Revisiting This Whole Wanting More Children Topic…

Almost as soon as I posted this last week, I started questioning my words. No, not questioning where I am emotionally with the idea of “being done” but questioning the use of the word “want” with regards to children.  I received some comments on my Facebook posting of the blog that made me think and continued the conversation via inbox there.  Thank you, to that dear friend of mine, for the thought-provoking commentary, it was well-accepted and needed.  🙂


Then, I read Leila’s post today and I knew I had to revisit this.  


Because even though I knew what I meant when I wrote my words, I worry that my published words may lead others astray and that’s a responsibility that I do not take lightly.


A few years ago, I had another blog, that…in a fit of early pregnancy hormones I deleted (I mused for about 15 months on a blog called, “Musings of a Catholic Lady.”)  On that blog, I once displayed my heart with regards to how many children I wanted and that I knew that no matter how many children I was blessed with, I would want them all because God wanted them and wanted me to have them.


Over the past year, #5 – Vincent – has grown, learned much and captured my heart as only a unique little baby boy can.  And…I have wondered if he is the last blessing I receive in my womb.  I don’t know if he is, of course.  In wondering that, I have wondered whether Craig and I would actually TRY to conceive in the future and that led to the posts I have had as I try to work out my feelings about continued childbearing and family size discernment. 


There is a difference between accepting new life (whether you are open or not) and actively working to achieve that end.  We know through our use of NFP and our history that we can increase our odds of a blessing behaving in certain ways and “taking a chance” isn’t the same thing as active pursuit.  It could be that I should have used the words “active pursuit” instead of “want” somehow as I discussed this discernment.


I don’t intend to diminish the sadness I feel about the window of fertility closing.  I am sad.  The thought of never giving birth again and the thought of never cuddling a tiny piece of me close to my heart in the wee hours of the morning during the early weeks (or not-so-early as the case may be) of a newborn’s life gives me great pause.  Should the message from God ring loud and true (sometime in the span of the next 8-10 years) that my time is up, I have a feeling I will be sad enough to cry about it.  But I worry that my post last week did diminish this and since that was not my intent, here I am to clarify.


A much wiser woman than I once wrote in a space I cannot remember, but I know it was on the internet that she and her husband are open to more children, but they hope that God has finished.  Perhaps that is more the sentiment I hope to convey.  


In the end, I truly feel as I said then…that should we be blessed with another baby, we’ll want the baby, because God wants the baby and wants us to have the baby.  


Should it be the case, that God has not finished with us, I am confident that we will love and cherish her/him and know that our family wasn’t complete until he/she came along.  

 

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Monday Mumbles – 29

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Happy Memorial Day!  Forgive the tardiness of my posting. 


1.  I took all five kids on a whirlwind tour of Northern Illinois – Southern Wisconsin this weekend.  We took off around 3:00 p.m. Friday and returned home around 1:30 this morning.  Whew is about all I can say.


2.  My gracious brother offered us his humble abode in Naperville, IL for the night Friday and I humbly accepted.  At first I wondered if I would regret not going on the extra 2 hours to Milwaukee, but as we approached Naperville, IL, I was very happy to be almost done with driving for that portion of the trip.  


3.  We got up Saturday morning, had some breakfast and began the gargantuan task of bathing everyone and getting everyone dressed up for a wedding.  Surprisingly, this task was made quite a bit easier by the humongous tub in my brother’s master bathroom.  Holy cow it was like a little pool!!  So, I just ran all the kids through there…I did Vincent first with very little water, then worked my way up.  The kids all had a blast.


