Am I Missing Something?

So I’ve been a lurker here for a while, but just made an account to ask a question that resulted from an odd experience I had recently.

I have been married for three years, and we recently were talking with a couple of friends about when we were going to start having kids. Well, the thing is, we’re not trying to avoid having kids, but we’re not really trying to either. Not going into any serious medical history with strangers on the internet, there may be some evidence that my wife may have difficulty in conceiving, but we’ve never really spent the time and money to really get any official diagnosis. In general, we’re both just happy taking whatever comes and accepting whatever doesn’t.

So that brings us to the main question. Our friends (who don’t know our complete medical histories) were kind of shocked at our nonchalant attitude towards the whole thing. When asked, we both sort of shrugged our shoulders. They figured that by this point we should be tracking down every available resource to maximize chances of getting pregnant – we’re not getting any younger, you know. We’re both willing to accept the children God gives us, but neither of us really have any sort of strong desire to become parents. Every so often, we note that because we don’t have children, we can afford to do something – like go out to a fancy dinner or on a weekend getaway (our stories of a recent adventure is what brought up the topic in the first place). Our one friend made a bit of a faux pas when he suggested that we were somehow defective because of our attitude towards the situation. (We did our best to laugh it off).

So what say you, random internet people, is there something wrong with us that we’re not worried about the lack of children in our marriage?

hmm, it doesn’t sound like there is anything the matter with you. :wink: I would guess that there are many people who go into marriage knowing that one partner is infertile and thus have little chance or hope for having children. Yet they get married anyways and have fulfilling and spirit filled lives.

To put an even more positive spin on it, it sounds like you are putting your complete trust in God. :thumbsup:

There’s nothing wrong with letting go and letting God decide when or even if you have kids. But there’s nothing wrong with seeing if there is a problem and if you can fix it either. As long as the two of you are on the same page, you’re good. :thumbsup: The only I problem I see is if you or your wife really want kids and have problems doing so–in which case you want time to be on your side (don’t wait until it is too late). But if you are both 100% happy as is then more power to you!

KG

I say the same as jilly4ski. The Church does not require us to search every avenue to bring about a pregnancy. And it’s no one else’s business if you can have children or not. No one is a true friend who tries to make you feel like they do about having children. There’s nothing wrong with feelings, it’s what we do with them that matters and it sounds like you are just letting nature take its course, which is perfectly fine. You may wish to contribute to a mission that cares for homeless children or give some of your time in some kind of charity work as a part of your married life, if you aren’t already. That too will draw you together as well as give you an outlet for caring for others. My dh is a Knight of Columbus so we do things with them, for example. Just something to consider. :slight_smile:

I know what you mean. Yes my wife and I are trying to get pregnant, but we accept that is is God’s decision alone. Also, we plan to adopt in the near future, so bioligical children are not a necessity for us. Yet it feels as though all the older couples at church are pushing us. Every mass we are asked, “when are you two going to have your first?” “So and so are your age and they are on their second or third…” Yeah it gets annoying. I know how you feel.

You’re fine. Your attitude about children is healthy, probably more healthy than people who feel the need to enquire your or your wife’s fecundity.

Something wrong? Yes, I’d say there’s definitely something wrong with your friends who not only see something wrong with you, but also are spreading their misinformation. It’s wonderful that you are fully ready to embrace whatever God sends you. The Church definitely recommends deepening in prayer and union with God your desire to serve others and to give, but there are myriads of ways to do this besides your own biological children. God will lead you.

Agreed.

And I have to say, love the name you’ve chosen, Xenophile.

Nothing wrong, I guess.

No, you don’t have to pursue pregnancy, just be open to it. You certainly do not need to be open to interrogations about it.

Two thoughts:

One is that it may not be politic to “note that because we don’t have children, we can afford to do something”. If someone wants to know where you find the money to do something, you can just say “I beg your pardon?” because it isn’t any of their business, regardless of your family size or circumstance. Having said that, whatever you decide to answer, be sensitive to the possibility that they may have money troubles (or arguments about money or financial quarrels about whether to try to have more children). You may unknowingly be making a bit of a faux pas yourself. If the question comes up about where you find the money, just look at them with some consternation and say, “If the talk about the trip bores you, that’s OK, but it is boring to talk about money. We’d rather keep that private.”

I’m also reminded of Miss Manners, who thought it would serve the nosy people right if their inappropriate prying about family planning was met one day by seeing a friend bursting into tears and fleeing from the room. It is none of their business whether you are “trying” or not, it is not theirs to decide if you are “too nonchalant”, and this is as true of your parents and in-laws as it is of your friends since high school and your next door neighbor who hopes to be joined on stroller walks in the park. You will do someone a favor by transmitting that truth. You can express this by saying, “We would be very happy to have children, but that hasn’t happened yet. That is all we care to say about it.” Repeat, repeat, repeat. (Why say “we’d be very happy”? Because if you have a child, that is the story you want to have going around and getting back to your kid. If it is not true, keep your mouth closed about any reservations you might have. You will probably thank yourself for that one day.)

