Catholic myths about large families, HERE. ShareI don’t mind that the world doesn’t really love babies, just that it pretends to. It’s time we got honest about our priorities. Most people get a new car every two or three years, but one or two babies through the life of their marriage is plenty. You can get drunk on an airplane, laugh hysterically with your mates, and still not really anger people. But if you dare bring a crying baby on board you will be given malicious looks as if the little thing is a package that ticks. If you walk your dog along the street, people will stop you to tell you how cute he is. If you walk down the street with a baby, you might find a woman or two who coos, but for the most part, you’ll be utterly ignored.
Indeed, the contempt shown to parents of many children is the last acceptable prejudice in our society. As a father of a large family, I find myself apologizing wherever I go, as if I committed a crime. The frequent and loaded stares from scornful onlookers imply that the famine in Africa was caused by my selfish insistence on overpopulating the earth. Long ago my wife and I discovered that few hotels were prepared to accommodate so many children, even if we took three of four rooms, which is why we bought an RV for travel.
How strange to live in a world where loving children casts one in infamy. Having a family with many children implies a backwardness and primitivism that is deemed unbecoming in the developed countries of the West. Large families, it is thought, exist only among religious weirdoes or the teeming hovels of the Third World.
Rich countries, by contrast, prefer to increase their standard of living rather than the number of the living. Looking at Western birth rates for the year 2001, the United States averaged only 14.2 births for every thousand Americans, and the birthrate among white Americans is so low that the United States will soon lose its white majority. Indeed, one can go for days in a wealthy city like Manhattan without encountering a single pregnant woman. Riches and children have become inversely proportional such that the more of the former, the less of the latter.
Hence, the high birth rates of extremely poor African nations like Uganda – at 47.52 births per 1,000 – or Niger with 50.68 births per 1,000, are deemed to be prime causes and indicators of their penury. The abundant fertility and unconstrained sexuality of these countries confirms the unspoken Western mindset of these country’s inhabitants as being just one step above savages. Contraception has become a synonym for civilization.
A Christian mother of six once wrote to me, “I find it troubling to worry about getting pregnant again … because I don’t want to face the criticism of friends and family. Why do people not see children as a blessing?” A fair question which deserves a fair response. (Read more.)