Monday, May 22, 2017

A joyful pregnancy announcement in a culture that doesn't approve

I didn’t expect the same level of excitement after announcing this pregnancy. After all, we had an ample dose of the cultural and medical perspective with the birth of our second child: You have a healthy girl and boy, you can be done now. Your family is “complete.”

But we have always been open to new life, have prayed for more children, and are thrilled that God has blessed us with another pregnancy. 

In the paperwork I was given at the doctor’s office, the questions included what my gender identity is and whether the baby’s father has had sex with men in the last six months. I got to choose whether this pregnancy was planned or not, whether I was thinking of ending it, and how happy I was about it. The more I read, the more apparent it became that all our “freedoms” lead to incredibly hard lives.

Several responses from non-Catholic friends and family to my pregnancy indicated a level of concern: pregnancy is hard. Another baby would be difficult for me. Children grow up to become tyrannical teenagers and expensive young adults. How would we pay for braces? Weddings? College?

Certainly getting pregnant, staying pregnant, being pregnant, and raising a child can all be very challenging. But I don’t have to doubt whether this is right. At the moment I can feel exhausted, impatient, and frustrated, wondering if I can make it to that five o’clock hour when my husband comes home. But when I zoom out, and consider the grand eternal perspective—God’s perspective, the Church’s teachings, and the wisdom of the Saints—I see only the gift of new life. 

People are fond of saying, “No one on their deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I spent more time at the office.’” Well, that’s how I feel about having more children. At the moment, there may be pregnancy pains, a botched dinner, and Light Brites all over the floor—but it is just that: a passing moment. I won’t be on my deathbed saying, “I wish the house had been more quiet. And that I’d gotten more sleep. We were all sleeping so well before the third baby came.” 

No matter how hard the days may be, if I stop to imagine three children in their pajamas, jumping on my bed, it’s hard to believe we are being blessed with another child—its that wonderful.

So while my vocation, which consists of pregnancies, child-rearing, and mothering, is seen as a cross (or an ongoing stupid choice) by many, I am concerned for the women in the doctor’s office tackling questions about drug use, sexual habits, previous abortions, and whether the staff can leave messages on their phones.

Motherhood may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I don’t doubt that this is good for me, good for my family, and part of God’s plan for my sanctification.

But people generally don’t like God’s plans, and most, it seems, are in open rebellion against them. Maybe that’s why this third baby has elicited responses ranging from the succinct: Wow, three kids,” to what I call the elephant in the womb, in which we’re just not going to talk about it. But despite the naysayers, whether express or implied, we’re grateful, excited, and so blessed to have God, the Church, and a whole host of Catholic brothers and sisters rejoicing right along with us.

Do not try to please everybody. Try to please God, the angels, and the saints—they are your public. —Saint John Vianney
What we love we shall grow to resemble. —Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. —Jesus Christ (Matthew 18:3)
Sleeping Newborn Infant, By Andrés Nieto Porras

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