By Dianne and Marcus Guevara
A few months ago my wife and I started talking about the possibility of having another child (or at least being open to the idea). We have been avoiding having another child for nearly two years and about five months ago decided that we no longer had a good reason to avoid another. The idea of a new baby was exciting. We made the decision to no longer actively avoid having a child. We weren’t actively trying to have a baby we just weren’t trying to prevent one anymore.
When we talked about having a third baby my wife became inspired to write an article on this topic. Lucky you. You get to read the thoughts of the lady most dear to me. I loved the idea of the article so much I begged her to let me throw in some of my thoughts. She agreed. So you have a dynamic duo of husband and wife before you.
We started writing this article a few weeks ago and before we finished writing we found out that she was pregnant! We are having a third baby! God has such a sense of humor but this is certainly a fitting way to announce that we are having another baby.
You’re Not Going To Have Another… Are you?
I am a mom of two small children. Elizabeth is just about 3 and John-Paul is almost 2. Usually when we are shopping for groceries or running errands people will tell me how adorable they are. It’s always nice when that happens. Every once in a while someone will say “Wow, you have your hands full, don’t you?” I don’t mind that one so much because it’s true. I am thankful to have my hands full instead of empty. However, every once in a while a person will take the time to give me some advice concerning the size of my family.
“You’re so lucky you got your boy and your girl. You’re not going to have another… are you?”
My conversations usually go like this:
Person: “Wow, you have two little ones? You’re not going to have more… are you?”
Me: “We are doing our part to prevent the looming baby bust and under-population crisis. Someone has to step up and be the hero.”
Person: “You’re not going to have another… are you?”
Me: “I hope so.”
Person: “Really? How many do you think you’ll have?”
Me: “Well, as many as God decides to give us. We are open to whatever he has in store for us. As long as there is no serious financial reason or physical, mental, or health reasons to avoid having a baby – why not?”
I don’t have to explain to anyone why I have as many kids as I have. When I respond to them I am not trying to explain myself as though I had done something wrong. I use it as an opportunity to witness. Of course I’m joking when I say we are trying to cure the under-population crisis. That’s certainly not a reason to have a baby. However, most people are totally unaware of this issue so this provides me a good opportunity to talk about the serious economic problems countries could face due to low birth rates. It is also important to both of us to be open to God’s will. It is a vital part of a happy and healthy marriage.
The Joy of Having A Second Baby
After almost 3 years of being a mom I have wondered, millions of times, why the popular opinion and preference is to have as few children as possible. I can certainly recognize that having a baby is a challenging task that requires a great deal of effort, responsibility, and love. After our first baby was born there were sleepless nights, exhausting days, spit-ups, throw-ups, blow-outs, and meltdowns. There were times I was so drained I just didn’t see how it was possible to carry on. I doubted myself every time I couldn’t soothe my baby. Over and over I wondered how I could manage to have another. But then God sent me just what I needed…
When Elizabeth was only 4 months old I found out I was pregnant again. When I shared the news with my husband we laughed, and cried, and rejoiced together. But secretly, I was terrified. How could I share the love I had for Elizabeth with another baby? How could I fairly give equal time to both babies? How could I take care of two babies?
God has a beautiful way of bonding mother & baby in a way words cannot describe. When I first held John-Paul I was overcome with joy at the mere sight of the little life that had taken his home inside me for nine months. I held him close and felt a deep love that I had never experienced before. This love was not the same love I had for Elizabeth. It wasn’t greater or lesser. It was just different. Now almost 2 years later, I am head over heels for my little boy and can’t imagine a life without him. Having a second child did not cause me to divide my love… it caused my heart to double in size.
Children are blessings – not burdens. If my husband and I had avoided having another child we would have missed out on so much. We would have only half the amount of joy, laughs, cuddles, hugs, and kisses we have today. This is why we hope to be blessed with more children. We enjoy life so much with our two children and we know that another baby would not hinder or reduce our joy but increase it. My husband and I never regret having had one or both of our children. Even in times when we feel overwhelmed or tired, or are a little tight financially, the idea that things would be easier with fewer children never crosses our mind.
