Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Reactions to #4

CAUTION: Post ends with hormonal venting!

Most people are excited for us to have #4. However, I think we are pushing the limits of some people's tolerance for large families. There have been a couple of people, some friends and some relatives, who have told us things like "You know how babies are made, and you know there are technologies to avoid making them, right?" or "Isn't it time you guys got, you know, snipped?" This wouldn't be so bad if they were only joking. Trouble is, they're not, and some have chosen to say these things to us in the presence of others, and even more disturbingly, in the presence of children.

So, just for the record: Yes, we know how babies are made. Yes, we are aware of the existence of contraceptives. Yes, we know how to use them and in fact we have extensive experience at using them, having tried most of the available options at one time or another in our twelve years of marriage. Sometime in all those years, we figured out that the babies weren't coming from washing our underwear together.

Now here's what we know that evidently some people don't know: Contraceptives do have a failure rate. The failure rate is increased greatly by the inconvenience of a possible pregnancy, in accordance with Murphy's Law and/or the will of God. Pregnancy is the normal and expected long-term result of marital relations, even with contraceptives, and total non-pregnancy brought on by birth control use is not the usual long-term result of marital relations. No matter how trendy it might be to assume that we have perfect and total control over our fertility, we would all do well to remember that we don't. We all know someone who got pregnant despite taking all precautions, including the Pill, condoms, Pills with condoms, the IUD, and even (although more rarely) sterilizations.

Not only that, but it's rude to publicly express disappointment in a happily married normal couple for getting pregnant when that pregnancy does not affect you in any way. We are bringing forth a child in precisely the setting that God intended a child to be brought forth in. Whether you think our house size or income is adequate is your opinion, but it's a little late now for us to make those kinds of decisions, isn't it? How do you think the baby would feel if he or she knew you thought he or she ought not even exist because of a matter of money, let alone were willing to state that publicly? Can't we just welcome the little guy or gal into the family?

If you have to ask me non-jokingly if I know how babies are made, you obviously don't know me well enough to consider yourself my friend. If you ask a stupid question like that in public, how do you expect me to answer? Do you expect me to launch into a public discussion of my menstrual cycles and contraceptive choices? Do you expect me to have to justify my pregnancy to you? No? Then have a nice hot cup of STFU*. If you really don't think I'm capable of using a contraceptive, or if you think I'm so irresponsible as to try to get pregnant while moving, or if you're so dumb that you don't realize that people who have sex get pregnant, or so jealous of me because I have an active marital relationship with my husband, I don't want you around me.

* Mom, the S is for "Shut" and the U is for "Up," and the rest of it is just extra rudeness.