Nurturing a child

March 19, 2013

I was interested in Father Rohr’s take on why people have children.  I don’t remember ever thinking about what a child would think of me, whether they would love me back.  I just had this huge need to nurture.  I had wanted a baby to care for since I was three, when the mother of my friend next door gave birth to a child, and we were invited to see the new baby about a week later;  I looked into the bassinet, laid eyes on Maria, and I was transformed.  I wanted my mother to do that, too, to give us a baby to take care of, but she didn’t.

My desire to nurture a child intensified with my first pregnancy loss, and I knew that the need to nurture a child was more important than pregnancy or whether the child looked anything like me.  (The risk of serious hemorrhaging also became a significant factor — dying in childbirth would kind of defeat the idea of nurturing a child.)  I also had a strong sense that nurturing a child was the path to my not becoming an angry and bitter person.

I don’t think I was wrong — nurturing my children has kept my heart open.  Of course I had no idea at the outset just how wide my heart would be opened by the experience, which I suspect was a good thing.  Part of that opening has involved a process of experiencing difficult responses from other people and then finding a way, not to accept the content of the response, but to somehow accept that they are doing the best they can.

I certainly didn’t think about such issues when I knew I wanted children, but I did know that I needed to follow that path.  I think that’s usually enough — following those bread crumbs.


4 Responses to “Nurturing a child”

  1. In our last moments, it is not what we did that we regret, but what we did not do.

    To judge ourselves in comparison to others and what they think of us is inevitable… and also wrong.

    Rohr is wrong. We don’t have children for them to love us, but because it is what we are driven to do. We may hope and have desires of the future, but these are nonetheless left to the rubbish bin in favor of getting on with fulfilling the drives that consume us. What Christian would have a child if they could only think of the love they would get in return or perhaps not. How brave they would have to be to work to raise a child in fear of them being gay. How shallow would their heart need to be to raise a child in a desire to be loved?

    Rohr is wrong. I’m going to guess it’s because he’s only a father in title.

  2. Judah Himmelstein Says:

    The first question asked of a Jewish man upon entering “on high” is “Did you engage in being fruitful and multiplying?” Torah students are considered as children. “The world does not exist but for the sound of children’s voices in the house of study.”

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