In the marriage prep course, some couples try to tell us that our culture is not opposed to babies. And I think to myself, “Oh yea, then why do I get all the weird stares with a pregnant belly and 3 small kids in tow? It’s a regular thing for cashiers and strangers to tell me they don’t know how I do it.”
Sure, we aren’t opposed to babies as long as they are healthy, convenient, or wanted. As long as there are only one or two of them so summer vacations and sports schedules don’t get too hectic or expensive. As long as we can stay in control of our successful careers and live in big houses. Sure, we aren’t opposed to kids as long as they don’t upend the way we want to live our life.
And then there’s always abortion and Plan B – and contraception for heaven’s sake – to make sure “accidents” don’t happen. That’s the responsible thing to do so we don’t have a bunch of wild, unplanned kids running around like they are ferocious beasts.
Like a child should ever be seen as an accident? Or to forget that children turn into adults someday? I don’t think God ever makes mistakes…
From Amoris Laetitia:
“The gift of a new child, entrusted by the Lord to a father and a mother, begins with acceptance, continues with lifelong protection and has as its final goal the joy of eternal life. . . expectant mothers need to ask God for the wisdom fully to know their children and to accept them as they are. Some parents feel that their child is not coming at the best time. They should ask the Lord to heal and strengthen them to accept their child fully and wholeheartedly. It is important for that child to feel wanted.
He or she is not an accessory or a solution to some personal need. A child is a human being of immense worth and may never be used for one’s own benefit. So it matters little whether this new life is convenient for you, whether it has features that please you, or whether it fits into your plans and aspirations. For children are a gift. Each one is unique and irreplaceable… ” AL 170
So we need to look at our attitude towards children. As Pope Francis said, they are not a solution to a personal need and it doesn’t matter if they are convenient to you. Children are a gift, simply because they are created by God. Yes, BabyCenter is a hit and Pinterest is filled with tons of baby shower ideas, but what is our attitude behind the children we are welcoming into the world?
Would we have aborted them if we knew they had some “defect” or disability? Were they conceived using IVF, sperm donors, surrogacy, or other means not connected to the procreative act of sex? Do we use contraception when not trying to get pregnant, thus separating your fertility from the marital embrace and the renewal of your marriage promises during intercourse? Do we see the birth of our children as an accomplishment or a status symbol? Do you want a maximum of 2 children and will never consult God on the matter of any more than that?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, or would answer yes to any of these questions if you found yourself in that situation, then it’s time to look at your promise in marriage to be “open to life.”
NFP can be used effectively to space your children, while still keeping to your promise at the altar to be open to life. Contraception works directly to prevent conception. NFP never blocks conception, it just means you aren’t having sex during fertile times if you don’t wan to get pregnant. NFP is the only way to be faithfully open to life during your entire marriage. Abortion is killing an innocent life, no matter if we think they would be unwanted or disabled. Their value is not in what they can do for us, but in being a human person, plain a simple. Lastly, if one is struggling with infertility, you could seek a NaPro Technology doctor to help you find the causes of your infertility or treatments that respect the sacredness of the sexual act in marriage. In-vitro and sperm donors do not do that.
In short, we need to look deep into our attitude towards the gift of children. We need to form our consciences according to the teachings of the Church and trust that following the Church’s teachings are going to protect the creation and dignity of each new life, allowing us to be faithful to our promises in marriage and cultivate an attitude of being open to life, no matter how many kids we have.