I remember when we first found out we were having a second child. I was stoked. Our first baby brought so much joy, love, laughter and excitement. What could be better than having a baby?
Having another baby – double the joy, love, laughter and excitement.
I do realize that having a baby is a big responsibility and it’s not all fun and games. At the beginning, you lose sleep and you worry a lot. Your baby rewards your efforts by spitting up on you, needing constant diaper changes, pooping and peeing on you, crying at the most inconvenient times and taking up a lot (if not all) of your free time. Life can be rough for the first few weeks.
But isn’t that the case with anything that is worthwhile?
Isn’t that the case when you want to get in shape? Don’t you sacrifice foods that you like and want? Don’t you sweat at the gym? Don’t you feel like throwing up after you push yourself to your limits? What about paying off large debts? Don’t you have to start sacrificing convenience, luxury and even necessities to start paying off lenders?
There are two kinds of pain in life. There is the pain of sacrifice and the pain of regret. The pain of sacrifice is something you can choose. Working hard, dieting, sticking to a budget, and raising children are chosen sacrifices that lead to great reward. Laziness, unhealthy eating habits, spending unwisely and forsaking children for a life of partying, or a better career, will lead to sickness, debt and loneliness. That is the pain of regret.
Children are more rewarding than anything else you might strive for in your life – money, fame or success. When you have a child you become rich with the love of a family – something money can’t afford to buy. You are the most important person to that tiny human being – something the most famous person may not have. And the mark of true success is watching your child accomplish something they learned from you.
Don’t Children Cost A Lot Of Money?
Life costs money. I look at it like this: I have a certain amount of money and I spend that money on various things like shelter, food, entertainment, convenience, medicine and transportation. I don’t magically get more money every time I want to buy something. I have to reach into that pot of money that I already have and use that to pay for whatever it is that I want. Sometimes I am faced with a choice: should I buy this or not? I have to ask myself questions like “Do I have enough money?” and “Is this a smart decision?” It is no different when it comes to planning for children. If you just lost your job – maybe you can’t afford to have a baby at the moment. That’s understandable. However, if you’re waiting until you have enough money saved up to be able to have a baby with no financial impact – you’ll never get there. You’ll never be at a point where you feel like you have enough money to have a baby.
As time goes on you’ll see a new car and you might think “I can afford those payments”. Maybe you and your wife want a bigger, nicer house. Well, you can afford it – as long as you don’t have a baby yet. Having a baby isn’t nearly as costly as a new car with a six or seven hundred dollar monthly payment or a new house that is double that amount. When Dianne and I first got married we weren’t terrible with money but we were still pretty immature. When we found out we were having our first baby we started changing the way we looked at our finances. We had to be more careful and considerate about how we spent money because we knew we would have new expenses when the baby came. Having a baby can actually make a couple become better with their finances because it’s hard to be irresponsible with money when you have a tiny person who is completely dependent upon you.
I guess, in a sense, having a baby can actually be pretty costly. It can cost you the sacrifice of really expensive things that you don’t need.
Are You Just Supposed To Have As Many Children As Humanely Possible???
With children comes responsibility… both before and after a baby is conceived. As practicing Catholics my husband and I do not accept nor use any form of contraception. We believe that God is the author of Life and we trust in Him completely to determine when the right time is to bring another baby into our family. However, we do realize that we need to be able to provide for another baby when the time comes. After John-Paul was born I had to have surgery for the removal of a double-hernia. The operation left me unable to move for days and so sore for weeks that I could barely walk. There was no way I could pick up my babies. We knew that it would be completely irresponsible for us to conceive another baby until I was completely healed. It has now been well over a year since my operation and I have completely healed. Having had many conversations about when to have “Baby Number 3” we have decided to leave it to God. He has blessed us in many ways and we have no reason to purposely avoid having another baby. There are times when I feel I would like to wait longer because it would be “harder” to have another baby. Things like going out to the store, or to the park, taking care of the kid’s at home, or even just cleaning house would certainly be a lot more difficult with three children. But I feel that avoiding another baby for the sake of convenience is not a good enough reason. There must be a good and serious reason to avoid having a child. That decision is for the husband and wife to make after prayer and contemplation. No one can say how many children another couple should or should not have. Every couple has a different situation.
