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Sunday, October 21, 2007


This weekend, in conversation with my classmates, the topic of large families came up. One woman's sister happens to have four children, and for some reason, people insist on making snide comments to her about the number and kind of her offspring. They even go so far as to tell her about birth control. The dear woman, who happens to have an M.D. behind her name, just smiles sweetly and thanks these people for their concern about her fertility.

Which always makes her point.

Myself, I tend to be more blunt. If someone had the audacity to comment on my fertility, I'd probably take a deep breath, while considering the proposition of birth control. The conversation would go something like this:

Rude person (RP): FOUR children? Aren't you DONE yet? You know, you can get contraceptives so you don't continue to have this problem.

Me: (deep breath, eyes upward, as though considering.) Contraceptives? You mean "birth control?" (smile sweetly)

RP: (condescending) Yeah, you know, the pill?

Me: Oh, of course. Thanks for your concern about my fertility. And since you brought it you know that contraceptives are an abortifacient? That's a big word that means "causes abortions". And since you're such a fan, I'm just wondering.... (still smiling sweetly)...have you kept track of how many of your children you've flushed down the toilet every month?


uncle jim said...

I'm sure you heard this one before, but maybe some readers have not.

One woman at a gathering of women, had commented in the gaggle she was hangin' with, that she had 7 children. Another in the gaggle commented something like, "Don't you think that is a little irresponsible?"
To which she replied, "Rather than think of myself as irresponsible, I I rather think of myself as irresistible."

uncle jim said...

I've got one of those bathroom stories, too - like your father, only this was a young daughter of a friend who was visiting our home.
she was old enough to be embarrassed, and I was old enough to slam the door back shut [with her on the other side of it, of course]

uncle jim said...

guess i got that last one on the wrong post ... sorry

Sarah said...

I wrote about this a while back, Adoro, and there's a link in that to something over at Rosetta Stone that pretty much hits what you've said. This is also something I think I've seen over at Danielle Bean's blog, though I'm far too lazy to dig up links for you (sorry). Would you believe (in case you don't click over) that I have had comments, and I'm only on Number Two???

Anonymous said...

They always ask me 'don't you have a telly?' or 'haven't you worked out what's causing it?' Pretty stupid answers really..the toilet thing..when we had Alex our first son after 7 girls..we didn't know how to 'show' him so commandeered his dad..we all burst out laughing when dad shouts out'put your w***y in!We never let either forget

Adrienne said...

People have no sense anymore. What a stupid thing to say to someone with a gaggle of kids. My usual response to someone with a bunch of kids is, "Well, good for you". You can almost taste the relief oozing off these wonderful ladies.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Uncle jim: Your first comment-good one!

Adoro: That would be a downright restrained exchange for you. That would be the pre-convo before you kicked 'em in the butt, right? Oh, wait, I guess we are Christians here. Your're right, your're right.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 kids and people feel free to negatively comment about it, especially fellow catholics. Here is a sampling of what we have had to endure..."ohmygosh, how can you AFFORD 4 children?"..."why haven't you or your husband gotten fixed?"..."you're obviously a GOOD catholic with all those kids"..."oh, I'd just kill myself if I had THAT many kids"..."was he/she an ACCIDENT?" and my favorite, "better YOU than ME!"
As I said, all these comments have come from fellow catholic friends and family.

Adoro te Devote said...

I am constantly amazed at the audacity of people who would prefer that children just be killed.

Today I was listening to the radio and one of the personalities spoke of her acne up through her mid-20's. It was so bad they put her on Accutane, and made her sign a document stating that she WOULD HAVE AN ABORTION IF SHE GOT PREGNANT. She had to SIGN A DOCUMENT! Why? Because Accutane causes severe birth defects. It's the new Thalidimde.

I nearly pulled over and vomited.

Here: Sign this document away. It doesnt' say anything other than the fact that you are sacrificing your soul and the soul of your unborn child to the altar of self-image. Don't worry. That sacrifice won't wreck you for life or anything because you'll have good skin!

I'm still completely pissed off.

Ma Beck said...

I recently heard a guy (the 7th of 7) saying that whenever anyone would rudely ask his mother, "Ooooo, such an age difference between numbers 6 and 7! Was he an accident?" his mother would respond, "ACCIDENT?? Heavens, no! He's another jewel in my crown of children!"

ignorant redneck said...

Actually, I feel ashamed that we only had three. I know it's my fault and I wonder who didn't get to be born bacause of my choices.

I constantly wish we'd had more.

We didn't use contraception, and I won't go into the history that makes it my fault, but it's one of the biggest regretes of my life.

Anonymous said...

"have you kept track of how many of your children you've flushed down the toliet every month."

That just makes me cry! Treating a human being as totally expendable, throw away, not worthy, flushed down the toliet--it's little body swimming in a pool of feces and urine. Our little babies--sigh--this makes me so sad.

Jennifer F. said...

I'm gearing up for comments like this, which are undoubtedly coming. I'm trying to remind myself to be charitable. The best I can come up with is to say something like, "I'm guessing that you think it would be better if I had fewer children. [Motioning to my kids] Would you please point out the ones that you think this world would be a better place without?"

Adoro te Devote said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

What people think they can say is just amazing to me. Whever I have spoken with someone with a large family, I always make sure to compliment them. There's always a tone of wariness, if, say in a phone conversation I ask a mother or father how many children they have. And after they answer, as if bracing for the reaction, and I just tell them I love large families or some such thing, you can literally hear them MELT.

So to you all with lots of kids....I LOVE large families! God bless you!

And for those of you who wonder about the ones who were never born (maybe), well, I hear you. I feel that way, too.

Kasia said...

The best responses I've heard to rude commments about family size:

(in response to "You know they know what causes that, right?"): "Yes! A *very*...*happy*...*marriage."

(in response to "Are you done yet?" - the father): "Am I done what? Am I done f***ing my wife? No, actually, I'm not."

Anonymous said...

As the parent of four(above), the bottom line is to support people with larger families with encouraging/positive words and prayer. This means so much! There's nothing more precious or important in life than our families. This was an important post and discussion-thanks Adoro!