Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Waiting vs. Avoiding

I have to admit that I have gotten to the point in my marriage when people have declared we are past the "newlywed" phase and with that comes questions about children. I don't know if I was deaf to it in my first year of marriage, but the topic seems to come up a lot more than it used to - even with strangers. I was guest teaching in a classroom last week and the teacher said "avoid as long as possible" which made me stop and think.

If children are such a blessing, why must we avoid? Doesn't that word just sound wrong? I'm starting to realize how much wording can affect attitude and perception. If something needs to be avoided - it must be bad somehow. People want to avoid children so they can go on trips and live their lives because once the kids are here its over right? It's all about them. Now, I don't have personal experience with this dilemma but it just doesn't sound right. It paints the picture that I will be a servant to my children, not in a Christian love kind of way but in a "do as you're told" scenario. I'm just not sure if two year olds can handle that kind of power, but I'm getting away from my initial point.

Waiting vs. Avoiding

Esentially it looks like the same thing, but is totally different in my mind. Right now my husband and I are waiting to have children for a number of reasons that give us concern about our ability to provide all the needs of our child. My life doesn't look any different than someone is avoiding children. I hope my mindset is a bit different, but it is hard to know for sure. Question of the day: are we giving/getting bad advice to avoid pregnancy/children? And to follow that up: How do we prepare for kids if mentally we have to go from avoiding to accepting and loving children?

I'd really like some feedback and answers if anyone has some. The best I can say is that NFP has helped me contemplate the whole "openess to life" idea and how far that extends. I know it is part of my life and something that will hopefully help me ease into parenthood a little easier. I look forward to children being part of my family life and enjoying that time not "getting it over with." I can't predict the future or know that everything will be perfect, but I know that my family (husband and I) are planning and anticipating the day when we can lovingly bring a child into our home.


  1. I think I read something on the NFP blog a while back that said instead of talking about how NFP helps you "avoid" pregnancy, we should say "postpone" pregnancy, which is similar to your "avoiding/waiting" distinction.

    What a great point you have in that you really have to change your mentality to go from avoiding to embracing children! I agree that NFP really has extended my understanding of how to be open to life. It's not just about not using contraception - it's about wholeheartedly living out the ideals of JPII's Theology of the Body.

    On a semi-related note: Something I read (maybe Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn?) talked about the importance of accepting the baby years as an almost permanent part of life - that way you aren't just trying to hurry through that "phase" of dirty diapers and nursing and other responsibilities. I think that kind of goes along with this, in that many couples want to avoid this "work" - in this way they might not have completely accepted everything that comes with the blessings of a child. Does that make sense? Even if a couple is no longer avoiding children, they are only begrudgingly accepting the duties associated with that, perhaps due in part to the avoiding attitude.

    (That said, I'm sure everyone would love to not have to deal with dirty diapers, no matter how open to life they are!)

  2. I agree that dirty diapers are definitely not what I am looking forward to most with the arrival of kids. To answer your question - yes it makes sense and is definitely what I am trying to point out. I have really enjoyed my post-college days because it wasn't until about my last semester that I really learned to live in the moment - not just counting the days until the next test, next phase, next life milestone. If we see diaper days as a phase, won't we miss out on some of the joy that comes with a child of God learning all about life in our home?