|Wanted by the Fertility Police |
A Catholic mom copes with public scolds.
Stop the Fecundism
A Buddhist scholar critiques the Pope's "Gospel of Life"
"Be Fruitful and Multiply"
Command or blessing?
Can We Be Too Fruitful?
We should care for the earth, but multiply as well
It got so bad that this year that we decided to take our family vacation in an R.V. so that we could be assured a place to rest our heads at night. We drove across the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia, where each night we met families, large and small, sharing space and earth and sustenance around a great fire. Most of these families were not rich, but they were clearly happy. So why can they accept large families, while the privileged vacationers of Martha's Vineyard or the Hamptons cannot? What are they scared of?
But look at African nations like Uganda, at 47.52 births per 1,000, or Niger with 50.68 births per 1,000. That is five times the rate of Japan. Fertility like this frightens us. Thus, we conclude, only the "uncivilized third world" would ever venture to have more than three kids.
As a sex and marriage writer, I cannot help wondering, is it the idea of abundant fertility that scares us about large families? When we see a couple with several children we know that they have had an active intimate life. When we see families with many children, and especially young children, we know that somewhere along the line they must be making love. Is this too much intimacy for our Western sensibilities where passion is increasingly missing from marriage? Maybe they miss what these other couples clearly have: a passion and desire for each other that remains years after the honeymoon has ended. Or perhaps it is simply that children are seen as burdensome without the blessing, difficult without the deliverance.