In the ranks of those who desire a God-sized family, there is, as Rebekah has pointed out, “no party platform.” Lately, I’ve been pondering the sad fact that it’s possible to get the impression that there is at least one constant amidst the various anti-contraception factions: a tendency to add to the burdens of another’s conscience rather than to bear one another’s burdens; to condescend rather than to come alongside. In short: to judge first, and ask questions or offer support later—or never. No matter where one stands on the issue of contraception, the crowds of judgment are indeed all too eager to gather.
Coincidentally, a reader recently emailed us a gentle reminder to avoid the appearance of judgmentalism or snobbery based on the numbers. As Rebekah wrote (two posts back), we at CSPP are sorry to think that we may have given that impression, however inadvertently. We recognize the inherent sinfulness of attempting to usurp God’s prerogative of judgment—and we’re too busy with our own, homegrown sins and sinners to worry too much about those of others :O .
Here are just a few good reasons not to judge by the numbers:
>>A mother of three says with a laugh that she’s Done as she drops her kids at daycare. But watch her closely: she gazes longingly at infants and speaks wistfully of babies. Listen carefully: you’ll hear between the lines that her husband’s heart is hardened against more children, and against her staying home with them.
>>Miscarriages have taken a toll on the wife’s body, and nearly crushed her spirit with grief.
>>A young wife is diagnosed with a chronic disease, requiring treatment with medicine that could cause birth defects or early abortions.
>>The venom from the fangs of postpartum demons has lingered, piercing and weakening a woman and her marriage to the core.
>>A young woman has battled cancer, and the odds of recurrence skyrocket with the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy (Brave girl; she’s pregnant with her second!)
>>Pregnancy means that a woman, already mother to several young children, will be virtually incapacitated for anywhere from four months to the entire nine, despite the antiemetic meds.
And these are just a few women of my actual acquaintance. I know I don’t walk around spilling my guts and medical history to everyone I meet on the street—how many of us do? Who but her dear Lord knows the secret struggles of a woman’s heart? And who but her Lord can resolve and absolve the anguish there? When the support of a Sister might make all the difference in the world to her, the last thing a woman needs is to feel judged by a Sister for her honest struggles.
We at CSPP are, or at least strive to be, all about honesty and support in, with, and under our various struggles.
But I’ve wandered a bit from where I thought I’d go in this post. Tune in again later for Disclaimer, ct’d, Part II: Why Reb. Mary is not qualified to cast the first or any stone.