Today I had one of those moments that I might have thought was never, ever going to happen to me. I realized that I had forgotten all about a pain that had once been so deep as to control my emotional life, namely, infertility.
I was talking with a woman I had just met, and as we were getting acquainted and she was telling me about her large family, she asked me how many children I have.
I told her, I have two. Not only did I not explain, defend, or mourn over the fact to her, I didn't even really think about doing it. It was only her expression that stirred me to remember I once would have done that.
Living among faithful Catholics can be difficult for women whose family size seems inadequately generous. Yes, people make either judgments or assumptions. Because there is nothing that is considered everyone's business as much as the intimate details of other women's reproduction. The sense of a required story to stay in other's good graces can be overwhelming. I've heard it so many times both from women who struggle with low fertility, or even just women who for other reasons have "small" families. And how many times oy vey! have I heard from some people that every last evil in the world is caused by all those selfish women who would rather live in their nice houses and go on trips rather than have children. Because we all know that women with few or no children choose that.
It can be a cesspool of judgment and rash talk.
But you know what, I know my own story. I am personally very happy to share my story. But I don't feel compelled to defend myself with my story. And my story is by no means dominated by grief and mourning. Becoming a parent has been a wonderful gift from God, just as He fills my life with so many gifts. My life isn't like anyone else's that I know, at least not in detail. I can also respect that others have a story, gifts and a call. And today I realize there is great peace in not only being myself, but in allowing myself freedom from all the thoughts or potential thoughts from others that could reach me. In the right context, to be able to say, "you know what, I don't care" is extremely healthy.