Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How many babies are enough?

My toddler will yell, The baby is coming out! It's time to go to the hostible!" and I'm supposed to stop whatever I'm doing and run into the living room with her, where I take her temperature, check her eyes, nose, and throat, then count one, two, three, and encourage her to push. Then she gives birth to a stuffed animal lion through the neck of her shirt.

My first grandchild

It makes me happy to be Catholic, knowing that when my daughter pretends to be pregnant and says, Are you so excited? I can say yes, I am thrilled for her. When she asks me if I would like another baby, I can say that that would be such a blessing. And when she lights a candle at Church and says, Please give us another baby, I'm praying that same prayer, right along with her.

When Ted Cruz was asked about his stance on birth control, he said:
“I have never met anybody, any conservative, who wants to ban contraceptives. As I noted, Heidi and I, we have two little girls. I’m very glad we don’t have 17.” 

It must be strange, for so many children, to hear their parents say they're glad they have them, but are also so, so, so thankful not to have more like them. This makes no sense. Something is either a blessing or it isn't. You can't say, I love the Church, but I believe abortion is okay, contraception is fine, and the communion of saints is ridiculous. You have to take it all. Absent the acceptance of the whole teachings of the Church, you lack faith.

Children cannot be both blessings from God and something horrible. The only means to instill a desire and love for the children God intends to bless you with is to be open to life. Period. To use contraception or to surgically sterilize yourself or your spouse, is to wholeheartedly deny God, to deny new life.

To teach your daughters, through example and words, that new life is a blessing in small, acceptable quantities, is to teach them to live for themselves. To be open in a way that does not inconvenience anyone, least of all the potential mothers. Live for yourself, then allow a narrow window for God to work, then close yourself off again.

A friend's toddler asked her if he prayed for five more babies if God would answer that prayer. How fortunate she is to be Catholic, to encourage her son to view babies as a blessing, to not be afraid to accept gifts from God. And how fortunate for him that his mother will never tell him he was more than enough of a blessing, and thank God there were not more like him.