Feeling judged for not having more children


Maybe this is all in my head…

When I speak to some Catholic friends, I feel like I have to apologize or explain why we have “only” 2 children.

I have a medical condition which puts a strong risk to my health if we get pregnant again. We use NFP and are very conservative in the method. At the same time, we are open to God’s Will.

Has anyone felt like this before? I wish we could have more now but I am somewhat defensive. I never like the reasoning that “two is the perfect number of children to have”.

I’m just curious if others feel that pressure.

(Not trying to open a can of worms here) :wink:


I hope it is only in your head. It would be rude, and possibly sinful, for others to speculate on the number of children you have.


I know that I have felt the same way. I always get statements like when are you going to have more. Or don’t you want any more.

I too have two perfect children (Okay only perfect when they are sleeping ;). But perfect non the less. :smiley: ) We have had many miscarriages and the subject of having more children is a very hard subject for me so I don’t tell many about our inability to have more children. Which I suppose cause people to assume that we are just choosing not to have more. It really does hurt when these assumptions are made.


I don’t think it is in your head. There are some people who think it is alright to ask any question, no matter how personal. You do not owe these people any explanation. I would just tell those who are rude enough to ask, that you have the number of children that God sends you and feel very blessed to have them.


just think of it as it is all in your head… that way you are not hurt… you do not have to explain anything to anyone…

the only explanation that matters will happen at the day of judgement and you know in ur heart what the outcome to that will be…

people can only hurt you if u let them… :slight_smile:


I think part of it is in my head and part of it isn’t.

At times I think it is because of my own pride that I feel this way. Before I was married I used to be such a strong supporter of large families and would pontificate that I would have lots of children. It was very humbling to learn of my medical issues that would change that.

I agree that people can only hurt you if you let them. At the same time, I feel like my humanity gets the best of me…:o And what others say does effect me.


Have as many as God gives you and don’t worry about what others think.



I too for medical reasons can not have any more children, but the one that I have. I have not felt that people wonder why I do not have more. Around here, it is not common to see large families. The average around here is about 2 to 4 children. I too would love to have more children and always spoke of a large family if I were to marry. I am very grateful for the one child I do have, not that I wouldn’t love more. We practice NFP as well and some do assume we are on birth control, but than again the Catholics I know are on some sort of BC. Sad, but very true.

When I lived in Ohio, as I studied at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, I did encounter what you describe. It was not toward myself for I was single, but would hear things. There were large families every where you turned. I did get judged for the way I dressed which they considered was not modest. I did consider it modest, but the woman for the most part at Steubenville wear long dresses and they were usually foral. I don’t like foral outfits and rarely wore long dresses because I was always cold so I wore pants. I guess there was a lot of judgment going on there.


That is largely what I have experienced.

It is usually from people with a larger family. I am not saying that they do that on purpose. I think in many times they may be worried that we are contracepting or not open to life and they are concerned for us and our souls. I can’t judge their motivation.

And I guess, because we are NOT using birth control I don’t want to be seen as that. Now, I know that is prideful. Maybe that is my cross to carry.

I have been thinking about having another baby a lot lately. I really want one, as does my husband. If I was to get pregnant, it wouldn’t kill me. The question is if I would be able to care for a new child or the other two little kiddos.


No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.

-Eleanor Roosevelt


Cheer up, us confirmed bachelors get a lot of pressure also, especially from Mothers and other family members. :smiley:

As for the rude people who ask why only two children, just say that it is God’s will for you. :yup:


I know, I know. :wink:

I never said I was perfect.


I too have the strong desire of having another baby and my condition is not life threatening also. I also do not know if I would be able to care for a baby with my physical limitations. I know, at least for me, what has consoled me is the fact that Our Mother Mary only had one child and St. Anne had only one child, both children made a huge difference in the world.


LynnieLew, I’ll bet you’re on to something here (bolded part).
At least, that rings true for me & you’ve articulated it very well.

Since you haven’t given examples of the actual words or situations that have left you feeling judged, we can only project from our own experiences, right?

So throw some quotes our way & we’ll take a shot at interpreting them as judgmental or not.

Or, go with your gut/intuition above & ask yourself, “Is this feeling actually my Pride interfering? How can I respond in true Humility, knowing that I am always discerning Your will, Father?”

Either way, just know you’re not alone in struggling with this, even with the most well-intentioned friends & relatives. I’ll keep you in prayer tonight.:slight_smile:


That prejudice is there, but only among the more conservative Catholics. The cafeteria diners are already using ABC so assume everyone else is also. :rolleyes: We have infertility issues, so our one son for 9 years got some looks when we re/converted. Then we adopted, and we blessed by another bio child after that, so we’re “ok” now that we have 3. But yes, many people do judge that you are using BC with few kids–sad but true. Just another cross that those of us with infertility have to bear. Offer it up!


Some people probably do have wrong opinions about your family size. If they are judging you, it’s not your problem. God will take care of it eventually. —KCT


My husband and I have been dealing with infertility for the past two and a half years, basically since our first anniversary which is when we started “trying” for a child. Absolutely everyone assumes we’re contracepting unless we disabuse them of the notion. Yes, I do feel judged for not having any children. It’s bad enough that we can’t have children, now we have to deal with other people’s false witness against us, not to mention that we are apparently giving scandal (not that we can help that without resorting to immoral methods). :frowning:


It’s too bad you have felt pressured or judged over a matter that is no one else’s business.


I think the worst part is that people just assume you are using ABC… which you don’t want them to. My husband and I are expecting #2 real soon and due to some issues are unsure if we will have another. Though we are (or will resume ) using NFP and will be open to whatever God has in store for us, I feel like if we don’t have more kids people will assume that we are contracepting and I don’t want them to think that, it’s like I want to have lots of kids just to prove that we aren’t… Even though I know it’s crazy


I know this amazing woman at my church, who is a real inspiration to me because of her incredible faith, love, and optimism despite much suffering. I don’t think any one would ever look at her and think that she is a bad Catholic, yet whenever the subject comes up that she has two children, she seems to think it is necessary to add that she has had 7 miscarriages. I just think it is a real shame that she has to relive that pain every time the subject comes around to the two wonderful children that she does have. I really don’t think everyone is making assumptions about people who have no children or small families. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt, that they are giving you the benefit of the doubt.

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