Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Uterine Politics

Okay, like you, my first thought went something like this: 14 kids?!? What, is she nuts?
But then I sat myself down and had a little talk with myself. I asked myself what, exactly, it had to do with me? I’m not the one who has to change the diapers, play chauffeur or listen to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano for the one millionth time. It isn’t my kitchen doing the cooking, my TV doing the entertaining or my nights not doing the sleep. So, why do I care? And I decided I don’t. I decided to get out of the woman’s uterus and let her live her own life.
I’ve read blogs that rant about what a bad mother she is, how selfish and unnatural. Don’t know how those blogging women got so God-like all of the sudden, but I don’t have any idea about the kind of mother she is now, or what she’ll be like as a mother of 14. If I had to guess, I’d say that sometimes her kids will hate her, sometimes they’ll love her, and when they go to their family reunions years after she’s dead, they’ll look at each other and say, “Did we grow up in the same family? That was not my experience at all.”
And what’s so unnatural about 14? If we’re talking about natural, contraception is not natural. In fact, it’s pretty chemical and man-made. Exactly man-made, actually. And 2 generations ago, 14 kids wouldn’t have been all that bizarre. Maybe the unusual part is the viability of the children. 2 generations ago, they would have been more likely to die from diphtheria, polio or a kick to the head from a horse.
I think a part of me is jealous. No, I don’t want 14 kids. Sometimes, to be honest, I’m not sure I want the 3 I’ve already got. At least I don’t want them so loud and smelly and complaining. But I would love to pick out 14 names, snuggle 14 wriggling bodies, and put up 14 pictures of 14 lovely babies. I think dinner with 14 children would be a diary-worthy-experience every time. And think of all the built-in baby sitters! If child A didn’t want to play with B or C, she’s got 11 more options. Certainly some of them will end up being best friends.
I keep thinking of the scripture in the Bible that says that her children will rise up and call her blessed. Maybe not when they’re teenagers. Maybe not at all during this life. But in spite of whatever challenges that woman faces, when I think about her in the future, I hope I’m a little less Enquirer-prone and a little more "call her blessed” in my thinking.