I SAY YES! AS MANY BABIES AS POSSIBLE BEFORE YOUR BODY EXPLODES!!! MUHAHAHA
Come on. This is ThirstingforTruth.com. We’re thirsty but we’re not crazy. At Thirsting for Truth we utilize faith and reason. You know that already.
We are totally open to God’s will because we believe there is a true and loving God.
I have this argument, though, that goes like this: either there is a God or there is not. If I believe that there is a God than that God is the author of life. The creation of life for him is not an accident. If Dianne and I are obedient and open to his will than we trust that he is not going to give us a baby if the time is not right. We also trust that if he does give us a baby than he will also provide all the graces that we need to take care of that precious life. After two babies I can confidently say that a flood of graces has been given to us including greater love, patience, discipline and better career opportunities.
I still haven’t really answered the question though, have I? Well, I did… but I was joking. No, the Catholic Church does not teach that you must have as many kids as possible. The Church teaches that you must always be open to the possibility of a child any time you engage in sexual intercourse with your spouse. The reason is because that’s how babies are made. It’s the natural order of things: cause and effect. Male and female have sexual relations while woman is fertile – baby has optimal conditions to be conceived. Even if you use contraception there is a possibility that a baby can result. That happens fairly often [I am not considering cases of sterilization right now. We’ll leave that for another article].
So how do you prevent having a million children? Easy. People have been doing it since the beginning of time and you’re probably doing it right now as you read this. Abstain.
No you don’t just abstain forever or for years at a time. Only when the woman is fertile. There is such a thing called Natural Family Planning and NO it’s not the old rhythm method. Woman with unpredictable cycles can use it confidently. Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a method whereby the husband and wife learn to read the woman’s body to find out when she is fertile. A woman is naturally infertile for about 3 weeks out of the month. That means a couple need only abstain when she is fertile for about a week each month. There are multiple methods to figure out when the woman is fertile. I’m not going to explain them here. I’ll leave it for another article.
My wife and I used NFP to avoid having another baby after our second child. She had just had surgery and we had two little babies so it was a good time for us to avoid having another right away. It has been just under two years since our second child was born and we have never used any form of contraception. We have also gotten pretty good at knowing when she is fertile.
Is it a sacrifice sometimes? Yes. It is. However, even couples who use contraception have periods of necessary abstinence and sacrifice. After the woman gives birth they have to abstain for 6-8 weeks. If we didn’t have the discipline to be able to abstain for one week how could we expect to abstain for six, or eight, weeks?
Periods of abstinence can actually strengthen a marriage. If I can show my wife that I can sacrifice periods of abstinence out of love for her than she never has to worry about me being unfaithful. I am the ruler of my passions and I can sacrifice my physical desires for her when appropriate.
The bottom line is we postpone having another baby if there is a good and serious reason for us to do so. Wanting to save up for a new car is not a good reason. Drowning in credit card debt is a good reason if you are truly working toward getting rid of it. High credit card debt can’t be your reason for avoiding children for twenty years if you are still spending money unwisely and allowing it to linger. “I really don’t feel like dealing with another baby” is not a good reason. “I have two children under the age of two right now and they require all my attention” is a good reason. Basically, the rule of thumb is if it is a selfish reason – it’s not a good one.
Coca-Cola Cures The Thirst In 60 Seconds
We understand the fear of having children. We understand the frustration and stress that comes with raising children as well.
However, we also understand the joy of having children. We know the joy of being in a big family during Christmas and other Holidays and we cannot express what having children has done for us. It has made us better people. It has made us more loving, respectful, charitable, disciplined, concerned and it has been fun.
Having children is a blast!
Coca Cola got it right on this ad. Talk about curing the thirst! They capture in this 60 second video what we have been trying to say throughout this whole article.
UPDATE: We just found out that we are pregnant with our third child so this video is pretty much what just happened to us! Awesome.
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