Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Refreshing Perspective

With Love. From, God --too cute!
Now that Augustine is old enough to really play with other children and we are interacting more with other Moms, I hear a lot about kids.  Specifically, there is a lot of talk about how many kids people want and what they are doing to ensure that they get exactly how many they want exactly when they want them. 

And, for the most part, they want two kids--preferably a boy and a girl--and only two kids.  {Please note that this in not the consensus of everyone I know, nor it is the mainstream thought among my close friends, but in interacting with casual acquaintances, and even strangers, I have noticed this trend lately}.

At play dates with my Mom's Group, I hear things like, "My husband would be perfectly fine with just the one, but I want another one and then we are definitely finished!,"

And a mom at Augustine's gym class the other day explained that the reason she found out the gender of her second baby {still in utero} is because he is the "last one."

And I know a plethora of couples who "got" their girl and their boy so they are finished,

Flying home from Chicago the other day, the fellow sitting next to me saw Augustine's "Big Brother" shirt and inquired.  "Oh, I am pregnant," I said.  Without missing a beat, he replied, "And that's the last one?" gesturing at my belly.  It was almost awkward to have a man whom I had known for less than 15 minutes assume that before my second child was even born, I, a young lady with plenty of childbearing years left, was "done."  "Oh no, I replied!  My husband is one of eleven, and I am one of five.  We hope to have 4 or 5 or 6."  He didn't ask any more questions about kids.

My perspective on the whole family planning thing has a lot of influences: 
I am from a big family. 
And from a moral standpoint, I can never accept abortion or artificial contraception.  

Yet even if I was from a small family and had no moral objections to birth control, I am also a bit crunchy a fan of the natural.  I like things to be natural.  I like it when people and things do what they were intended and designed to do.  For example, breasts--really and truly--were designed and intended to nourish wee ones...not that they don't enrich lives in other ways...but fundamentally, it is no coincidence that they begin producing milk at just the right time to nurse a new baby {I am not saying all women can breastfeed, just as not all women can have children, but I love God's natural design for us, as women, to be able to provide for our babies in that way}. 

Likewise, I also don't think it's a coincidence that women have the capacity to bear children.  I think it is all part of God's natural plan and that it is not something we were meant to fight against...or plan against...or control through artificial means.  Here we have this incredible gift of fertility, yet before they are even married couples know exactly how many children they want and how far apart they are going to be spaced.  It just seems so unnatural to me.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I ran into someone the other day with a very different perspective than the one I spoke about in the beginning.  This particular lady has been a friend of ours since we moved to Richmond over three years ago.  She was the first person in Virginia to know I was pregnant with Augustine--not because I told her or because I was showing, but because she just had a feeling after overhearing Luke's end of a phone conversation while they were riding home from a soccer game together.  He had urged me to take a nap and get plenty of rest, and apparently, that is all it took for her to know!  She is a 47 year-old woman with six children of her own--all boys, including a set of teenage TWINS!!  A few weeks after the phone call incident, she approached me and asked if I was pregnant and then shared that she had been praying for us and our baby since she first suspected it.  She also evoked Augustine's very first intentional smile with her warm energy and sweet voice.  Needless-to-say, she is wonderful.  From time to time she has mentioned to me that "maybe" they would have another baby at some point.  She often said things like, "you never know" or "I kinda hope so," making it obvious to me that she was leaving the decision up to God. 

Well, the other day I ran into her, and she shared that she may be pregnant.  She figured she probably wasn't, but she thought it was a possibility.  As she spoke, I could see her quiet excitement.  Here she is, at 47 years old with six boys, and she displays such peace with whatever God has in store for her.  It was just so refreshing for me to see someone so open to, and excited, for life, when I so often feel like our world treats life--specifically the life of children--as a burden and as an option. 

I won't find out until I run into her again a few weeks from now whether or not she is indeed pregnant, but in the meantime I am going to pray for her as she prayed for Augustine when he was only a hope and a suspicion in her mind. 

And I pray that I can take her example and always have the same peace and acceptance of God's plan for my family and children as she has for hers.

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