Thursday, December 27, 2007

America's Two-Child Policy...er, Culture

In China, as so many know, there is a one-child policy. So many Americans scoff at this idea, because what it means from our side of the ocean is that babies are abandoned/aborted or even murdered by Chinese parents if there is no room in a family for a(nother) child, or, more specifically, for a girl. Many of our friends have taken this great human tragedy to heart and have intervened through the compassionate decision to adopt from overseas. China isn't the only country where daughters are discarded, or where the number of children a family "can" have is restricted. India is also infamous for similar crimes against nature. Unfortunately, so are Haiti, Ukraine, and on & on...

What I have been astounded by, however, is the change in demographics in this nation. Among my parents' friends, very few parented more than two children. Since the Pill came into use, limiting how many children a family includes has been easy breezy. Consistent use of the Pill means near-total control over one's fertility. What this lead to for my generation was a slew of one or two-child families. If I ever met a peer whose family included more than one sibling, it was an simple conclusion: they must be Catholic, or Mormon. If someone had more than two children and they weren't of one of these religious bents, then there was confusion...like, Why would they choose to have more than two if there wasn't a religious reason??


Mitt Romney's Mormon family


Doug Phillips & The Vision Forum Staff and Families at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.



Times are changing, however. Among my peers, now, I am in the slowly shrinking demographic with only two in tow. Let me list my friends by only first initial: P is expecting her 4th in the spring; R had #3 in the fall and D just gave birth to child #4 in time for Christmas; S announced they are adopting #3; P, who already has adult children with her dh numbering 5, is adopting a second overseas baby to equal a total of 7 children; K is about to become Mommy to 3 boys, while A already is; P has 5 already, born from 1998 to 2006; K had two biologically (like S) and adopted #3; L adopted first and then birthed two; R sent us a beautiful announcement mid-summer showing the five pairs of feet of their brood; L & L-B each have the same boy, boy, girl arrangement of three; B's Christmas photo was an aerial shot of all 6 of the family's smiling faces, as they lay on the ground in a circle, looking up...

It goes ON & ON like this!! What is a poor girl to do!?

Long before Tom and I got married we talked about how nice it would be to have a family of three to five. Financial considerations always made us lean more towards three, but we've landed here, at two. I've felt, since Tea was born, that there is a third child for us. This ever-expanding next generation puts an added urgency on my heart's desire, although DH isn't convinced.

So, the looming question is, Do I consign the baby girl & baby boy clothes that take up so much space in this small townhouse? Or do I continue to hold out hope for a third child!? And, can't I do both?

*Sigh*

Baby #3. In secular circles it seems ludicrous. There does still seem to be a two-child "policy" in America. But, every last one of those ladies I listed above is a follower of Christ. Among Christians I see a growing sense of Manifest Destiny--"a mission to expand."

I would like a third--have always longed for a third--but I must keep my eyes focused on this: Why? Is because "three is the new two?" Is it because I (falsely) might consider that a third would help our marriage somehow? Is it because I think Teagan would be a great big sister? Is it because everybody's doing it? Or, do I genuinely believe, as I see many of my friends committing to, that I have an obligation to fulfill my call to be MOM to many? Truly, as I search my heart, I believe that I am a Woman who was created to be a parent. I have very healthy and energizing pregnancies, I give birth almost too easily (ask me about Teagan's 35 minute birth from water break to nursing!), and I enjoy the role of Mother more often than not.

But, I'm not the one who needs convincing!! Ha ha! OK, let me follow the example of Stormie Omartian, and start praying for my husband if I want change to occur. Amen, Girls?

4 comments:

HeatherN3Boys said...

DH and I have been agonizing about this very thing since Bear was born. For one, I started in the midwifery center and had to be moved to L&D due to complications, so that was scary enough. We also had the financial considerations, but in the long run, we decided to just tighten the belt and do it. We're going to start trying this February and March. In our hearts, we really think 3 is our magic number. I hope that you and your DH can figure something out that you're both truly happy with, one way or the other.

ModMomMuse said...

