A culture that values abundance everywhere but in fertility
July 26, 2019
Having announced a pregnancy or two myself, I’ve witnessed the shifting attitude towards new life firsthand. First though, let me acknowledge my immense privilege, for not to do so would be disingenuous; Dave and I have tremendous family support, a vibrant community of friends who share our values and relate to our grocery budget woes, and a solid parish home where our kids are welcomed and treasured, no matter how loud and numerous they be.
I want so badly for everyone to have that level of support and the kind of thick, reliable community that makes being open to life not only possible, but dare I say enjoyable? To be surrounded, perhaps not at every moment, but at least emotionally and relationally surrounded, by love, acceptance, and solidarity.
That is my big hope for my new venture, Off the Charts. Not that it’ll be the most polished and professional source of information for using NFP (because you have instructors for that), or that it will become wildly popular and successful, but that the women who find their way here will find welcome here, and rest.
Because you are not crazy for opening yourself up to life.
You are not crazy for “making your life harder” or “having more kids than you can reasonably afford” or “failing to plan for college.”
Almost all the things our culture tells us – and believes – about children are rooted in an understanding of persons as either assets or liabilities, examining the size and shape of our families through the lens of a sort of cost/benefit analysis.
That’s how you get comments like “better you than me,” or “ are you saving for college?” and “how do you ever take them all on vacation?” instead of the only appropriate response to the existence of new life: congratulations!
Because we as a culture tend to view persons through this lens of suspicion, and to frame our relationships around terms like cost and inconvenience, many, many people struggle to see other human beings – particularly small ones – as incomparable blessings.
It is strange, though, if you pull back for a minute and examine every other area of life in the 21st century; is there any other area where we don’t applaud abundance and welcome it eagerly?
Health, material acquisitions, money, fitness, real estate, travel experiences, vehicles, clothing, career accomplishments, even pets…in every other area of life, we are encouraged and expected to acquire, to expand, to improve.
Don’t misunderstand where I’m going with this as a foray into providentialism – I’m not a pop ‘em till you drop kind of gal (even though I’m half convinced this current pregnancy is the hardest by far, whew!) I’m just trying to point out how ironic it is that in one of the wealthiest and most privileged cultures in the history of humankind, new humans have suddenly been recast as a dangerous liability and an impediment to happiness.
We value abundance everywhere except in fertility.
We rack up marathon medals, travel conquests, promotions, and even pieces of real estate, but try telling someone you’re expecting kid number 4 and you might be greeted with blank stares, dumbfounded incredulity, and even open hostility on occasion.
It makes little sense.
But you have an inkling of this deeper truth, a truth that much of the world has either forgotten or failed to internalize; you know that life is good. That you are good. That God is delighted by every single human person He has ever created, and ever will create. That becoming a parent is one of the most radical acts of trust and humility and self actualization possible, and it will only cost you everything.
And that no matter what the world says, the life we’ve chosen and the life we’re open to is a life of deep, deep joy. Not absent suffering or sorrow or tremendous sacrifice, but home to an ocean of joy.
I want so much for every couple to experience that depth of joy, which is why I’ve created this unique community to support, encourage, and inspire couples on their NFP journeys with faithful Catholic teaching, solid content, relatable workshops and interviews with guest experts, and most of all, a welcoming environment.
In honor of NFP Awareness Week, I’ve opened up membership for a 24 hour flash sale – we won’t open again until Fall 2019. If you’ve been thinking about joining Off the Charts or sitting on the waitlist, now’s your chance.
You don’t have to hide your messiness, your struggles, or your pain, and you don’t have to bury your joy, either.
You are most welcome here.
For more information or to register click here. Learn more about Off the Charts here.