Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is having eight kids "sketchy"?

For many reasons, I don't normally talk about my family on this blog. I'm making an exception today. 

During the Big Blog Blow-up of 2010, there were many comments left on many different blogs, some of which were about me. I thought I would address one that caught my attention.

It went like this:
Personally, I think having 8 kids is sketchy - how do you really mother/father each one? How do you give each one the love and attention they deserve to become well-adjusted adults? Or is it just some sick tally to show the world how full of a family you can have/juggle? However, MY belief is just that - MINE. And I still love the Duggars, as completely different as they are from me! (Ha ha!) God loves our children, ALL of them. 

As I know there are many Americans who echo her feelings, I want to address her points, one at a time.

Here we go:

"Personally, I think having 8 kids is sketchy"

Sketchy. Just to be sure, I looked up the word in the Urban Dictionary and came up with some definitions that might possibly apply here:

-- Someone or something that just isn't right
-- Something unsafe 
-- Someone or something that gives off a bad feeling
-- Questionable
-- Creepy
-- Not kosher
-- Just generally something or someone that you don't want to be associated with

So, a happily married couple with a bunch of kids is... [fill in the blank with one of the above]. Ouch! Really?

Big families used to be seen as a blessing, a good, attractive, fun, warm fuzzy thing, a picture of hearth and home. Now, thanks to our Planned Parenthood societal ethic, a traditional, large, intact American family is seen as...sketchy. We've fallen a long way in a short amount of time. I actually find that so sad.

"[H]ow do you really mother/father each one?" 

This question is kind of vague. If you are talking about the practical matters, think of it this way: How does someone take care of a bigger house as opposed to a smaller one? Or, how does someone take care of a bigger garden as opposed to a smaller one? Et cetera. It's really just a matter of shaking off the things that are not as important and doing what needs to be done. The essentials of a happy life are pretty simple, actually.

"How do you give each one the love and attention they deserve to become well-adjusted adults?"

Your question implies that children in big families are at higher risk of being maladjusted adults. It begs the question: Is there a real correlation between family size and a happy, productive adulthood? Are the generally smaller families of today doing a better job raising children than the larger families of past generations? Personally, I don't find that today's young adults are any more functional, mature, honorable or virtuous than those of the past. I'm not blaming that on smaller families, because I don't believe that the number of children per family is the issue at all -- family size is no indication of one's virtue, functionality or success.

As far as love and attention, I'll answer with one of my favorite quotes: "Anyone who says you can't love your eighth child as much as your first has never had eight children." If my children are starved for love and attention, it's hard to understand why every one of them (except the baby, who cannot yet talk) desires and repeatedly requests another sibling.

As an experiment, I emailed the quote to my oldest child, who is away at college. I didn't prompt her or tell her where the quote came from. I only wrote, "Tell me what you think." She had no idea this was for the blog when she wrote her response, which came within minutes. Please remember, this is an unfiltered, honest response to what could be seen as an attack on the family she loves:
Excuse me???? Who said this???? This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. I tend to think I get too much attention sometimes, seeing how I get attention from 9 other people rather than just 2 parents. This is just ridiculous...and how does one become a "well-adjusted" adult with mommy and daddy giving them every single bit of their attention to them??? What the heck???
Intrigued, I decided continued the experiment with the next four children as they returned from school and activities. None of them knew that the others had seen the quote, nor did they know where it came from. I asked each privately, "What do you think?" 

First, my twelve-year-old son:
That's stupid! It's really not that hard to raise eight kids. It's not as hard as it seems! {Okay, I laughed internally at that part!} It would be more fun to have even more kids. More kids makes it more fun.
Next, my sixteen-year-old daughter:
I think it's ridiculous. I think it's the most stupid thing I have ever read in my life, because it's so not true!   
Then, my seventeen-year-old son: 
Wow, that is totally uninformed. I mean, how many siblings did this person have? Was he or she an only child? It's not as hard as it sounds, really. {I was surprised that two of my boys said this!} I mean, if you have parents that were raised well.
Finally, my ten-year-old son:
{His jaw dropped open as he read.} Ohhh....Is this a joke? {I tell him no, then ask again what he thinks of it.} I hate it! I just don't like it! It's obnoxious! Who is this lady? She's wrong! {He also volunteers to physically defend his family, but I will leave that part out, ha!}

(I would ask the three youngest children, but thankfully they wouldn't even understand such a statement. And, they are too busy playing with each other.) 

"Or is it just some sick tally to show the world how full of a family you can have/juggle?" 

If were trying to impress the world with a "tally" of something, it wouldn't be children. It would be cars, or houses, or career promotions, or vacations...anything but children. Having many children is worthy of scorn these days, as I daresay your comment illustrates. 

"However, MY belief is just that - MINE."

Quite true, but it's a mindset that is held by many others, so I appreciate the chance to address it. (And since it sounds so similar to the "your truth/my truth" issue, I will take the opportunity to direct readers here.)

"And I still love the Duggars, as completely different as they are from me! (Ha ha!)"

I love them too! But I'm interested to know how they escape your judgement, since their "sick tally" of juggled kids is more than twice the number of mine?

"God loves our children, ALL of them."

Amen! There's something we can totally agree on! 


  1. Love it!!!

    I have a post in the works on siblings having responsibilities towards each other, and how it is now misunderstood as something akin to child abuse.

    Big families = more love going around, not less.

  2. This is great! I only had one sibling and always wanted more! In fact, even now if my mom says they have something to tell me, I ask if I'm finally getting a baby brother or sister :)
    I've gotten rude responses and looks when people find out we're having our third. But I hope we're blessed with more and I can already see the amazing love and relationship my first two have, and how excited my oldest is to have another brother!

  3. Let em' talk.....They have NO clue....Someone told my aunt that she was selfish because she had 9 kids....She said, come to my house and let me show you how unselfish I am.....How ridiculos is that? Ignorance.

  4. This is wonderful! I hope that we too are blessed with a large family!

    I remember always asking for more siblings growing up! I recall one particular conversation at the dinner table when my parents said, "Would you rather have another sibling or be able to do things like go to Disney World."
    Sigh. I have no doubt that my parents felt that they were being good parents by providing us with opportunities like going on fun vacations. However, this in a nutshell is the attitude of our culture. :(

  5. Well put as usual Leila! I look at big families and think how blessed they are! I can inky hope to have so many. :)

    My grandmother always tells me about her grandmother. She had 10 children and raised an additional 4 children from down the street when their mother died. She always told my nana that she was the richest woman in the world. Not because she had money or things but because there was always a child that needed loving on. She had the right idea if you ask me!

  6. I'm a convert. I actually had those fears in the back of my mind- that I'd be a worse parent the more kids I had. I'm so shocked now with baby number 4 that it's the complete opposite. I'm a better, more loving parent with the more practice that I've had parenting radically different little souls. I see my kids as more unique individuals now that I have 4. I've also got more time, since that sneaky sin of my selfishness gets beat out more and more from me in each pregnancy!

    Pray for that commenter. Your shiny big family light just hit him or her hard over the head!

  7. Well, as you know I'm the 9th of NINE (GASP! SHRIEK!!!111ELEVENTY!!!111) and I would love this person to say this to my face.

    MY PARENTS were the most AWESOME parents on the planet. Period. End of story. And my 8 siblings are the greatest gift they could have ever given us. I KNOW that I have 7 (one brother died in 1985. From parental neglect, of course. AHHHH that's a joke, folks. Accident. No, not him. HE wasn't the accident. He HAD an accident.) BEST FRIENDS that I can call ANYTIME day or night and they will drop what they are doing and rush to my aid, as I will for them.
    I sure as HELL am not spoiled and my parents didn't take me to Disney but you know who did? My sister Alice (#4) and her then-boyfriend Steve. (30th wedding anniversary was in August.)
    You know who took me camping in NC? My sister Janet. You know who took me to the Knoxville World's Fair? My brother Bill, may he rest in peace.
    I could go on and I'm certainly not implying my parents never "took" us anywhere (as if that's important)---- they took us to the beach and camping and to visit family all over FL and my childhood was idyllic.
    But giving a child siblings is a gift of inestimable value. When my dad died, there were SEVEN other people right beside me who knew EXACTLY what I was feeling. We look forward to being old and porchsitting together. (Even when we were young, we would talk about that - I guess because we saw all the other old folks in the family doing it.)
    If anything happens and I die, my kids will have five other built-in "mothers."
    We love and support and tease each other and we laugh our asses off when we're together.
    I've said it a million times, but...

