Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

More on privacy vs. public

In mulling that recent post, I realized my presumption was, "Why do people have only X number of children?" My brain completely misfired on the fact that there are those who have no children, for whatever reason.
I know a number of couples who have no children. Two divorced for problems related to infertility. One, it's medical. Others we have... lost touch with, to say it tactfully (not all--you know who you are). A summary, and I'll try to keep it to facts.
New Year's Eve, 2000-01. Dale and I got together with some other childless friends. I/we suspected I was pregnant and nursed my single white Zinfandel for several hours. We were all adults with nary a mortgage among us.
NYE 2003-04. We had two kids, whom we took to the get-together. Do you have any idea how tough it is to find a sitter on New Year's Eve? The little guy was still nursing, besides. Our kids are part of our family and we enjoy their company. It's one of the reasons we had them.
NYE 04-05. One of our hosts was ill and they thought it a bad idea to bring the kids, as Rachel was still not quite four months old. So we stayed home and the friends we see annually came to us the next day. And stayed for about an hour. Maybe two.
NYE 05-06. We didn't even hear from them. I mentioned it, vaguely disappointed. I'll admit not being too surprised.

Another couple I know without children was in the area, relatively speaking, last Christmas. They drove on Christmas night for probably an hour and change to visit us. At home. Without being quite sure where we were, and trying valiantly to call us (Rachel had turned on the phone and hidden it in the couch, making it impossible to get through).
They did not feel obligated to bring gifts (thank God!), but they did eat something (and then complimented me on my cooking). He had no problem conversing with Madeleine for a while. They stayed around while we bathed the kids and put them to bed. After the young'uns were asleep, we watched a video.
THOSE are friends.

But about the kids part... One never knows the reasons for a couple not having kids, or not having more, or continuing to have. It's just none of our business and asking is awfully nosy. I mean, (graphic alert) if she was raped by an uncle and then had a botched abortion that resulted in a hysterectomy at the age of 14, it's probably not something she wants to discuss with a grocery store clerk. Or like my cousin, who had no problem with her first pregnancy but hasn't gotten a second despite all avenues. But neither are things you discuss with near-strangers.
I recognize there are some who trumpet with pride their nth pregnancy (for shock value) or their or their spouse's sterilization. I think perhaps it's the loss of propriety in our society. We don't remember there are subjects not discussed in public, inappropriate clothing in certain situations, even places not to be on one's cell phone. We've lost our manners.
And that, my friends, is a whole other post.



At 4:58 AM, Blogger Milehimama said...

I think there is definitely a loss of propriety in our society.
My sister was married 2 years after I was (our anniversary is less than a week apart). I didn't attend the wedding, as I was on bedrest with baby #2.
She spent a lot of time publicly letting every one know that they were going to wait to have kids, it wasn't the right time, they would buy a house and pay off their student loans first... she even offered to teach me NFP (since I obviously was clueless, with 2 babie 13 months apart!)
Then, later, they were unable to get pregnant, and she didn't tell anyone until their adoption had been finalized - I think she was embarrassed. So her public trumpeting of how awesome NFP was... caused her to experience so much pain in private.

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


What does your sister have to be embarrassed about? God had a wonderful plan for her life. As an adoptive mom I wish your sister all the happiness in the world with your new neice or nephew.

So NFP didn't work for you. That's not a bad thing right? Even NFP failures are a blessing and a joy. All the best to you and your two little ones.

At 5:37 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Now that I've had a night to think on it, I've got some things to say.
And when I say "I think" it means I'm not sure, not I'm dictating.

1. I don't think Milehimama was saying NFP didn't work for her. I think she was saying her sister thought it didn't work for her. I think she was upset by her sister's apparent hypocrisy.

2. She has more than two children. I think she has even you beat! :)

3. While not a homeschooler, she certainly does advocate for it. Read her blog.

4. She's not embarrassed about her sister adopting; she's theorizing that her sister is embarrassed.

5. Stop being so snotty.

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Okay :-)

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Milehimama said...

Hey... I just happened back to this thread!
Yes, I was saying my I think my sis was embarrassed that she shouted from the rooftops how foolproof NFP was and how she was in control of her fertility naturally - and then discovered she was naturally infertile. It was hard for her, IMO, to face some other family members who she previously said SHOULD use NFP because too many kids too quick...
No one in my family is embarrassed by adoption. I have a a SIL who is adopted, a nephew who is adopted, and several friends who have adopted AND been adopted.
I've never tried NFP, so I don't know if it works for me or not.
Well, not entirely true. I have been heard to say (I always keep track of my cycles, not hard when you have around 1 per year LOL) "You know, dear, I'll probably get pregnant tonight". I'm almost always right.
I *do* have more than 2 kids... I'm on my 10th pregnancy, with 6 living children and one more coming.


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