I don’t know any Catholics closely in real life so I figured I might ask here and see what you all had to say. Thank you.
Here is my dilemma - I am a father of three adult girls. My oldest is married with no kids yet, my youngest is still in school pursing an MFT. My second daughter is 29 and married for six years with three kids. My wife and I raised the girls in a Methodist church, although we identify as Methodist we are more broadly just Christian.
The issue is my second daughter converted to Catholic after she got married in the Catholic church to a Catholic man. That is fine. Her mom and I had no real problem with this. As long as she is a follower Christ we are supportive. We did have some concerns about her being on the young side and not having finished her original goal for education (masters in education was the plan… she has a bachelors with no finished credential) we also questioned the husband and his goals/abilities to provide, but he was a good enough kid and so off they went and got married. She promised us that as soon as she got settled into a new home, she would return to school and finish her credential and get her master’s.
Well, three months after the wedding she was pregnant. We were of course happy to have a grandchild and happy for her, but this derailed her plan so we had some disappointments too. She swore that when the baby was a year old she would go back to school, but when the baby was 14 months she got pregnant again. At this point her mother, while supportive, asked her what was going on and she said they did not believe in birth control and were going to let God decide their family size. My wife said, “you are 25 years old, if you let God/nature decide, you will have 20 children by the time you are 50.” Our daughter said God wouldn’t send anything that she couldn’t handle.
I have a huge problem with that way of thinking, because people will simply handle whatever life hands them OR lose their marbles, have a miserable life, go crazy or harm themselves. God DOES let things happen to people that they can’t handle, or that are so cripplingly devastating that lives are ruined. We are not believers that God “sends” anything to us - we believe that he allows life to take its own course. God doesn’t “send” 20 babies any more than he “sends” cancer or a devastating car wreck or an Oscar or a job or a Superbowl championship. People make choices, things happen, we usually deal with it but sometimes it’s too much.
So our daughter got pregnant for a third time when that baby was not even a year yet and now she has a daughter and two little tiny boys and she is EXHAUSTED. She looks 40. Her mom and I help all we can with childcare, but her husband has never made enough money to support a decent lifestyle. We have to help them with rent and utilities all the time and the kids are on government health care. It’s ridiculous that they keep having babies in light of all this.
Last week we found out that she is pregnant for a fourth time. We love and adore our grandkids, but my daughter was not made just to breed and breed and breed. At this point she will never finish her education, and I don’t know if they will ever be able to afford a real home, good schools, or anything nice. My daughter drives a car that is on its last legs. She is beleaguered and she doesn’t even know it.
I am really at a loss here. Babies are great and families are great, but at some point can’t we say that enough is enough? They are all about God providing, but He isn’t going to buy them health insurance - taxpayers are covering that. He isn’t going to pay for groceries, much less a home, furniture, education, cars, and things that kids need. I feel that my daughter and her husband need to put a stop to this “God’s plan” business and start using their God-given intellect and ability to choose to get their family right before my daughter keels over and dies from the constant pregnancies.
She needs to go back to school. My wife and I have told her that if she stops having these rapid-fire babies, we will help with childcare and tuition so that she can go back to school. We have offered to help her husband with retraining for a better career so that he can support his family too. We are really willing to help them get ahead but we are not willing to subsidize indiscriminate breeding forever.
I know not all Catholics are this way. I know I need to approach this with my daughter from a religious standpoint because she truly believes that God is sending her pregnancy after pregnancy and that she just needs to accept that the next 20 years of her life will be dedicated to reproducing as frequently as is physically possible. Please help me understand her mindset, where this is coming from, and how I can help her see her way out of this mess. I grew up knowing Catholics and they did not do this.
Thank you respectfully.