This doesn’t have to do with names, but it does come from one of you readers, and it does have to do with big families, and our little community here has a higher-than-average proportion of big families when it comes to most other places online, and I’ve not seen a kinder virtual community anywhere.
So: a mama and devoted reader, who’s expecting her third baby, writes,
“Many of your consultations and readers (as well as yourself!) seem to have larger families (4+). How does everyone deal with society’s negativity towards it? How do you maybe evangelize the Catholic way of thinking, openness to life, the idea that there is value and benefit in larger families? Granted we are not ALL called to have large families, it is a personal matter you settle with God. But still, what do you say to help others understand or turn the news from ‘oh ANOTHER one’ to ‘yippy!’“
I was so sad to read this! I know having to deal with this is a reality the more children a couple welcomes into their family, but it’s so sad to me when a mama experiences it for the first time. This particular reader has been told (regarding what name they’ll give the baby), “If you’re smart, you’ll call it ‘Quits.'” (Hardy har.) She’s been given eye rolls when she mentions friends having their fourth or fifth baby, and facial expressions and tones of voice that convey to her that the person she’s speaking to doesn’t approve when she discusses things like possibly getting a bigger vehicle.
I told her that for myself, I just try to remember that there are a lot of people who truly don’t understand our mindset and world view — they’ve been so affected by what they see around them, and most people don’t come into contact with big families on a regular basis. And I always try to be joyful! I mean, obviously I’m not always joyful — my poor kids will tell you I’m impatient and have a bad temper! — but in general I am, because I know that our life is full of blessings, not least of which are the children. So I try to convey that to others, whether at the grocery store or school or church or whatever. But not in a beat-them-over-the-head or holier-than-thou way either, you know? Just in general, trying to *not* confirm whatever negative preconceived ideas they have about having a lot of kids. If it’s a situation where I’m chatting with someone, I love to tell the latest funny or cute or sweet stories about my boys — in my experience, people tend to love those kinds of things. Especially funny stories! Laughter is the best medicine after all. 😀
How about all of you? What suggestions or words of wisdom or moral support do you have to offer this mom, and all others who deal with this kind of thing?
(Also, just to end on a namey note, I came across the name of an Italian Dominican theologian from long ago [1580-1660; he’s not a saint or a blessed, just a cool guy], and it’s been rolling around in my head for days because I’m so taken with it: Xantes Mariales!)