Sara: Recently, I was invited to speak on a pregnancy panel at our regional state-funded university during a human sexuality class. Since I work for a Catholic institution and many of my friends are also Catholic, sometimes it’s easy for me to get into a Catholic “bubble” and I forget that not everyone shares the same beliefs Justin and I do.
As class began, the three of us on the panel introduced ourselves and spoke of our children. Then we each shared about our pregnancy and birth experience. The other two women had multiple children, so I was the “new mom.” After we shared our stories, the college students had the opportunity to ask us questions regarding our pregnancy and child birthing experiences.
The students had good questions, and were interested in our responses. However, I was surprised at their attitudes towards children. While they admittedly thought Gus was very cute (and how couldn’t they?) many of the students acted like children were an inconvenience, and planned to wait many years before they became parents. They spoke of using birth control as a fact of life, and the professor even cracked jokes about “safer sex.”
This made me realize how lucky Justin and I are to have Gus. When we got married, it would have been very easy to decide to wait several months or even years before starting our family. Another couple months (or even a year) would have helped us be more financially secure for our future.
Justin: Indeed, it was very scary when we found out we were expecting. Especially for me, as I am a saver and a planner by nature. My mind went directly to “How are we going to afford a baby?” It definitely forces you to be willing to trust in God to provide.
Sara: However, now that Gus is here, I wouldn’t trade any amount of money in exchange for not having Gus. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Justin and me. Gus has brought so much joy into our lives. I never knew such a little person could bring so much joy and happiness (in between the suffering such as night feedings)!
Although it shouldn’t have surprised me, talking to this class made me realize that many of these students saw sex simply as recreation, not as a way to freely and totally give themselves to their spouse. I’m so grateful that Justin and I decided to learn Natural Family Planning (NFP) before we got married. When we do engage in the marital act, we’re not holding anything back. We’re able to say, “I love you so much that if a child results from this union, we’ll gratefully accept this as a gift from God.”
Justin: Sex can be another way Jesus beckons us to come to him if we approach it with trust. Openness to children calls us to deeper trust in God. That can be scary but it also makes us free to participate in God’s miracles.
Sara: Natural family planning has been good for our family because it means Justin and I have to talk about sex, and whether or not we believe God is calling us to have another child at that point in time. Sometimes, talking about sex can be even harder for us than talking about money! However, I’m fortunate we’re on the same page and both open to prayerfully discerning God’s will in our lives.