Cradle My Heart Radio welcomes Sue Badeau September 14 at 9p ET/8p
The old joke goes that the father of a large family finally got fed up when someone asked if he and his wife had planned on having their six kids.
“Not really,” he said, “But at least we’ve finally figured out what’s causing it!”
God said, “Be fruitful and multiply” in Genesis 1:27-29, and “Children are a blessing” (Deut. 28:11) and “a reward” (Psalm 127:3), but the world says the opposite. The backlash against big families is growing as quickly as the number of Duggars. Mollie Hemingway dubs it fecundaphobia–the growing fear of children and fertile women–as she masterfully points out the ways it affects prominent men in the world of sports. This mindset leads to accusations of wrongdoing by parents of big families: with assumptions that it’s impossible to parent well when the number of kids goes up; overpopulation, etc. The derision for families and children has led to demands for airplanes and retail venues to ban or segregate families with kids.
Time magazine’s 2013 cover story, The Childfree Life pictured a couple enjoying a day at the beach. The story noted US birthrates are at an all-time low and wondered, “What happens when having it all means not having children?” Great question! “Having it all” is shorthand for the dilemma baby-boomer women faced balancing career with childrearing. Apparently many in this generation have chosen to erase the dilemma by rejecting motherhood completely.
According to Faith Popcorn, in the ’70’s only one in ten women were childless, today the number has risen to one in five. She points out that the childfree by choice movement will signal a new upper-class with more disposable income for luxury goods and travel. But Popcorn fails to mention that abortion on demand is the underside enabling this choice–Popcorn holds up several celebrites who are embracing the childfree life, among them Chelsea Handler who has been open about the abortion in her past, even joking about it with Conan O’Brien while possibly outing rapper 50 Cent as the father of a child she aborted at 16. I’m not suggesting that all women who choose not to become mothers have chosen abortion. And I’m not slamming Handler although I think her obvious discomfort in the Conan interview betrays her public statements about not having any regret over her choice. I hope she and all women who need to know can be reached with the message of God’s love and his plans ro give us redemptive hope instead of self-justification so many of us felt we had to claim.
Whether or not abortion has played a part in an individual woman’s choices, the divide between careerists like Handler and women making motherhood career is clear. But big families still carry the “freak-show factor” according to the New York Times.
Sue Badeau, author of Are We There Yet? has heard it all when it comes to the backlash against big families. She’s the mother of 22 kids and she’s going to share her wild and joy-filled ride with us this week on Cradle My Heart Radio. We’ll also tap her expertise as a child advocate in the world of social services.
If you are choosing life and choosing to have and raise a large family please plan to join us and share your story! And if you are childfree by choice we’d love to hear from you too. Tune in Sunday night and call in at 800-811-3003.
From Sue’s bio:
Sue Badeau has built a family of 22 kids and along the way developed expertise in child welfare and caring for those with significant disabilities and challenges.
Sue is also a consultant and speaker in the field of child welfare. Some of her previous positions included serving as a Public Policy Fellow in the office of Senator John Rockefeller IV, as Deputy Director for the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Children’s Commission, and most recently as a director for the Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest foundation focused on foster care. She currently serves as President of the North American Council on Adoptable Children and is an advisor to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.