First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…
This is the third week since the launch of our site, and you’ve been seeing a lot of me! I write this as Ante makes calls, coordinates events, and organizes the marketing for his campaign running in the Halton Catholic School Board Trustee race. Ante works as a youth minister at St. John of the Cross Church in Mississauga, spending his time ensuring that our young people are being taught and supported with the authentic Catholic faith, helping them navigate through society as strong, compassionate, and bold disciples of Jesus; it makes sense that he would want this for the school board we would send our future children to. As he continues to live as a strong man of faith in a world desperately in need of truth, wanting to nurture and support the board in which we live, I stand firmly beside him envisioning a bunch of little ones running around in this future he is working so hard to provide.
I think many people are wondering if we are planning on having children any time soon. Ante and I met and got married within 10 months, and those who know us well expected a baby to come immediately after that. So did we!
Striving to live the Catholic faith as authentically as possible, Ante and I went into marriage telling God that we would never say “no” to children out of our own desire for comfort. In the Catholic Church, there is something called “Responsible Parenthood” where the couple prays about their family planning. If there is a grave (serious) reason not to be open to children (mental health, physical illness, recent drastic change, etc.), then that couple will refrain from being intimate during the fertile period. Couples are called to Natural Family Planning, keeping track of basal body temperature, cervical fluid, and other bodily signs to be able to accurately determine the time of a woman’s fertile period. This method is phenomenal for couples who are either trying to get pregnant or refraining for a time as a result of their prayer and discernment with one another, under the guidance of God. Even many non-believers use this method because of the absolute inadequacy of contraception (i.e. birth control causes 150 small changes in the woman’s body with one week of use (that’s terrifying), also contributing to stroke, cancer, and infertility; it can also act as an abortifacient, which means that a woman may have been pregnant, but since the pill thins the lining of the uterine wall, the embryo cannot attach. Let’s face it, we all know that any form of contraception takes us away from the full experience of love-making; I don’t think I have to convince anyone of the mediocrity of condoms or withdrawal). Each time a man and woman come together in marriage, they are called to participate in the full and complete act for the sake of their intimacy in marriage and the openness to children. This creates a consciousness of the other, and freedom to give one's whole self to their spouse, holding nothing back, without barriers. This free, total, faithful, and fruitful marital act counters the current culture where sex is about instant self-gratification without the responsibility lifelong commitment and children; living out God’s plan for your family makes you a witness to the freedom, fidelity, and sacrificial love He created us for, and that is a beautiful thing to be part of. To learn more about Natural Family Planning (NFP) and the immorality of contraceptives see Jason Evert and Dr. Janet Smith.
Ante and I didn’t have a grave reason to abstain during fertile days; we both want a large family and more importantly, wanted to be open to God’s blessings. On our first date, he asked me how many children I want. I said, “Seven.” He smiled with a grin that said, “Perfect.” We have been open to having a baby since day one of our marriage, but so far, God hasn’t blessed us. We laugh, always hearing stories of couples who have A. Prayed a novena B. Fasted C. Wore a blessed cross, etc. We have done all of these things. Ante even blesses my head and stomach with holy oil each night. We also have a cloth that touched the burial place of Jesus that I’ve placed on my stomach on multiple occasions. Priests have blessed me. I track my fertility, so I’m aware of the best times to conceive. Basically, we’ve done everything scientifically and spiritually possibly, within the moral boundaries, in hopes of having a child. There are times I have been discouraged, disappointed, and worried, but then I remind myself that I gave my life to God eight years ago, and He can do whatever he pleases with me. His Will is greater than mine and His foresight is perfect. I trust the process and feel honored to be part of this plan, surpassing the confines of my own walls.
Last Wednesday we spent part of the morning in the chapel, and I found myself praying, “Lord, I’ll have as many children as you want. I’ll do whatever you want. Help form in me a sound and moral mind and a faithful heart. Help me to accept your will, even if the plan is none.”
Please pray for us, that we remain peaceful and hopeful in our journey toward becoming parents. Also pray for our endeavors in teaching, ministry, and Ante’s trustee run. If you want to know more about his campaign or would like to help in some way, visit www.skoko4trustee.com for more information.
Praying for you, always!