To encourage you on your path of ….
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 four 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!
“If your large family brings ridicule from neighbors and even strangers, remember that you have a lasting treasure worth suffering for, and that the Lord called blessed those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook
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Well congratulations to everyone who is expecting!!! Is the picture new? Who is all expecting and when are the due dates?
HOpe and pray they are all safe, healthy, and holy pregnancies, deliveries and postpartum!!!
Thank you for post,I needed to hear that today.
It is so very sad, when we have such good news to share and cringe at the thought of family’s reaction.
Right now we are going through very hard financial difficulties, losing our home. We have nine children and I get so tempted to think of if only we had two children, I could be working and helping my husband and we wouldn’t be in this situation.Then one of my little one does the cutest thing, or they come up to me and telling how much they love me, or that I am the best mom in the whole world, I knock those feeling away and realize how truely blessed I am! I have had very serious complications with some of my pregnancies and the first thing my mom says ” you need to stop having more children, look how you are financially you don’t need anymore.”
I enjoy and always look forward to your posts, you are a blessing in the midst of so much evil!!! God bless you!
Thank you for your comment Lupe. God bless you and your husband! I will pray for your family. 😊
I cannot believe receiving this article today! I found out on Ash Wednesday that #6 is on the way, our eldest is 7.
It is hard once again to face the parents, friends and neighbours who can hardly find the word ‘congratulations’ at such news. We know that children are a blessing from God and feel truly humbled that He has seen fit to give us another of His precious ones.
Thank you for this beautiful article which has given me so much encouragement today!
Those parents who consider children to be a burden will eventually come to discover that they have raised children who consider parents to be a burden.
And congratulations to you and yours for the newest additions to the family.
I love this so much…. <3 One of my best friends just have her 11th child! And they are (still of course) open to life! How beautiful! And so many other Catholics I know have that look when its mentioned – that awkward, "oh…. ". Ugh. As if the poor mother of (X number of Kids) has enough on her plate without having people treating her like this? Humph. :\ Not very charitable in my opinion. After all… if God didn't WANT #11 William Rust to be born into this world… He would not have allowed it! Why don't people understand that each child is a GIFT? They may say they are gifts…. until the 5th, 6th, 7th come around and then its kind of like, "Oh…. well… enough is enough…." Jeeshhh! :\
Thank you for this article! Hopefully it inspires and lifts up other mothers! I hope to be one of those great mothers blessed with a ton of kids… crazy or not…. I can't wait ^_^ haha. God bless! <3
Oh! And CONGRATULATIONS! 😉
Love this! I was raised by a mother like you described and I wish I had known enough about my faith to fight harder for it when I was younger!
Thank you, Mrs. VanderPutten, for this. I have been very overwhelmed & discouraged lately. I have 10 children with “Irish Triplets” at the end. Two 1 year olds & a 2 year old have definitely been getting the better of me lately; along with homeschooling my older 6 & a 4 year old that always wants to do school, which means constant help from me. Your posts are always uplifting! Thank you for your wonderful blog. 💖 God Bless you.
Nada Leona Sheppard said:
“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.”
I can’t tell you how much this statement hurt me and I know it has hurt others who have read this article, although I see no other comments regarding that in your comment section. Sometimes that “choice” you speak of isn’t so easily made. It’s not always made so that there can be more lavish vacations, or bigger homes, or so that both parents can continue to work in the public sector. Sometimes that “choice” you speak of is because it is what is best for that family, and not just financially.
Sometimes it means not having more children because the burden of carrying those children is too hard on the mother’s body. Sometimes that means that she is taken away from her children for months at a time because she is so sick she cannot eat, drink, or even roll over in bed without getting sick. Sometimes it means her body becomes permanently sickened and has conditions that cannot be hoped away, and that take time away from the children she loves and treasures and wishes she could be there for. Sometimes, her doctors warn, those conditions take her to Heaven, and leave those children behind.
Sometimes that means that the father of those children cannot be home as much as he would like because now that there are so many mouths to feed, he must work so much and so long that they forget who he is, and look back on memories of him with sadness, for in their hearts, his hard work has become, “He was a workaholic father, distant and cold, and was never there for me.” Sometimes his work causes him such bodily injury that he cannot work any longer, or cannot hold and protect those children. Sometimes it means he cannot be there for them the way his heart yearns to be.
Sometimes that means that children are not able to be cared for or celebrated in the way they were meant to, because one or more of them have special needs that keep mothers in the hospital with them for days or weeks at a time, and thus taking that mother away from the other children, who so desperately need her. Sometimes that means missed birthdays, milestones, sporting events and opportunities to celebrate in those children.
