"Responsible" Parenthood

Started by Josephine87, February 06, 2023, 03:56:24 PM

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Josephine87

I'd like to ask your opinions, advice, etc. about a discussion I had with a friend.  Let's call this friend A.  She is in her 40s and has a lot of children and is resentful about the last few.  She doesn't want to have that many.  She wants to do all the "fun" stuff with her older ones.  She feels tied down having a baby and toddler "yet again".  She is giving in to those bad feelings.

We were discussing a mutual friend, who I will label Friend B.  Friend B is also a mom in her 40s.  She has a "small" family and one child has health issues that require regular trips to a special doctor at a hospital.  She has had some miscarriages since her last one but was always hopeful to have another. 

Now, Friend A thinks Friend B is irresponsible to want a baby when she has this child that needs regular hospital visits.  I was a bit floored by this perspective.  Even part of me was a little angry and rude-thinking toward my friend who, yes, is blessed with many children to look down on and criticize someone who hoped to have another child before her fertility is gone.

I am curious what to think about all of this.  I am reflexively on the side of "let the children come as God gives them to you".  But I can't help but feel the sting of that term "irresponsible".  I'm just curious what you all think about that, or if you can share other situations where you have experienced that attitude.  I honestly couldn't believe it was coming from my traditional Catholic friend!
"Begin again." -St. Teresa of Avila

"My present trial seems to me a somewhat painful one, and I have the humiliation of knowing how badly I bore it at first. I now want to accept and to carry this little cross joyfully, to carry it silently, with a smile in my heart and on my lips, in union with the Cross of Christ. My God, blessed be Thou; accept from me each day the embarrassment, inconvenience, and pain this misery causes me. May it become a prayer and an act of reparation." -Elisabeth Leseur

Instaurare omnia

Does she tend to speak this way now and then when frustrated/sad, or is it a consistently rational and deliberate pattern? If the latter, does she usually choose to speak her mind come what may, or is she perhaps trying to elicit your opinion in a roundabout manner, maybe to get sympathy for how she feels about her own situation?

I totally agree with you as to the blessings of children even in difficult circumstances. But sometimes people can have a rough style of communicating.
Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem, frustra vigilat qui custodit eam (Psalm 126:2).
Benedicite, montes et colles, Domino: benedicite universa germinantia in terra, Domino (Daniel 3:75-76).
Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation (Psalm 145:2-3).

coffeeandcigarette

I can only speak from my own perspective. When you are getting older and you keep having baby after baby is does get exhausting. It also gets more dangerous. That is why women in the world don't do it. It takes a huge amount of self-sacrifice. If your friend is starting get burn-out (and knowing she can't do anything about it because she is Catholic and her husband is still interested) I totally understand her venting and wishing she could just be done. Wanting to do fun things with your older kids is a legitimate desire. It is hard when you want to go for hikes, rent a boat, travel, even just go to a museum, etc, and you cannot because it is too hard/expensive/chaotic to drag all 8/9/10/11 of your children there. You want to enjoy your older kids and give them neat experiences, but you are "stuck" with a bunch of babies. That is a really frustrating thing. Now, is it a first world/modern world problem? Yes but that does not mean it isn't real.
  I am sure she didn't really mean that your "friend B" was irresponsible. It is more likely that from her perspective, friend B should be grateful she doesn't have to juggle pregnancy, morning sickness, a house full of tiny babies, etc, with a handicapped child. I know many women with handicapped children who struggle greatly because the one child needs 90% of their time/money/effort/attention, and they have many other kids.
 

Josephine87

Thank you both for sharing your perspectives. It helps to hear from someone else what might be going on and it is probably just venting. I think what "hurts" so to speak is I'm still in my 30s and I have a lot of friends in their late 20s and early 30s. They are still excited to have big families but since they "only" have 2 to 5 children, it seems like my "Friend A" is dumping cold water on their (and my) enthusiasm. But I do think there is a need to be less "rose-colored glasses" about motherhood since there are some real challenges!
"Begin again." -St. Teresa of Avila

"My present trial seems to me a somewhat painful one, and I have the humiliation of knowing how badly I bore it at first. I now want to accept and to carry this little cross joyfully, to carry it silently, with a smile in my heart and on my lips, in union with the Cross of Christ. My God, blessed be Thou; accept from me each day the embarrassment, inconvenience, and pain this misery causes me. May it become a prayer and an act of reparation." -Elisabeth Leseur

Greg

Change your definition of fun things.

Most people think fun things are doing what other people tell them are fun.  But there is fun to be had in all sorts of activities.

Family games are fun.  Karaoke is fun.  Blowing up old microwave ovens is fun.  You can have fun getting your children to tidy the house if you know how to make it into a game and keep changing the game.

Kids should be fun.  They always were to me.
Contentment is knowing that you're right. Happiness is knowing that someone else is wrong.

Traditionallyruralmom

#5
As a mom of 9, 25 down to 3 i can understand where A is coming from, if she lets her mind dwell on bitterness and discontent.   This point of view is very " natural" in our modern culture to adopt even by trad women because quite frankly we are all poisoned by the world's way of thinking.  If we are not careful with our thoughts, and beg God to renew our minds we can certainly easily embrace the thinking that our numerous families are a burden. 
She is venting to you of her temptations against her duty of state and projecting all of the results of her uncontrolled thoughts and emotions on your other friend.  Do not be discouraged.  Being a mom to a large family is hard.  Encourage friend A to realize if she keeps thinking her end babies are somehow keeping her from being present in her older children's lives, she is going to create that reality in her family for sure. 
Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat.

