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More Unpopular Thoughts

alec vanderboom

I want to talk about this "fear" of children. We live in a culture where it is increasingly normal to be living with a man and not get married. Or if married, to not have children. Or if you have two children to stop firmly at that line because "any more will drive my wife crazy."

People talk about certain women as being "anti-child" as if it's a lighthearted issue. It's a preference like "some women like to shop" and some women like to go to art museums.

As someone who spent my teens and twenties terrified of having children--it didn't feel like a "choice to me." I thought I couldn't be a mother. Sometimes I thought I'd physically be infertile, but mostly I thought I'd be really, really awful as a mother. I thought I was broken inside. I thought being someone's Mom was just something I couldn't do.

So something that I "couldn't do" quickly became something that I shouldn't do.

I endured some crazy, crazy emotional abuse as a kid. Parts of mothering came easier to me than I expected, but other parts that I thought should be easy to do, are hard. It's work. And it's embarrassing that it's work--rather than this la la easy lifestyle I imagine (probably falsely) that other women experience.

Yet, I am on my knees grateful that I have my babies. They are saving my soul. They are saving my marriage. They have made me go from this hollow person--to an actually feeling, giving, shiny soul. My husband and my relationship is so much better with each and every kid--it's hard to go back in time and remember what our marriage was like before I had Baby Abigail. Our marriage is that much better this winter.

St Paul tells us to "encourage each other daily while it is still today."

A mother is not "born" automatically whenever her first child is born. Motherhood is a spiritual reality--a gift each day from God. I only got over my fear of 'pregnancy' (which was really a deep seeded fear that I'd be a bad mother) because obedience to the Catholic Church demanded that I give up birth control. I am forever grateful to the Catholic Church for that teaching.