Being Open to Life Is Being Open to a Person

by | May 27, 2021 | Babies, Catholic Living, Mailbag | 1 comment

More from the Catholic All Year mailbag today . . .

Question:

Dear Kendra,

I have followed you for over a year now and it has been wonderful adding more liturgical traditions to our year!

I’m pregnant and it’s a big shock. We have always been generally open to life, and in fact, my husband gets more excited each time, which is such a blessing! It is me who gets to doubting that I will be able to handle months of illness and another challenging delivery.

Looking for a helpful perspective,

Teresa

Answer:

Dear Teresa,

First off: Congratulations on your pregnancy!

Second: It sounds like you have real and legitimate concerns, and I hope you’ll be able to enlist the help of your husband and family and friends to lighten the load for you a bit over the next few months.

But third: It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the beginning stuff . . . difficult pregnancies, difficult births, those first few weeks and months of maybe reduced sleep and almost certainly reduced productivity. Even financial challenges.

But I think it’s important to remember that when you’re open to life you’re not open to “a pregnancy” or “a baby.”

You’re open to a PERSON.

You’re open to a sibling for your children. You’re open to an aunt or uncle to your grandchildren. You’re open to another loved one at your deathbed. This tiny new person will, God willing, be in your life until you die. Who knows the comfort and support one more child, one more sibling might be to you and your existing kids?

I have done difficult pregnancies, I have done uncertain futures, but it has always felt so SO worth it, when viewed with that long-term lens.

Hang in there, mama,

Kendra

P.S. My friend Monica makes this important addition . . .

Just to add: Even more than a just person for this life, it’s a person for eternal life. What an amazing thing that we, as Mothers, can do like changing eternity! We can bring souls with us to eternity. There’s nothing else on earth that we can bring with us to heaven—not all the wealth or possessions in the world. But we can bring our children. It’s such a gift God has given us.

Note: This particular reader message is an amalgamation of a few similar emails I’ve received.

_________

P.P.S. for all the dads in your life, for Father’s Day coming up, I wanted to remind you of a couple things we’ve got in the CAY Shop.

Coasters!

Available in full-color reusable coaster board in two sets: St. Augustine Quotes and Catholic Beer Quotes

Plan of Life Notepad

Based on the recommendations of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, this notepad can be used by men, women, and kids to keep track of daily spiritual practices and goals. 6×4 inches. 100 single-sided sheets per pad. Printed on 70 lb. premium stationery paper with a cardboard back. See it here.

1 Comment

  1. bipods

    I remember a beautiful post you wrote once about asking your older kids whether you should continue being open to another baby when it might result in you and Jim both being ill at the same time. Only one of my kids can speak in full sentences right now, and that mainly involves talking to his imaginary friends in nonsense words and giggling. So we grown ups have to decide.

    I’m wading through the second trimester of a very difficult pregnancy. #1 was basically fine, #2 was really hard, this is even harder. Once again I’ve managed to stay out of hospital, but I spent weeks on end literally in bed all day. I’m up and about within the house now, but have to be careful not to overdo it and can’t really leave the house. My husband has been doing EVERYTHING. He’s breaking under the strain. I don’t think we as a family can do this again. It’s too much. My existing kids need me.

    It’s really sad for me to say that. No more babies. No more kids. No more people. We might adopt later down the line, but that’s quite a different task to take on to making your own baby from scratch and bringing them up from day zero.

    I’m glad it’s a difficult choice for us, though, because it should be. Abstaining from sex indefinitely or practicing the most cautious version of NFP possible is harder than popping a pill or getting his tubes tied. Catholics aren’t quiverfull. We don’t have to have as many kids as possible. We’re allowed to say “no more”. But it is right that it is a difficult decision with consequences – just as having another child can be difficult. It’s pretty difficult for me right now! I’m not really looking forward to this baby/person – I’m just trying to get through today. But I can’t let my existing kids’ childhoods be a blur of checked-out Mom in bed again for a few months. I need to be there for them. And that means saying “no more”. Our hearts might not be, but our house is full.

    Kendra, I hope you change your mind sometime about having to create an account to post a comment. I know you must have been dealing with loads of spam or something, but I’ve been re-reading some of your old posts and I miss all the comments.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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