Maximilian

Quote from: Josephine87 on February 07, 2023, 08:34:44 PMBut I do think there is a need to be less "rose-colored glasses" about motherhood since there are some real challenges!

I totally disagree. We need to put more effort into having rose-colored glasses, not less. Happiness in life is all about accepting what God has ordained for us. Look at the apostles. Even when they were chained in the depths of the prison, at midnight they were singing psalms and hymns! They considered every kind of suffering to be joy, while St. Paul called all the fun of the world "detritus" -- garbage that is thrown onto the dung-heap.

Having "rose-colored glasses" means looking at the world the right way. In some respects one might even say that this is our main job in life. If we get this one thing right, then everything else will follow.

Julio

Quote from: Greg on February 07, 2023, 10:34:09 PMChange your definition of fun things.

Most people think fun things are doing what other people tell them are fun.  But there is fun to be had in all sorts of activities.

Family games are fun.  Karaoke is fun.  Blowing up old microwave ovens is fun.  You can have fun getting your children to tidy the house if you know how to make it into a game and keep changing the game.

Kids should be fun.  They always were to me.
Reposted brother for great thoughts. Indeed, fun is about family for the love of God.

Julio

Quote from: Maximilian on February 08, 2023, 11:35:19 AMI totally disagree. We need to put more effort into having rose-colored glasses, not less. Happiness in life is all about accepting what God has ordained for us. Look at the apostles. Even when they were chained in the depths of the prison, at midnight they were singing psalms and hymns! They considered every kind of suffering to be joy, while St. Paul called all the fun of the world "detritus" -- garbage that is thrown onto the dung-heap.

Having "rose-colored glasses" means looking at the world the right way. In some respects one might even say that this is our main job in life. If we get this one thing right, then everything else will follow.
When I was much younger, I thought that driving expensive cars, living in luxurious house, travelling and parties were fun. No, they are not for the real fun is anything that is pleasing to God. Freedom is obedience to the will of God and I fully agree with everything that your wrote.

Greg

Quote from: Traditionallyruralmom on February 08, 2023, 04:11:25 AMAs a mom of 9, 25 down to 3 i can understand where A is coming from, if she lets her mind dwell on bitterness and discontent.   This point of view is very " natural" in our modern culture to adopt even by trad women because quite frankly we are all poisoned by the world's way of thinking.  If we are not careful with our thoughts, and beg God to renew our minds we can certainly easily embrace the thinking that our numerous families are a burden. 
She is venting to you of her temptations against her duty of state and projecting all of the results of her uncontrolled thoughts and emotions on your other friend.  Do not be discouraged.  Being a mom to a large family is hard.  Encourage friend A to realize if she keeps thinking her end babies are somehow keeping her from being present in her older children's lives, she is going to create that reality in her family for sure. 

It is hard, but do it right and you are a heroine and will be remembered for 2 or 3 generations.

From a Roman honour perspective of the world think what you have done.  It is amazing.  9 people and all their descendants get the chance of salvation.

It always makes me laugh when listening to Jordan Peterson and various secular biologists and psychologists talking about "evolutionary pressure to spread our genes", explaining why people sleep around or have a desire to pair bond and yet this evolutionary pressure seems to be quickly squashed by a 2nd BMW in the driveway or the desire to work in an office job until 30, because all the other sheep are doing that.

It seems in their evolutionary model that humans have an innate desire to copulate but it does not need to end up in actually spreading their genes by children being born. Kind of stupid.
Contentment is knowing that you're right. Happiness is knowing that someone else is wrong.

diaduit

I dunno, something is off in the comment from Mum A.  All mums feel the burn out of young babies and it is a totally normal feeling but you don't get to finger wag at someone else and make snarky comments about their lives.  Its the 'responsible' parenting comment that irks me, like she is judge and jury on what is responsible.  Nah, she doesn't get a free pass on the snarky comment.

Josephine87

It is difficult to communicate tone on the internet. It was not snark but more like "what on earth is she thinking?!" I think my friend is in a bad place, mentally, and possibly spiritually. I don't know how to help her or what is best to say. It's like "she's heard it all before" and doesn't want to hear it again. I have been praying to know what's best. Maybe you all could say a prayer for her too. Thank you!

Sometimes I look at myself and my younger friends and how we are still so optimistic and nowhere near the point of "we're done having kids". I pray we continue to be open to God's plan for us.
"Begin again." -St. Teresa of Avila

"My present trial seems to me a somewhat painful one, and I have the humiliation of knowing how badly I bore it at first. I now want to accept and to carry this little cross joyfully, to carry it silently, with a smile in my heart and on my lips, in union with the Cross of Christ. My God, blessed be Thou; accept from me each day the embarrassment, inconvenience, and pain this misery causes me. May it become a prayer and an act of reparation." -Elisabeth Leseur

OCLittleFlower

Burn out is very real, especially if one is living without a community or extended family to help. It sounds like she's burnt out and could use some breaks, some babysitting, etc, every now and then to get perspective.
-- currently writing a Trad romance entitled Flirting with Sedevacantism --

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