|The real Gilbreth family of "Cheaper By the Dozen" fame|
A baby-oriented business whose page I follow on Facebook recently asked a question to its 'fans': How many kids do you have? Do you feel like you're "done"?
The responses, largely, were quite depressing to read. Moms proudly exclaiming "one and done!!"; overly-personal comments about how they'd been "fixed" after having two; a note-worthy number of women saying they'd love more, but their husbands had emphatically said "absolutely not" (I found this latter type of response to be the saddest of all for some reason).
One of the comments especially struck me. The woman replied, "our car is full, so yes, we're done." I reflected on that for awhile. How something so trivial as the way cars are manufactured - a product which, if you're honest with yourself, is not in fact necessary for human existence (although, granted, damn useful) - could determine something so important as the number of souls we bring into this world. This is a problem, I would think, only us moderns have to contend with.
But I remembered how the same issue was almost enough to make us consider "postponing" for awhile too. After Stella was born, Tom and I sat down and forced ourselves to have the dreaded conversation about whether we had the "serious [or "grave" or "just" depending on who you talk to] reasons" required for moral use of NFP according to the Catholic Church to postpone another pregnancy (something neither of us are entirely comfortable with, for various reasons). Our finances were pretty stretched, but were they so stretched that it was inconceivable to support another? No...God would see us through, we knew. Did I feel like getting pregnant again, a month or two after giving birth? Um, no. But that didn't seem like a sufficient reason to us. But then I brought up the issue of our car, and how there was NO way we could fit a third carseat in the back. I had to take Tom outside and prove it to him. But he conceded that it was true. And, we knew, there was no way we could afford another car. Well, that settled it. We couldn't have another baby until we could afford a new car.
Luckily, we quickly came to our senses and realized that this was pretty poor reasoning, probably stemming more from our fears than from good sense. Practically speaking: we're still making payments on our current car, anyways...if we sold it, and bought a bigger one (possibly on a loan)...it would probably end up costing about the same amount out of our budget each month anyways. Nothing would seem to change. And beyond that, we can't let our family size be dictated by something that's ultimately fairly trivial and able to be got around somehow.
Thoughts? Are we being appropriately "generous"? Too scrupulous?