No, I am not punishing Oob! I am thinking of Barak Obama's comment that if either of his daughters ever "made a mistake," he would not want them "punished with a baby... or an STD."
Part of the sting of his words, I'm sure, is that I know 3 couples who are struggling with infertility, one of whom was just victimized by an adoption scam. Part of it is my own mother's struggle with more than a dozen miscarriages. Part of it is the sight of my own little fluffy crowned crane "punishment" crawling around.
Mostly it's the worldview contained in that statement. Laying aside the equating of pregnancy with an STD, laying aside the thought of planning the demise of your grandchildren while your own children are in grade school, I am most disturbed by the cultural idea that a baby, except under the most controlled conditions, is a terrible thing: an unrecoverable disaster, the ruination of your life, a terrible punishment for an innocent mistake. As if the conditions under which you became pregnant were random and unavoidable, like taking the wrong turn in a DC traffic circle.
When people ask me the standard questions: are they all yours, do you want any more, etc., I think they are asking essentially two questions: Did you have this many kids on purpose? Are you glad you did?
Senator Obama's comments crystallized my answer. This is how I feel about having 6 kids: I don't deserve it. The culture tells me, why yes, a college educated woman does not deserve the burden of a large family. It's a punishment for taking my religious views too seriously and refusing the enlightenment. Quite rich irony there, if they could see it. I don't deserve even one of my precious children, let alone six!
With each child I have seen more clearly exactly what it is that we are doing when, with the help of God, we create a baby. I see more and more the astounding miracle that each new person is, and the love and perfection of their being. Not just my children, every child. Not just children, every person no matter how they were created, loved into existence by God, each one a creature of unspeakable beauty. How could I ever deserve the privilege of helping to create a person?
But that's the thing about love, isn't it? You can never deserve love, you can accept love with humility and awe, and you can love with all your soul in return. My sadness for Senator Obama lies in this: if he can see a baby as a punishment, he has never really seen his own children.