By Ana Borden, NOLA Catholic Parenting
St. Pope John Paul II’s words and message have left an incredible impression on me personally. He boldly proclaimed with courage preserving the dignity of every human person as a vocal advocate for a “Culture of Life.”
With the consistent decline in the number of children per family in the U.S., down to an average of 1.9, having more than two or three children appears to spark curiosity of many to ask why one would even consider having a “big” family in today’s world. Instead of welcoming another addition with cheers and loving remarks, families awaiting their third, fourth or beyond often receive disapproving remarks, body language, backlash and are losing relationships. In lieu of dwelling on our neighbor’s perspective to question a married couple’s openness to life, our Catholic community should embrace God’s creation and rejoice in the church’s future.
Speaking from personal experience and that of other parents with more than three children, it is not easy to ignore these reactions. I have reflected on such comments and ideology, but my faith in God’s plan for our family and the richness, nourishment and lessons our children have taught us, supersede any negativity.
St. Pope John Paul II preached, “Life is freedom.” Could it be that by setting up boundaries, for example restricting our family to one, two or even three children, is actually limiting our sense of freedom?
By creating more “freedom” for ourselves, are we actually creating more obstacles, hindering our happiness and not experiencing the richness of God’s plan for each of our families?
Curiously enough, I hear just as many, if not more, positive comments from couples desiring to have more children. I have listened to women and men desiring more children only to hear that they lacked the emotional and physical support from their extended family and friends and struggled to find acceptance desiring to grow their family.
Instead of being a bystander, let the transformation of our culture begin with each of us. Advocating for life, providing the emotional and physical support couples we know may lack, being understanding and embracing the freedom of living God’s divine plan by choosing actions, words of encouragement and even silence are positive feedback we can give growing families. What better way to show our love for God and one another than to grow our family and live in the likeness and love of Jesus by encouraging the growth of the Catholic Church.
St. Pope John Paul II, pray for us.
Ana Batista Borden is a native New Orleanian, wife, mother, architect and Roman Catholic, who with her husband Brad, juggles their own businesses while navigating life with little ones in the Catholic faith. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our three-times-a-week blog at www.nolacatholicparenting.org.