too often with getting babies from the womb.

Another analogy is just too fitting, and that is that if you try to pull the fruit off a plant before it is fully ripe, it is difficult. When fruit is ripe, it nearly falls off the tree into your hands at the slightest touch. Last year, I thought a bell pepper was ripe, because it was large and looked just perfect and beautiful. I gave it a slight tug, and it didn’t come off. I pulled harder, and it still didn’t come off, but the stem split. I twisted and pulled and finally got a knife out to cut the pepper off, because it was partly broken off the plant, and then I was ultimately worried that I might damage the plant if I pulled any harder. When a woman is induced before her body and her baby are ready to be born, there is resistance to the induction process. I’ve heard of women having the induction process started three different times before labor finally takes off. Many times the induction process comes with breaking the bag of waters, which means that if the induction doesn’t work, she must get a C-section, to protect herself and her baby. Just as I cut the pepper off the plant, so a knife is used to cut the baby out of the womb. And why? In my case, it began because of an incorrect assumption — the pepper’s size and color indicated that it was ready, when it really was not; and then continued because of my pure hard-headedness to insist that the job I started would be finished; and finally because if I didn’t cut the pepper off, it would wither in the hot sun because it was mostly severed from the plant. But it all started because of an incorrect assumption. I could have stopped — and should have stopped — when a gentle tug did not produce the wanted fruit. But I didn’t, and insisted on things working on my schedule. How many women end up being cut open because the fruit of their womb is not fully “ripe” when doctors insist that they should be.

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6 Responses

  1. Oh my gosh, I LOVE your analogy!! Recently I’ve felt very similar feelings about scheduled inductions and due dates. My sister is “due” March 31st. Her original “due date” was March 18th. It was a huge blow to her psyche when the doctor changed her date, but my “pregnancy is a process and birth a normal thing” attitude just doesn’t understand what the big deal is.

    Heck, my baby was 8 days “overdue” and everyday was a battle among family member to “just be induced” because to them, I was late and the baby was “ripe and ready to harvest”. Deep down I don’t think anybody really believes this, people have just been cultured to be impatient with the entire creation process of pregnancy and childbirth so they’ve convinced themselves that 40 weeks is the limit and 38 and 39 weeks are just as good.

    Anyway, back to the sister. This is her second baby and she has scheduled an induction for March 27th. Her first was also induced but that time she at least had gestational diabetes which lends itself to at least a somewhat reasonable excuse for educated birthers (and a complete emergency among the medical community which she prefers to birth with). This time she is completely healthy and there is not medical need for an induction. It is just convenient to her and she has convinced herself that the baby should be here on the 18th anyhow since that was the original due date!! It breaks my heart to know that she will allow her baby to be born before she is ready and will allow her body to be put through such a rigorous ordeal before it is ripe as well.

  2. This is an awesome analogy.

    I found an interesting article in “Parents” magazine about C-sections.

    “Here’s another reason not to schedule a C-section unless you need one: Babies born by cesarean are 80 percent more likely to develop asthma by age 8 than children delivered vaginally, says a new study published in Thorax. (Kids whose parents have asthma are even more likely to become asthmatic if they’re delivered by C-section). Researchers believe that infants are exposed to microorganisms in the birth canal that help to prime the immune system.”

    This just reaffirms to me how amazing the birth process is. God intended it to be a certain way. I know there are the cases where C-sections are a blessing, but they are rare.

  3. Terrific analogy. I’m starting seeds too 😉

  4. teehee!!! great analogy!

    ever read the story ‘the butterfly and the cesarean? I put this on my blog 2 years ago wondering if there was any research supporting my musings about asthma and c-sections. Sad to see I was right.

    Anyway, here the story (with my musing at the bottom):

    The Butterfly and the Caesarean

    “A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. A a small opening appeared, and he watched the butterfly struggle to force its body through that little hole.

    It seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no farther.

    The man helped the butterfly; he took scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

    The man expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

    It didn’t. The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

    What the man did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so it would be ready for flight once it achieved freedom from the cocoon.”


    Thank God most babies that go on living, seem to live without the kind of complications a butterfly sustains. But maybe not without consequence: what about the rise of asthma or other pulmonary diseases? Does it affect lung capacity in humans in any way? I should look around for research.

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