  8. It is just me and my brother and I always wanted to be in a big family and have my own big family. I used to hate how quiet our house was (definitely an extrovert), especially on holidays. Coming to terms with IF and the possibility that I might not have had any kids or possibly be only blessed with one has been a hard. I guess my dream had to change a bit. Right now, I'm just focused on the little peanut who is getting ready to appear. Hopefully in the future, he'll enjoy the gift of siblings too.

  9. So glad you did this, Leila!!!! Your kids responses are GREAT!!! Cracks me up that two of your boys said it's not as hard as you think. Huh? :) Love you AND your big family!!!!

  10. Oh, Leila... I LOVE This... I've always wanted you to comment on your 8 lovely kiddos... and you did it in such a wonderful way.
    Thank you, sweets!

  11. Great job, Leila!

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEE the responses of your children. Leave it to them to take it straight to the heart of the matter.

    We *only* have four (LOL) so far, but I am with your oldest that it seems everyone gets more than enough attention. I sent #2 and #3 over to their cousins for a sleepover last night and my oldest was so sad...she said, "I miss my sisters. Usually when I pick stuff to watch off Netflix, they have comments...and now I get to watch whatever I want without their comments and I wish they were here" she's only 9. how you answered each point. bravo. and yes, even though the author wants to believe it's only HER opinion...surely she's comforted in knowing many people feel the same way and lots are quite so bold as to express it directly to my face (when they see me out with all four of mine).

  12. Oh, and about the boys' comments. I think that's hilarious!

  13. What a ridiculous statement born of complete ignorance. I, for one, cannot wait to be "sketchy." Bring on my 8 children!!

  14. I'm sorry, I'm still SO FRIGGIN STEAMED at this.
    What an IDIOTIC thing to say.
    I'm not steamed because of that, though.

    I'm steamed because this person implies that MY PARENTS were "less than adequate."
    It implies that their 9 grown children cannot POSSIBLY be well-adjusted.

    Most of us are married with children. ALL of us have jobs and they aren't McDonald's jobs but very, very good jobs where MOST of us are the bosses. (Or, in the case of two of them, are retired - Vicky after 30+ years of teaching and Mary retired as Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral where she was in charge of Coast Guard Shuttle Ops support and security, among other things. Yeah, what a dingbat. Obviously she didn't get enough "attention" as a four year old.

    ALL of us vote.
    NONE of us have ever gone to jail.
    NONE of us are strung out on drugs.
    ALL of us talk regularly to each other.
    MOST of us have more than one college degree.
    ONE of us has a daughter who is a Rhodes Scholar.

    You know what else?

    Every SINGLE large family I can think of can report the same things. No jailbirds, no dirtbags - just honest, dutiful citizens with happy lives.

    I want to know how parents of just one or two kids can POSSIBLY manage to ensure their children DO NOT turn into spoiled, selfish, basement-dwelling brats.
    (That's rhetorical, folks. I only have two kids.)

    Don't you DARE insult my parents.
    Don't you DARE imply my mother should have contracepted her way out of --- who? How many is acceptable?
    Just Janet and Vicky?

    Fine. Two kids - not sketchy.
    So she should have contracepted her way out of Andy, Alice, Bill, Dot, Mary, Joe and me.
    Is that acceptable to you?

    1. Cathy, you make my heart sing! I am the eldest of 8, and I have seven grown kids. We are all super close! You said it all so perfectly and with beautiful passion. Hugs2U. Oh, but I'm sure you have PLENTY of those!

  15. Lol at Cathy! I'm sure glad Your parents had 9!!

  16. Growing up Mormon, large families were the norm. I am one of four, and begged my mom for more. It didn't happen because they wouldn't let it. Who knows how many siblings I could've had?!

    I love big families and I always said I wanted 6. After infertility, I would be happy with 1 or 2, but would take as many as God wanted me to have.

    The more the merrier, I say.

  17. I grew up in a family of six. When my parents were dating, my dad said that he wanted two kids, and my mom said she wanted four. My dad likes to say now that they each got what they wanted! :)

    I loved my big family, and still hope to have a big family myself someday, though I'm still single and not getting any younger, so we'll see what happens. As one of six, I have always said that I felt that I got more interaction with family, not less, because there is more family to interact with. I don't know why people only focus on where the parents' attention is. And I NEVER felt neglected by my parents... In fact, sometimes I'm only to happy to point the focus elsewhere if needed! :)

  18. Leila -

    As I read this, I thought of my best friend's family. She also has 8 kids. I am constantly amazed by the LOVE in that home! The older kids help to care for the younger kids and, in this case, the 2nd youngest has a severe health condition, so the WHOLE family is drawn even closer together around him.

    They are a single-income household (Dad is a truck driver) and yet they have NEVER gone without what they need! It is AMAZING the way God has provided for them! (For example, the neighbor who "just happens" to work for one of the larger, wholesale food companies... When food is close to expiration, the boss allows the employees to take the food home so that it does not go to waste. How many times that food has found its way onto the table of this wonderful family.) For those who may be wondering... No. The family does not receive aid from the government. I've known them for over 7 years and, in that time, I've known them to ask for help only once... when the husband had been off work for 6 months after the removal of a brain tumor and it would be another couple of months before he could return to work. I remember my friend saying to me that it was the toughest thing that she'd ever done and that she didn't want her husband to know the way people look at you and how they treat you when you have to (in this case) use food stamps. Again, I found myself in awe of her humility and the great love that she has for her husband and family (and they for her).

    Just a question... Food for thought, really. As a child in a large family, we have to sacrifice certain things (things we may WANT) for the sake of others. Could God have designed any more beautiful a structure in which to learn how to truly LOVE as He calls us to love??

    God bless!

  19. I had to laugh at this! I told my grandma at my bridal shower I wanted 8!!! She was a mother of seven, so she knew this was an answer of love, not greediness or 'sketchiness'!

    I love, love, love big families and how holy and reflective of God's generous love that knows no boundaries to love!!!

    You enjoy your family - God's blessings showered so abundantly on you and your husband. It takes great responsibility to raise so many children, not greediness - but selflessness!

  20. As a 9 year old, the best thing my parents (at 39) did for me was provide me another sibling (the 4th, I was number 3). I wasn't asked to care for her, I think life would have been easier for my mom if she didn't have three older sisters trying to compete to mother the youngest, but we all did and loved it and were so close for it.

  21. I have told Ryan probably 100 times "having brothers and sisters is like having best friends for life"!!!... He says "sometimes." hahaha. It's true, not everyone gets along that well with their brothers/sisters, but then I always respond with "well, the more siblings you have, the better odds that you'll at least get along with some of them" hahaha.
    Cathy I agree with you too!
    I remember at Christmastime when I was little I would think about how I COULD have more presents like the neighbor kids, but I would RATHER have all my siblings :) (I have no idea how I thought about it at such a young age - either God working within me, or my parents telling me this? Probably both haha)...I think being surrounded by family makes you care less about material things, too!...

  22. PS (don't i always have a ps? hahaha) - I didn't get mad when I read that "sketchy" comment - I honestly laughed...What a silly thing to say :)

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  24. Love this and your children's responses!

  25. Paul, I don't think there is necessarily a correlation between the two. I am one of 3. My mother had her tubes tied after my youngest sister was born because "3 was enough!" However, she was 1of 6.

