Sunday, January 20, 2013

I just want to say one thing:

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.


  1. I agree with what you are saying and I have been in the same position at my parish where large families are abundant. I would have commented on that guy's comment, not to be rude but for him to realize how insensitive his words were.

  2. Hear hear! Completely agree 110%. I think a lot of the problem comes from equating "be open to life" with "have lots of children." Yes, the former often leads to the latter - but not always. At the heart of it, isn't holiness about following God's will in your state of life and the particular circumstances you've been given? I think what you're saying here is so important. Comments like that guys breed disunity in our church family and like you said just aren't true!! Sigh. (Also: I too dream of being a matriarch haha)

  3. Amen, amen. Been there, felt that. A family's size has as many stories behind it as any aspect of family life, and even "openness" manifests itself in so many different ways. Very well said.

  4. This is a good post and people need to think about what they say. Also, I am always interested to see the ways people do not fit in because I, too, feel that way being a work-outside-the-home-mom to a large family. Most families my size that are Catholic have stay-at-home moms with fathers as the primary breadwinners. That will never be my life. It took me a long time to accept it. and I still haven't found a place where I truly feel like I fit in. Thanks for writing this. It's important.

  5. Endless Strength, I am a WOTH mom too, and although I do not have a large family, I am constantly questioning our situation. But, like you have said on your blog, we just don't have the option for me to stay home. It's strange to say, because it feels immature, somehow, but it is hard to not fit in anywhere! It's a very lonely place.

    You should know that, as a WOTH mom with a large family, you are an inspiration to me. Oh, and congratulations on your pregnancy, momma!

  6. So true! And that kind of thinking also makes me feel like a failure as a single person who failed to get married and even if I were to get married would have a much smaller family if I had one just because I don't have that much time. Now, that kind of thinking in others is not nearly as big of a problem as it is when it is my own thinking along those lines. But a family with no children or one or two is every bit as beautiful as a big family!

  7. Just stumbled on your site somehow. I currently have one child and have been struggling for another for almost 2 years. I completely hear you on both counts of not feeling like you fit in with "only one" and living with the fear of not being able to have as many children as you feel you are being called to have. I'll keep you in my prayers!


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