On Having Kids

Catholic Wunder-blogger Jen over at Conversion Diary has a new post up today detailing how she answers the question “Are you going to have more kids?” People ask her that because she has 6 already and also has a troubling, life-threatening blood clotting disorder that is exacerbated by pregnancy.  Her doctors have advised her against more kids, and I’m sure a cadre of family members and friends and readers have, as well.  It’s a really well-written article that I liked because it honestly explored the idea of what it means for families and what God’s will might be for them.  I think she does a great job explaining the Church’s teaching behind her decision and the choices and thoughts she has daily on the issue.

My thoughts are that I wish I could think the way she does, at least a bit more easily.

The other night my husband and I talked and realized that if we want our kids to be two years apart, we’d have to start trying again by this October.  And we looked at each other and had this sort of “Jesus take the wheel” moment where we were both totally freaked out.

We love our son – he’s amazing and wonderful and we’d like to have more children (my husband wants one more, but I’d like a couple!).  But that whole time flies thing…well, it really flies, and the rawness and reality of what those first 8 weeks or so after he was born were like is still pretty fresh.  Like I just now started doing that thing, “sleep when the baby sleeps,” that thing that I was supposed to be doing 7 months ago.  But my son never slept more than 20 minutes at a time, even at night.  And he sleeps like a champion now, but homeboy is almost a year old.  I still can vividly recall the murderous rage I was in watching my husband nap on the couch while I was still up feeding a baby that could never get full.  Even still I can’t figure out why everyone lies when they tell you that breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day.  Why would they do that to a person who has somehow gained more weight after the baby was born than she did while she was pregnant? Why???

All of this sounds so selfish, right? I know it does.  And as awful as a bunch of the early weeks were, they’re not deterring us from having more children.  But I’m not a selfless mother-saint who doesn’t care about sleep or weight gain or what’s fair or unfair when it comes to parenting.  I’ve changed a bunch, but I’m still in there too, and it’s hard for me to throw my likes/wants/etc. out the window.

I don’t know what God’s will is when it comes to having more children for us.  Maybe He will make me more selfless.  Maybe my kids’ll do something wonderful and fantastic and maybe they’ll even be saints someday.

Either way, I do applaud Jen’s decision – it’s not popular, but it’s courageous, and certainly inspired.

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