I am taking a small break from the normative subject matter of this blog to talk about something that is on my heart. As my wife and I celebrate the birth of our second daughter, Sophie Marie, it has given us a lot of time to reflect on parenthood. Nobody questions that raising infants is hard- except for people who do not have kids. I have been reflecting though on the reaction of my peers, and possibly that of society at large.
From the moment I told people of my wife's pregnancy I was greeted with well wishes and positive words. Then there were those who, knowing of the young age of our oldest daughter Vivian, who cast judgement on us. I have interacted with people, who even though they certainly can express their concern over the well-being of my wife and I, who dump their negativity and judgement of family planning on us.
So much of the traditional views in society that I was brought up with have been challenged and are now no longer the "popular view". Marriage between any two people of the opposite or same sex is viewed as a norm (and even keeping it to that definition is already being challenged). A couple should not be having children before they are 30. When a couple, married or not married, has children they should only have 1 or 2 (but not close together). Couples who have more than two kids are selfish, irresponsible, and generally enemies to mankind. Parents who homeschool their children are suspicious and non-conforming to the rest of society.
My wife and I fall into the category of having two children so close to each other and having children in our mid/late 20's. I am greeted with the question "so what are you guys going to do?" This question was put to us before and after the birth of our second daughter. Now what are we going to do? I feel like people might be disappointed with an answer like "act like responsible parents and love our two kids" or "Thank God that he has blessed us with two beautiful children."
While individuals are a pleasant exception, society-at-large has lost the fact that children are a blessing to a married couple. The propagation of the species is an important duty for families. The expectation of a child is an occasion worthy of celebration. I cannot even look at my daughters and think if these kids diminished my life in any way. My daughters have amplified the quality of my life. I feel completely blessed, and extremely unworthy, to be raising two daughters- teaching and giving them thoughts about God, the universe, nature, life, class, manners, love, self-esteem, friendship, and all infinite things that a parent passes off to his or her children.
Now, a lot of this may not surprise anyone. People can watch television and see these perspectives dripping from the media. Yet, a person may not yet realize that they are helping contribute to this unfortunate state in our society. Consider how you react to news of a couple announcing their expecting of a child. Consider your thoughts about showing love to others, to children, to friends and family. Having children is definitely a trying task, but it is worth it. Instead of passing negativity and judgement, offer to pray for the couple and all the difficulties that they may go through. Offer positive wishes- that helps parents feel motivated to go home and be a great mommy and daddy.
Mother Mary, St. Joseph- please pray for us.