In today's paper, this article caught my eye, And a Baby Makes How Many?
As the fifth of seven kids, I am always extraordinarily sensitive about the big family debate. Yes, I find the story of the octuplets born to a woman with six kids under eight extremely problematic. Personally, I am thrilled and overwhelmed with three kids under seven so I just cannot imagine, can NOT imagine, having more children. However, I loved growing up in a big family and I have a tremendous respect for my mom especially, but my dad as well, who did an amazing job raising us.
Both my mom and my mom-in-law, who has four children, remember(ed) a time when people had no problem stopping them on the street to chastise them about having so many kids. The idea of this vexes me beyond belief. A stranger would not criticize another's lunch choice publicly. It's amazing that someone would feel the right to comment on a far more personal and important decision. And we are not talking here about the extremes, the ethics of a fertility doctor who should not be implanting so many embryos, nor are we talking about this murky stereotype that some people have that a woman, presumably poor and uneducated, is having more kids just to collect more public assistance (which is incredibly presumptuous to assume).
My mom's standard response was, "You worry about the quantity. I'll worry about the quality." And my mother-in-law, who is amazingly kind and sweet, had a stranger come up to her, nodding in disgust at the four kids. "Didn't your mother ever teach you anything" the stranger spit out, of course, referring to birth control. "Yes," my mother-in-law responded, "She taught me to mind my own business."
Did I ever tell you that I have a great mother-in-law?