I brought the baby into the doctor’s office yesterday. She had an ear infection, and I had an interesting conversation.
As the doctor was entering his information into the computer, he said, “Wow, you have 7 kids! You must be a strict Catholic.”
This seemed out of the blue. Apparently my baby’s computer file must keep track of those things. Then he said with a smile and a smirk, “I guess you had to have all those kids, huh?”
Now I’m used to snarky comments about the size of my family, but this ticked me off. Why should I have to put up with his condescending, vitriolic pompousness? I didn’t comment on the size of his family, implying that he’s a dope. So I reached across the baby sitting on my lap, and slapped his smug face.
Ok, no, I didn’t do that. But I did say, “Yes, we wanted all these children.”
He calmly said, “Oh yeah, I suppose you planned them all too?”
What the hell?*
“Natural Family Planning does work, when you actually monitor and chart your mucus.” (Yeah, I said that.)
At this point, the look on his face completely changed. He blushed, cleared his throat, and said, “Uh…I guess the other doctor here at this clinic wants to bring in a nurse trained in Natural Family Planning because she’s so busy with all her NFP patients that she can’t keep up.”
It’s true. I knew that doctor was swamped with women wanting her assistance. So I replied, “Yes, it’s fascinating–the woman’s body. We studied the Creighton Model. You might consider learning too?”
“This isn’t your grandma’s version of the ridiculous Rhythm Method. This stuff actually works.”
Then he said something awkward about my husband’s “swimmers” always seeming to find their way (weird), and I just sighed as he quickly slunk out of the room.
Why do I mention this incident?
Of course I couldn’t slap the guy. That never wins people over, but of course I also couldn’t remain silent. A wise priest once told me that if someone else is going to “go there,” then by all means, go there with him.
In other words, if someone is going to comment on my family size, then maybe I should go there too. Just because you think 7 children is nuts and overwhelming, doesn’t mean that I do. Or, just because you’d rather watch TV in your bedroom, doesn’t mean that we’d rather do that. You wouldn’t believe what some people say. “Get a TV! Don’t you know what the pill is for?” Or, “Don’t you know how that happens?” Come on, people. Be a little open-minded.
Or open-hearted? As a matter of fact, we didn’t specifically plan each of our 7 children; God did. My husband and I knew what we were doing, though. Many of you may not be familiar with Natural Family Planning (NFP), but it’s not that complicated. I simply chart when I’m fertile by monitoring my cervical mucus. Yes, it sounds gross, but it works.
So while we may not have specifically “planned” to have, for example, this last baby, we did choose to have intercourse on a fertile day. We knew the consequences. But our hearts were open. Open to God’s plan–His providence–with all it’s heartaches and joys.
And my heart has become bigger and softer with the birth of each child. And I am so thankful. So thankful.