Have you had your well-meaning friends or maybe even your mother look at you in bewilderment when you tell them you are expecting…again?
Here is an excerpt from Motherhood and Family by Sister Mariel. S.S.S. It really causes you to wonder about the mentality??
“Lucy Smith is happily married to Jack and her mother likes him. Family relationships and attitudes have always been fair enough—until Lucy announced that her sixth baby was expected in due time.
“Oh, Lucille! Not again—so soon! Really…!”
Is it really respectable, Lucille, to have a sixth when the Joneses never have more than three?
Lucy, in consternation, wonders what in heaven’s name her mother thinks she should have done to keep up, or down, with the Joneses. And how will she take the advent of the seventh, eighth, and if-God-wills-it ninth grandchild? Mother never refers now to the coming baby any more cheerfully than she would speak of a coming World War III. But what would she have her daughter do? The nursery jingle comes to mind:
“Mother, may 1 go out to swim?”
“Why, yes, my darling daughter.
Just hang your clothes on a hickory limb.
But don’t go near the water.”
Mother, may I go out to swim in the ocean of God’s Love, trusting in His divine care, letting Him bear me up on the waves of His all-wise providence?
Why, yes, my darling daughter. By all means keep up the appearances. Make your Easter Duty and what-not. Get yourself and the children to Mass on Sundays and all that. But at the same time remember God helps those who help themselves. You simply have to give some consideration to the world and what it expects of you. Don’t sin exactly; but don’t go off the deep end on religion either. There is a happy medium, a nice compromise, somewhere. Find it.”
There are so many good Catholic mothers out there battling this scene and I have felt truly sorry for them.
You know, it is hard enough to be open to life when you are feeling overwhelmed….to want to do God’s will in spite of your natural inclination to give it a rest.
And then you have those well-meaning people in your life that Sister talks about. It would be one thing if it was just some worldly person off the street, but when it is those who are close to you…ouch!
You try to reassure them confidently that you know what you are doing….as the toddler is crying in your arms, your three year old is pulling on your skirt and the boys are wrestling in the background. Your hair is unkempt and you have circles under your eyes. You eke out a smile and tell them that you are very excited about it…..but it comes out kind of lame….probably because you feel like bending over the rose bush and throwing up… morning sickness, you know!
These people walk away asking themselves, “What is wrong with them? Don’t they know any natural ways to prevent this? Their lives are pandemonium already!”
And you look onward as they are getting into their nice new cars, going back to their homes to do….pretty much whatever they wish…..sigh.
Mothers….take heart!!! Your rewards will be so great for the sacrifices you are making! God is not outdone in generosity!
It will pay off.
We already know the spiritual benefits of being open to life or we wouldn’t be doing it. But there are many natural benefits too that God gives to mothers of large families.
One day, you will be able to have some of that freedom that you wish for now….and you will know you have earned it, which will make it very sweet! You might even be able to take a nap….gasp! Imagine that!
You will have your built-in babysitters, cooks and house cleaners. Your girls will be your friends (most of the time) and your boys will be……well, boys (hopefully they’ll cut the lawn for you and maybe even take out the trash!) Mine were usually working with their dad at an early age! 😀
And you will have so much more than that!! What can ever replace family….the joys and the love that goes along with it!? All the sacrifices that you have experienced will be part of your strong bonding together! You will suffer, laugh and celebrate together!
Such consolations will await you and you will look with pity at those who have the typical 2 kids through their own choice. They had no idea how to raise the kids and so they grow old and lonely as their kids quickly move on. Eventually these parents are put in a home because they are a burden….shudder.
So chin up, mothers! All good things come with pain and suffering…PAIN IS GAIN! Keep up the good work! God will reward you immensely!
I relate to Michael Pearl (though not quite as old 🙂 )
“Being old has its perks. There is peace in seeing the end results, at least when the results are good. I have lived through those times when I didn’t have a clue what to do or how to do it. I didn’t understand the whys and wherefores ….. Now I know that there wasn’t much to fear after all. As parents, we just needed to honor God, love each other, and enjoy our children the way they were. Then we could watch God give the increase.”
Natalie P said:
Okay, not exactly the topic of your post; but I had to giggle and kind of let go of some of my tension when I read “One day…You might even be able to take a nap….gasp! Imagine that!”. This has been a major fight for me lately. I’m simply not getting enough sleep and I realized the difference from 4 years ago is that I cannot take naps! I was resenting having to give up some of my “relaxation” and evening time with hubby in order to get the sleep I need. So having this in this article is a breath of fresh air for me and a reminder that this too is another sacrifice offered for our large family. On top of it, we ended up going to Topeka for Mass and the priest there was saying that we should strive to completely serve Christ in all things and let go of all the stuff we want to do. Obviously God is telling me to stretch a little bit more, right? Thank you for your post, I needed it.
That was very hard for me too…my naps. One can feel so sleep deprived and the naps become essential. It became increasingly difficult the more children I had. So I would rest on the couch with one eye open. That became more frustrating than just plugging through the day. Eventually I worked my way…I mean, life had its way of working my way out of needing one. Now I have time and babysitters but guess what?….most times, I just don’t take the time for a nap, even when I need one badly…..go figure. 🙂
This is one of the biggest struggle of having a large family. The stares, the gasps, the assumption that you are an idiot who mindlessly “breeds” while the rest of world does things that are worthwhile…
I do really hate when this happens, I know I need to just buck up and ignore people, but that is not easy for me.
Yes, Erin, it can be hard, but how much they are to be pitied…..
Claire Allen said:
My comment is a bit late as I haven’t been here since last week, but I just wanted to say Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for this post…I really needed to read this as I get ready to feed my newborn, my 4th of a bunch of kiddies 5 and under…this made me face the day with joy!!
So glad it lifted your spirits today, Claire!! 🙂