4.  We made the 2 hour trek north and arrived at the church with 20 minutes to spare!  It was a lovely service (not Catholic…not that it matters, but just in case anyone wondered).  Then there was a bit of a break, enough for me to head to the hotel, check us in and unload my purse-on-wheels.  Some of the cousins came by to hang out…

Here is my newest baby nephew, Jack.  He is very sweet.  He reminds me so much of Vincent at this age (he is 3 months):

 
5.  The reception was lovely.  They had a separate room for children 6 and Under to eat and watch videos or color or play.  Dominic was way cool with it.  Helen was a bit put out that her sisters got to go to the “big people” party and she couldn’t, but she eventually made do.  Vincent…well, let’s not talk about Vincent.  I don’t think he was too happy to be away from me, but he’s NEVER happy to be away from me.  *sigh*


6.  It was nice to see family we hadn’t seen for awhile.  

Sarah and Dani with a couple of cousins

Jenna and Dani

With my cousin, Joan

We got back to the hotel in one piece and basically crashed.  (My kids love dancing, so they were exhausted.)

7.  Drove by to see my father on the way out.  We got to town in time to attend his parish’s 12:15 Sunday Mass, so we were able to check that off the list.  🙂  At our parish, we sing the Agnus Dei in latin and it’s kind of solemn.  Yesterday, they were doing some kind of round in which “My peace I give to you” was interspersed with “Lamb of God” phrases.  It was kind of frustrating.   It was interesting, though, to have Sarah turn to me as they “performed” (that is really what it seems like they are doing) their version of the Agnus Dei and she said, “Mom, something just doesn’t feel right about this.”   So, I guess I wasn’t alone in my discomfort anyway.


8.  Craig and I took the kids to the amusement park today.  It’s so nice having season passes.  We can go and just spend a couple of hours and not feel like it was a wasted trip if we don’t do everything.  Dominic got to go on lots of kiddie rides, and I went with the big girls on some of the bigger kid rides.  Dani and Sarah have been talking a big game about riding one of the coasters and today it went by a few times while we were in the kid-portion of the park.  I asked the girls if they were ready to ride it with me and they both said, “No!”  Sarah said, “I want to ride it…sometime this summer, but I’m not ready today.”  


9.  We need a new vacuum.  Craig has been checking them out on Consumer Reports and such.  Buying a vacuum is such a chore, really.  What kind do you have?


10.  Hope you had a great Memorial Day!

7 Quick Takes (25)

— 1 —
I heard of a dissident group called C.atholics f.or C.hoice.  And I decided to visit their page to see what they are all about.  How sad it made me!  Unfortunately, there are millions of people out there who think it is okay to claim the Catholic without accepting the doctrines and dogmas.  I’m confused as to why they want to claim the faith that denounces all the things they think are good.  My first thought is…”Why don’t you just go down to your Uni.tarian church?  Sounds like you’ll fit in just swell there.

— 2 —

There is an ad on their home page that says “Good C.atholics Use C.ondoms.”  And they claim that the U.S. Bishops are trying to redefine religious freedom.  I hate to break it to them, but the Constitution is pretty clear on the whole religious freedom thing…the bishops are speaking out against this administration’s overreach.

— 3 —

I had kind of assumed this group might be one of those that is full of squishy “I’m personally opposed to abortion, but think it should be legal anyway” Catholics.  But no…this group is blatantly pro-abortion!  It seems to be just another arm of Planned Parenthood…or maybe just an extension of the Progressive Party…only they try to disguise what they are promoting as good because they call themselves Catholic! 

— 4 —

While it’s difficult for me to understand why allowing entire generations to be wiped out through the scourge of abortion could be a good thing, they most likely believe that there is some end that justifies the holocaust.  I imagine there is a good number of them that promote “mercy killing” babies in the womb who might, should they be born, have to suffer with Down’s Syndrome or Trisomy 28 or something like that. 

— 5 —

As I just thought of that, I realize that there’s not many more ways to plunge to the depths of sadness and darkness than to contemplate why people consider themselves knowledgeable and powerful enough to determine that it’s better for some to have their lives abruptly and painfully ended in their own mother’s womb than to live with a genetic or mental disorder.  As I contemplated that, I kind of imagined what it might feel to have a Dementor administer “the kiss” and maybe that cold, empty feeling is what prompts someone at some point to decide that death for another is better than allowing that person to live.  (And if you haven’t read Harry Potter, you most likely have no idea what I’m talking about.  My apologies.)

