I Have A Say Thanks to My Mom and Dad!!!

Being the oldest of 11, I am so thankful, especially now, for my Mom and Dad saying "yes" to life! Growing up, we never had a ton of money. My Dad was a high school chemistry teacher and my parents decided from the beginning that they wanted to have one of them home with us. My mom gave up her teaching career, and raised me, followed by 10 others! My Mom also taught all 11 of us at home for part of our childhood before we would head off to Nativity Catholic Grade School. My Dad worked long hours, eventually earning other degrees so that he could first become dean, then principal, and finally, when I was a sophomore, he was named Roncalli High School's first president. My Dad and Mom both sacrificed SO MUCH for us.

I remember, even as a young person, getting stared at by people, and I remember the comments they would make. I can still hear a dental receptionist asking my Mom "Are these all yours? You know how children are made right?" followed by a real insidious but ditzy chuckle, followed by a secretarial gum crackle. My Mom and Dad were always tight budget wise, and I'm sure at times ached with a desire to not have to take bags of clothes from other families so that we could have clothes. I'm sure my Mom and Dad had desires to simply go to Nordstrom and buy us and give us all our own new clothes and Gameboys and Reebok Pumps etc. I'm sure they at times really wished they could just get a new car and not have to drive a fifteen passenger van around. I'm sure at times they wanted really badly to just go to a restaurant and sit back and enjoy a big expensive meal instead of having to cut coupons and craft together economic meals on the stove.

But they chose life for us, and they chose sacrifice for themselves.

I often think about that ditzy secretary now when our family gets together almost every weekend for dinner to laugh and hang out. Some of the siblings might be out of town or busy with other obligations, but inevitably, all weekend long, every weekend, our family gets together. Sometimes, when we're out at a restaraunt, I see the couples who are alone with each other. They hardly talk to each other and the loneliness is palpable. A part of me feels bad that we're having so much fun with our 8 tables shoved together, telling stories, laughing good hearty and healthy laughs. Sometimes I wonder if one of the couples sitting in the restaurant quietly and solemnly is that dental secretary - who now has piles of money and can eat wherever she wants, but doesn't have hardly anyone to share it with. My heart breaks for the people who are alone, especially the ones who are alone because, when they could have been having children, they instead bought into the contraception lie and lived for themselves only.

I have a say today, and so do my ten younger brothers and sisters, because my parents chose life. Mom and Dad - thanks a million!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Marie Cherry Used to Contracept....and She Has a Say!

I am proud to say that I have a say! My story isn’t as amazing as the others shared here. And no great hurdles have been thrown in my path, but I think that my story…especially the first part…is shared by so many women of my generation.

I was raised in a Catholic home from the time I was born. My family went to Mass every Sunday and every Holy Day. We always looked for (and found!) a church when we were out of town. Those things made me “really Catholic” among my friends. My parents kept close tabs on me and my brother.

As I reached my teens, I found myself in a Catholic girls high school. I suppose it was a more gentle high school experience than public school would have offered and the sisters and other teachers expected more of us, both academically and personally, than might have been expected at a public school. But the truly authentic Catholic flavor was missing from my life…although I had no idea at the time.

I went on to get a bachelors degree—all the while attending Sunday Mass. I met a great guy who joined the church and we got married. We had welcomed three daughters into our family by the time I was 32. The whole time I considered myself pretty Catholic—mostly because I was a regular at Mass. I’d even been to some daily Masses. Sure, we contracepted, but considering that contraception was taught in my Catholic high school, I didn’t consider it a problem.

I suppose that I began to wake up to the fact that contraception didn’t fit in with God’s plan just before our second daughter turned one through some reading I was doing and while we didn’t stop contracepting completely, we had just enough of a break to conceive our third child. When newly pregnant, I began spotting. An ultrasound didn’t show a baby growing and my blood levels were not rising properly. I was told that the pregnancy was a blighted ovum. My doctor said I could wait and miscarry naturally or have a D&C. I chose to wait and miscarry naturally. Although the baby wasn’t planned, and I was just six weeks pregnant, we mourned the loss of that child. Days became weeks, and my body wasn’t giving up the pregnancy. I returned to the doctor for a follow up appointment and after looking at my blood test results, my doctor quickly scheduled an ultrasound. The baby was there—just the way an eight week old baby was supposed to be. I went on to carry her to term without further incident. That experience really solidified my pro-life beliefs and I am so very thankful that we didn’t choose the D&C.

Just before her birth I was told about a local Catholic homeschool group. At that point I just liked the idea of continuing to help my daughter learn and thought it would be the best environment for her. I figured the Catholic support group was just like any other support group except the women attended Catholic churches. I couldn’t make a meeting for about 8 more months. That meeting was the turning point in our lives. It was the first exposure to people who had that authentic Catholic flavor in their lives. It was the first time that I had met a group of people who actually knew, embraced and followed Church teaching without exception. It was eye opening to say the least. I owe my real conversion to a priest in an online forum. Although I don’t know his name, I am forever grateful to him. I posed a question and in it said something about contracepting…pretty casually as I recall. He gently let me know that it wasn’t all right. That what the Church taught was what the Church taught. There weren’t any loopholes and that while individual priests or teachers might espouse something different, that wasn’t authentic. I was blown away. I pondered that for a while and within a week or so plucked up the courage to speak to my husband. We were nearing our 10th wedding anniversary and I asked him to give me a non-contracepting marriage as an anniversary gift. He (God Bless Him!) agreed, although he didn’t get it at all. He did a lot of reading and soul searching and in time he wholeheartedly accepted the Church’s teaching.

I may have come late to the party, but I am completely on board! In addition to strengthening our marriage, we have found the true treasures of our faith. I truly believe that in accepting God’s plan for our lives, we have been given innumerable graces. That 10th anniversary is nearly 10 years in the past and this fall we will celebrate our 20th anniversary. We have welcomed two boys and another daughter during those years for a grand total of six children.

I have lived on both sides of the contracepting fence…and I know which side is greener and I’m staying on it! Cecile Richards doesn’t begin to speak for me…I have my own say!


  1. Thank you for the beautiful witness! This really touched me.

  2. Wonderful story! Thank you for your testimony!

    It seems the homeschooling groups are often, like you said, "...people who had that authentic Catholic flavor in their lives. It was the first time that I had met a group of people who actually knew, embraced and followed Church teaching without exception." I greatly respect the homeschooling groups and families, and yet it's not for me or our family. Surely there are non-homeschooling support type groups out there who are authentically Catholic? I often struggle to find where I "fit in". It's not with the homeschooling groups and it's not with the Cafeteria Catholics. I try hard to live an authentic Catholic life, and it seems hard to find others like me who also live this way, yet are NOT homeschoolers.
    Any thoughts?

    1. Agena...I can see how it would be hard to feel like you "fit" with either group. In my area most of the moms I know are homeschooling moms, but our "circle" of friends also includes moms who send kids to school and those who used to homeschool but don't now either because the kids grew up or went to school. Maybe the homeschoolers in your area would be more welcoming than you think. Certainly co-ops and such are geared towards homeschooling, but we generally welcome any mom to "mom's night outs" or gatherings.

      Hope that helps!

    2. I also am not a homeschooling mom, but have several friends who are. Our family has found a "home" in the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. It is a wonderful way to fully live out our Catholic faith. Here is the website with more info: http://www.littleportion.org/vocations/domestic.html

      It is the religious order founded by John Michael Talbot. I hope that this helps you in your journey. But never forget to turn to God and ask him to help place the right people in your path.