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Little Dexter Hellein and “Life, Victorious!”


Lucy Hellein | Facebook

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 05/04/17

Humanity seems to try to beat back nature wherever it can, but we all know that foliage still manages to grow through a thickly paved road, that flowers in shadows will still strain themselves toward the life-giving sun, and that women using artificial contraception will frequently still find themselves pregnant. Life will always find a way.

That message was brought home in a particularly poignant fashion on one mother’s Facebook post. Lucy Hellein, of Fort Mitchell, Alabama, posted a photograph of her newborn son, Dexter Tyler, clutching the IUD that had been his companion in her womb.

It’s a phenomenal image. As soon as I saw it, I thought, “Ah, Life: Victorious!” I didn’t think for a moment that the child was born clutching the IUD (that would have been too fabulous!) but some did, and in this interview Hellein clarifies that, no, little Dexter did not emerge into the world holding the contraceptive instrument aloft like a conqueror; a nurse, seeing the IUD with the placenta, put it in his hand.

Reading around, I see conversations about whether or not Hellein was already, unknowingly, pregnant with her son before the device was implanted. This is a burning question for some because we humans live with a deep delusion of control; we believe we have much more of it than we actually do, and when that delusion seems threatened, we quickly do what we can to shore it up again. That’s part of what is behind, I think, this story of human embryos being cremated and turned into jewelry: the illusion that if we simply control all of the outcomes, life can be comfortable for us, and safe.

The truth is, whether Hellein was pregnant or not before the devise was implanted will remain a great unknown, like so many things in our lives. What is known is that a device meant to irritate Ms. Hellein’s womb unto emptiness didn’t irritate it enough to shake Dexter’s hold on his mother and his life, and isn’t that a remarkable thing to know?

Life, even when it is steam-rollered, or blocked, or chafed beyond seeming endurance, still finds a way.

It’s something to wonder at, and maybe feel a little awe-stuck and humbled by. What was this child created to become and to do?

This is all part of the giant, life-giving “Yes” that God modeled for us when he created us through his intention, when he loved us into being with his own Divine “yes.”

Because, as you know, and I know, too, nothing grows in “no.”

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