Okay…I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.  It was one dark hour I spent visiting said homepage, reflecting and imagining and trying to walk in the shoes of a person who claims the Catholic faith and also supports human destruction.  <<>>

— 6 —

I am traveling this weekend with the kids to a family wedding!  You know, I never think much of loading up the kids and heading somewhere.  Every now and then I am reminded that perhaps this is unusual, that I am willing to take all five kids somewhere all by myself.  I realize that my upbringing most likely prepared me to feel comfortable doing this.  My mom was a single mother who raised five kids on her own.  And when we went on a trip to see grandparents or even went to swim meets on occasion, we all five loaded up in the car and mom took us all by herself. 

— 7 —

Do you have special plans for Memorial Day weekend?  After we get back in town, I hope that Craig and I will take all the kids to our amusement park on Monday.  It should be fun!

Have a fabulous weekend.  Please visit Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes!

I Don’t Want Any More Children

Disclaimer:  I think I’ve made it pretty clear before, that I strive to want what God wants for me.  However, I’m also human and sometimes I get the urge to say (or write!) something that betrays my human nature and desires.  This is one of those times.

I don’t want any more children.
At first, I thought I should write, I don’t THINK I want any more children.  But then I knew…that was not true.
Next I thought that perhaps I should write that I don’t want any more children…RIGHT NOW.  And that would be more truthful than I don’t THINK I want any more children, but it still might not be completely truthful about how I feel.
I don’t want any more children.  I don’t necessarily want to be all that open to more children.  I’ve had five and today I think and feel like that’s enough for me.  I’m 38 years old, I’ve been a mother to young children for 11 years now.  
Today I feel like I need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Today I need to know that the need for diapers will end.  Today I need to know that there will come a day when I will take all my children to the amusement park with no stroller and we can all stand in line and ride the same ride at the same time.  I need to know there will come a day when I can head out for a run and leave the kids at home for 30 minutes (all of them).  Or heck, maybe I can bring them all with me and not worry that someone is going to run out in the street unaware of a car coming right at them.
I know, this is some kind of sacrilege, right? I feel like I sound ungrateful. 
It sounds harsh. Honestly, if you read my blog very often, it almost sounds like the blog has been hijacked or something.  Does it not?
But this is how I feel today.  
But today…I hope we’re done. 
I’m nervous to write this.  Ever since Craig and I committed to living our marriage in accordance with the teaching of our faith, we have always remained reluctant to put ourselves in the “we’re done” category because…what if?  What if we take a chance some cycle down the road and God blesses us with another baby?  What if things get confusing and we don’t know what’s going on and all of a sudden, we find out another baby is on the way?  What then?  
Well, here’s what then…we do what we’ve always done and we accept that baby and we love that baby and realize that our family wasn’t complete until that baby came along.
Today I realize that it is okay if we are done.  We’re busy.  We’re crazy and loud and we have a lot of fun.  We’ll continue to be all of that if our family grows…or it doesn’t.
No, I won’t abandon NFP and go get anything permanent done and I won’t start pumping my body with carcinogenic hormones or buy out the store’s supply of barrier contraceptive products.  
Something clicked today and I realize life will be okay – life may even be very good – if we continue to feel called to avoid pregnancy for the long haul.  Surely there will be days like the one last week when it’s hard and annoying and unpredictable.  But perhaps there will be many days like today where it’s easy to know the course and I am able to start actively looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday Mumbles – 28

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It is Monday again.  Holy cow, Memorial Day is coming up, my kids are out of school starting Thursday at noon.  It’s Summer!


1.  I finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban last night with Sarah.  We’re going to dive into Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire next.  It took us a little too long to get that third one, so I want to keep going…the story really picks up in #4 if I remember correctly.


2.  We had a blast at field day Friday at the girls’ school.  They had all kinds of fun games and activities.  


3.  Helen got a second place in what they called Golf which was a croquet type of game.


4.  Dani got a first place in an egg-relay race.


5.  All the girls got various group awards with their class.  I thought it was cute that Dani’s class got the award for looking like they were having the most fun.  It completely does NOT surprise me because her class is really good at that.  They are all just happy kids, happy to be whatever age they are and very much live in the present.  I love that about Dani and her friends.


