John Jalsevac

‘I’m expecting twins - and I feel like I ruined my family’: America’s most charming couple is back

John Jalsevac
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Yup, it’s them again. America’s most charming couple is back in the news.

You remember, don’t you? We were introduced back in May when Albert Garland (a pseudonym), published a piece on Babble with the charming sub-headline: “My wife’s expecting twins — and I’m not happy about it.” 

Things only went downhill from there.

Well, apparently the reaction to Albert’s piece was less than positive (who knew?), and now his wife has stepped forward to tell her side of the story in a follow-up piece on Babble

“Mrs. Albert Garland” patiently explains, in their defense, that she and her husband only ordered one child (they got pregnant through IVF), and it’s really, really unfair that they got two. And just to be perfectly clear, they’re really (really) not happy about it!

“The twins are coming fast, and I don’t feel a sense of joy. Instead, I feel responsible. We only wanted one,” she writes. (Did I mention how charming this couple is?)

She goes on to wonder how much “strain” having two more children will place on her marriage and her older son, and explains that “like any family” they have dreams of “going to Disney, college, etc.” and are worried that now they will need a bigger car and a bigger house. 

“Now, seven months into my pregnancy — and in therapy — I still feel remorse and am terrified of our future,” she writes. “When I chose to plant both embryos, I made a decision that forever impacted our lives, and not necessarily for the better.” (There’s that charm again.) 

"In my mind I had done nothing less than ruin our family," she confesses.

To be fair, Mrs. Garland does paint a picture of a legitimately difficult pregnancy. Carrying twins is a very challenging thing for any mother, and it would take a very remarkable woman not to sometimes get down and a little discouraged during the process. Add onto that the fact that the couple’s first son had colic, and you can begin to understand why the couple may feel daunted at the prospect of twins. 

But what this doesn't excuse is the choice to pen, and then publish in the public forum, a pair of such ridiculous articles. In the trials of their pregnancy, Mr. and Mrs. Garland may be excused for seeking pity and support - but it should be the pity and the support of each other, and of their close family and friends. What they hope to accomplish by airing their purile grievances for the world is unclear, except to re-affirm all of the most pernicious popular fallacies about parenthood.

Indeed, what is so fascinating about this story is that it illustrates, in a nutshell, how just about everything that the modern world teaches us about parenthood, pregnancy and childbirth - all that stuff about “control” and “choice” and “responsible parenthood” and “self-realization” - is absolute rubbish, and, rather than making us free and happy (as promised), leads only to misery and a truly breathtaking narcissism.  

The Garlands have clearly bought hook-line-and-sinker into these lies. They believed (because that’s what they were told) that they could have had absolute control over their reproduction. They thought they could put in an order for a baby, and have it delivered neatly wrapped with a bow on top. They thought they could have exactly what they envisioned as the "perfect" family. 

But that's not how it works. When you get married, when you have sex, when you open yourself up to the possibility of children, you are opening up a Pandora's box. You are opening yourself up to life. And life is not within our control. It is way bigger and more mysterious than our pet plans. Get all the scientists and screening technologies involved that you want. It doesn't matter. The only proper approach to parenthood is to simply open your heart and accept whatever comes as a gratuitious gift from God.

To become a parent is inherently to stretch ourselves. And if we sit back and allow ourselves to be stretched, we will find that our hearts are bigger than we ever knew. But if we hold on to our hearts, and say that they will stretch this much and no more, we only cause ourselves pain. And we will sink into self-pity.

To their credit (and I mean that sincerely), one big difference between the Garlands and millions of other couples around the globe in similar circumstances, is that when the Garlands found out that they were getting a child that they didn’t order, they found that they couldn’t stomach the notion of aborting that unwanted child. And for all of the jaw-dropping one-liners in their infuriating articles, we should at least give them credit for choosing life.

For that, of course, is exactly where all this talk of “control” has brought us – to more than 50 million aborted babies in the United States alone. To some 50 million heartbroken, spiritually scarred, empty-armed mothers and fathers, who believed that they could have their cake and eat it too, and who chose murder when, inconveniently, that didn’t turn out to be true. 

