Clara will drink her final bottle at lunch today while I am at the office. It is a very bittersweet moment for this mama.
As a pro-life Catholic family we are regularly discerning our family size. With two children 2 and under we are at a place in our co-creation where we believe that God agrees that we need, at least, a break.
Clara is 1 and my cycles have just returned to normal (telling me that physically my body is just now ready to consider the option again) and I am still 15 pounds from my healthy weight. It is important to us that I always start another pregnancy from a healthy physical place since carrying another life for 10 months takes a toll on even the healthiest body.
Moreover, I believe that my vocation in life is three-fold. My vocations are as a wife, a mother and a lay minister to the church. I have just taken on the role of lifelong learning coordinator at my parish which will see my hours increasing in service to our faith community. While this does not come before my call to family life, it is definitely a part of who God calls me to be. I need to spend some time answering that part of my call as we discern when and if God, Kevin and I are called to adding another life to our family.
I often wonder if I/we are open enough to life. Just using NFP as a family planning method doesn't make a family open to life because NFP can be used with as much contraceptive mentality as artificial contraceptive methods. While we know that we would always lovingly accept a new life, planned or otherwise, it does not excuse us from evaluating our perspective and use of NFP. We must pray and discern regularly and consistently about how we are supporting and accepting life in our marriage. This includes considerations like new life, quality life, support of our extended families, and participation in our community.
How does this all connect to "the last bottle"? Well, my deep sadness over my sweet little girl's last bottle tells me that I am in fact still open to life. If I found myself celebrating and rejoicing that I would never have to make or wash another bottle I would have to really examine my feelings about adding life to our family. It is in my melancholy that I find God's affirmation and in that I take great comfort.