6.  Our Diocese ordained 6 men to the priesthood Saturday.  God is so good!


7.  We went to the Mass of Thanksgiving for the newly ordained priest who was assigned to our parish last summer as a deacon yesterday.  His comments to his mother at the end made me cry.  What a huge blessing for him and his family and for all of us that he heard God’s call to serve and answered!


8.  We are getting a second priest (also just ordained Saturday) at our parish.  This is huge.  Our parish has just about doubled in membership in the last two years.  I’m so glad our pastor will get some help.  I am very much looking forward to an even stronger religious presence in our school.  We have a nun who teaches 8th grade/middle school and I think it would be fantastic to have our new associate working regularly in our classrooms.  How cool is that!?!?


9.  With summer approaching, I was considering just how I was going to divide my time this summer getting reading in with all the kiddos.  Sarah doesn’t necessarily need me to read with her anymore, but she enjoys reading with me, so I don’t want to take that away.  Dani has never really liked reading with me before, but last night asked if we could read a book together, so I will need to start reading more with her.  And Helen and I just got through her first chapter book and she is ready for a new one.  Factor in the fact that I need to continue to read to Dominic and Vincent regularly and my evenings are going to be busy with books!  Maybe I should make up a schedule.  The kids really like stuff like that.  I could assign one night of the week exclusively to each girl and Dominic and then Vincent can sit in any ol’ time.  🙂


10.  Mondays are hard sometimes.  Helen threw me down guilt trip lane this morning after I told her what days I have off work over the summer.  Sigh.


Have a great Monday!

7 Quick Takes (24)

— 1 —
I have successfully parented three children through Kindergarten.  Before I had children, I never thought that much of a feat.  To be honest, I still don’t, but it sure is fun!  🙂  Helen and her classmates were so cute.  They read the readings and petitions at Mass for the all-school Mass yesterday morning (Helen had a petition — she did great!) then had a fun little program where they sang some songs for us parents, received a certificate of completion from the Principal and we all watched a slideshow.  After that, the kids got a balloon they were allowed to go outside and release which they all loved.  I thought I was going to cry…and I somewhat teared up, but nothing like I expected.  I shed more tears on the first day of school.  It’s fun to watch my kids grow up.

— 2 —

Here are a few pictures:

The cake!  She got every name on it!

The St. Andrew the Apostle Parish School Class of 2020 🙂

There’s my baby girl

Father trying to get everyone set to have a prayer

Helen receiving her certificate

She’s got her balloon ready

They got ready to release the balloons

Helen and me

Craig and me with our three youngest

Helen with her teachers
— 3 —

The summer is quickly approaching.  Ack!  Sarah has a week-long camp early in June, put on by Challenge (a Catholic club for girls).  She’s also registered to play summer volleyball and keep her skills moving along and be prepared for the fall.  We have season passes to the local amusement park and we bought a family pass to the Municipal Pool, adjacent to our community center.  We have plenty of stuff to do this summer and I’m betting with the ages of our children, we are going to be hopping all summer long!

— 4 —

Had an interesting e-mail exchange with my husband after I wrote this post.

Husband e-mail subject line:  I just read your blog…
Husband e-mail body:  something you want to tell me?
My reply:  No.  Why?
This led to a phone call in which I found out that it seems he was “reading between the lines” and wondering if I was preggers.
I was a little miffed and thought and then said, “Do I have to put a disclaimer on every post where I ponder whether we’re going to have another baby or not?”
Because…you know…remember this post a few weeks ago?  See what I mean?

— 5 —

But, you know…perhaps I should put a disclaimer on every post where I wonder if I’m done having children.  I mean, it’s not like I’m going to know for SURE for another decade or so.    (sorry…that’s not nice)

— 6 —

Do you want to see a very busy 11-month-old?

— 7 —

Holy cow, guys!  I am less than 50 page-views away from 20,000.  That is crazy.  Stat counters give some interesting information.  Here are my top three posts…ever!  🙂

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Please have a great weekend and visit Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes!