Here’s some food for thought… Why is it natural to breastfeed, but unnatural to have more than 2.5 children?
Frankly I’m tired of people looking at me like I don’t have a brain. I’m tired of the weird comments I get about the number of children I have while carrying a 7 month baby bump. I’m literally exhausted about how I’m supposed to respond to it all.
I do my best to do it with grace and dignity but my snarls come through all too frequently.
When we announced baby number three our friends and family were mostly happy for us. Some people we love said things like “Hopefully, you’re done after this one.” I would get frustrated, but in the long run, there wasn’t that many nay-sayers that I knew personally, so it was easy to let it roll off my back. Then it was time to announce baby number four. I literally dreaded telling anyone. I was so excited and happy, I just couldn’t allow anyone to burst that bubble for me, so I waited much longer than any of my other pregnancies. That feeling was the weirdest feeling I have ever known. The desire to hear congratulations, but worried about hearing anything negative, was giving me anxiety.
Little by little we told our families and friends. These were some of my saddest memories I hadn’t been able to let go of until recently. The worse part of it all, was how I felt compelled to tell everyone we were done after number four. I knew my husband wasn’t ready for anymore, but I also knew my desire. I was not finished having children in my heart, but for some reason I wanted to reassure everyone else that things were going to be alright.
One of my biggest flaws is that my feelings are easily hurt. Therefore, I took it all very personally, especially when someone asked me how my husband felt about me being pregnant. I wondered if people thought I tricked him into having another baby. Our fourth little love was definitely planned, but having babies and not being on birth control is so unnatural to people. In fact, a very close relative told me, if I didn’t want anymore children, I needed to be put on the pill. Why would I take medicine to stop something God may have in store for me? Are my kids so terrible the world could not handle another one of them?
I’m not going to call everyone out on here, many of these great people hardly realize they could have said anything hurtful, but I needed to express the difference in announcing your first or second child compared to the third, fourth, fifth, etc. Our world paints this picture of what normal consists of, yet it seems like most people understand no one is normal. “Normal” stifles a lot of good things, and I don’t care about normal. I care about the intentions behind the person or the act. I care about myself and my focus. Who am I to judge you for having no kiddos or twenty? Why is having more than 2.5 children abnormal, and what makes birth control so great?
When my husband and I were married in the Catholic church we were required to take courses about what it means to have a Catholic marriage. There is a portion of the study book that talked about contraception. It is a well known fact that the Catholic teachings are against any form of birth control except abstinence. It probably won’t surprise you when I tell you 80% of Catholic followers use some form of birth control. So, again, it won’t be so astonishing to hear my husband and I do not agree on this subject even though we are both Catholic.
Here is what I know. Marriage is a sacrament and performing the marital act is very special to a married couple. Too often, sex has become a chore, or has little to no meaning and has turned into lust instead of an act of love. I’m sure if you’ve read any of the bible’s teaching on marriage and love, you’ll understand God would not have us form these sacred relationships to abuse its gifts. Sex is sacred to our marriage and because of it, God gives us the opportunity to give life. Using contraception would mean I was treating something sacred in a very common way, as if to say thanks but no thanks towards God. Would any Catholic person take the Eucharist during mass, only to spit it out later? What Christian disputes God’s calling for two married people to become one? That “one” could be your child God wants hand to you. I could go on, but I won’t. I have strong feelings about accepting God’s will. I’m not perfect at doing it, and even when I think I am, I’m never positive it is His will in the first place. So, I’ll return to the original statement about children being natural or unnatural.
I’ve talked about mom-shaming before, and I want to express this specific form of it, because even those who no better than to mom-shame are shaming others for this one. If you’ve made fun of Michelle Duggar in anyway, you are mom-shaming. Does it make you feel better about your choices if you poke fun at someone who isn’t like you? The Dynamic of every family is different. There are multiple ways to raise your children and to love your spouse, because you are still considered a family if you do not have children. Why are our differences keeping us apart?
I still have a ton of things in common with my single friends. I enjoy the company of our friends without kids and cherish their friendship just as much as any of our friends that have kids. I make choices to better my family and not to please anyone else but us. My choice to have more includes only my husband’s comments and concerns. These are the reasons we don’t ask if people will have more kids, or when they will start having kids, or (God forbid) if they are done having children, etc. Those are just as personal and intimate as asking someone when they are going to make love to their spouse.
Having children is a very natural part of life. You can try to justify your actions or words towards others different than you anyway you’d like, but it doesn’t mean you’re right. You may believe your intentions are good, because you’re more concerned about the parents’ well being and if they could handle having another child, if that is your thought process keep it to yourself and start praying for the expectant family, but don’t tear down their dreams.
The chances of my husband changing his mind on having anymore after our fourth is unlikely, however if we were to become pregnant again with number five, I hope I could be more confident in telling others how I happy we are to be given another blessing to our family. I hope I could hold my head high and deflect the negativity with dignity and grace, because only my husband and I know what is best for our family. I hope, if any of you are struggling with this, you can be confident in your decision as well. We will do our best to just pray for those who have hurt us and give the benefit of the doubt in that that person/stranger/loved one did not have ill intentions, but just opened their mouth before thinking it all through.