I was talking with some girlfriends today about NFP and pregnancy and openness to life, and when asked about our plans for another baby I gave my typical answer that "I always want to be pregnant." The first several weeks postpartum excepted, this is completely true; I do always want to be pregnant.
I've been thinking a lot about that answer over the last several days and the implications on my spiritual life, and the results have not been pretty. I just realized how unexpectedly selfish and controlling I really am when it comes to having kids.
I don't want another baby because that child is an immortal soul for Christ, I want another baby because its fun and exciting and my thrill-seeking self needs an outlet since I don't do adventure sports anymore. I want another baby because MY plan for my family is lots of kids really close together. I don't want another baby because I'm any more open to life than my NFP-practicing friend who knows that she couldn't handle another baby right now (though she would totally figure it out if that's what God gave her), I want another baby because that's what I want. And that's the bottom line.
Because Kristi is a million times better at talking about this stuff than I am I'll have to quote her on this one... "We are called to be open to the gift of life. As difficult as it sounds. As out
of control as it makes us feel. It is our calling. Because after
surrendering this part of our life to Christ, we become totally dependent on
Him. Many people are able to surrender so much, but they hold back on their
And that's what hit me like a truck. Even though we practice NFP, I'm selfish and I want control of my fertility. Yes, I want to control having MORE babies instead of limiting them, but I haven't yet surrendered my "relative infertility" to Christ. Each time I'm ready for another baby and God says "no" I get angry and impatient, when what I need to be doing is giving my whole self to Him and trusting His timing and conforming myself to His will. God knows what we need so much better than we do, and His goal is our immortal soul, not just our pleasure in this life.
NFP is not about a number. Its not about a big family or a small family. Its not even singularly about openness to life. Its about a disposition, about a total surrender of our fertility (or infertility) to God.