Last week, this question came up in a group of people, and we were going around the room saying where we see ourselves going, what our goals are, etc. Since I work at a law school, everyone's goals were centered around life after graduation - starting their own firms or working for a law firm etc. I was last (and part of me hoped I wouldn't have to answer since I was one of the instructors . . . no such luck.) And I just said the first thing that came to mind because it's been my goal and aspiration since I was five years old. My goal? I want to have 12 children. And that's what I said. I also added on that I enjoyed working and helping people because I do enjoy my job (and my co-instructor seemed a bit shocked that 12 children was the goal I chose to share with a class full of law students.) In fact, he wanted to know if I had any law firm aspirations . . . to which I replied possibly if I get my license and my husband and I start something. But in the back of my mind, I was thinking "Not really." I absolutely support my husband as he considers starting his own firm, and I will do everything in my power to assist him in whatever way I can. Especially while we don't actually have any children. But I know, deep in my inner core, my vocation is to be a wife and mother. It's all I've ever wanted and worked towards. I fully believe that a large part of why God led me to law school was so that I could meet my husband. Who also wants 12 children, by the way. So that works. :)
Typically, when I tell people my goal is to have a large family, they laugh or dismiss it saying "Come back when you have two kids and tell me that." Or something else along the lines of "That's all? What about all of your potential for SO MUCH MORE?" And my self-conscious introvert sits there and feels like I'm not good enough somehow. That my dreams aren't "big enough" or whatever. That somehow the world views the bearing and raising of children as insufficient for a fulfilling life. That I, as a strong, intelligent woman, need to DO IT ALL in order to be truly successful. That having that many children would mean giving up myself. (I will say it was refreshing that one person in the room last week said afterwards that my goal was admirable and worthwhile.)
When I hear those responses and reactions, I just want to scream back at them. That having children and raising them to be good, moral, Catholics is the highest goal and aspiration I could ever have. That my goal to be a mother is one of the most important in the world. I mean, without mothers, how would the world survive? We'd essentially breed ourselves OUT OF EXISTENCE! It was really saddening to read a statistic the other day that more women today are choosing simply not to have children. They just don't want them. And I understand that having kids is hard work, absolutely. And I know that I don't have first-hand knowledge yet since I don't have kids of my own. But even so . . . what will become of our society if we don't have children?
I've known my vocation as a wife and mother for decades now, and yet somehow I still feel doubt in myself when people question my goal. Should I really be that selfish to want to just stay home and raise a dozen children? Shouldn't I be contributing to society in some other way? Shouldn't I be fiscally responsible and help generate income for my family? And it saddens me that I know my calling, and yet I still allow others to spread doubt in my mind. It's been a long struggle, and I'm definitely more confident in my goals than I used to be. It helps that my husband fully supports this goal. And what greater aspiration could I have than to share what little I know with my children who will one day go out into the world and continue on the next generation?
I don't know what life has in store for me or when God will bless us with children. But I do know that being a wife and mother is a noble, admirable, and sacrificial vocation - one that I am nowhere near worthy of successfully living but one that I am striving to fulfill as best I can. And in the meantime? I work and help the people around me as best I can. And I place my trust in God that He's got all of this taken care of. That He's the one in charge, and we're working with His timing and not mine.