Why you should have more children by William G. White, M.D

4 07 2015

marriage means

It is unnecessary, I think, to go through the whole catalog of pills, diaphragms, devices, chemicals, condoms, soups and sauces that people use to avoid children. Many of them are promoted with lies. Pills, IUDs, hormonal patches and injections, for example, can not only prevent conception, they can also cause early abortion, the death of a living child, before the mother even knows she is pregnant. They have significant risks for the women who use them, flowing through the blood stream and adversely affecting many organ systems. They cause strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, gallstones and even cancer.
As a physician, I don’t call them sins; I call them unhealthful practices. I might even justifiably call them poisons. Whether or not they lead to hell in eternity, they can certainly lead to hell on earth.

By driving a wedge between husband and wife, they lead to misery, pain, alienation, confusion and loneliness. As a physician, I have no problem recommending against these unhealthful practices. Medicine and theology, science and Catholic moral teaching, do not contradict each other. They are both based on the natural law, the law that is written in our hearts, the law that is revealed in the meaning and beauty of men’s and women’s bodies.

As the late Dr. Herbert Ratner used to say, “The Author of the Book of Nature and the Author of the Book of Scripture are the same, and he does not contradict himself.” When he says, “Thou shalt not,” he is not trying to take all the fun out of life. He is trying to save us from actions that will harm us, that will distort our natures, that will inevitably make us profoundly unhappy.
For those who must temporarily avoid children for serious reasons (such as illness, poverty, etc.), timing sexual intercourse to avoid the fertile period of the woman’s cycle is allowed by the Church. This is not contraception, because it does not contradict the true meaning of the marital act. It simply makes use of a time when conception is unlikely. Nevertheless, even those who practice this “natural family planning,” must take care never to lose sight of the wonder and beauty of the gift of children, nor to forget God’s loving providence. Experience eventually teaches us that his “ supernatural planning” always turns out better than any planning we might do in contradiction to his.
One dimension of God’s plan for families is surprisingly little known: the effect of breastfeeding on the spacing of pregnancies. The self-giving of marriage extends, once a baby comes, to meeting the needs of that baby as well as possible. The best way to nourish and care for a baby is breastfeeding. The nutritional, immunological and other physical benefits of breastfeeding are now thoroughly documented. At least as important are the emotional benefits to both mother and baby. Because of improved cognitive, neural and social development, breastfed babies even do better later on in school.
One of the beneficial side effects of nursing is that the menstrual cycle usually doesn’t return for several months, often for more than a year. This natural, temporary period of infertility usually leads to a spacing between babies of 1½ to 2½ years or even longer. If a longer spacing is necessary for a serious reason, natural family planning can be used.
Mother Teresa spoke of the “fear of the child.” Our modern age is afraid of the child, of God’s most generous gift to mankind. It is afraid of the commitment, the difficulty, the challenge and the self-sacrifice. But we do not need to be afraid. We can trust in God. Many of the happiest marriages I know are those that are unconditionally open to children, those in which husbands and wives love each other without fear or reserve, with joyful trust in the Lord and with acceptance of all the precious children he wishes to shower upon them. Is it hard? Of course it is. Everything worthwhile requires effort. And the most worthwhile things require the greatest effort; sometimes they even require suffering. But they also bring the greatest rewards.
So marriage means self-giving, self-surrender, even self-abnegation. It is a cross as well as a comfort. But from such a marriage, lived in accordance with our natures, lived for each other, lived in God’s loving care and in obedience to his loving laws, comes life, an abundance of life. And with life, joy. So enjoy your marriage. Enjoy each other. Enjoy your children. May God bless you with many.

William G. White, M.D., is a family physician who lives with his wife, Cathleen, near Chicago. They have seven children and nine grandchildren



One response

10 11 2015

What a maroon

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