Living Out a Fruitful Marriage (before having kids)
I think one of the most exciting and terrifying parts of getting married is the prospect of learning to be good stewards of the awesome gift of fertility. The call of stewardship and openness to life in the Catholic Church can seem daunting. It requires discernment, discipline, selflessness, sacrifice, lots of love, and a trust in God’s plan. We are asked to enter into a process of prayerfully considering in the different stages of our lives if God is asking us to accept children at that time or perhaps postpone when we have serious reasons to do so.
Juan and I both come from families of four kids, and we ourselves are hoping to have a big family someday. We’d love to have several children of our own, and maybe even adopt. (We are also that couple that already has five baby names picked out.) However, as we considered our circumstances before getting married, with me studying for my Master’s degree and Juan with a year left before he graduates from college, we discerned that our reasons for waiting a little while to add to the family were sufficiently grave.
One of the beautiful things about Catholic marriage, though, is the call to nevertheless be always open to the possibility of children and prepared to receive them lovingly from God.
To that end, when we got married, Juan and I decided to take a very practical step to truly be open to life whenever God should choose to so bless us. I had read somewhere that there are certain health benefits for babies whose mothers had been taking a folic acid supplement prior to conception, and after having this also recommended by my doctor, we decided that even though we would not be trying to add to our family right away, I would replace my normal morning vitamin with a pre-natal vitamin with folic acid, just in case. (By the way, I’m in no way recommending this for everyone, definitely consult with your own doctor.)
So in July, about a week before the wedding, we went to our local supermarket and decided to stock up on several months’ worth of vitamins, as the price in the U.S. is much less expensive than in Chile. While we were driving back home in the car, Juan turned to me and thanked me for taking care of our future children before we even had them.
“It’s nice to know,” he said, “that children will always be welcome in our family.”
For now, like many newly married couples, we’re currently living out our call to fruitfulness by bringing God’s love into the world in other ways, like being involved in the Schoenstatt movement, praying for our little godson, and trying to prioritize the development of our marital spirituality so that when we do discern that it’s time to add to our family, we’ll have hearts even more prepared for the sacrifices and joy that our children will bring and be even more prepared to teach our future children to love God and the Church.
I can’t believe it’s already been almost four months since our wedding. Please keep us in your prayers! You’ll be in ours.