    My husband is one of two. His mom decided that although having more would be nice, they wouldn't be able to give the two boys they already had as much (they had tons more than they "needed" but that's a story for another day).

    My husband and I are expecting our first in March and although infertility has mad conceiving difficult we hope, God willing, to have many, many more! We will be pleased with whatever we are blessed with but always say that we hope to atleast have 5. :)

    We know that both of our families will think we are nuts. Although we do not come from large families, we can certainly see the blessing that they are. :)

  26. P.S. I forgot to mention that my husband's mom is one of 8!

  27. Great comments! Thank you!

    I guess I should say for the record that both my husband and I are from small families, so this "big family" thing is new to us (and completely a fruit of our conversion of heart, as we were originally "done" at three). My husband and I each have one sibling. I always wanted more siblings.

    As for my kids, they tell me they want large families. My oldest told me she wants ten! (Conventional wisdom says she should never want children, right?)

    The whole thing still amazes me....

    God is a very personal God. He changes even the hardest hearts if we give Him the tiniest opening.

    Anyway, now I am thinking of twenty other posts! Our new, amazing priest did a homily on contraception today (he is a former Episcopalian minister), and another one of Fr. Tad's columns was printed in the bulletin. So beautiful and consistent is the tapestry of Truth!

  28. I'm trying your experiment with my own older children as we I type here, they will have their chance to respond to that quote.

    One thing that I point out to people (who often assume that I only have 8 kids out of stupidity or because NFP doesn't work) is that I have a large family because each time it seemed like there was room in our hearts and family and at our table for one more. That’s all really, nothing saintly or mind boggling. At some point one of the kids will look around at dinner and exclaim, "Is this ALL of us? It seems like there is someone missing!"

    They want to share the love that we have in our family as well. The older kids love to nap with a little one, or to watch as they discover some new joy in the world. It helps everyone to appreciate life.

    And if that is sketchy... well then I guess that is how I like it.

  29. Okay, you personally invited me to join this discussion, so here I am.

    Hello Catholic ladies! I AM THE ONE WHO MADE THE COMMENT WHICH WAS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT! Nice to meet you.

    First off, I meant questionable. Sure there are big families that do well (both my folks came from large Catholic families and I love my grandparents!) But I also know quite a few couples who do tally everything: houses, cars, # of kids, etc. And I know a #12 and said by the time he came around, he barely knew his parents. (Nice well-adjusted guy though, btw) So take it as QUESTIONABLE. Not morally wrong or anything else. I don't judge big families unless I see them being dysfunctional. I don't think all big families are bad. I am sure all of you are perfect shining examples.

    But, let me begin here by telling you all what was not understood before you read this post. I have an infertile cousin (a Catholic herself) who was very upset about some high-horse ladies likening IVF to abortions and all manner of abomination. So, I was defending my cousin (like many of you are defending your relatives) and telling her that we all believe and do things differently from one another. I was telling her that she and her babies (adopted & IVF) are loved and cherished. That was the point, but you took my 2nd paragraph on it's own and told your kids, "See this lady?? She thinks our family is wrong!!!"

    Interesting, because that link in your post told my cousin that her family is wrong. "Oh I said there is nothing wrong with the child..." Girl, please. The whole post was about how if your child isn't created by ritual of the flesh (or whatever, I am still laughing about how gross and awkward you all make sex sound) that it is wrong. Let's see what her kids think when she tells them how you feel. Oh no wait, she wouldn't. Do you know why? She's not judgmental or immature enough to go running to her 10 year old to say how bad ladies on the internet hate his family and are so stupid. Nor would she think it's so cute that he's going to go beat someone up over it. (As if)

    I usually would brush this off, but my stance is hey - if you want to have a bunch of kids, go ahead. It's not my thing & I hope you are responsible about it, but I am not making blog posts about how having more than x number of kids is somehow wrong or bad. Yet you are happily railing on infertile women and all manner of families that don't conform to your religious standards. I'm sure they'd be appalled too, if I took your posts and flung them out there. What goes around comes around, toots.

    So calm down ladies, especially you Cathy (wow - talk about putting words/attitudes and beliefs into my mouth!) I don't think your families are bad or wrong or shouldn't have been born. I think if you share the attitude that you can freely go off on women who have conceived through IVF or use the birth control pill to manage their families then THAT is wrong. If you don't like it, don't do it, go ahead and say a prayer but MYOB. If you want to live in a little Catholic bubble, by all means do so. Just don't make the rest of us live there too.

  30. Just to clarify: Conventional wisdom says my oldest daughter should never want children because she was the oldest daughter of a large brood.

    I think it all has to do with the attitude of the parents, and how much love was in the family. We are not the Duggars (I do yell and lose it, often!!), but we have faith, hope and love. And, life makes sense to my kids because they are taught what is true, they see it applied to real life, and they see that it works.

  31. Jenni, my kids do that, too! We sit at the dinner table and they say, "It looks like such a small family, like someone is missing!"

  32. Welcome Anonymous! BIG DISCLAIMER: I didn't use part of your comment, I used it all. That was the comment in its entirety. It was not taken out of context at all. That's all there was.

    More in a bit.

  33. MY MISTAKE, sorry! There was a first paragraph, and here it is:

    "Can't read Sew Infertile because I'm not invited.... I think Becky handled it well - everyone's business is their own. Like I said before, put 100 people of any "category" into a room and it will disintegrate. Some religious folks feel love and charity are more important and some feel like rules that their church leaders create or interpret are more important."

    Had nothing to do with my family, so I didn't remember it.... Sorry!

  34. Anonymous, your comment here, which misrepresents a whole lot of stuff, deserves a whole new post of its own. Stay tuned.

    (And if you read the purpose of my blog, it is not to try to drag you into the Bubble. I am using your words (which reflect beliefs held by many) to teach Catholics more about our faith. You are welcome to come to this blog and engage us or not. Except when it comes to destruction of human life or intrinsic moral evil, we Catholics are very pro-choice! ;)

  35. Ok responses from my kids:

    18 year old: Wow. I think there are more people with just one child who are sketchy.

    15 year old: That is so stupid. Why would someone have a bunch of kids just to prove something? That's not what it's like at all. If you ask kids in a large family, they will tell you that they want a lot of kids too.

    13 year old: Why would someone show off having so many kids when it's so hard? The more people we have, the more good we can do in the world.

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  38. Jenni, that is so similar to what mine said!

    Paul, I put the rest of her comment up (in the comments, above), so you can see the context. The two paragraphs were unrelated.

    Also, Paul... I must correct you on something. I can't let it stand. When you say that IVF is "just one of those arbitrary rules" you are dead wrong. You can speak for yourself, but please, on this blog, you do not speak for the Catholic Church. It is no more an arbitrary rule than "thou shalt not kill" or any other objective moral truth. The truth of human sexuality is in the category of doctrine not discipline, and I cannot have you misrepresent that on this blog. You may have your opinion on things and I am happy to have you here, but you may not misrepresent Church teaching. Thanks for understanding.

  39. For anyone who missed it, there is a post on objective truth here:

    And a post on doctrine vs. discipline here:

  40. Anonymous, I won't do a whole post on your comment, since I don't want to start multiplying words. So, I will just address some of them here.

    1) You said, about "sketchy" that we should "take it as QUESTIONABLE. Not morally wrong or anything else." So, a happily married couple raising a bunch of kids is "questionable." (Still doesn't sound good.) But, you say it's not morally questionable. Questionable is some other way? Still confused. Something about big families doesn't sit right with you, and I don't think you can get around that.

    2) The "high-horse ladies" were pretty much all infertile Catholic ladies who have struggled with the same things your cousin has.