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Love does not seek to control. Love opens its arms and embraces. Love finds a way. By treating our children as a commodity to be bought and sold, when, where, and however we wish, we have closed our hearts to the spontaneity of love. And in so doing we have locked ourselves inside the narrow boxes of our own petty egos and desires.

If the Garlands would simply let go of that illusion of control, which has been hammered into them by the contraceptive, pro-abortion, “planned parenthood,” self-oriented culture, they would find the freedom to embrace their circumstances, to come out of themselves, and to find hope even in their most difficult moments. 

They would see that going to Disneyland is not an important part of being a family; that you don’t need a large house to love three children;  that while pregnancy is difficult, it is a difficulty with immense rewards; and that all of the hardships of parenthood are oriented towards one of the greatest things any human being can ever do – bring new life into the world.

This doesn't mean that pregnancy won't be hard. That having twins won't be hard. But what it does mean is that even within the hardships, they will find their happiness and their joy. 

The most hopeful part of Mrs. Garland's article is the last line: "For anyone who is worried about me and my husband, our son brings us a ton of joy. We are always amazed by how much we love him, and I’m sure this indescribable love will extend to his brothers. But for now, I’m having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel."

In the midst of challenges and uncertainty and suffering it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But fortunately for the Garlands, because they had a sufficient moral sense to reject abortion, they will be given the opportunity to see that light - to welcome their two children, and to learn how to love them as the treasures that they undoubtedly are.

And hopefully whenever (if ever) they unintentionally become pregant again, they will have learned their lesson, and won't write any more such ridiculous articles for ridiculous publications.


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Because nothing says love quite like a whip and restraints, right? Shutterstock

To the Christians who think 50 Shades is all sorts of awesome: Please, stop and THINK

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

It’s pretty depressing when you realize that, in 2014, many people seem to think that destruction of human dignity is a small price to pay for an orgasm.

I suppose when I write a column about a book that just sold its 100 millionth copy I shouldn’t be surprised when I get a bit of a kickback. But I have to say—I wasn’t expecting hundreds of commenters, many saying they were Christian, to come out loudly defending the porn novel 50 Shades of Grey, often tastelessly interspersed with details from their own sex lives.

People squawked that we “shouldn’t judge” those who practice bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM), and informed me that “no one gets hurt” and that it “isn’t abuse” and said that it was “just fantasy” (as if we have a separate brain and body for fantasy).

Meanwhile, not a single commenter addressed one of the main arguments I laid out—that with boys watching violent porn and girls being socialized to accept violence and torture inside of a sexual relationship, we have created a toxic situation in which people very much are being hurt.

In response to the defenders of this trash, let me make just a few points.

  1. Not all consent is equal.

People keep trumpeting this stupid idea that just because someone consents to something or allows something to happen, it isn’t abusive.

But if someone consents to being beaten up, punched, slapped, whipped, called disgusting and degrading names, and have other things done to them that I will choose not to describe here, does that make it any less abusive? It makes it legal (perhaps, but it certainly doesn’t make it any less disgusting or violent.

Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey? If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.

Anyone who works with victims of domestic and sexual assault will tell you that just because someone permits something to happen or doesn’t extricate themselves from a situation doesn’t mean it isn’t, in fact, abuse. Only when it comes to sex are people starting to make this argument, so that they can cling to their fetishes and justify their turn-ons. Those women who defend the book because they think it spiced up their sex life are being incredibly selfish and negligent, refusing to think about how this book could affect other women in different situations, as well as young and impressionable girls.

In the words of renowned porn researcher and sociologist Dr. Gail Dines:

In his book on batterers, Lundy Bancroft provides a list of potentially dangerous signs to watch out for from boyfriends. Needless to say, Christian [Grey of 50 Shades of Grey] is the poster boy of the list, not only with his jealous, controlling, stalking, sexually sadistic behavior, but his hypersensitivity to what he perceives as any slight against him, his whirlwind romancing of a younger, less powerful woman, and his Jekyll-and-Hyde mood swings. Any one of these is potentially dangerous, but a man who exhibits them all is lethal.

