7.21.2010

Wondering Wednesday

How many children do you want?

Maggie started it, Sarah continued it, and I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

Almost a year and a half ago, I wrote about the guilt and wonder that I felt over my desire to not have children.  Little did I know, I was about to go through one of the roughest patches of my life and in the process have a reversion to and new understanding of my Catholic Faith.

As I reread the words I wrote, I see a girl who had just cause for discerning that it is not time for children.  And, as Elizabeth wrote today, I too am a planner and always felt that I had to plan out my life.  And I felt I needed an answer to the question of "When are you going to have children?".  While in my heart I knew better than to never say never (hence the wonder part of my previous post), I didn't understand the discernment process that comes with the decision to have children - in fact, we were still contracepting so it wasn't a topic The Man and I talked about on a regular basis.  It came up, but usually when someone else started pushing the issue/asking the question.  Now, thanks to NFP, it comes up frequently.

I wrote recently about the sting of the question "When will you start a family?"  The question "How many children do you want?" doesn't sting so much, but both create a similar feeling.  I don't have the issue of 'wanting' a big family, we still haven't discerned that it is time for a child, I just find both questions to be very personal.  Last week after Mass when a fellow parishoner asked "why not?" when we said that we didn't have any children, I was momentarily paralyzed (and extremely grateful for the interruption of Kate's adorable kids!).  Do I say 'because at this time we have discerned that we have just cause for postponing children.'?  Something tells me this just isn't the way to make friends, but how else would I answer that question?  That said, it is time that I admit to asking/saying many of the things that Maggie listed.  I never meant them in a hurtful way, but now I see that they could sound very judgmental.  My heart hurts to know that I may have hurt friends or strangers by being thoughtless as to the question I was asking, regardless of my intent.

As I've reverted to my Catholic Faith, I also see that I had an open heart to what God may have in store.  And the guilt and wonder are still there, just in a different way.  Or maybe not really different, just better understood and articulated.

So, while my reason for struggling with the question of "How many children do you want?" may differ from Maggie and Sarah's, I find that my answer can be the same - "As many as God wants to give us".  It may be that God gives us none, and while I'm sure it seems crazy to some of you, I would be okay with that.  And as those words appear on my screen, the guilt fills my heart and I offer it up for those of you who want more than anything to be parents and are struggling.  But, it may also be that God gives us one or many, and I would be okay with that too.  For as much as I like to plan and think that I have a say, this is one area that I, for whatever reason, trust God with.

Now I just need a good answer to the question "Why don't you have children?".

9 comments:

  1. Because God hasn't chosen to give you any. :) I think your heart and your attitude of faith is awesome. Please, don't feel guilty. God has everyone on different paths.

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  2. I agree with Angie...God hasn't chosen to bless you as yet. Maybe He will and maybe He won't and will bless you in other ways. God is good!

    Rebecca - I know you have read my story...and that story is still unfolding. While my mind, heart and soul opened up to children 10 years ago...it could just as well have been later in my life. I don't know why God placed the desire on my heart to open up to the idea of children. I do know that I am happy He did and that story is always evolving. It sounds like so much has happened in just a year's time for you and The Man. Elizabeth also made the point in her post that we should try and live in the present...learn what God wants us to learn right now and fear not for the future, nor dwell in the past. Peace, my friend.

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  3. I think one of the most important things is that you are open to God's will.

    I once read somewhere of a good Catholic couple who hadn't had children criticized by a so called "devout Catholic" for NOT having kids. Again- I wonder how people can judge and say something like that.

    And as far as the comments people say that I listed, my mom told me that many times she has said to women with a lot of kids, "Wow you have your hands full" and she never means it in a bad way, but of course it could be taken the wrong way. I guess it just matters on how one says these comments!

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  4. I actually like your response to the question "why not", but I agree that's probably not the best way to make friends :) I wish I had some other suggestions, but I can't think of any offhand.

    And I totally feel you on realizing now how offensive any questions/comments I've made before could have been. My solution was to resolve to ask for God's forgiveness for them and only make positive comments in the future (to families both big and small!).

    Finally, as Michelle says, a lot has happened for you in the past year! Who knows what else could happen in the coming year, and isn't it exciting to see what God will do in it?!

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  5. Wow, I love this post. Such beautiful reflections!! It actually made me smile to read it. God is so good. I look forward to hearing more about your thoughts! And seeing what God has in store!!

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  6. I think your answer is that "God hasn't given us any yet."

    It always amazes me when people judge others based on the size of their family. Raising children is not the path every couple takes. Nor should it be. And I have been on the receiving end of negative comments about the size of my family, and frankly, I don't feel that it is very large, but still, people like to comment.

    Don't let it get to you.

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  7. "It may be that God gives us none, and while I'm sure it seems crazy to some of you, I would be okay with that."
    I can't see any reason why you should feel guilty for being okay with whatever it is that God has in store for you! I think that is a great attitude, and it may be part of the grace that God has given you to handle your situation in life.

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  8. I have a few friends struggling with infertility, and I felt incredibly guilty about my two "accidents"... Kids are strange animals - they never *always* feel like blessings OR curses. They have good days and bad days just like adults, but they Really.Suck at expressing that.. :) Frankly, there are days that I wonder why ANYONE would actively want children! (Which is why I'm especially grateful that my second "accident" happened - because I was nowhere near ready to PLAN for EP's competition!!)

    I admit that I have a major issue with the explanation that "God hasn't blessed you *yet*" That's ridiculous! You came into this world blessed and there's nothing you can do (or not do) to stop it!

    xo

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  9. A simple answer is, " it hasn't been our time but we know God will take care of it for us". Live in the present and try not to feel guilty. What will be, will be. We love you and Cliff.

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