Face to Face with the Culture of Death

Kids at Lake Michigan

We recently announced that we are expecting our ninth child. Yes, number nine. I made an announcement via facebook and added at the end if anyone had anything rude, obnoxious or remotely negative to say – SHUT UP!! or I’ll release the kids on you (whom I just explained were thrilled beyond belief to hear they will be having a new sibling). We received no negative feedback but it was unfortunate that I had to even throw in the warning at the end of what is a very happy announcement.

Back when we became pregnant with child number five, something new happened. Our announcement of being blessed with a new child wasn’t greeted with “congratulations” but rude and snarky remarks and questions. For example, “You know how to prevent that right?” or “You guys need a T.V.!” and plenty of other things. Not by everyone of course, but by plenty of people, complete strangers even. Same with the births of children 6, 7 and 8, negative, rude, and obnoxious comments were said to us. One person (a co-worker) even got irritated and told my husband “Enough already!” and then proceeded to tell him how America should adopt China’s one child policy. One stranger told me, right in front of my children, how sorry she felt for me that all these kids were mine (5 kids at the time).

I know we are not the only large family that has suffered with negative remarks over our beautiful blessings. What is wrong with the world that we live in? How is it that a new life, a miracle, has become a source of so much negativity and hate even? St. John Paul II was absolutely correct when he said we are living in a culture of death.

A culture that even goes so far as to celebrate death and put down life; skulls and zombies and anything associated with death are popular with children and adults. We praise people wanting to “die with dignity” and turn a blind eye to those suffering and dying naturally. We fight for the right to abort our children in the womb if they are in any way inconvenient but put down families that are happily and lovingly welcoming God’s children into their lives when the family exceeds the “acceptable” amount of children a family should have. One just needs to look at the Duggar family’s facebook page to see the hate coming from our society to a beautiful God fearing family just because they have what many believe are “too many kids.”

I know this is true for many; the really sad thing is a lot of the negativity comes from friends, family, and Church members—people who should know better. It makes what should be a happy time and a joyful announcement a time of dread and anxiety as I think to myself, ‘What sort of rude reactions will we get this time?’ This is why I threw in my warning when I made our announcement. Because I have had ENOUGH. I am overjoyed, my husband is also and so are our children.  Why are we letting other people tarnish and bring down this joyful time?!

And not that I have never spoken up to some of these rude people, because I have, but it is past time to make even more of a stand against the culture of death in which we live. We must stand up and speak out for what is good and beautiful in this world. And there is nothing more sacred and more beautiful than a new life, than a new creation, a child made in the image and likeness of God Himself.

I believe because bringing new life and family are so “natural” and normal we as a society have forgotten its sacredness. We just need to look at the state of the family today to know something has gone very wrong. Pope Francis recently said, “The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardized,” He warned against the common view in society that “you can call everything family, right?” Family is sacred and holy and bringing new life to the world is an act between husband, wife, and God that is far from merely a “natural” act but one of the most holy acts we can participate in.

I will conclude by first encouraging everyone to always welcome new life as we should, with praise and gratitude and simple congratulations. Words are powerful; we need to be careful how we use them. And to any of you in similar situations, I encourage you to stand strong and be happy and celebrate your new babies and do not let anyone rob you and your family of your joy! Let me say that again, never let anyone rob you of your joy! I have also reminded myself things could be harder and worse than hearing people say stupid things (as hurtful as they are). There are people longing to get pregnant and longing for children (I was there once too for several years) and I am grateful to have to put up with nonsense because of being pregnant than not being pregnant at all. Still, we must speak up and we must show our gratefulness and bring about a culture that celebrates every single life as a gift from God.

Kids in the Garden  Diego and Lena  Boys playing in the leaves

 

12 Comments

  1. CONGRATULATIONS! What a wonderful blessing! Children are the crowning joy & glory of marriage. Asking the intercession of the Theotokos for you & your new, precious little soul. 🙂

  2. Congratulations! We have the same issues, even though we have only seven (I think we have common friends in a family expecting their 15th…) O Lord, bless the vinyard which your right hand has planted!

  3. Jessica-I am extremely thrilled for you and your family, and saddened for everyone who cannot be excited for you or at least just keep their mouth shut…

  4. People disapprove of large families largely because – subconsciously, in most cases – they see that it shows the fallacies in their thinking. Families like ours, with five or more children, are a very visible threat to their way of life; they fear that eventually people will start to think, if this family can manage it, why can’t that one? Like all hatred, this one is rooted in fear.
    .
    God bless you for accepting the wonderful gift of life. And congratulations! 🙂

    • Jessica Archuleta says:

      May God bless you and your family too! Yes, I agree with what you said. For some people their hate probably is rooted in fear.

  5. Congratulations! Thanks be to God! Every child is a blessing!

  6. Congratulations!! I am sorry that any large family has to deal with negativity. We have eight children and have heard it all, too. You are blessed!

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