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:
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.