Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"I know you don't believe in birth control, but...."

Today I spoke with a friend of mine to tell her that I was pregnant. I originally decided to keep the news a secret from most people, family included, until I was ready to face the reality myself. But yesterday, when I was visiting my mom, my sister somehow got it out of me. She does that a lot, I could never keep anything from her. So, after that, the idea to keep it a secret extended only to certain family members and a few other people in our life.
My friend's first reaction was "you should really do something about the fact that you keep having kids...." I'm a little unnerved by this statement. I know she means well and given the fact that she doesn't really know me deep down, I tend to want to just dismiss her comment as unimportant. But at the same time, I have found myself in contemplation over the fact that as a society, the general attitude about children is one of viewing our God-given GIFT of procreation as a negative thing that needs to be controlled. One of my sisters and I had a discussion about this just a short while ago. As she said, it's like children are looked at as something that we allow in our lives only if we are ready, if we feel like we want the "burden" of them.

My friend said "I know you don't believe in birth control because of your religion but......." Right there, I just wanted to laugh out loud at her narrow view of what my beliefs are and her general assumption that I would do something just because someone told me to. I do believe in the authority of the Catholic Church but I have to feel like there is something to back up that authority. My heart-felt conviction on artificial birth control is that it completely closes the door to God in allowing for His work in my life in the aspect of procreation; which by the way is a beautiful aspect of human life that He created. If I do everything in my power to make sure I don't get pregnant just because I don't want to have more kids, I am cutting Him off from doing with my life what He wants to do. I can't pick and choose what aspects of my life I want God to be a part of, it has to be all.

I feel like in any situation, it would be cutting Him off. I am a little saddened by people who choose to do so for reasons such as not wanting more kids, not feeling like they can handle another pregnancy, etc. I am even more saddened by people who spend their life trusting God in every aspect except for this one. A friend of a friend of mine has a problem with her pregnancies in that it's dangerous for both her and the baby. It's almost life-threatening. So she and her husband decided they aren't having any more children because it's too dangerous. I have mixed feelings about this subject. On the one hand, I can't say that I wouldn't at least contemplate that idea if I knew that being pregnant was dangerous and I can't pretend to know how it feels to feel like you have to make a decision like that. But on the other hand, I just can't understand how you can be completely devoted to God in every aspect of your life except for this one, a major part of all human life. I don't get it. If God allows you to become pregnant, obviously knowing that you have this problem, there's a reason for it. Perhaps He gave you this problem as yet another way to turn your faith and trust to Him.
I don't feel like you can take the Word of God and say that it does or does not apply to you because you may or may not have a "special circumstance."

Back to my conversation with my friend, I think it's easy for her to see my being pregnant for the third time as something that is bad. She has some of the same concerns I initially do. The difference between us is that I have God to whisper in my ear words of encouragement and peace, reminding me of His infinite Love for me as His child and my friend doesn't see God as the ultimate One in control of our lives. Doubts and worries are normal feelings to have as a human being. Putting our faith and trust in Him is what calms them and diminishes them so that we may give more of our lives to Him. I can't pretend that I want a million kids just to want them. I don't. I want what God wants for me. If He wants me to have more children, I want to do so with the heart and mind that He is in control of my life and that I am mothering His children for His purposes.

Babies aren't accidents. God knows each and every child on this earth before they are even formed in their mother's wombs. He plans for everything.

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