What is wrong with having a large family?


#1

For those of you who have been judged or insulted because of your decision to have a large family, how do you deal with the influx of comments from friends/acquaintances/strangers about your family size? I'm so frustrated...

Early on in my pregnancy, one of my husband's co-workers' wives said loudly (almost yelling) that he needed to get the "snip snips". At the office, of all places! Glad I wasn't there - I don't know what I would done:mad:. Yesterday, I had a lady ask me in the church parking lot (coming out from communion prep meeting) how many children we had... Then she and the other lady she was talking to said something about one of them getting "fixed" and then walked away and continued another conversation without me. It's so rude... "I have two kids and I am DONE" and then ignore me. A very similar event happened just the other week. They go away and continue speaking with someone else who wasn't "crazy" enough to want a 4th child. And as my husband came to pick me up, I waved at them and they didn't acknowledge (maybe they didn't see me though??). Husband later told me that they gave him a dirty look when he drove by.

How can people be so cruel? Though my pregnancy has gone well from a health standpoint, it has been riddled with drama from strangers and family and I've just about had it! I feared I would miscarry this child early on in my pregnancy. Several family members went "silent" when I told them about my pregnancy - one of them even continued her previous conversation without even saying anything to me about it. I wasn't expecting everyone to jump up in the air about it, but a simple congratulations would have sufficed.

So much for trying to keep my lenten penance of not complaining... But if I don't get this off my chest, I fear my family will suffer because of my frustrations.

Anyone been in a similar situation? Is there any way to diffuse these comments or prevent them in the first place? How did you deal with this? I know I should be praying for them, as I feel an intense grief each time I learn that someone is contracepting (and can't imagine how God feels about it all). My profound sadness and frustration makes it nearly impossible to pray, though.


#2

I'm not personally from a large family, but one of my parents are. I've grown up watching a large (14 children) family and on the other side, a smaller family (3 children). I've also grown up in a predomintaly Catholic upbringing, (catholic schooling since 5th grade, mass every Sunday, etc) so I have the benefit of seeing it from a detached point of view, and a more personal one.

It's very, very hard. It adds more drama and stress to the parents. There are more in family fights, less money for important things like food, housing, clothes. It can cause massive strife between the siblings-there are alot of negatives that people don't seem to want to talk about.

No, I'm not saying all large families are like that, and I'm sure that everyone here will disagree, but it is something important to think about.

Having said all that, No, I've never looked down upon someone who had a large family. To each their own.


#3

I don't consider 3-4 kids to be a "large" family. But then I am the youngest of 6.

I will honestly say, I have 2 kids and I am done. Pregnancy is very hard on me and I am totally miserable. Financially, I can not provide for more children and still give them the things I want them to have..like private Catholic schooling.

I would ignore the rudeness and if they walk away to start a new conversation, follow them. Do not allow them to shut you out.

Other then that, all you can do is pray


#4

Hi Faye:

I wouldn't have a clue as to why you are being treated like this just for having a family. I do know that some people just plan do not understand it though because my second cousin had 8 children and while some in the family wondered how they were able to feed all those kids we sure had fun at holidays. The house was always filled with giggling kids that always said something hysterical as kids do. I do remember my second cousin (the Mom) always looking a little tired and bewildered and maybe that's why some in the family were concerned---she sure had her hands full. Others in the family tried to help out but frankly they had full time jobs and kids of their own to raise and looked a little tired themselves. Us kids must have worn everyone out.

I think that it is terribly rude of those people to treat you like that and not very kind. Have you ever asked them why they feel this way? Afterall your not asking them to feed them, cloth them, and pay your bills. So why do they care?

How many kids do you have?

Your husband's co-worker really needs to have someone explain social graces to her especially in an office setting. HR would not be very pleased to have heard her comment concerning your husband.


#5

...just smile, nod, and back away slowly


#6

[quote="taye, post:1, topic:234461"]
...Is there any way to diffuse these comments or prevent them in the first place? How did you deal with this?....My profound sadness and frustration makes it nearly impossible to pray, though.....

[/quote]

Congratulations! Prayers for you and your beautiful family!

I am sorry to hear about your situation with others. Sadly, no, I do not have a way to prevent rude comments from others. That would be a true miracle in life would it not!? Also I have found that there is no "snappy comeback" that seems sufficient when other people are rude and even mean. What has helped is prayer.

I was very sad, when I read that your "profound sadness and frustration makes it nearly impossible to pray" dear one this is simply not true.

Our conversations with God have nothing to do with our emotions, nothing at all. He is there for you, Jesus is right there with you when you are insulted and hurt. Think of him in the Garden of Gethsemane...think of how Jesus was lonely and isolated and hurt and insulted.

When you are simply exhausted just repeat over and over "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus..." this word alone, his name alone is the greatest prayer of all!

It seems you have not only been invited by God to participate with him in the creation of new life, but you have also been invited by God to participate with him on his journey to the cross. Accept this invitation and surrender to his will. He loves you so much, turn to him.

Hope this helps a little, God bless you.


