Saturday, January 21, 2012

Babies as Trophies, Oh My!

In the most interesting misreading of a post I've ever seen, my friend Cam had to defend herself yesterday against an anonymous commenter who claimed Cam wanted to be pregnant just to appear more pious. This person seemed to feel that she was in a position "from a more experienced mom to a younger one" to lecture Cam about being patient while waiting for her next child.

Although her intentions were (hopefully) good, there were in her writings several problems that I often encounter myself. There are some people who think that those of us who want, but do not yet have, big families want them for the wrong reasons. That we want them to appear pious, or that we regard them as trophies or, like sacraments!, outward signs of inward graces. What I think many people forget is that, for women like Cam and I, we genuinely enjoy children. We like them. Well, yes, they can be expensive, noisy, and rather put a damper on our daily schedule, but we like them anyway. We don't like them because the Pope told us to, or because we think that we're going to impress everybody when we have them, because they make us look good - we just like them for who they are.

I was talking to my friend Jenn the other day and we agreed that for as long as we could remember, we wanted to be a mom - preferably one to a big family. Jenn asked if Tom and I would use NFP to space our children. I replied that although we would have to make the decision anew after each blessing, that from where we're standing now, we probably wouldn't. I already know that telling people that could bring a storm of criticism: that I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't have any children yet, that it's irresponsible, that it could be really emotionally and physically exhausting, that it's not a race. But I think what people who can get pregnant very easily forget is that for those of us with special problems (like PCOS), we never know when our fertility is just going to...stop. I would be so sad if Tom and I decided to abstain, and then it was 10 months because I ovulated again! The question Tom and I face everytime we chose the possibility of getting pregnant is, "are we comfortable with the idea of never getting pregnant again?" Once we have children, the question will become "have we discerned that our most recent child should be our last?"

The plain fact is that children are blessings, and being chosen to receive such a beautiful blessing is always an honor. It's natural, and good, for people to desire such blessings. Even if you don't feel that way yourself, it shouldn't surprise you that others feel that way.


  1. I've learned that unless others take the time to learn, read, pray, and study the same information and teachings of the Church they will not fully understand your position on "family planning". When we were pregnant with #4 my mom came to me asking for information about our position on children. We had just entered the Catholic church and being completely open to life was one of the quickest and most "freeing" teaching my husband and I embraced. She on the other hand, seemed to be trying to understand. Then came baby #5, again same questions. Now with #6 it was wash, rinse, repeat. I don't get it. I've now encountered other comments from other family members. I've come to the conclusion that people will always express their views whether they agree with me or not. I have to choose how it is going to effect me. Yes, it does hurt. Sometimes I feel guilty joining in conversations with other moms who are dealing with fertility issues because I don't want to step on their toes when I share the blessing of another child. It breaks my heart (I offer every Mass for those struggling to conceive) because I know the joy and blessings that come from children.

    Not sure where I'm going with all that. At any rate, I've been following Cam's blog and it is unfortunate the liberty some people take when posting on the internet. But then some take the same liberty when talking face to face with a mom. God is ever so patient with us when we get things wrong, I have to make sure I do the same when others don't understand me.

    1. I think you're right, Nicole. We cannot decide what others will say, but we can choose how to react. I think the most virtuous woman (who I am not...) would, in these situations, realize how sad it is that the person commenting cannot perceive the beauty and blessing of children. Their reactions should move our hearts to pity and prayer! I'll let you know if I ever get there!!

      God is infinitely patient with us. I hope I can do the same for others...


Comments make me feel like I'm not just talking to myself or the government (because I know the government secretly reads my blog). Help me feel less crazy - comment away!