The most likely real-world ending of Fifty Shades of Grey is fifty shades of black and blue. The awful truth in the real world is that women who partner with a Christian Grey often end up hightailing it to a battered women's shelter with traumatized kids in tow. The less fortunate end up in graveyards.

  1. 50 Shades of Grey normalizes intimate partner violence…

…and sickeningly, even portrays it as romantic and erotic. Amy Bonomi, Lauren Altenburger, and Nicole Walton published an article on the impact of 50 Shades last year in the Journal of Women’s Health. Their conclusions are intuitive and horrifying:

While intimate partner violence (IPV) affects 25% of women and impairs health, current societal conditions—including the normalization of abuse in popular culture such as novels, film, and music—create the context to support such violence.

Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction, including: stalking (Christian deliberately follows Anastasia and appears in unusual places, uses a phone and computer to track Anastasia’s whereabouts, and delivers expensive gifts); intimidation (Christian uses intimidating verbal and nonverbal behaviors, such as routinely commanding Anastasia to eat and threatening to punish her); and isolation (Christian limits Anastasia’s social contact). Sexual violence is pervasive—including using alcohol to compromise Anastasia’s consent, as well as intimidation (Christian initiates sexual encounters when genuinely angry, dismisses Anastasia’s requests for boundaries, and threatens her). Anastasia experiences reactions typical of abused women, including: constant perceived threat (“my stomach churns from his threats”); altered identity (describes herself as a “pale, haunted ghost”); and stressful managing (engages in behaviors to “keep the peace,” such as withholding information about her social whereabouts to avoid Christian’s anger). Anastasia becomes disempowered and entrapped in the relationship as her behaviors become mechanized in response to Christian’s abuse.

Our analysis identified patterns in Fifty Shades that reflect pervasive intimate partner violence—one of the biggest problems of our time. Further, our analysis adds to a growing body of literature noting dangerous violence standards being perpetuated in popular culture.

  1. Really? Sadism?

I notice that commenters rarely break down what the acronym “BDSM” actually stands for: bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism. If they did, they could no longer make the repulsive claim that “love” or “intimacy” have anything to do with it.

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The definition of sadism is “enjoyment that someone gets from being violent or cruel or from causing pain, especially sexual enjoyment from hurting or punishing someone…a sexual perversion in which gratification is obtained by the infliction of physical or mental pain on others.”

As one of my colleagues noted, we used to send sadists to a therapist or to prison, not to the bedroom. And 100 million copies of this porn novel have been unleashed on our society informing people that getting off on hurting someone is romantic and erotic. It is a brutal irony that people who scream about water-boarding terrorists are watching and experimenting with sexual practices far more brutal. As one porn researcher noted, some online BDSM porn promotes practices and behaviors that would be considered unlawful under the Geneva Convention if they were taking place in a wartime context.

It seems the Sexual Revolutionaries have gone from promoting “safe sex” to “safe words”—just in case the pain gets too rough. And none of them seem to be volunteering information on just how a woman is supposed to employ a safe word with a gag or bondage headgear on.

But who cares, right? Just one more casualty on our culture’s new Sexual Frontier.

  1. “It’s just fiction and fantasy and has no effect on the real world!”

That’s total garbage and they know it. I’ve met multiple girls who were abused like this inside of relationships. Hotels are offering “50 Shades of Grey” packages replete with the helicopter and private suites for the proceedings. According to the New York Post, sales of rope exploded tenfold after the release of the book. Babeland reported that visits to the bondage section of their website spiked 81%, with an almost 30% increase in the sale of things like riding crops and handcuffs.

I could go on, but I won’t. As Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah noted, “It’s like a juggernaut. You’d be surprised to see how very ordinary these people are who are coming in. The book is just an explosion of permission for them to try something new in the bedroom.”

