We moved into a town home that is 100 square feet larger than our old home but one bedroom less which forced the conversion of the walk-in closet to become Shelby’s room.
To most people, this sounds down-right stupid. I was told so to my face. We have three kids and two are of the same sex (as would have to be so) so we need three bedrooms. Minimum.
To a few others this sounds like a logical use of space and a way to reduce the crap we have.
And to a very small, but very vocal, minority this is sounding the death knell: there will be no more children.
Well, we’ve left the “more children” part up to God. Completely up to Him. No NFP, no charting, nothing. It’s His will. If it happens it happens and if it doesn’t…
And that attitude, well, that downright scares almost all the people in all those groups. But, you can’t turn around and buy another house?! And, and, you have no room for a crib or a swing or a bouncy seat or changing table or all the other crap that comes with babies!!!!
Well, no, we can’t turn around and buy another house. That is true. But you know what, I’d be over the moon if I found out I was pregnant. And I wouldn’t really worry about or care about the logistics of the house or that we’d have two cars that we couldn’t fit all our kids in at one time.
In Catholic circles, it’s a big no-no to talk about being “done” having kids. I’m not sure why but if parents prayerfully discern to us NFP to avoid pregnancy and God doesn’t seem to mind or go the extreme route of Josephite marriage, well, it’s none of my business and that’s fine.
But I certainly don’t want anyone to think that our decision to move into this house is any indication that we have officially closed up shop on future babies. Nope, we’re as open as ever. And God’s continued in His infinite wisdom to say, “no” or at least, “not yet.”
That sounds so simple and perhaps even ignorant. Trust me, I often struggle with it. We ended up getting rid of EVERYTHING baby related in the move. I was even able to part with ALL of the baby clothes. It wasn’t easy. But I did it. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want more.
I’m old hand at people second guessing and judging our parenting decisions. Not only because of autism but because we had a third child after we had one of each sex. And William was born during a time when both Jeff and I were out of work and Shelby was diagnosed less than a year. Lots of people had lots of opinions about all of that.
I’ve learned a few things over the last nine years of parenting. Babies don’t need a bunch of crap to be happy. They really did sleep in drawers once upon a time. Babies are happiest when they are fed, clothed, dry and surrounded by love. And guess what, the same is true of older kids. We can provide all of that. No extra bedrooms or designer clothes necessary.
I’ve also learned that God is a much better judge of our capabilities and limitations than we are. That’s why we got the three kids we did when we did. How could we possibly “know” we are “done” in any event?
People have told me my faith is radical in this way. I choose to believe it’s just how I trust in this one area of my life. I do understand how a super fertile couple or an infertile couple could feel like what I am doing is radical. The unease of another mouth to feed when you have seven, eight or nine or more is daunting. Especially if jobs are hard to come by or don’t pay anything at all. And the just trusting God thing sounds an awful lot like giving up if you’ve been doing everything you can actively to get pregnant or adopt.
And let me be clear, we do want another baby and it does hurt as the days go by that God is continuing to say “No” or “not yet.” Trusting Him doesn’t mean there is no suffering.
Living in joy means living in such a way that we embrace what God gives us even when it hurts. Especially when it’s not what we want. How could we know the love our Father in heaven has for us or how His plan is better than ours when we cannot see all of time and eternity as He can? We can’t. And that’s exactly the point.