[It is not my intention to turn this into the “all contraception, all the time” blog, but the subject keeps coming up over and over again in my life whether I want it to or not, so I feel very drawn to talk about it right now. For those of you who couldn’t care less about the subject, check back in a week or so, maybe I’ll have gotten it out of my system by then. :)]
So I went to the neighborhood playgroup this morning. There were four other women there, two of the women are Catholic, and all of them are fairly religious, going to church pretty much every Sunday. Somehow the topic of church came up and we chatted about that for a while, all of them indicating that they take their faith pretty seriously.
Then we changed the subject to people who had had babies recently, and one of the women mentioned that a lady in our neighborhood is pregnant with number seven (I must meet her!). All of the mothers reacted as if she’d said the lady is a convicted felon. “Well, I hope that’ll be the last one, ” said one of the mothers. They all asked if she’d indicated that this would be her last child and expressed stern disapproval that she had not. “Well, we’re going to have one more [for a total of two] and that’s it!” said another mother to unanimous nods of approval.
The playgroup hostess (one of the Catholics) chimed in that she knows someone who just told her she’s pregnant with number five. “And she didn’t say anything about being done after this one!” she reported. “Can you believe that?” asked another. Everyone shook their heads gravely.
One of the depressing things about the situations is that these are really nice women. They’re actually not catty, judgmental people, I guess this issue just touched a nerve. Or, really, I think they probably looked at it like they were stating a simple fact (“it’s crazy and somewhat irresponsible not to limit the size of your family”) rather than passing judgment based on personal opinion.
It was also somewhat troubling to think that in a few years, if I stay on the theological path I’m on, that might be me being whispered about at playgroups (though I don’t care all that much about that).
I think the saddest thing was just the vibe in the room. The phrase “culture of death” randomly popped into my mind as I was listening to them talk. It just felt so…weird, and uncomfortable, to watch these mothers play with their toddlers as they wrinkled their faces in disgust at the notion of having lots of children in their lives. And I couldn’t help but thinking, Man, you guys must have some really spectacular plans laid out for the rest of your life that make you so excited about not having any more kids. Because, personally, I don’t have any opportunities out there that would be worth the tradeoff of drastically limiting the size of my family. Of course it’ll be hard and I don’t look forward to kissing our current lifestyle goodbye but, hey, kids are pretty cool too.
But I just hung back from the conversation and busied myself with fixing my son’s sippy cup. I thought about how much I wish I knew anyone around here who was open to having a big family. I don’t even see big families at my church, which is known for being one of the most orthodox around. Last time I went to Mass I think I only saw two other pregnant women.
Hopefully, as I get more involved in the church, I’ll discover that I am not the only person within a 100 mile radius who feels this way. 🙂
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