Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Babies Are Nice

Conversation recently among a group of [unchurched] 20-somethings:
"I don't think I'd ever want a family.  It would be fun to come home once a week and make dinner and spend time with my family.  But every day?!"
"Maybe it would be okay to have kids.  If they'd arrive at age 4 or 5, already ready for school, and able to feed themselves and dress themselves and use the toilet."
"Babies look like little aliens."

A few days later, Bible class was on the topic of marriage, and how the world views marriage, and society's changing definitions of marriage, and how the Church has pretty much taken-for-granted the joys and the normalness of married life and faithfulness, instead of extolling it. 

Some of the ideas "out there" about marriage, relationships, children, are so so unbiblical (and new-fangled) that it boggles my mind.  I don't even know how to begin addressing the complete mess of someone's life when they value self-indulgence, pride themselves in hanging onto grudges, and have no experience with the simple joys and stability that come with plain old everyday family life.  They know they're unhappy.  But the idea of living a life of sacrifice for others?  Not on the radar.

So I asked during Bible class.  "How do we respond?  How do we talk to people about these things when we're not even speaking the same language, when we're coming from vastly different perspectives?"

And Pastor said, "Just live your life.  Just be who you are as a wife and mother."


That's all?

But the more I think about it,
the more I hear conversations out there in the big wide world,
the more I realize that "just being who I am" IS pretty different.


  1. To be fair... babies do often look like little aliens. They're adorable and sweet, but their heads are huge and their arms and legs are so spindly...

    But I suspect they were saying it negatively, and not affectionately.

    And I've heard a lot in my life about how I'm not living a biblical and Christian life because I dare to not have children. I know you don't do this, but a lot of people look at a 30-something couple who doesn't have kids and just assume they're being selfish jerks. It's hard. And sad.

  2. I think it's safe to say that couple who REJECTS the possibility of children --and who do so out of selfishness-- are acting sinfully.

    Thing is, there is NO outward way to tell who is suffering barrenness and who is being a jerk. So we all feel justified assuming jerkiness instead of putting the best construction on things. And yeah, like you said, SAD.

    I'm sorry it's hard.
    I should have named you Leah.

  3. Hugs for your Rachel. The same thing happens that people assume we were done after 3 boys and are selfishly limiting our family size.

  4. I'm not sure how to word this without sounding a little strange since Rachel and I barely know each other, but I assure you, it comes from a place of love.

    Rachel, I know you suffered a miscarriage a while back, and I have thought of you regularly ever since then. I, too, had a miscarriage, and I never forget about it. I think of all women I know who have that in common and the pain that we've all felt from it. I assumed that you haven't gotten pregnant again because it's just not happening, for whatever reason. My heart pains for you. I'm sorry you're going through that. Truly.

  5. Susan, this blog post brought tears to my eyes, by the way. Our society really DOESN'T get it. I call myself a societal outcast because I think so fundamentally different about marriage and family than most people. I find it nearly impossible to cultivate friendships with people who don't see eye-to-eye with me on the topic, which is, basically everyone outside of the church and MANY, even within the church.

    And then I catch flack for making my life look so wonderful. Huh? Maybe it looks wonderful because, um, it is? It's just that my definition of "wonderful" is different from most other people's.

  6. Thanks, Meghan. We lost #2 this summer, and it hasn't gotten any easier to deal with the comments. (And the dirty looks I get when I wave hello to strange children waving at me- it's amazing the difference having a kid with you makes. No one cares that I have blue hair while I'm out with the kiddos I watch regularly, but even brown-haired Rachel out alone gets the stinkeye.)

    Thing is, we DO have a great life and are very happy. I think that might be where some of the busybodies get their ideas. I'm not constantly moping about the babies that I miss so very much. I have a loving, sweet husband who works hard so I can be a housewife. I have ridiculous cats. I do enjoy getting to play video games and write until the wee hours of the morning.

    But busybodies see a person who enjoys that and doesn't realize that she'd enjoy the hard work of babies more.

    (Yeah, mom, what was up with my name? If you'd added a Hannah in there you would have hit all the most famous barren women in the bible... ;D I like my name. It fits me. I think I'd be a weird Leah.)

  7. You are SO not a Leah or an Eve.

    "Rachel Elizabeth Sarah Hannah." We didn't do THAT to you!

    So, do you think we should've stuck with Dad's choice: Raquel?

  8. Well, at least they're not in the "just do it" mode. Am I wrong?

  9. Jane, abstinence isn't the only way to avoid family life; contraceptives and abortions are available.

  10. Yeah, I know.


  11. Susan, I hang out with an online community that is entirely secular and mostly single men (it's automotive related.) And I can attest that your Pastor's suggestion works. I'm sometimes taken aback by a private comment to me commending me on doing what I do, i.e stay home and raise my kid, from people you would not expect to notice or care.