I think it’s beautiful that you are following JPII’s words

Be not afraid.

and trusting in the Lord. You may not be aware of it, but I believe your words of trust will speak volumes to those who read it and wonder if they are perhaps “doing something wrong” by not freaking out about their fertility issues, good, bad, or whatever.

Bless you and your life together, however God wills it.

I agree with the other posters who say that as long as you are open to life, then its no one’s business. We were able to conceive very quickly for our first. We had two miscarriages after him and people would give us weird looks because he was already 5yrs old and we hadn’t had another child. My response to when people would ask when we are we going to have another, we would just respond with something like, “all in God’s good time”. Or “we just haven’t been blessed to have another one right now”. I have a cousin who has been married for at least ten years. They have always been open to life…they are nearly 40 now and still no children…they are very active in their parish and are a great loving Catholic couple. :slight_smile:

I’ve posted something similar to what I’m about to write before. I think it’s high time people mind their own business when it comes to how many kids you do or do not have. For me, it’s a VERY personal question. For me, it’s on the same level as asking how often my husband and I have sex! The next time these people are involved in the baby making process, they can have a say-so in my growing (or non-growing) family. I’ll admit, I used to ask people when they were gonna have kids. I understand that, in our culture, it’s not viewed by most people as an offensive thing to ask. But since I had three kids in three years and have heard people tell me I was crazy, attention starved (yeah), and a sex maniac, I’ve changed my attitude about it all. I no longer ask newlyweds when they’re gonna start a family. The truth is, you never know if someone is struggling w/ infertility. Or if they possibly just had a miscarriage and hadn’t told anyone they were pregnant yet.

If I were you, I would just tell people that God is in complete control and you and your wife are content with that. I used to tell nosey people that we weren’t preventing, but not trying to conceive. In the meantime, we were just enjoying being married.

You’re in my prayers! And let me just say that I think you have a wonderful attitude and a great outlook on life!

I know people who went this route, but this response opened them up to all manner of suggestions, medical and folk, for increasing their fertility. The underlying tone oftentimes was one of “well, you say you want kids, but I don’t see you guys trying very hard…”

I think my husband’s ex-boss and his wife brilliantly handle queries about when they’re going to have kids. They say simply, “When we’re having a child, we’ll let you know.” They say it with a smile and a pointed look discouraging more questions.

well Jesus said do not worry

I would have had a very hard time refraining from several pointed questions about what sort of covert surveillance could give anyone room to comment “I don’t see you trying very hard”. :eek:

A better response to “we don’t see you trying very hard” is “I don’t know about you, but I’m very sure that I just heard myself saying ‘That is all we care to say about it’.”

Your friend’s phrasing works very well, too. Any polite way of saying, “Butt out” works!

There is nothing wrong with not actively trying to have children. On the other hand, your biological clock is ticking. If you find out you can not have children, you can always adopt.
Children make a good marriage better, but I fear they can make a bad worse. God bless you. PS not to use a scare tactic, but think of Scrooge:D

Not really “always”, but there is nothing wrong with a married couple who have no children deciding not to pursue adoption. That isn’t a moral imperative, either.

God bless you. Everything will be all right.

herve leger

Thank you all for your replies. I know we’re not having any sort of moral quandry, as we are being open to life. My wife and I are also very much right for each other on this topic as we’re completely of the same mind. Perhaps I didn’t emphasize the key point though, which is noted in this reply:

That’s the thing though — it’s not. Neither of us have any parental desires, even around other people’s kids, nieces and nephews and the like. Again, we wouldn’t say no if it happened, but sometimes we feel like whatever is happening is a blessing – like we “dodged a bullet” somehow. It’s a little odd to spend this much time thinking about it too, as most of the time the idea of having children, or the effect that they’d have on us, is just not part of our daily lives. The oddity of the friends question was when they’re asking about our plans for children – it’s just that we have no plans. It’s not that we’re planning not to have children, but that planning for children is not something we’ve really done.

As a side note, we do talk about such things on occasion, and we do discuss we’d do if any major life changing event were to happen (one of us loses our job, or gets seriously injured, or gets a promotion that requires moving across the country, for example). Having a child is only one of such events that we could adapt for, but we’ve not made any specific plans for it.

@xenophile
I would encourage the both of you to pray about it and ask God what his will is for you. I’m not saying your doing anything wrong, but it’s a good idea to continue praying over it and not just assume that if God wanted you to have kids he will make it happen. But like I said your not doing anything to try and prevent pregnancy so your not doing anything wrong. Just keep yourself open to God’s will and I’m sure you will get all the answer’s you seek :smiley:

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