Yes, Heather, I was reading about your decision to or not to adopt, and I think your situation (financially) is similar to ours. Wanting another child just isn't enough, is it? You have to have fertility or finances for an adoption, or an open heart to an older foster child in the states...and while so many young ones get pregnant and then abort their "inconvenient" children, we plead with God to change our husbands' minds, or finances...

It's such a conundrum, isn't it?

Thank you for posting! I raed quite a bit of your site lastnight (ugh! Caffeine insomnia). You might check out my maddening mom fusings! We are alike, but I do edit (you wrote in your blog rules that you will not). I admire that you've decided that...for myself and our position in life (dh's job, etc.) it's not the best decision, but I love reading a woman rant who has something to say! ;-p Thanks for your honesty. You & your children are beautiful (I don't know anything about your dh, but I'm sure he's alright, too. ha ha).

Anonymous said...

Don't be jealous, love the ones you have. I know of "secondarily" infertile couples that waste much of the children they have's lives pining for another. You have so much that others only wished they had. You seem to think something's wrong with 2. Think of how many would LOVE any. Be happy that you have 2 bright, healthy, curious children whom God has blessed you with, who benefit from your love and attention. Do not covet your friends' families, we all have issues, the grass is rarely greener on the other side of the street. And children are cheap and easy compared to teenagers. We will struggle.
Know you are loved regardless of your family size. Love, PM

ModMomMuse said...

"Pammy,"

I LOVE your comments--and your love for me. You are spot-on! And I humbly receive the correction. I remember long before my married days being annoyed by people who obsessed over the question, "When will I ever get married...?" Then, later, watching them struggle so much in married life that they wondered what they had gotten themselves into.

And then, before any of us had babies, I remember others in my life whining & moaning about wanting children like an obsession, then once they had them, being overwhelmed, and trying to dump them off in childcare as often as possible until the school years came.

It's about unmet expectations, either way...and unrealistic expectations, at that.

Funny how the grass is always greener on the other side, eh?

(Logan & I sing with my mom, "Green, green, it's green they say, on the far side of the hill. Green, green, I'm going away to where the grass is greener still."--see below*

I am thinking of specific people in those two examples above, you know. And I certainly don't want to sound like a whiner. It's more that I really would be delighted to have a larger family, and I hope & pray that we can enter that place some day--not because it's hip or cool, but because I have always hoped that for myself. Tonight, though, as a result of your post, I just wanted to kiss & hug my babies like crazy. You are so right.

Even as we and others we know have miscarried, had infertility issues, or even lost babies in infancy...I have nothing but gratefulness for the gift of Logan & Teagan!! I meant to make more of a comment on the social landscape of these times, really, now that so many are choosing to have bigger families, when their parents did not. It's a separate issue, I think, from infertility, or the like.

I love you! You rock. You have always been the truest of friends--open & honest, taking risks with our friendship that make it stronger. Thanks, Sister!

XXOO, ~Me

*
Johnny Rivers Lyrics
" Green Green "

Green, green, it's green , they say
On the far side of the hill
Green, green, I'm going away
To where the grass is greener still

I told my Momma on the day I was born
Don't you cry when you see I'm gone
You know there ain't no woman gonna settle me down
I just got to keep traveling on

And I sing ..
Green, green, it's green , they say
On the far side of the hill
Green, green, I'm going away
To where the grass is greener still

You know there ain't nobody in the whole wide world
Gonna show me how to spend my time
You know I'm just a good loving rambling man
Now, buddy, can you spare me a dime

And I sing ..
Green, green, it's green , they say
On the far side of the hill
Green, green, I'm going away
To where the grass is greener still

On now I don't care when the sun goes down
Or Where I lay my weary head
Now Green, green valley or rocky road
It's there I'm gonna make my bed

And I sing ..
Green, green, it's green , they say
On the far side of the hill
Green, green, I'm going away
To where the grass is greener still
One more time….
Green, green, it's green , they say
On the far side of the hill
Green, green, I'm going away
To where the grass is greener still