The relatively short space of time between Baby #1 & Baby #2 has made me particularly sensitive to all the negativity surrounding large families, NFP, and generally anything to do with the subject of kids/pregnancy. It got to the point that I had to tell my mum that I was tired of telling people I was pregnant, because I just couldn't deal with the comments ('that was fast'; 'are you crazy?'; 'NFP fail?'; 'it'll be almost as bad as having twins'). As Anne Shirley so wisely points out in Anne of the Island, 'it's all the worse when it is people one likes who manage to say the things that 'seemed to take the color right out of life and leave it as gray and dismal and cheerless as a November morning'.
Talking about baby Hope, as we're calling 'her' (hoping for a girl, this time) is something I'm most comfortable doing with close friends or with women who have large families. In the case of the former, our close friends have been supportive and excited. In the case of the latter, although they will honestly tell me that it can be difficult with two little babies, they can also tell me that it's worth it.
I am annoyed that having a second baby on the way has launched me into the 'women with large families' club, simply by virtue of the babies being close in age. If David and I continue to have children in this devil-may-care fashion we could end up as contestants for a reality TV show! We are serving to over populate the earth, and being negligent/irresponsible, and we clearly need a basics lesson in contraception.
Suffice to say, it's been nice to read the blogs and articles and opinions by other families who have chosen to go the route of NFP. It's encouraging to read how it becomes more and more of a complete and total lifestyle & mindset adjustment. With both pregnancies I've had, at least one person has said, or strongly implied, that this was the result of not using a more reliable method of contraception. With Walter, as I've written in the past, NFP left no surprises. When we needed to avoid pregnancy, we did, and when we felt it was time to start trying, we got lucky right away. With Hope I can honestly say that this was not planned, but the important second part of the statement is that this was also not prevented. Restarting NFP after childbirth is always difficult, but we chose to be less rigid in adjusting to it than we could have been if we really needed to avoid pregnancy. To be honest, by the time Walter was 2.5 months I was already thinking about having another one, and wondering how long we'd wait. It was hard, when I found out, to be gracious about this gift because life was in such turmoil, but we have had to trust this baby's life to God, and our own lives, and in the past few months we have really seen how our little Hope has given us cause to hope for the future. God knew best, as He always does.
The thing is, fertility (or lack thereof), is almost always a surprise. Time after time I come across stories of women who have waited to have children, or who have done the norm by going on the pill only to come off it and try to conceive and get the incredibly negative surprise that things aren't working as they should -- and I also know personally couples who have been told that they would never be able to have children yet have ended up with large families (an incredibly wonderful surprise). I grew up very conscious, always conscious, of my own parents' struggle to have children. It is a long, hard, and sad road for people to walk. So yeah, life may be crazy for the next few years with these little kids, but I cannot overlook the immense blessing here and treat this pregnancy like a catastrophic accident. This baby is an actual human being, with her (or his!) whole future still to unfold, with a little personality that is going to begin growing and developing from birth onwards, and with his (or her!) own way of adding something good to humanity. If you have kids, especially if they're driving you nuts, just take a moment to pause and think about how absolutely freaking lucky you are. I know too many people who would give almost anything to be driven bat-shit crazy by some kids of their own.