  1. What does this book and the BDSM movement say about the value of women and girls?

I’d like the defenders of this book to try stop thinking with their nether-regions for just a moment and ask themselves a few simple questions: What does sadism and sexual torture (consensual or not) say to our culture about the value of girls? What does it say to boys about how they should treat girls? The youth of today are inundated with porn and sexually violent material—is nobody—nobody—at all worried about the impact this has on them? On the girls who are being abused by boys who think this is normal behavior—and think it is normal themselves?

Dr. Gail Dines relates that when speaking to groups of women who loved the book, they all grow deathly silent when she asks them two simple questions: Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey?

If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.

__

This book and the sadism it promotes are an assault on human dignity, and most of all an assault on the worth and value of girls and women. Please consider the impact you will have on your daughters and the vulnerable and confused people around you when you read and promote this book. Anastasia Steele is, thankfully, a fictional character. But real girls are facing these expectations and demands from a culture that elevates a sexual sadist to the level of a romantic hero. Ask yourselves if you want their “love” and “intimacy” to include sadism and domination, or real respect.

Because you can’t have both.

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Softcore porn is harmless, right? Tell that to the girl who wrote me this e-mail, who I once recruited to 'just' shoot softcore porn. (Photo: model) shutterstock

I recruited her to shoot porn. Then her fiancé found the photos online.

Donny Pauling Donny Pauling Follow Donny
By Donny Pauling

Our society seems to think pornography is harmless. Surprisingly enough, I've heard numerous Christians say the same thing.  But having produced porn for nine years and having recruited more than 500 people into the business, and having watched what it did in the lives of so many, I can tell you otherwise.  

Pornography ruins lives, period. It doesn't even need to be hardcore in nature.  Softcore porn is just as destructive.

When I talk about "softcore" porn, I simply mean porn in which the model is posing alone.  She isn’t touching anyone else.  For those who think porn doesn’t hurt anyone, it couldn’t get less harmful than softcore porn, right?

In September of 2007, just a year after I left the adult entertainment business, I received the following letter from one of the girls I recruited, who had only done softcore photos for websites. What follows is word-for-word what she sent, including capitalizations and/or lack thereof:

Hey Donny,

I have a HUGE problem. I’m getting married in a month, and my fiancé FOUND MY PICTURES on the internet. He is beside himself. He is hurt and shocked and being that we are supposed to tie the knot in less than a month, I’m freakin suicidal!!! Freakin sick over this….throwing up, cannot sleep at all…I never thought in a million years that would ever happen. How long do those pictures circulate?? I am seriously pissed.

I know I did those pics and yes it was my fault, I want to get them OFF the internet. Is there any way possible to do that ASAP? I will pay you the money back, whatever it takes. This will and is ruining my life. I am fearful that his friends will see and torture him about it, or the people I work with in the military. (they are all men) I am absolutely SICK over this. I can’t eat or sleep and I honestly don’t know what to do. I swear to you, I never thought this would happen. I mean, there are a million girls on the freakin internet….why me?! and because you are supposed to be a changed man? into God and everything? please…I need to know that you understand my situation, and find it in your heart to help me. This is destroying me. I know I am 100% responsible for taking the pictures, it’s my fault. But it was a long time ago, and I was single and I needed the money. But isn’t there anything you can do to please help me now??? This was like 2 or 3 years ago? Why are my pics still on the damned internet???

My military career and soon to be marriage (if he still will) is riding on this. Don’t my pictures expire after a certain time? and you just put new ones up? or sell new ones to companies to flush out old girls? I think you can read the desperation in this email.

I am completely desperate (again) at this point Donny and need your help. Can you help me? Please. I need EVERYTHING removed. What can we do? I’ll pay you money, anything. PLEASE say you can help me. PLEASE.

Does this young lady's email give you the impression that porn is harmless?  I’ve received many emails and phone calls from models over the years, asking that their content be removed from the Internet.  The problem is that porn companies will not remove it.  If they removed the content of every model who regretted her decision, very little would be left to sell.