    3) You need to understand and make distinctions. It's possible to say that the way a child was conceived was wrong, yet still love, cherish and value the child equally to every other child. If a child was conceived out of wedlock, for example, or during an adulterous affair, or a rape, etc., we would say that the conception came about immorally, but the child is innocent and beloved by God, with equal dignity to every other child. You may not agree that IVF is an immoral way to conceive a child, and I understand that. But you must at least understand the distinction between means and ends.

    To be continued....

  41. 4) "I am still laughing about how gross and awkward you all make sex sound"

    Actually, that would be the popular culture today that does that. Have you not heard how sex is talked about on the street, in the movies and in music? Who is making sex sound gross and awkward and totally debased? I can use slang, too, if you need me to. But we are grown-ups so do we need to speak like Howard Stern to be non-gross and non-awkward? Anyway, I think you've got it backwards.

    5) She's not judgmental or immature enough to go running to her 10 year old to say how bad ladies on the internet hate his family and are so stupid. Nor would she think it's so cute that he's going to go beat someone up over it. (As if)

    I am glad my son's instinct was to defend the honor of his family, even in his ten-year-old way. I expect a ten-year-old to react in a childish way, and as he gets older, he will learn better ways to deal with his emotions. As far as me "running" to him, telling him how "bad ladies on the internet hate his family" -- I think perhaps you misread my post? Read it again to see how it actually happened. Remember, I said nothing to him other than presenting him with your words. Your words alone gave him the impression that he got. Maturity would dictate that you own your words, be accountable for them, and not try to escape them.

    To be continued...

  42. 6) "Yet you are happily railing on infertile women and all manner of families that don't conform to your religious standards. I'm sure they'd be appalled too, if I took your posts and flung them out there. What goes around comes around, toots."

    Happily railing on infertile women...hmmmm...... most of my readers are infertile women. They are why I started my blog (read the sidebar).

    I would be absolutely thrilled if you would take my posts and "fling them around out there." You have my permission to do so. I stand by everything I write and I am happy to give the Church's teachings a wide audience.

    7) No one would ever "make" you live as a Catholic. The Church proposes, not imposes. But, we Catholics are as entitled to speak out on moral issues as any other person in America. So, we Church-loving Catholics will keep talking. You certainly have the choice as to whether or not you will listen. But you won't stop us from speaking. That would be censorship and neither of us like that.

    In fact, I am always happy to hear you out. The Bubble doesn't exclude. :)

  43. Leila-- I ran across that comment during the Big Blog Blow-up and sent it to Lauren with the subject "YKMR" (You're Kidding Me, Right?) and the question "What is this world coming to?"

  44. Thanks Leila! This infertile Catholic girl loves all of your responses. :)

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  46. Paul, that last part would only make sense if individual Catholics get to decide what Catholicism is. The salient difference between a Catholic and a Protestant is obedience to the teaching authority of the Church.

    I could say, "Some Catholics believe stealing and cheating is wrong, and some don't." Yes, you're right. Some Catholics dissent from the Church and justify sin. That says something about the individual Catholic, not the Church. Do you see?

  47. Anonymous,

    You CANNOT be serious.

    Stop with the backtracking. Just stop.

    YOU are the one who said 8 kids was "sketchy."
    That was YOU, no?

    I'll tell you what. If I see you at a bar and tell you I think women who drink are "sketchy", is that not an attack on you?
    If a lesbian tells you she thinks women who marry men are "sketchy" - how is that going to sit with you?
    If ANYONE calls any particular behavior of yours "sketchy" my guess is you won't like it. My guess is that when it involves the most precious thing in your life, you're going to be a little bit pissed off.

    The VERY definition of "sketchy" means you do not approve, so don't you backtrack and say it was taken "out of context."
    To what context should my MOTHER take some woman calling her "sketchy"?

    (And stop RIGHT NOW with the "I didn't call HER sketchy." Just stop. Man up and admit your error and lapse in tact and common decency.)

    And drop the IVF strawman.
    It has run its course.
    The Catholic Church has a very LOGICAL reason for it's opposition to IVF. Don't like it?
    Good thing you aren't Catholic, I guess.
    Lots of noncatholics don't like the Catholic Church's position on many things. And?
    It's been that way for the 2000 years of Church history and here's a little secret: IT AIN'T CHANGING.
    This is Leila's house, and while she continually welcomes you (I would not) she is a Catholic professing Church teaching. That's not quite illegal yet, Anonymous.

    Catholics are fun to abuse. Believe me, in my youth, I engaged in plenty of self-loathing Catholic disdain.
    You aren't saying ANYTHING I haven't said before, Anonymous Commenter. And I've said worse.

    Hey, completely off-topic, you should totally go on Al-Jazeera and start attacking Muslims for their strict prohibition on surrogacy and sperm donation.

    Sign me...

    Just another infertile railing on infertiles, apparently

  48. Paul-- here's the thing: you can think something is right, and be wrong (at least, if you want to claim to be Catholic).

    Ex: I'm a married, Catholic woman and I think adultery is fine and that the Catholic Church is wrong (actually, I don't think this, but it makes for a good example). Therefore, I'm going to cheat on my spouse and consider myself a good Catholic.

    I'm Catholic, and I'm fine with adultery. So be it.

    Do you see the problem here? I'm not saying that there are no cheating Catholics out there. And I'm certainly not saying that I'm up for sainthood after I die. But when I've done something wrong, I don't think that the Church or God is wrong. I know I am.

  49. Paul,

    "Jews for Jesus", i.e. Messianic Judaism, should not be confused with mainstream Judaism.

    It is not the same thing, not by a long shot.
    It's a completely different religion.

    Catholics have a magesterium, a Pope, and a Catechism which dictates which things MUST be believed (of which IVF = mortal sin is one thing along with things like Jesus is the Son of God and baptism cleanses us of original sin), things which things MAY be believed (certain visions and revelations) and which things are not to be believed, like oh, I don't know --- oak trees have souls. That's opposed to Catholic teaching.

    I know many faiths do not have such a body of teaching, but the Catholic Church does. You can be a follower of Judaism and eat a BLT for lunch, you can be a Muslim and have an abortion, you can be a Quaker and join the Marines, and yes, you can be a Catholic and have IVF. God gives us all free will - Jews, Muslims, Quakers, and Catholics, too.
    But the Church's Magesterium is telling you that to do certain things which are in direct opposition to Church teaching puts one's soul in mortal danger.

  50. Interesting you should say that, Lis.

    Years ago, when I started in-depth research of Christianity in general, Catholicism specifically, it was to PROVE I was right and they were wrong.

    Yeaaaah, it didn't take long for THAT to blow up in my face.


  51. Wow for all your readers being infertile, they sure have a lot of kids to present my words to.

    Depending on who is raising these giant families, it IS questionable.As in ARE THEY TAKING CARE OF THOSE CHILDREN? Is there a difference between Octomom and the Duggars? YES. There was a woman that lived down the block from me that had 6 children and they were always dirty, roving the streets, defacing other's property, begging for food and one of them started another neighbor's shrubs on fire. Dad was around rarely to never and the mom sat inside all day. So yeah, I question that couple. Doesn't mean I come to the same conclusion about you.

    How could you take yourself seriously when you say "I didn't say the child was immoral, I said the way he/she was conceived is immoral." and think you are not totally and completely insulting?

    I was pointing out the fact that when you say something like that, it is absolutely akin to the women who (also on their own high horses) tell you to use a rubber. Oh they're not saying your children are bad, of course, they just think the way you are having so many of them is immoral.

    See what I mean?

    And re: CONTEXT, I was making a quasi-private comment to my cousin about IVF on her blog. I was upset that a woman who was pumping out kids by the score would think she had the right to say women who used IVF were being "bad." Did you have that discussion with your kids? I can say words, but if you don't understand where I am coming from or why those words were said then my words standing on their own won't be taken correctly.