#7

To the woman in the church parking lot who said that one of you needs to get "fixed", I would have said something like.. "The magisterium teaches that artificial birth control is a sin. I don't know about you but I don't want to go hell."


#8

I'm one of four. I see four as mid-sized. Almost...mini van sized.

I have to say, it's fun. I can't immagine just having one brother...and there are times when each had their role in bettering my life, and I theirs.

I also can honestly say that I would of done ANYTHING for a sister growing up. But in retrospect, I had my hands full with brothers.

But I am not sure that I'd want more than four...ever...it's alot. My parents wers stretched thin many times. And even in college....four kids at four different colleges and none of us had a car...it was an act of God to get us home for the holidays. I can't immagine if there were more "little ones" at home.

I help tutor a catholic family. They're expecting their 5th. The kids are good and sweet but to be honest, 4 is already alot. I know that just for their saftey and sanity I won't babysit all 5 of them alone when the time comes for that. I know them well, but they'res just no way I could keep them from being physically or emotinally injured for more than a few hours. They're just kids. I think if they plan well, have the patience time and money a family with four kids can work. But it takes alot.

To me any more than 4 descends into chaos. My brothers are good friends with a large family...and I know a few. I can honestly say that five kids is the biggest family that I know before there are serious family problems in adult and child situations. Yes, I know families with 3 kids that have issues, but its fewer and far between. (of the intact families that I know) Every family with 6 kids or more I know has estrangment, drug, or other issues. It's REALLY sad. Some of these families are even "good catholic" or "good christian" families. Maybe it's todays society forcing these families not to work...but I haven't seen it work. Actually, todays society dosn't even build popular cars with more than 7 seats....so at a certian point THAT becomes a really big issue. A mom can take four kids (at most) in a small car....but so often in an emergency there is no transportation for a large family. Not a reason not to have kids, but a very practical typical aganoizing problem that can occur.

That being said, you have a right as a human being to procrate at a rate which you choose, and it's no one elses business.

If you think you can make a large family work, that's wonderful. Go for it. I'll never be rude becuase people have chosen that. I think that they need all the blessings and prayer and will be blessed in turn.


#9

Go ahead and have many babies. Large families are a joy to God.


#10

[quote="cajun2core, post:7, topic:234461"]
To the woman in the church parking lot who said that one of you needs to get "fixed", I would have said something like.. "The magisterium teaches that artificial birth control is a sin. I don't know about you but I don't want to go hell."

[/quote]

The problem is, not many Catholics actually know it is a sin or/and why it is a sin. I would even go so far as to say that a significant number of Catholics do not know the difference between a "venial sin" and a "mortal sin". It seems the opposite on CAF, but that's only because you are speaking to knowledgeable Catholics, or Catholics that are at least seeking knowledge.

Like, for instance, over here, Confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation) is usually thought of as something a murderer or someone who committed a heinous crime would do ; when in fact, it really isn't, and most people are actually in need of Confession for what I would call, "common sins".....:rolleyes:

Thank you,
*Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk *


#11

I am one of four...never thought it was a "big" family. My grandmother is one of eight...I consider that pretty big. I have twins and want more.
I'm sorry you had to deal with such rude people. People ask me if I'm done bc I had twins! What the heck?!? I had to have csection, and one if the surgeons asked if I was getting my tubes tied! Um...no! I'm only 28!
Then of course there are thousands of questions and comments about twins. Gets annoying...but whatever.

You are blessed with children :) anyone that says otherwise is just jealous :-P


#12

[quote="purplesunshine, post:8, topic:234461"]
I'm one of four. I see four as mid-sized. Almost...mini van sized.

I have to say, it's fun. I can't immagine just having one brother...and there are times when each had their role in bettering my life, and I theirs.

I also can honestly say that I would of done ANYTHING for a sister growing up. But in retrospect, I had my hands full with brothers.

But I am not sure that I'd want more than four...ever...it's alot. My parents wers stretched thin many times. And even in college....four kids at four different colleges and none of us had a car...it was an act of God to get us home for the holidays. I can't immagine if there were more "little ones" at home.

I help tutor a catholic family. They're expecting their 5th. The kids are good and sweet but to be honest, 4 is already alot. I know that just for their saftey and sanity I won't babysit all 5 of them alone when the time comes for that. I know them well, but they'res just no way I could keep them from being physically or emotinally injured for more than a few hours. They're just kids. I think if they plan well, have the patience time and money a family with four kids can work. But it takes alot.

To me any more than 4 descends into chaos. My brothers are good friends with a large family...and I know a few. I can honestly say that five kids is the biggest family that I know before there are serious family problems in adult and child situations. Yes, I know families with 3 kids that have issues, but its fewer and far between. (of the intact families that I know) Every family with 6 kids or more I know has estrangment, drug, or other issues. It's REALLY sad. Some of these families are even "good catholic" or "good christian" families. Maybe it's todays society forcing these families not to work...but I haven't seen it work. Actually, todays society dosn't even build popular cars with more than 7 seats....so at a certian point THAT becomes a really big issue. A mom can take four kids (at most) in a small car....but so often in an emergency there is no transportation for a large family. Not a reason not to have kids, but a very practical typical aganoizing problem that can occur.