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The young lady who sent this email modeled for me for a very short time in 2005.  But because of the release she signed, and the photographer’s agreements I signed when I was doing business with the companies who purchased her content, I can’t do anything to get her photos off the Internet.  They will be online, or on other people’s computers, somewhere, until long after her grandchildren have grandchildren.

The personal costs were very large in numerous ways, one of which is the fact that her fiancé decided not to marry her.  The realization that his buddies, neighbors and any random person could find his wife showing so much of herself online was more than he was willing to bear.

From those of us who consume it to those of us who have worked in the business, we all play a part in the supply and demand circle that drives pornography.   I'm often asked how to fight pornography.  My advice is to start with these three words:

Just. 

Stop. 

Looking.

Any attempt to fight pornography by going after those who produce it are hypocritical while the person “fighting” porn remains a consumer of pornography.  Both consumer and producer need each other.  When we try to clean someone else's house before we've cleaned our own, we’re essentially saying that their sin is greater than our own. 

Let me share an example that illustrates why this type of thinking is flawed:

Imagine that you have three daughters and all three of them are married. 

Let's say your first daughter's husband cheated on her by taking one of his former flames out to dinner and a movie, and ended up making out with her.  The husband of your second daughter cheated on her as well, going a little bit further: he performed an act with another woman that was sexual in nature, but didn't "go all the way."  And your third daughter's husband... well, he "went all the way" with someone else.

Are you going to be happy with any one of these men?  Let me know if you'd be willing to overlook the transgressions of any of them if they came to you and said something like, "Well, I sinned against your daughter but I definitely didn't do so to the extent that your other son-in-law did, so surely I'm in a better moral position, and you should judge the other two guys more harshly than me."

Such an attitude wouldn't fly very well, would it?  Because what they actually did matters less than the fact that they broke the vows they made to your daughter.  It's a heart condition, isn't it?  None of the three men in my example are truly giving their full heart.

When we sin, we are literally cheating on God by choosing to follow the temptations set before us by His greatest enemy rather than being faithful to Him.  He can't look upon sin at all because it's not a matter of WHAT we've done, but where our heart happens to be.

This is also why God can have a relationship with repentant murderers (He called King David a "man after His own heart" and used Paul to change the world) just as easily as He can have a relationship with a repentant liar (and we have ALL lied):  the cheating heart has been changed, and it's the condition of that heart that matters to him.

No "recovering sinner" has a moral high ground on any other recovering sinner.  We're all in the same boat, in need of a savior to rescue us from the mess we've made of our lives.  And while I get the need to rid the world of the scourge of pornography, I'd like to propose that we start by eliminating its use within the church.  Let's clean our own house before we try to clean that of our neighbors. Anything else is simply hypocritical.

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7989 West Virginia Drive, Dallas, where Planned Parenthood is working on secretly opening up a new abortion facility. Google Streetview

Planned Parenthood is trying to secretly open this abortion clinic in Dallas. But pro-lifers found out.

Abby Johnson Abby Johnson Follow Abby
By Abby Johnson
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Pro-life activists protest outside the planned abortion facility in Dallas. Catholic Prolife Committee of Dallas

“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” Luke 8:17

We have known for years that Planned Parenthood will do anything to get into our public school system, our churches and even our neighborhoods.  

They will pose as a “medical organization” instead of saying they are with Planned Parenthood. And when they want to open a new facility, they will always use a secret identity, usually in the form of a newly formed LLC.

I have always questioned the secrecy, even when I was employed at Planned Parenthood. If we were so proud of our services, then why did we work so hard to hide them? 

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by an amazing pro-life group, the Catholic Prolife Committee of Dallas. They had learned some interesting and troubling news. Here is the report directly from them. 