    And yes, Catholics are trying to force the rest of us to live the way they interpret their god through passing all kinds of legislation to make us live as you see fit. And I am not even talking about abortion or stem cell research. Simply the right to pull the plug or die with dignity. The right to not have to have 20 kids if we don't want to. The right for homosexuals to go down to the courthouse and be joined. If it isn't in your church - it really isn't your business to be decreeing.

    And if you have to make multiple comments on every line I wrote, you obviously understand how other people's words can ignite feelings of defensiveness. So don't smugly say how you are not offending other peoples kids or "just speakin' your mind" when you obviously can't take someone speakin' theirs from a different angle.

    And one last point: I don't wan't 8 kids myself, but I am not trying to get the government to put a cap on kids. You don't see IVF as being a good thing so your church is trying to ban it. There's a difference between words and actions.

  52. Anonymous, there is so much in your last comment which is just factually inaccurate (like the Church's big push to ban IVF? You're kidding, right?), not to mention logically false (by your logic, we must say rape is good if we say the child of rape is good), that I will just let your words stand. Your words speak for themselves. Let the people decide.

    And like I said, you are always welcome here.

  53. Yes, Anonymous, many of the IFers here had the condition and NOT the symptoms treated. Hence, they have lots of children.
    IF is treatable in the vast majority of cases.
    You need look no further than the sidebar of this blog.

    I didn't go their route but I read many of these blogs and have learned all about endo surgery, NaPro, etc.
    So yeah, "for being infertile" we have lots of kids.

    Praise God.

  54. PS Cathy - Leila personally invited me to join this conversation. I didn't barge into her "house." I don't think it was possible to be completely non-confrontational after reading her post, all your comments and all her replies to me. Guess you Catholics are a fiery bunch & it ignites a fire in me too. And don't worry - I'm done. :) peace out -

  55. Ha! Cathy beat me to it. Yes, most of us were infertile at one time. Yes, most of us have kids now. Praise God! And none of us used IVF.

  56. Wait, wait.
    One more thing.

    Yes, the Catholic Church would like nothing more than a reversal of Roe v Wade which was garbage "privacy" legislation from the beginning.
    I would love to see no more children killed, and I would love to wish back the 50,000,000 Americans killed since 1973.
    YES, the Church insists that food and water is NOT extraordinary means of life support. My God, do you think it is?!
    NO, the Church does not say you have to be "hooked up to machines."
    The Church as an institution understands and embraces death far better than any other institution. Catholics are notoriously blase about shuffling off the old mortal coil.

    Yes, the Church would LOVE the law of the land to reflect the law of God. You are 100% correct. (Though there is no great push to ban IVF. In fact, most priests shy away from even talking about it.)

    Remember this, Anonymous.

    In the 19th Century United States, it was not the politicians who started the movement to ban slavery. It was Christians, and specifically Catholic Christians.

    Yes, we were "pushing our views" onto the citizenry. Thanks be to God.

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  58. Paul,

    Excellent point, excellent comment.

    Very spot-on.

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  60. Cathy, thanks for the clarifications. :) They are spot on.

    (After I left the comment, I didn't want anyone to misinterpret. I don't see a big push to "ban" IVF... Like you said, most priests and bishops don't even talk about it!)

  61. Paul,

    1) The distinction is that one group is obedient, the other is not (either consciously or not....Catholics of this generation are notoriously ignorant of their Faith).

    2) I would say that technically they are still Catholic (unless they have formally left the Church), but I don't see a practical difference in mindset between a Protestant and a dissenting Catholic. Both are "protesting" the authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals.

    By the way, I would say that most American (and Western) Catholics have no problem with IVF. Mostly out of ignorance, since they have not been taught. We here are in the minority.

    Can you explain this "shunning"? You've mentioned it a couple of times and I am scratching my head. I know that there is actual "shunning" amongst Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, etc. How does this "shunning" play out in Catholicism as you see it? (Because I don't see it.) Thanks.

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  63. Paul,
    The folks who call themselves "Messianic Jews" are not practicing Judaism in the 5000 year old tradition stretching from Moses to Sandy Koufax. (Reference, anyone?)

    Mess. Jud. started in the 1960s.

    Now, I'm not saying they're right and the others are wrong (I have an opinion, but that's not what this is about.), but I am merely clarifying that they are two separate religions.

    Does that make sense? Like, the people who are 5000 year old Jews have little to do with Jews for Jesus.

    There are some folks called "Traditional Catholics" - I think Mel Gibson and his nutty father are of this variety.

    These folks are n-o-t Catholic in the true 2000 year old sense - here's why. 2000 year old Catholics believe in the Papal authority. Mel does not. He is a sedevacantist.

    It's like the folks calling themselves "American Catholics" - they have placed themselves outside of the Church - they are excommunicated, i.e. not in communion with Rome.

    There are folks called "Black Hebrews" - it started in the 60s - these folks are not Jews in the traditional sense - i.e. they follow different rules and have a different hierarchy.

    I can start a church today and call it the Catholic Jews for Billy Graham.
    It would be neither Catholic (in the traditional sense) nor Jewish, nor Baptist. (I think that's what Billy Graham was?)

    I hope that makes a teensy bit of sense. I'm off to Mass now, but I will come back later. You have really excellent comments and points and I've enjoyed reading them.


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  65. Paul,

    There is also a huuuge movement in the Catholic Church to ban the sale of meat on Fridays and close all McDonalds restaurants from sundown Thursday til sunrise Saturday.


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  67. Paul,

    Catholics believe that the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior of Mankind, is truly present in the Eucharist. Honest.

    Persons in states of mortal sin, i.e. acting outside of Church teaching, cannot be permitted to receive Communion because as St. Paul (think it was Paul) said, to do so is to bring terrible judgment upon oneself.

    By denying the Body of Christ to persons in mortal sin, the Church is saving that person a terrible judgment and saving the Body of Christ from defamation.

    Again, this is short and sweet (I have GOT to go!) but Leila can elaborate, perhaps.

    The Church isn't trying to be mean. Honestly.

  68. This is hilarious. I think Leila should modify her goals of this blog to include "invite/beg liberals to comment so we can tear them apart". Oh, and another one, you need to understand Catholic doctrine - and agree it is the best - before you even think about commenting.

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  70. I have to add my 5 cents, for what it's worth :) First, there's a difference between 'you shall not kill' and 'you shall not do IVF' The first statement is one of the ten commandments, the second one I do not find in the Bible.
    Second, 'the Church hasn't changed it's doctrin in 2000 years...' Are you kidding me? The Catholic church issued so many different statments on so many different things it's hard to know what it actually believes and when it's going to change next. Take the Bible translation as an example. Remember there was a specific translation of the Bible that Catholic church really liked for a while. Then there were so many problems found that the Church had to discontinue using it?
    So, when it comes to IVF, I say wait and see. It's quite possible the Church will change it's mind in a hundred years :)

  71. Anonymous, wow.

    Paul, think if certain members of PETA started preaching about the beauty of slaughterhouses and The Sizzler steakhouse. Would PETA be wrong to say... "gosh, either rethink your stand on this or please no longer identify yourself as a PETA member." It's true of any organization, really. My question is always, why does anyone want to belong to a Church they fundamentally oppose? It's a matter of integrity, really.

    And, as far as shunning, I think the vast majority of Catholics in the pews in America reject the Church's teaching on one or another serious sin. So, at least "social shunning" (if that is what you mean) may not exactly be going on after all. ;)

    Is the Church wrong in keeping her doctrine pure? Actually, that is her main function. No matter how many of her members disagree, she will keep her doctrine pure. I thought today's gospel was so powerful. Christ said, "When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on the earth?" (not sure those are exact words, but close enough!)

    The Church preaches what she does, in season and out. No matter how many of her members (or the world) think it's nuts. She won't change. She's a rock, not shifting sand.

  72. Paul, aside from social shunning (which I don't see), excommunication is a severe mercy. As Cathy said, St. Paul said in the Bible that we do not approach the Table of the Lord unworthily or we eat and drink a judgement on ourselves. This is serious stuff, and not "made up" by the Church hierarchy.

