Sorry for the very, very long delay in posting. I have been going through a pretty rough emotional time that had a little bit to do with my faith journey.
You see, I'm terrified of babies.
Almost a month ago, a good friend of mine had a baby girl nearly 8 weeks early (she was born Feb. 26 and was due April 23.) She is doing alright, remarkably well from what I can tell, but prayers are still needed and appreciated. Basically, once that happened I had a complete and total emotional freak out and have been torturing myself ever since.
This all started back in... I would say July, when Hubby and I started looking at our options to validate our marriage. I don't want this post to have too many tentacles, but for those of you who don't know what that means, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, because we were civilly married and not married by a priest, we aren't sacramentally married and therefore not married at all. That's actually what drove me to start this blog, initially... I had some... let's say issues... with some of this teaching and it took me a while to make a decision about what I wanted to do.
One of the big issues I had was the baby factor. The Catholic Church's teaching on this is very clear. Sex within marriage (which is the only kind allowed, of course) has two purposes: unitive and procreative. Anything else is lust. Using your spouse for pleasure only is just as wrong as using your spouse only to fulfill your desire to have children. In Catholic marriage vows you actually have to say in front of the priest, your spouse, all your friends and family and God that you will be open to any children that God sends your way. This is such a big teaching in the Church that it reaches into teachings on IVF, birth control, abortion, etc. In fact, according to the Catholic church, if you feel you aren't "called" to having children, then you aren't "called" to marriage, because that is the #1 purpose of marriage.
When we decided that having a sacramental marriage was something we wanted, one of the first things Hubbs and I had to do was get off of birth control. Which scared the ever-living crap out of me. Not because I love birth control, I actually hated it with a passion (as did my body) but because I had to relinquish control over something. We took the required class on NFP and started with it. It was around this time that I started to slowly panic about all of this. See, I really dislike kids. I'm serious and I'm just being honest. I never baby sat as a teenager, and I am an only child. My main experience with kids is the ones that scream in places I am trying to think or enjoy myself, like at Mass or at restaurants. I bristle from kids crying and fussing in grocery stores, and teenagers just give me the creeps. I hated college kids even when I was in college. When Hubbs and I married, we both had a general feeling of "meh" about having kids. Neither of us were very attached to either idea, and we figured we could discuss it more as the landscape changed.
As time went on, I could tell that Hubbs was leaning more and more toward having children, whereas I was staying more or less the same (as in "most likely not unless something drastic changes in the deep recesses of my brain and/or heart.") This started to scare me enough as it was, and then I was suddenly faced with this situation of "you have no real choice in this matter." I was devestated. Why would God put in me such a distaste for children if He wanted me to just accept that I should/would probably have some? Why should the Church tell me what I can and can't do with my own body and my own life? Who are they to tell me that I HAVE to have kids and can't use contraception to over-ride that particular function of my body? It's not like I can just lie, and unfortunately, if Hubbs decides he wants kids and I decide I don't, that's not exactly something that can be discussed and then move on. It's sort of a non-negotiable, right?
Mix in JB telling me (blissfully) that she was pregnant, everyone at work starting to suddenly ask me about when I was going to have children and you have the recipe for a complete emotional breakdown.
Which is basically what I have been doing for the past 3 weeks. I hate change, and I hate making decisions. And I feel like I have no choice, which sucks. I mean, sure, I know that I could just discard this altogether with a big percentage of your average Catholic population and go my merry way, but again, this isn't just the Church-- this is my relationship with my husband in a lot of ways. And besides, I told myself when I went with this that I wouldn't do it halfway, I was going to do it all or nothing, because otherwise, I wouldn't be living with any integrity whatsoever.
So basically, I have been trying to change my perspective. Sometimes I feel really great about it, and I am excited about the prospect of being a parent someday, and I think about holidays and fun vacations and all that lovely crap that everyone tells you about. But sometimes the idea of having kids (ever) makes me sick to my stomach to think about: all the things that could go wrong, how you influence so many things and can mess them up forever, my mother in law thinking she can tell me how to parent, etc. not to even consider the things that can happen ahead of all of that as I have been witness to with JB's teeny tiny little miracle baby. I have been praying A LOT. To any and every Saint who I think can help me, as well as the BVM and hoping that my heart will change for the better. I keep trying to remind myself that I also never wanted to get married at one point, until I met Hubbs and then it seemed like the most logical and natural thing in the world (before that my plan was to have about a billion cats or become a nun--and I wasn't even religious at the time). I have no REAL reasons NOT to have kids, other than the fact that I don't like the idea all that much. In the end, my reasons are pretty selfish. I am fully aware that I can't really have kids at the moment (as in, we don't make enough right now as well as not really having a place to put a kid and we have to stay in our place at least 2 more years or we have to pay $8,000 back to the government...) so I know I have a little more time to get used to the idea that eventually, Hubbs and I will be someone's parents.
I know this sounds stupid to most people. I am aware how silly it really sounds, even as I type it. Because I am sure to a lot of people this would be simple. But as I said before, this is not just the Catholic Church. I think, in the end, the hardest thing for me is that it should not be something that I go back and forth on. It seems to me most people either know they want to have kids or they don't, end of story. It's hard for me that I don't feel strongly about it one way more than the other.
I am trying to be a really good example and accept whatever is in store for me and realize that it's entirely possible that I may never have kids. But then I get scared thinking about that, too, thinking maybe I am cursing myself and I honestly think I might be completely devastated if, say, I'm infertile and can't ever have kids. See my conundrum?
So yeah. Hence the long delay in posts. And sorry I'm so rambling... I just need to get it out somewhere I guess.