That being said, you have a right as a human being to procrate at a rate which you choose, and it's no one elses business.

If you think you can make a large family work, that's wonderful. Go for it. I'll never be rude becuase people have chosen that. I think that they need all the blessings and prayer and will be blessed in turn.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

Thank you,
Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk


#13

I'm one of nine, and can't spare a single one of my wonderful siblings.
"Catholic or careless" my mother was asked.
One sister had five of their own, then adopted 2 handicapped children.
Not knowing her first of the two was adopted, a man told her he was a punishment from God! She didn't enlighten him that she hadn't given birth to her handicapped son as she loves him as her own.
One brother had three and later adopted three handicapped children.
One sister had seven children...I only managed three!
Even though I only had three children, when she encountered me, a neighbour used to sing that song,
"Lady madonna, children at your feet,
how can you manage to make ends meet!..."

People can think what they like as it isn't their business to judge you, Taye.
Please don't let their comments sink in to wound you.Those people don't even appear to have courtesy or respect so their spirits are poor and they need prayer.
They are missing they know not what. You do know.
Smile your secret smile at the treasures in your life.

Congratulations for the four gifts of God to your life! Five, counting your husband.


#14

[quote="taye, post:1, topic:234461"]
Fo

Anyone been in a similar situation? Is there any way to diffuse these comments or prevent them in the first place? How did you deal with this? I know I should be praying for them, as I feel an intense grief each time I learn that someone is contracepting (and can't imagine how God feels about it all). My profound sadness and frustration makes it nearly impossible to pray, though.

[/quote]

this is really a question for Miss Manners, she is good at practicing the freezing look and icy tones as in "why on earth would you make such a personal and insulting comment?" in a manner that invites the speaker to crawl back under their rock.

When someone tells me in a catechetical setting they are contracepting I make that a teachable moment to review CAtholic teaching. Outside such a setting, my invariable comment is the same is if they had just told me they had recently lost a child: I am so sorry, I will be praying for you.


#15

I think it's a sign or symptom of a society where nothing is taboo anymore.

What people are really discussing is your sex life. (but since ABC can separate sex and babies, they don't see it that way)

How about replying, "Why would you think our sex life is any of your business?"


#16

I am pregnant with #2 and I think/hope we're done, but I don't look down on those with large families who have the time and financial ability to love and support their children. It's nobody's business but yours.

If someone ever says anything to you about being "fixed", you could always say, "I've been shopping around for a good doctor. How would you rate your experience at the Humane Society?"


#17

[quote="cajun2core, post:7, topic:234461"]
To the woman in the church parking lot who said that one of you needs to get "fixed", I would have said something like.. "The magisterium teaches that artificial birth control is a sin. I don't know about you but I don't want to go hell."

[/quote]

A wild guess: someone who asks when you are going to get snipped isn't going to know what the magisterium refers to. IMHO, imagine how you would want to be spoken to if you were curious about another person's strange religious practice. How would you want a Mormon to explain their magic underwear or a Jehovah's witness why they refuse blood transfusions?


#18

You know, my mother-in-law was talking to this aquaintance about her two grandsons the other day, and suddenly the aquaintance turned to me and said, "You do know what causes that, right?"

She was elderly, and I just didn't have the heart to make a snarky reply to her. Still. . .I thought I'd have to have at least three before I started hearing that kind of thing!

So sorry that so many people are treating you that way. It seems a common complaint here on CAF. If I do have more children, I'm glad that I've at least been forewarned. . .But I guess all you can do is politely ignore those people and be glad that you have so many blessings.


#19

I can understand your situation. I've been there and done that. When I was pregnant with our fifth child we heard all those comments and more. That didn't stop us. We had one more after that. The only response I can remember giving was, "Why would you say/ask that?"

I fell down some stairs outside a building one day when I was very pregnant. Several people walked by and ignored me or even laughed at me. Finally a very kind African-American man came to me, helped me up and asked if I was okay. That helped me in two ways. First I realized that many people are just thoughtless or rude, so I didn't take their behavior as being exclusively about my pregnancy. Second I started to take comfort in those who reacted positively - most of them, I might add, were African-American men. One of the most memorable statements during that pregnancy was that of an African-American orderly who said,"Your husband must really be proud!"

I developed a greater respect for these men who could react positively to my pregnancy, and I often remembered their reactions when people said rude things to me after that.

Our family didn't suffer from being so big. We raised six kids on a non-commissioned officer's pay. They may not have had all the luxuries some kids have, but I'm not sure those luxuries are good for them. They are all grown now. Five of them have great jobs and great families, better than a lot of their friends' families. The sixth is only 26 and has not yet established a family of his own. However he has a good job and supports himslf!

God bless you and your big family!:thumbsup:


#20

Large families are the best, I hope to have one someday. You will be raising more Catholic children in a secular world where the population is declining rapidly - who can complain about that?


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