    Excommunication is sort of like the tough love that we give to our own kids who persist in something that is harmful to them and even deadly. It is actually an act of concern and love. Everyone is welcome to the Table, but not in a state of grave sin. What is so wrong with that?

  73. Olya, you have proven SO many times that you don't have the first clue about Catholicism. It's frustrating.

    There is not one whit of the deposit of faith (doctrine) that has been reversed. Yet, there are many disciplines which have changed. Please read that post again to learn the difference (see the archives).

    As for "in the Bible"..... We don't subscribe to sola scriptura!! You Protestants do, but we Catholics never have (nor the Orthodox). I don't know how to make it any clearer. Sigh.

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  75. I know that I've come late to the party, but I wanted to put my infertile two cents in.

    First off, I love that you have a large family. As an only child I have always wanted a lot of children myself -- but we know how that's working out. Before we got married I told my mother that we wanted four kids and she got really upset. She thought that it was ridiculous to have so many children (this coming from a woman with ten siblings!). Then again, she's crazy.

    What bothers me most about the previous comments is the ignorance about the Catholic Church. I think that you did a fair job dissecting the very insulting comments on your blog. I will never understand why it seems to be an acceptable thing to attack the Catholic way of life (I feel victim to it recently as well).

    If our dear Lord allows me ever to conceive, I know I will welcome every life we are blessed with, be it one, two or more. I thoroughly believe that "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." God has given me so much, I am very willing to share his blessings with my own children, whenever they get here.

  76. Paul, maybe this will make it more clear: The Church is against anything that offends against the sanctity and inherent dignity of human life. IVF is just one of many sins against human life, and she will continue to oppose all of them from here to eternity. :) So, in that sense, it is the Church's mission to protect life from the moment conception to natural death. Very consistent with the mission of Christ and Christianity.

    Essentially, if a Catholic is living a life of serious sin, or if a Catholic supports serious sin, then there is certainly a disconnect between that person and his faith, and yes, his God. It's no more complicated than that.

    Hope that helps.

  77. Olya, I hope I did not come across as unkind. We have a long history of this type of discussion, though. :) I get frustrated when you misrepresent the Church's teachings, especially when it is clear that you don't understand the Church at all. I have no problem with you giving your opinion on the Church, or even telling us what you believe as a Protestant. It's the misrepresentation that bothers me (I would never misrepresent any Protestant denomination).

    If you could, please let me know what sources you use to learn about Catholic teaching?

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  79. Paul, I really don't care about PETA. I was trying to make you understand, but apparently that analogy didn't help in that regard. I am not sure what would make you see the point I'm trying to make.

    You say "nothing in IVF obviously violates human dignity." You also said that you saw no inherent connection between sex and procreation (which kind of blows my mind). I will just say that what is "obvious" to me is not to you, and vice versa.

    Bottom line: It doesn't matter if it's obvious to you or to me. It's what the Church teaches. I happen to see it. But if I didn't, I would still submit to it, as a Catholic. Because if the Catholic Church was founded by Christ (who is God), then I am going to assume I am wrong and the Church is right. This may seem silly to you, but that is the difference between a Catholic and a Protestant, and a faithful Catholic and a dissident Catholic.

    I go back to this:

    If Jesus literally rose from the dead, then He is God, and I will submit to Him in all things.

    If Jesus established a Church, then I will be a member of His Church.

    If Jesus appointed leaders for His Church and delegated His teaching authority to those leaders, then I will submit to those leaders when they speak on matters of salvation, faith and morals.

    Those are some big ifs, and I won't set about to prove any of them today. Obviously, many folks dispute one or all of them.

    If any one of those ifs is untrue, then the Catholic Church is irrelevant and can be ignored.

    But if they all are true, then submission, even if one doesn't fully "get it" on one or another issue, is required.

    Before anyone cries out about my having "blind faith" I suggest a reading of my reversion story, or myriad other conversion stories out there. Chesterton and Newman would be good starting points for someone who likes the intellectual side of conversions.

  80. Paul, it could be that I am totally missing your point and we are talking past each other. If you are making the point that the only essential part of Christianity is Jesus the God-Man crucified and risen, then I would disagree. It is certainly the "crux" of Christianity, or "mere Christianity." It is what unites all Christians. But, Catholics believe in much more than that central truth. We believe in the Deposit of Faith (as I blogged about earlier), which is ALL of revelation. All of it is essential and true. To reject it outright is to be a "Protestant", either literally or in effect. IVF and all the life issues are part of the Deposit of Faith, which requires submission of mind and will. It is not discipline, that is changing with the times or situation, but it is doctrine, which is true eternally.

    You don't agree with that, and I understand that you don't, but it is Catholicism.

    Does that make sense?

  81. My whole family is protestant. I'm the only Catholic (besides my four tallies...I mean, kids). I think that if faith were curtains, they'd be picking the simple white shade that's practical and I'd be having the heavy drapes of tapestry. Love my big, beautiful "tapestry of truth"!

    Trivia of the Day: All of Christendom rejected contraception as evil until the Anglican Church accepted it at the 1930 Lambeth Conference. Now, Catholics stand virtually alone on this.

    I love truth, don't you? It never changes.

  82. Lisa, my priest (former Anglican priest) just preached on that very thing, today! Talked about the Lambeth Conference of 1930, etc. He left his whole livelihood and community behind, for the truth of the Church.

    Objective truth doesn't "reverse" and become its opposite.

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  84. It's been great dialoguing with you, Paul!

    I hope you'll get the Handbook of Christian Apologetics and keep it on your shelf for a rainy day. You never know when you might want to go over the logical proofs for the Resurrection. :)

    Stop by again any time!

  85. I really have very little to say as the comments of anonymous started out ridiculous and hilarious and have gone downhill from there.

    I will just comment on the one thing that stands out to me personally: The idea that the Church makes human sexuality into something awkward and gross.

    Ha! Yes, the language used is heavy and a bit strange. But the image it gives, the full understanding of human sexuality held by the Church is so breathtakingly beautiful, that is was this doctrine that converted me. It is like a shiny piece of gold, almost, but not quite obliterated by the scum and muck floating in the pond of modern culture.

    I actually feel sorry for people still swallowing, hook, line, and sinker, the disgusting view of sex held by our secular culture.

  86. 91 comments already? And I'm leaving to go pick up Sew from the airport!! No time to read, so someone may very well have said what I'm about to say:

    "God loves our children. ALL of them."
    Even the frozen embryos we leave stored in the back of a clinic until we sign to have them discarded.

  87. I'm always late on these posts!! I love this post. I am one of 8 and even though we had a very disfunctional family growing up, none of us would change it for the world! I love all my sisters and brother, we are all here for each other no matter what, and even if we get mad at each other we are family and will be there till the end to love and support each other. I hate confrontation, but I have to say Anonymous, your a very sad lady, and I will pray for you! :)

  88. Just wanted to pop in an tout the joys of being an only child. Although I do wish I had a sibling now, later in life, I never missed having siblings growing up. I appreciated the many opportunities my parents were able to offer me and contrary to most perceptions of only children, have always enjoyed sharing whatever I have with other people.

    Interestingly enough, I have been chastised/pitied by Catholic people before for being an only child. For those who come from large families, I guess it's hard to imagine and even harder to realize it's really not a curse at all!

  89. I stumbled on this post from Conversion Diary and found it hilarious, although somewhat sad that someone would publicly comment against your family in a blog! I also use the word sketchy quite often, being in my early 20s, but I can't ever think of an instance as someone using it to describe a family of 10...

    Whenever I hear comments like this or have conversations with people about contraception or my desire to have a large family, they usually look at me like I'm a lunatic, roll their eyes, or exhale very loudly in frustration. It's like they're unable to express their viewpoint of the issues, but completely disagree with mine! I just almost always think of the part of Jesus' passion when he speaks to the weeping women:

    "For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'" (Luke 23:29)

    It is so sad to me that we have reached a time where we weep because this has come true...

