I was reading around the blogs I usually follow, and I came upon an "about me" page by a blogger which spoke beautifully of openness to life and the beauty of the Church's teaching. It was a beautiful witness, and I love this woman's blog. But, I'm about to complain a minute, so that is why I'm not linking up to her blog here. The point is, this page, this wonderful witness, could have been written by any one of a number of faithful Catholic women out there who blog about their large families. I love to read these blogs about large families, and I love seeing pictures that prove the blogger and her husband's openness to life.
However, at the bottom of this blogger's page, a person commented that he was having a hard time convincing his wife as to why a family of "3 is not just as good as a family of 8." It is with this mentality that I take full issue. In fact, a family of three is just as good as a family of eight, if that family is open to life, and if that number of children is the number God gave them.
Now, I know this statement was written innocently enough, and people who say these things are really just trying to convey how wonderful they think big families are--which is great! Nevertheless, this kind of thinking is not only insensitive to those struggling to grow their families, but it is also just not true.
I admit, I come from a defensive standpoint, because I remember all too vividly the moments when I thought I would only have one living child. And I still live that fear. I still fear that I will not have as many children as I would love to have, and that we'll never be able to afford adoption (if I could get my husband on board). And I admit that I am part of a parish and broader community in which it is common to have large families (read: there are many Mormon families here, and the Catholic families at my parish are VERY open to life). It is not uncommon to see families with six children. One family at my parish has ten. If you have less than three children here, you actually do not fit in. This, of course, is exceedingly wonderful, and I am not bitter about it, but I have certainly struggled to find peace and acceptance in this community, having so few children.
Yet this is exactly the problem. My family, which only--at the present moment--includes one living child looks very small compared to families of eight and twelve. Some people in our parish may even think we are contracepting. Well, I don't really care about what they think of me, so much as what they think of my family.
You see, women with small families that are not by choice do not fit in to very many social groups. I don't fit in with secular society (which would think my single child was just great!) because I don't want to, and that isn't who I am. I don't fit in with the women who have eight children because (understandably) their lives are just so different from mine, and sometimes (just being real here) it's because they don't see me as an equal. I don't fit in with the newlyweds who don't have any children for obvious reasons. (Maybe I'm just complaining that I don't have any friends!)
Regardless of the accompanying circumstances and emotional accoutrements, what I need to express is that my family has just as much worth as any family, no matter how large. There, I said it. And if you know me, and understand what I've been through, then you'd know I have a family of five!
I love a large family. I want to be the matriarch of one. But my little family is enough for God. After all, He made it this way.