Today I read two articles. The first was about the decline of babies born with Downs Syndrome. Notice I said born, not conceived. There are still lots of conceived babies with Downs, but they aren't apparently worth enough to make it out of the womb. The second was about a little term "pregnancy reduction". It refers to a practice where they reduce a pregnancy of multiples to a singleton. The following is one woman's argument for it ...
“Things would have been different if we were 15 years younger or if we
hadn’t had children already or if we were more financially secure,” she
said later. “If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have
reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural
order, then you don’t want to disturb it. But we created this child in
such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor,
having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about
how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was
all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we
The article goes on to explain how this is still a fairly stigmatized process, but I have no doubt that given the current culture that we won't see the stigma last that long.
Both articles impressed upon me how selfish we are as humans. We are always thinking about ourselves, about how much time this will take us, what burden we'll have to carry as a parent, etc. I also think it's really easy to look at other people and caricature them to the point that their selfishness has nothing to do with us.
The fact is, the Christian community often has the same perspective, just not so far developed. When the discussion of children are brought up, how often is the biblical perspective of children as a blessing shared? Children take lots of time, they take lots of energy, they take lots of prayer and sacrifice. They mess up the house and they require you to fulfill mundane tasks that don't leave you feeling necessarily satisfied with your life. However, they are 100% worth every sacrifice and ounce of energy.
I'm so tired of hearing reasons why Christian couples don't want them (yet). They want to travel, they want to spend time how they please, they want more money, they want to get financially (more) secure, they like having control, they just aren't ready.
There is not talk in terms of what God wants from us. It's in terms of what we want. It's usually a reason that benefits ourselves. Is this line of thinking so far from aborting a baby with Down's syndrome so that we don't have the emotional and physical burden of caring for them? That decision is definitely not for the child - Down's children are some of the very happiest people on this planet. Is the decision to reduce a pregnancy from two to one so that there will be less demands on ourselves, so very different than putting off having children because we want more for ourselves?
Obviously one involves killing another human being, and the other does not. There is a defined difference. But the heart's desires in both circumstances are very similar. It's about me. It's about how this affects me.
I believe there are valid reasons for not having children at a certain point in our lives. But I don't think that many of us have valid reasons and I especially don't think that we are cultivating a biblical perspective on having children. God gives children as blessings. They are good things from God. They are not time-sucking monsters that must be avoided or put off as as the last priority. If we're to make inroads into our culture that devalues children enough to kill them, we've got to change ourselves first.