The Catholic Pro-Life Committee (CPLC) received information that Planned Parenthood applied for a license to operate an ambulatory surgical center (ASC) at 7989 West Virginia Drive, Dallas (formerly Specialty Surgical Services), across from Methodist Charlton Medical Center. The property records for this location show that the deed to the property was transferred to A Brooks Group LLC on January 30, 2014 with an appraised value of over 2.2 million dollars.

According to online corporate records, Aimee B. Boone is the sole managing member of A Brooks Group, LLC. Aimee Boone (now Aimee Boone Cunningham) is an officer of the Center for Reproductive Rights and recently served as Vice President of Development for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas (formerly North Texas). She is the daughter of Cecilia Boone, board member of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (board chair, 2012-2013).

“So what now?” they asked. The only answer was to blow this open before Planned Parenthood had a chance to announce their new property. We all know that Planned Parenthood is at their weakest when they are on the defensive.

The first day of the peaceful prayer vigil, Planned Parenthood turned the sprinklers on the pro-life activists. No problem. It’s hot here in Texas anyway, we appreciate the cold water.

I only wish I could have been present when Planned Parenthood got the call from the first reporter. They had been exposed…and they weren’t ready.

Since the release of this new information, the Dallas pro-life community has been at work. They are already outside their new facility praying and holding signs to let the surrounding medical community know that there is an abortion clinic coming to their area. 

The first day of the peaceful prayer vigil, Planned Parenthood turned the sprinklers on them. No problem. It’s hot here in Texas anyway, we appreciate the cold water.

After the sprinkler fiasco, a physician from another non-abortion providing facility came out to ask what they were doing. He was very concerned that these prayer warriors may interfere with his business. They kindly told him that they would be there EVERY DAY now that Planned Parenthood was opening an abortion facility. He said that he had an “obligation to his patients,” to which they replied, “We have an obligation to the victims of Planned Parenthood.” 

I applaud CPLC for their proactive approach to this problem. The best way to keep these centers out of our communities is to expose them for what they are. They are corrupt. They are dirty. They are not the people they want as your neighbors.

CPLC is doing active community outreach to the medical professionals in the area to inform them about Planned Parenthood and their unsavory practices. They are holding community wide events in an attempt to educate those in the local community. 

Here is more directly from CPLC and their director, Karen Garnett. 

An initial prayer vigil will take place on Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 10 a.m. on the public right of way outside 7989 West Virginia Drive, followed by a community meeting.

Planned Parenthood currently commits abortions through the first 15 weeks of pregnancy at one location in Dallas, 7424 Greenville Avenue. The fourth provision of the new Texas law (HB 2), requiring that all abortion facilities meet the safety standards of an ambulatory surgical center, is scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2014. There has been no visible indication that Planned Parenthood on Greenville Avenue is modifying its facility to meet these requirements. Apparently unwilling to lose its profitable 'hold' on Dallas, Planned Parenthood is reportedly planning to open this new South Dallas location -- already outfitted as an ASC, where it will be able to commit abortions through five months.

'The South Dallas medical community, devoted to promoting health and saving lives, should not be forced to accept the heinous business of abortion right outside their doors, let alone through five months of pregnancy,' said Garnett. 'One has to wonder at the sad irony of pregnant mothers arriving at the nearby Methodist hospital for the joyous arrival of their babies, while Planned Parenthood takes advantage of mothers in need with the false 'hope' of abortion.'

We have seen amazing things happen in Texas this past year. We have had a record number of abortion facility closures. We have had abortionists lose licenses because of their inability to uphold the law. We have seen an unprecedented amount of “saves” on the sidewalks outside abortion facilities. As of September 1st, we will have just seven (including this new facility) abortion facilities in the state.

The end of legalized abortion in Texas is coming soon. Let this all be a lesson to us to remain vigilant in our pro-life efforts. Just because we experience successes does not mean that we can become complacent.

Thank you to CPLC and the prolife community in Dallas for being observant and exposing this. 

Planned Parenthood is of course bragging that they will run the majority of the abortion facilities that will remain open after September 1st. Hmm. Didn’t they say they wanted abortion to be safe, legal and rare? I guess they were just kidding.


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