  90. Miss G, is there a way I might "personal message" you? Thanks :)

  91. Miss G, who would "chastise" someone for being an only child? The child has nothing to do with it. If someone did that to you, they are ridiculous. I don't doubt you at all, but my experience was different. I had one sibling, and my whole life as a Catholic no one ever pitied me for having a small family. No one ever even noticed. I remember at my Catholic university, we all were freaked out and curious about our one friend who had 11 siblings. The idea of a super-sized family was very strange to us. Most Catholics think like secular folk in this regard.

    Liesl, welcome!

    I'm enjoying ALL the comments!

  92. Monica - it's the Church's teachings on sexuality and marriage that converted me too (as a partying college student, no less). Gross or awkward? Hardly. I saw plenty of gross and awkward at my college parties, though.

  93. Miss G - I have heard some odd opinions about only children, for sure. At the end of the day though, Catholics believe Jesus was an only child. So a Catholic really has no business judging only children. ;) I personally did love, love, love having siblings growing up. But not every family will have multiple children.

  94. I should add that the bizarre comments I've received about only children might as well have come from a Protestant, Jew, Agnostic or any other person from a large family (in my case it just happened to come from two Catholic people while in college). I didn't take it to heart and I certainly don't think all Catholics think this way at all. When it comes down to it, a happy, functional family is all that matters, whether it be one kid or 20.

  95. I have 3 kids and plan to have more; my husband and I both came from families of 3 kids (actually my parents had 4, but one of my sisters died shortly after birth). Our families think we're crazy. But then, our families are Protestant. ;) I asked my oldest the other day if she wanted more siblings, ad her reply was "Yes!!" Guess she doesn't hate having her siblings around. :)

    Olya, I'd love to see some proof to back up your claims.

  96. Also, I see a real disconnect between the pro-choice mantra of "Her body, her choice" and TIME magazine cover stories that say, "Do the Duggars Have Too Many Kids?" If it's "her body, her choice," why does TIME magazine question Michelle Duggar's choice? I guess the "choice" only applies if you want fewer kids, not more.

  97. Olya, if you are still there, I know you are pro-life. Are you against embryonic stem cell research? (Most evangelicals are, I believe.)

  98. Those reactions are why I love my Miller kids! :) And why, I wish you had a 26 year old son for me to marry. sigh.

  99. I'm constantly being pitied because I am an only child! Then again, I run in very Catholic circles :) I know I've mentioned in previous comments that I love being an only and wouldn't mind having an only myself (trying very hard not to be greedy!).

  100. Looks like I'm coming in very late on the discussion, but couldn't help but read through the comments (when I should be working on homework).

    I always bring the discussion (for Christians, or anyone who believes in Scripture) to the very first commandment of Genesis 1:28: "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it." You really can't get any more simple than that. No caveats, no if's and's or but's, just a plain, simple marching order.

    Does that mean we are to recklessly reproduce to the point that we exhaust an ability to raise those children? No, it simply means that we are to cooperate with LOVE, TRUST, GENEROSITY, and OBEDIENCE in the creation of eternal souls. Now, of course we welcomed sin and death into the mix shortly thereafter and our bodies (and souls) are broken** and the whole human "Experiment," from the individual up to society, doesn't work quite like it was designed to, but the commandment remains. As Leila has emphasized so many times, Truth is Truth is Truth. It (He) has existed from time eternal and continues unchanged (now communicated and protected by the teaching authority of the Church). No matter how many dissent and "vote against" it.

  101. I don't think the contraceptive mentality that perceives children more as commodities/liabilities than as gifts of an eternal soul, will ever be be able to comprehend why we Catholics--or anyone else who TRULY values the gift of human life--would welcome as many of those gifts as the Lord chooses to bless us with.

  102. I think hubs and I would have MANY LESS children had we not been sub-fertile. How's that for logic? Confused? Once we were such, only then did we actually realize the AMAZING GIFT that children are!

  103. I seriously need to always click subscribe on all of your posts, Leila! I keep missing the good stuff!

  104. Wow. Joanna put it perfectly about pro choice, only when it pertains to those who wants children that were "planned." Children truly are a gift and I don't beleive that anyone's right to have children should be taken away, I wouldn't want that! As for the judging, I don't see anyone being judged for doing IVF or anything against Church Teaching. God judges, we don't. God gave us all free will and we can choose to follow His law or not.

  105. My husband and I are currently trying to decide how we will tell his family we are pregnant. I was raised by traditional Catholics with a few Mormons mixed in (I count all my extended family here, as they all contributed to the raising), so I don't anticipate problems on that side. My father-in-law is an Episcopalian, mother-in-law a former Catholic who converted. My husband reverted to Catholicism before he met me. His parents had two children, mine had six.

    We decided before we married that we would not use contraceptives, but would allow God to decide when we would have our children. We think that four is the best minimum for well-socialized siblings, as if you have two and two then everyone will have a brother and everyone a sister. We plan to continue until we have two of each at least, although if we run something like eight girls in a row we may reconsider :)

    I hope that no one here will be made sad by my experience; I conceived about a month after the wedding. It wasn't an "accident," which sounds so negative. I guess it wasn't really "unplanned," either, since we obviously knew what might happen. But it was a surprise, that soon.

    I do not think my in-laws will be pleased by the prospect of a grandchild this early. I'm kind of dreading telling them, which makes ME sad because it is such a happy occasion! Worst of all, I think they will treat us as irresponsible young people or, even worse than that, chalk it up to some "influence" of mine on their son. We have been married by a priest, in the Church, and we have chosen to follow the Church's teachings on contraceptives, although we have chosen not make use of NFP at this time. These are circumstances under which babies are SUPPOSED to occur. How can it be bad? (I don't dare tell them how many we hope to have, which is what led me to this post!)

    Advice or thoughts, anyone?

  106. The last two posts are different Erins, by the way. Does anyone know how we can distinguish between each other? Thanks.

  107. Erin #2, Congratulations! I just want to say that I can relate to your situation. We conceived on our honeymoon, and I was really anxious to tell my parents. We finally did, and as I expected, we got a subdued "congratulations. well that was fast..." And throughout most of my pregnancy, my mom wasn't exactly overjoyed because they really thought we had cheated ourselves out of our time as just a married couple.
    However, as time went on, my mom started to get excited about having a grand child, and as soon as our daughter was born, my parents were over the moon for her! The timing suddenly didn't matter anymore.
    Then when we announced we were pregnant with our second only 8 months later... my stomach was in knots of their reaction. Again, they weren't overjoyed, but they were happy that we were happy.
    And now with any future children we may have, I just need to thank God for such a wonderful blessing and not apologize for such a beautiful gift even when the timing may not be "perfect" in the eyes of others. Your in laws will come around, but until then just pray for peace and understanding in your heart and theirs. Congratulations, again!

  108. Erin #2, welcome!

    I didn't really have problem with family, but I have also followed one rule with both family and strangers: I make the announcement with so much joy that they would look stupid if they reacted negatively! So, you get a giddy, huge smile on your face when you tell them, as if you cannot contain your glee, and then they will naturally just get excited, too!

    It is when you seem guarded or nervous that people think they can scold you or make less than encouraging comments.

    Try it! If it doesn't work, then nothing would, and I wouldn't worry about it at all. I would just keep being joyful and they will definitely come around, as Megan said. Let us know how it goes!!

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You will always find support here!! What a blessing!!!

    PS: Just type in Erin #2 at the end of your comments if you want to makes sure no one is confused. :)

  109. It's a GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You should have seen the looks on the ultrasound tech and nurse's faces when I immediately started "consoling" (*wink* not really) Christian that we could use the boy name he picked out next time...unless, of course, God gave us daughters three or four deep just to teach us to be presumptuous! Then you could really see their brains working..."three? FOUR?" :)

    As I've had trouble gaining weight during pregnancy, we're very thankful for 2 1/2 pounds since last appointment, and that the BABY is on track for size and age (I grimaced quite involuntarily when my well-meaning graduate director inquired about the "fetus").

    All prayers are welcome for young miss Sara Lorraine on her way to the world, and that St. Joan will watch over her for the next 20 weeks and beyond.

  110. Erin #2, congratulations!!! How wonderful! And the name is simply beautiful! :) :)

    I will pray for her!

  111. I wanted to share with everyone (because joy shared is joy doubled, of course) about the responses I have been getting especially yesterday. I would say about 75% of my classmates overall are married, many have young children, and we've had two babies this fall in our department alone. I had to take a few weeks off to get around some complications, and as I come back into class yesterday, the girl who sits in front of me said she hoped whatever it was went away :) I whispered, "I hope not, we're having a baby," and she was so excited! Then a few minutes later, the fellow behind us was mentioning a conference he had at his child's preschool, and I commented. He leaned forward and asked, "Are you married?" Right on the heels of that, "Got any kids?" "One on the way." "That's wonderful!" My advisor was very pleased as well, said I could have all the time off I needed when the baby came and don't worry about the university's maternity leave regulations, and that his daughter was expecting her third soon. My professors stop after class to tell me about their kids. It's such a culture of life! Maybe we're in our own little Catholic bubble here on Notre Dame's campus, but I love it!

  112. Coming in very late here, but just wanted to add..

    I am one of eight children. The eighth. And I can actually agree with some of the quotes mentioned in the post. My parents married because that's what you do when you're Catholic and pregnant. And they had eight kids because contraception isn't allowed when you're Catholic. I appreciate that a lot of people have a lot of children due to a deep, strong, boundless love. My parents had a lot of children because they were Catholic. It's as simple and as complicated as that.

    My siblings and I definitely went without many things, both material and emotional. It's only now, as an adult myself who is on the edges of starting a family of my own, that I am coming to fully understand the depths of something I've always been aware of - just how much emotional support and nurturing we went without because there were just so many of us. By the time I came along my parents were exhausted in every sense of the word. Choice is a powerful thing, and lack of choice is just as powerful and occasionally has devastating consequences.

    And please don't point out the blatantly obvious - that I wouldn't exist if it weren't for the lack of choice my parents had. I know. And also that they did have a choice - not to have sex. I'm fairly certain we were all Billings babies. My intention is not to be the voice of doom and gloom here and of course my life has not been an unrelenting misery, far from it. However I felt the need to point out there is a very real down side to the Catholic Church's stance on sex/contraception/etc.

  113. Mimi, thanks for your thoughts and bringing a different perspective here. Can you elaborate? I am truly interested. I'm gathering you (sort of?) had a happy life. I am also thinking your parents are happy to have had you? Do they express regret for how it turned out?

    There are very real cases where it is not prudent for a couple to have a lot of children. In fact, the Church teaches very clearly about "responsible parenting." A family of eight is not for everyone. I am not sure how your parents were instructed in NFP, but it doesn't sound like they had great instruction (or they didn't use it correctly, as some people don't use contraception correctly).

    You said not to point out the obvious, but you didn't answer the obvious: Would it have been better if you had not been here? Would your parents have preferred it? What would your parents say about following Church teaching now? How many years were between the first child and you? Were they good parents for the first few kids? I'm asking honestly, not to make a point (I've already made my points in the post).

    But as a mother of eight, I can agree that it is no easy task! I'm just interested to know more.

  114. In all honestly, I cannot say for sure that my parents are happy to have had me, or any of my siblings for that matter. They never cursed the day any of us were born, but there has never been a sense of being truly wanted or longed for. I don't say this for any dramatic effect, it's simply the truth.

    Yes I have had a happy life, and feel that I am an accomplished, educated, emotionally intelligent individual. How much of that is because of my background and how much is in spite of it is unclear.

    I have no way of knowing if it would have been better if I had not been here, who could?! I obviously don't think so. I can't answer for my parents, although I'm sure my mother would give an indignant "Of course not!" without giving away whether she herself has ever pondered the same thing. As for church teachings, we all went to catholic schools. My mother still attends mass every weekend, and I'm sure my father would if he were still alive.

    There is almost two decades between my eldest sibling and I, and I'm not sure how to gauge whether my parents were 'good parents' for the first few kids. I feel that their decision to marry at all was solely due to the pressure placed on them by their Catholic upbringing, which in turn has certainly affected how they dealt with both married and family life.

    I should have said "I'm fairly certain MOST of us were Billings babies", and agree that eight babies would either equate to a lot of miscalculation or misinformation. Either way, the fact that remains that none of us were planned. Further to that I have no other information, in large part due to the fact that my mother just doesn't speak about these things. Any attempt to engage in direct conversation or questioning is dismissed, and there is always a sense of embarrassment or shame that I'm fairly certain she has had for about the last 50 years.

  115. Mimi, I appreciate your honesty. It seems to me that your parents were not happy in general with family life, and even with one or two kids they might not have had joy. So, I am going to surmise that it was not so much Church teaching which made their lives so unhappy, but that there was something wrong in the marriage itself, or with one or more of the parents. Of course, I am speculating.... I obviously wasn't there, and you were.

    I can tell you that for my husband and myself, we had the opposite experience. Our life and marriage got infinitely better when we figured out what the Church taught and why, and then embraced it (because we found it not only true, but deeply beautiful). It is definitely not a cakewalk, though. But then again, whose life is? Anyway, I am sorry that your family suffered with unhappiness. That is sad no matter what the case.

    Oh, and it's interesting to note that today the default is NOT to let young people get married simply because the woman is pregnant. It happened in our parish to a young high school couple of devout families. Our very orthodox young priest would not even think of marrying them. Such a situation is basically marrying under duress, and that would be grounds for future annulment. So, it's really not done like that anymore, for good reason.

  116. If anyone is still following, I saw this and loved it. I am pretty sure she is a Protestant:

    Great insight!

  117. Hi Leila-

    I just discovered your blog and became your newest follower tonight! It's great! So far we are still a little family, but we would love to be blessed to follow your example and have a large family. This is such a great post (going through your popular posts right now!)!

    I was basically raised as an only child (my sister is eleven years older than me and went to live with her mom before I started kindergarten) and I was always kind of jealous of kids with siblings growing up...

    And I love seeing the relationship that my girls (2 1/2 and 6 months) have. They are so sweet together, even at this age! I don't know how anyone who had even two could think that you couldn't love and care for all of your children! It's not like love is a limited commodity!

    Anyways, just had to say hi and I love your blog!

  118. Holy cow, I love this blog!
    ps I am not the anonymous who doesn't approve of big families :)

  119. "The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it."
    Margaret Sanger, Women and the New Race
    Founder of Planned Parenthood

  120. I am not the Anonymous who made a fool out of herself either :)
    I've been a Catholic all my life but only recently am rediscovering what exactly it means to be a Catholic and to live my life to glorify God. I don't have any children yet, I'm not even married yet :P but I do hope to be married in the next few years.
    My opinion about large families, even as a Catholic, used to be similar to the normal secular view, that it takes time away from each child, that it doesn't leave room for the family to do anything, etc. But after reconnecting with the church and opening myself up to thinking differently, I realize how false this truly is. So now I hope to have as many as the Lord blesses me with- for I've come to the conclusion that only he knows and only he can decide what my true limit is.
    And for those who wrongly accuse the church of "forcing couples to have large families they can't care for"- that is just truly ridiculous since the Church specifies when conceiving a child would be unwise in a relationship and even advice to not procreate during those times. So many ridiculous falsities out there about Catholicism, its not even funny. Although I guess as a Catholic we should probably just laugh it off and pray for those people :P


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