Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Are You Done Now?"

I was just reading another wonderful post by Melody and it reminded me of a conversation I had with a relative a couple of weeks ago. Actually it reminded me of a number of conversations I've had over the course of the past year (too many to relate right now), but I'll start with the most recent. It went something like this:

Relative: "So are you planning on having any more children or are you two done?"

Me: "We'd like to have more."

Relative: "Really?"

Paul, standing a ways away, sees me falter in response and begin to look uncomfortable, and decides to help out: "Oh, we'd like to have at least seven."

Relative: "You know you're cousin is done now. Her uterus literally almost fell out of her body. The doctor's had to push it back in..." Accompanied by a rather graphic description of the aforementioned process, complete with hand gestures, followed by a description of how hard life is with four children.

Someone else at the table (coming to my rescue): "So you really want to have seven?"

Me: "You know what they used to say... Catholic or Careless? We're Catholic."

Well, we are Catholic. And we will lovingly and joyfully welcome as many children as God sends us. Which brings me to a church luncheon I was at recently (not a Catholic luncheon... we'll say it was "catholic lite" and leave it at that...).

The conversation turned to the Duggar's and the pastor and one of the other women at the table took turns ranting about the stupidity of having a large family and how God had given us a brain to use it (presumably to contracept). I tried to speak up a couple of times only to be bulldozed over, and finally was thankful when Maggie started to fuss and I had an excuse to stand up and leave the table. The ridiculousness reached a point when one of the older women who was watching Sadie joyfully run around in the garden (not bothering anyone) said "you know they have leashes!"

Yes, they do...

And of course there are always the "oh, you're having another girl?" comments that had already begun with Maggie. I can't imagine what it will be like if God decides to someday bless us with another little girl! I was thrilled when we found out that Sadie was going to have a little sister to play with.

But the general consensus from society was that another girl meant that we might not be "done." And there were plenty of questions about whether we were going to "try again for our boy." I was surprised at how many times I had that conversation as I walked to my car after Mass (although to be fair many people were also excited when we said we wanted a large family)!

Paul likes to field that one for me. "If we keep on having more, sooner or later there will probably be a boy..." That almost always results in a shocked expression.

Then again, following Church teaching these days sure is shocking!


  1. There is no winning with family size, is there? And once you get to the number you want, someone will say SOMETHING about how many girls vs. how many boys there are.

    Ugh...I'm sorry to hear people are so ridiculous.

  2. I am not married yet but I remember when I said I wanted 12 when I was younger a lot of people thought it was funny. Recently I made a comment that I hoped I meet my future husband soon because I 30 and I wanted a lot of kids, someone asked me if by a lot I meant 3. I was actually thinking of a much higher number but I didn't say anything.

  3. Love this post. It sums up what I am thinking daily. Now that we have the "perfect" family, a boy and a girl, we are expected to quit. I came up with this analogy recently. It is as if everyone in the world assumes they are all called to be teachers. They grow up, get their degree and because every last one of them is expected to become a teacher, they do so with no questions asked. That is ridiculous. In the same way, it is ridiculous to expect ALL people to be called to have only 2 (MAX 3!) children. What drones we all would be if everyone were called to the exact same thing! Some are called to have 1, some 5 and some even 17 children. They need to stop worrying about the rest of us and question if they have done THEIR due diligence to follow God's plan!!

  4. That must be so frustrating. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the comments directed towards adopted couples like us, telling us we are such saints for adopting. It's frustrating because we are just doing what comes naturally, have children, and people put us on a pedestal where we definitely don't want to be. All the race comments don't help either, but fortunately we haven't had any of those for a while.

  5. I did have a prolapsed uterus, but not from having lots of babies. It happened immediately after the delivery of baby number one (most likely a result of some of the unnecessary interventions that the doctor did). We only ended up having two (to my great sorrow). However, when my daughter talks about having lots of kids I'm her biggest cheerleader.

  6. My mother had the same problem with her uterus when she had me and I have two younger brothers. My mom blames it on the doctor for pulling on my umbilical cord to get the placenta to detach, don't we love the 70's, thankfully, I don't think they do that now.

    I think it's more important to see how the children are developing into adults. If the Duggars are creating in their children a responsible nature where they will be a productive future generation for our country, pay into social security (like all the rest of us), and care about how our society turns out, they should be allowed to have as many children as they want. I'm sure that CPS is knocking on their door on a regular basis because people don't approve of the way they are raising their children or that they have a successful TV show. The Duggars have opened themselves up to a lot of cruelty and as far as we can see they handle it with grace and love. I'm sure it throws people off on a regular basis because that wouldn't be how "they" would react.

    I feel much more concern with families where the children are spoiled and allowed to "run the show". Those children have no sense of responsibility and often use taxpayer dollars to repair damage they may have done, i.e. vandalism, theft, living life to it's fullest, etc. Why are good parents vilified for wanting and having children and bad parents are told their children will eventually grow out of that phase? It's frustrating.

    Don't let strangers, doctors, friends or family members deter you from doing what is right. And respond to those snarky comments as if your children were watching you. They need your love and support to know what is the Godly thing to do. I loved my parents for not allowing people to call us names. We weren't "monsters", "gremlins", "holy terrors", "wild", etc. My parents called people on the spot for that language, told them they didn't believe what they said and that they shouldn't call people such names, and would take us away. I was pulled from more programs than I can remember and taken from more houses on the turn of a dime. My parents wouldn't tolerate people being mean to us or about us and for that my brothers and I grew up to be headstrong determined people who knew what they wanted and didn't care what people said about those decisions. We're all successful people who love and serve God. Exactly, how it should be.

  7. *sigh* I'm the 8th of ten kids. We're all doing just fine. Half of us are pursuing careers in public service for little pay. My parents wanted a lot of kids.

    At the same time, endangering your health is irresponsible - I'm thinking of the Duggers here, where the mom and baby both almost died on the last one. Pregnancy and parenthood are hard on your body, and to put your health or life in jeopardy puts your children's futures in jeopardy as well. And responsible family planning is just as much serving God as having several children.

    There's nothing wrong with wanting a lot of kids. There's nothing wrong with loving being a parent, and there's definitely nothing wrong with wanting to be full-time mother. I hate all the myths people spread about big families that just aren't true. I had a great childhood!! I never went without the things I needed, and I had plenty of things I wanted too.

  8. I can't believe the size of a family can be a heated conversation subject!

    Nowadays, it seems like it's OK to do things because your lifestyle calls for it. But it's not OK to do things because your religious belief calls for it. ah.

    (Perhaps Paul should have a conversation with his Y-sperm. LOL! I think he's praying hard for having boys. My church has this weird trend - pianists in the Cantonese congregation have been giving birth to GIRLS in the past years - so we will see if I will break the trend!)

  9. We like to REALLY shock people and tell them 12. :) It usually shuts people up really fast. Sometimes they ask "why 12?" and we usually say "we want a really big family and we like even numbers! :-D" We are excited to have as many children as God decides to bless us with. I hate the "you're going to wait a while right?" comments. I usually say that we're not planning anything at the moment, but that if God blesses us we'll be happy.
    And we will. :)

  10. @Hunny Bunny - Unfortunately that's not a thing of the past. They did that to me after my first was born. I was lucky and did not have something that drastic happen as a result.. but I did hemorrhage from it. Not fun. Midwife and Birth Center this last time meant that did not happen again lol.

    We've gotten it too... We were both hoping for a boy this time but I almost regretted it (not really but it made me feel bad about it) because people started in on the "Oh great you have your pair, you're done now". No... We're not. We'll be done when He says we're done... and we're hoping that means quite a few more (like 4 more or so). My MIL gets so ugly about it that I told my husband if she comments again or if they ask again I'm gonna tell her we want to have 27 and become the next Duggar family lol.

    As for the Duggars, I don't watch them often but saw a commercial saying an announcement is on the way. I wonder if its her or her DIL.

    And apparently I'm behind on your blog too... I swear I just pulled up your post on the eggplant dish, I thought it was just the other day lol.


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!