19 April 2016

Best Laid Plans

The one thing I never understood about the Catholic Church was its position on birth control. No matter how much I read Church teaching or listened to podcasts and homilies, it was completely beyond me why a little non-abortifacient was so wrong. I still followed the Church's teaching, we only used NFP, but it was out of dutiful obedience and not out of understanding. I didn't want too many kids (3 or 4), and I didn't want them too close together or too far apart. For the sake of the family. I had it all figured out: exactly what would constitute good for our family.

After I had Abigail, I knew I wanted more kids, but I was worried if we had too many, Matt and I wouldn't be able to provide for Abigail throughout her life. I wonder too if new life was a bit scary to that Jacqueline - so fragile and easily damaged. So my 3 or 4 count was reinforced.

After our miscarriage - the third anniversary of which was yesterday - life became more precious to me. A body and soul I helped to create was gone. And I had no say in the matter. And now that little soul is looking down on me from Heaven and I when I die, I will get to hold that little soul in my arms and not a moment before. It is such a strange feeling sometimes to have part of your heart walking around in Heaven. I cherish life on a whole new level because of the baby we lost.

After Eleanor, I was still obsessed with controlling my life plan, but I had come to realize that life, kids, and especially babies, are totally awesome. After we had Eleanor, I knew I definitely wanted more than 3 and was leaning toward maybe planning for 5 (gasp!) kids.

Then came Theodore. When I was pregnant with him, I was furious with God, with the Church, and with the whole birth control issue. No contraception felt like a big joke that celibate men were playing on women. I saw myself getting pregnant every year for the rest of my fertility. How could we provide for our family? Afford the medical bills? Stop from loosing my sanity?

Antidepressents cleared away the pain and the anger and the bitterness. Then I gave birth to the chillest, laziest, funnest baby ever. And I look in his eyes and I am so thankful my life didn't go according to my plan. Where would I be without my Foxy Man?!

Sometimes when we're snuggling, I think about all the Foxy Men I could have. Part of me wants to just throw my NFP chart away and have as many kids as God gives me for the time being. I want to fill up my big, beautiful house full of adorable children.

I'll pack them in bunk beds in their rooms and they will grow up together swapping clothes and staying up past bedtime. They'll become doctors and teachers and lawyers and moms and dads and hopefully a priest or a nun and they'll get together every year at Christmas and laugh and rejoice in their memories.

Up until fairly recently, I would scorned at the imbecility of someone who said things like, "As many kids as God will give me." Pre-kids Jacqueline would never have thought she would grow up to live in a brick house on the edge of town full of kids and cats and dogs and love.

But this Jacqueline wants to grow old surrounded by her family. And maybe, just maybe, the Writer of souls knows better than this writer of words.


Anonymous said...

I'm smiling through tears, Jacqeuline. What a beautiful reflection. We just put a second set of bunk beds in the boys' room so all four would fit, then welcomed #5 last Sunday. Francis, who's almost 7, has said every day, "Mom, I just can't believe how great it is to have a new baby! I just can't believe it!" The love in your home multiplies as your hearts expand (which is painful, at times!). God is so good! TB

nichole davis said...

Family planning is such a challenging topic for me. I have shared just about every bit of emotion and reasoning you expressed in this blogpost. I remember struggling so much through Natalie and Owen's pregnancies. The why is this happening and I just don't understand your timing weighing against my trust in the creator of all things, including time. I am baptist and so I just try to follow the Bibles guidance on birth control, which is really hard to know what the right answer is. God gave us wisdom and medical advancement, but what blessings am I turning my back on by not trusting God to be in control.