Last week, I got the chance to meet up with an old friend. And you know how it goes when girls “catch up” after a long time of not seeing each other: no topic is off limits. (On second thought, even if girls got to talk 7 days a week, we’d still talk about everything under the sun. It’s just the way we’re wired, I guess.)
Both of us mothers, me to my 3 and she to her 2, we eventually got to talking about the pressure we’ve gotten from some people to practice family planning, preferably artificial. (And without specifically naming who they are, let’s just say we shared the same surprise and disappointment over their position on the matter.) These well-meaning individuals feel it is their responsibility to remind us–educate us–about the difficulties of raising too many kids, or spacing them too close together (I’ve already shared a previous experience of this). While we recognized that their comments were borne out of love and concern for our welfare, we both wondered about the same thing:
Did they really think we were oblivious to the struggles of raising kids, ignorant of the whole concept of child spacing? That, faced with yet another pregnancy sprouting much sooner than planned, we didn’t worry about the health risks, our financial capability, or the daily stress of raising both infant and toddler?
We both agreed: when you’re already struggling and worrying about something, the last thing you want to hear people say is, “Don’t you know how hard it is? Aren’t you worried?!” We do, and we are–and your comments aren’t helping.
In the course of our conversation, it was inevitable that we would talk about my recent miscarriage. I explained how certain features seen on ultrasound led to the conjecture that some chromosomal abnormality was the likely culprit for the failure to reach term. It was nature’s way of participating in the “bigger picture” of survival of the fittest–only those healthy enough to thrive can make it through.
I told her that after losing the twins, I now look at my 3 little angels with a much greater appreciation of how miraculously beautiful they are. Really, a million things could have gone wrong from conception to the rest of 9 months, but for 3 times in my life, a billion things went right. Even children born with congenital abnormalities, when we really think about it, are little miracles; they should be held, and loved, as such.
And because life is such a miracle that we cannot even begin to fathom the depth of how a cell divides and differentiates into a being made after the image and likeness of God, we realize that we are in way over our heads when we try to keep a miracle from happening with the use of artificial contraception. When I think about my friends who are desperately trying and praying for a child, the truth that it is God who opens and closes the womb becomes more apparent to me. How our bodies are naturally equipped with means to space births is also a marvel of God’s creative genius. There is a profound sacredness when a womb opens to welcome a fertilized egg, an embryo, a fetus, a life. Who are we to interfere with that? Do we really want to say to God, “Oh no, You don’t! Don’t You go starting another miracle, You hear me?!”
Do you not realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you received from God? You are not your own property, then; you have been bought at a price. So use your body for the glory of God. –1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Of course we have our weak moments when we worry about having enough, being enough for our children. But when we stop and think about how life comes forth by the hand of God, we are compelled to believe that the same hand will take care of us, and provide us with everything we will ever need.