Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Too Many Babies?

So, some friends came to visit us one afternoon while they were in town. On this particular visit we were able to talk about our large family life that started with a rather simple but unique question. The father asked, "My son wants to know why you had another baby?" (referring to Clement who was 15 mo.) Then he said, "I told my son I don't know why you guys had another baby and he should ask you."

This question somehow seemed to catch me off guard. You see normally we get the standard, "Are you guys done yet?" But this question was different. To me it implied that there had to be some particular reason unbeknownst to our friends why we had another baby when we already had a lot of them.  

But where do we begin to explain the gift of new life if someone does not know or believe 
that the greatest gift they could be entrusted with is a new soul?

I won't get into our society's view of life or as those who are trying to practice the faith call it The Culture of Death
but the Catholic view of our sexuality asks, do you want the secret to true freedom?

And the simple version goes something like this...

- I am wildly in love with my husband.

-My husband is wildly in love me.

-We show God, one another and the world just how much we love each other 
by not using physical barriers between us in the marital act to always remain open to God's life-giving love.

-We were taught that contraception/sterilization says, 
"I love you but I love you with reservations" or "I give myself to you but I do not give myself to you completely." 
(Marriage is for Keeps by John F. Kippley

And that is that. The marital act is super simple between us. It is all (no contraception or barrier) or nothing (abstaining.)

For anyone who might be a bit behind the times and thinks the Catholic Church says you must leave your family size up to chance, they have been misinformed about Church teaching.

Regarding children the Church says: Serious circumstances such as physical, emotional, mental, financial reasons 
may affect the number of children or the need to space them. 
Which means = use Natural Family Planning to responsibly postpone becoming pregnant if needed.

Regarding sterilization the Church says:
If someone convinced you to become sterilized (for whatever reason) before you knew the radical implications (removing the life giving act of love from your marriage) the Church says =  if you are still of child bearing years consider a sterilization reversal or if the timing is too late to seek forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession.  
(Sterilization Reversal: A Generous Act of Love: Twenty Couples Share their Stories by John L. Long

Regarding both contraception and sterilization the best way to avoid pressure to give in to either of these is to seek out your local NFP (Natural Family Planning) doctor who encourages you to a way of life outside of these barriers. 
It is a gift to yourself and to your spouse to go to a doctor who does not discuss or pressure you with birth control or perform sterilizations. For people who think life outside of birth control/sterilization is crazy, I'd encourage them to learn more about the science behind NFP as it is actually more reliable than all other forms of birth control. But that is another post for another day. For starters here is the low down on NFP: (The Pope Paul VI Institute)

So, getting back to us, if my husband and I do not have a strong reason to abstain or space our children don't be surprised if God gives us another baby down the road. We like to say we are radically open in the baby department and when people cannot fathom why we would keep having children and want to know if we are "done yet" I give them the polite, non-scary reply and say,"Oh, we don't know. We just take it one baby at a time." And in response to our friends asking specifically about our youngest child I told them, "Well, when Clement is old enough to tell us let's ask him why we had another baby." ;)