Mollie Hemingway summed it up best in her piece, “Fecundophobia: The Growing Fear of Children and Fertile Women“, when she said,
“The media remind us regularly that the most important cultural value relative to family life is what’s euphemistically called “choice.” The choice of whether to have kids or not is held so sacrosanct that our laws permit the decision to be made many months after a new human life begins. Some even advocate extending the choice to a period of time after birth. So why the weird reaction to people receiving children as a blessing instead of fighting them tooth and nail with hormones, chemicals, surgery and scissors? Do we need some remedial courses in how babies are made? It’s entirely natural, of course, for babies to be conceived when men and women have sex. Treating the entirely expected procreation of children as something to be avoided at all costs — and an unspeakable atrocity if one has, say, three children already — would be weird even if our culture weren’t obsessed with sex at all times, in all places, in every context, at every moment.”
We are a freak show everywhere we go. It’s just a fact. My kids know. They hear it. They feel it. One of the things they ask me from time to time, after a stranger in public has reacted to the “yes, they’re all ours”, is, “Mom, why do people not like kids?”
Because the number of my children is irrelevant to each of their unique feelings. When someone makes a snide remark about the fact I have more than the average number of children, what they never do is volunteer to tell me which one I should exterminate.However, they are willing to insinuate he should never have been born.
This, I tell you, is why a Christian who claims to be pro-life in one breath but calls a woman crazy for having more than 3 children in the next, is an oxymoron. (I have had not one, but TWO pastors ask the question, “Are you crazy?! upon learning of my large family.)
And this reaction, over time, shapes a culture’s beliefs about children.
Why are we a freak show? Just because the majority of the population decided to stop having children?
Think for a minute:
If everyone shaved his head tomorrow, everyone except just a few people, would those chide the ones who still had hair? Because that’s weird. But the truth is, hair would become the oddity and yes, people with hair would then have to defend their position.
The one with hair doesn’t even say to the bald one, “how odd you look“, yet he will still have to defend his naturally-growing-hair position.
We create weird beliefs.
It’s even worse because we are conservative Christians. In addition to being weird just because we let reproduction do its thing, we also have ridiculous myths projected on us:
“Her husband makes her have all those babies because they believe in biblical submission and so you know he must be an ogre.”
“They are so smug trying to see how many babies they can have. They believe that more babies makes you more godly.”
Nonsense. All of it.
Why can’t I just have babies because that’s normal? Oh, wait, because that would make NOT having babies not normal. See, like shaving heads.
Weird, I tell you.
But the more important point in this post is not that I don’t want to be weird anymore. The stigma of having too many children will have serious implications for all of us. We are about to suffer a serious demographic implosion (and that doesn’t even include spiritual repercussions for Christians) as an aging population who thought children were too much of a burden become a heavier burden on their now-grown children staggering under the depleted workforce too small to keep up with caring for them.
The truth is, God knows a little bit about His Creation. And when we stray too far from the way He ordered it, we pay.
My whole point? It shouldn’t be weird to have children, even if you choose otherwise. And the fact that it is will cost us dearly.
God doesn’t think having kids is weird, and neither should we.