And to say that they “don’t know how to raise those children” is just plain heartless. Do parents with only one or two children not know how to raise children simply because they don’t have the years of experience of multiples? What a cruel thing to say. Perhaps those naive first time mothers don’t always know what to do when their babies are crying at 3 in the morning or when their teenagers are struggling with emotions they have never experienced before, but that doesn’t mean that they are ignorant and know nothing. Remember, all parents were first time parents at one time, and all continue to be first time parents as their children grow older throughout their lives. A mother of multiples might know what to do with their following children as they hit the same road bumps over and over again, but when her 27 year old comes to her with a completely new burden she’s never experienced before, she’s that first time mom all over again. Because it’s a constant learning experience, and one that none of us know “everything” about, no matter how many diapers we’ve changed or fevers we’ve soothed. If you have the wisdom to share with another through experience and knowledge, the better thing to do is to support and encourage other mothers who are experiencing it for the first time, rather than look down on them because they’ve only had the experience once or twice.
Please consider your wording in the future. That “choice” you comment on so flippantly isn’t always made because the child is going to be a nuisance or a parent is lazy and selfish. That “choice” can be, and often is, made for the benefit of the family because another child, while loved and treasured, may not be given all they might need. There are women who struggle and stress each month, terrified of seeing that little plus sign again because they know that it isn’t the right time. NFP to prevent pregnancy is hard and stressful, and those families who choose to submit to Church teaching and not go the root of sterilization should be applauded and praised for being responsible and holy, not be put down for their “choices”. Having more children is a wonderful blessing if God has given you the resources to do it. But when He has given you other struggles and burdens, or when those resources just aren’t available, that does not take away the goodness and holiness of those smaller families who are doing their best to raise good, loving and happy families with what they have.
This is not meant to be a criticism on larger families either — many of us with fewer children would gladly open our arms to more if we were capable of doing so. But it is simply a reminder of what it’s like on the other side — having more children does not make you better or more righteous than those of us who have few. Recall that there are more than one way to be “open to life” — one can adopt, foster, sponsor and raise other children they didn’t give birth to. It would do well for mothers of many to remember this when they look snidely at those with only one or two little heads at the pews at Mass on Sunday.
Please know that I did not mean to offend anyone. We all have different struggles, that is for sure. And limiting our children, for serious reasons, is a cross in itself. My wording was probably too flippant, I am sorry about that. Those who follow this blog regularly know, I think, that I am not a put-downer. I have been through enough of my own struggles to know better. So forgive me if I offended anyone. God bless you and yours.
Our oldest turned 28 yesterday, and our youngest just turned 5. We “only” have 7, because of multiple losses over the years. The families with many children just naturally draw more attention than the smaller ones, in a parish as well as in the world. I have caught myself resenting the big families because everyone talks about them like they’re so holy because they have so many children. Yucky jealousy.
To mothers of large families: Please ask for help. Sometimes we of smaller families don’t want to come across as judgemental or condescending by offering our help.
Also, please don’t treat us like we’re sitting around eating bonbons and painting our nails, because we “only have a few”. We really do work hard all day (sometimes accomplishing little). But realistically, I can take a few loads of your laundry, or run your errands for a few hours, or organize a bookshelf, etc. etc.!
We of small families, are in awe of large families. Some of us yearn for more children. Some of us know probably, why God only gave us a few. In the end we’re all hopefully trying to get to Heaven. Let us help each other too!
And might I suggest the Litany Of Humility. 🙂
Nada, I have never know Leane to put down anyone. But she does stand up for in so many articles, through priests and others, what the Church has always taught.
NFP is regularly abused; my parents taught it years ago and it was beautiful but they left when the abuse swept through it.
With so many people deliberately choosing to have two, one, or none, those who are not blest can be overlooked. BUT it does not negate that God said, “Be fruitful and multiply.”
Many often look to their confessor for advice to have children, and can get liberal information. This is another most unfortunate scenario in these days.
Also, fathers have often worked long hours to support their families. In past times, families worked together and these times were the special times. In the book, Sins of Parents, it warns of fathers working for their own profit and desires while leaving the family to fend for themselves. If parents “miss” special events, it should be talked about with the children in advance so selfishness and anger to not enter.
I believe the Church has always allowed abstinence in the case of serious injury or death to the mother. But again in this time, their are alot of women who abuse it, as much as the Divorce or annulment is abused.
So many of the teachings, any of us could just stand and say, “well I have this reason I can’t do that, or I have this excuse, or my pastor said this, or that is picking on me.” I think we need to remember that Our Lord gives us guidance because we are weak. We just can’t throw out the rules, because someone thinks they are personally offended. Truth could not exist.
I have a friend, married 9 years, and no children and it hurts her deeply. But she is also the first one to stand up for a mother of many against the overwhelming cruelty of this modernistic world.
God bless, MA