Even though right now your days mostly consist of building with Legos and fighting with your siblings over toys, it's been on my heart to write you this letter because one day, when you are an adult and ready to enjoy your own married life to the spouse that God has entrusted to you to love, I want you to be able to read it over and over again so that you will know all of these important things deep in your heart.
Because, Dear Child, they are so important.
These things I want you to know are life-changing kinds of things. They are the things that God has used to refine me in His fire, to change my heart, and to mold me into a better woman, a better wife, and a better mother.
Dear Child, I want you to know what's in my heart about Natural Family Planning.
NFP has been one of the greatest blessings in my marriage, but it has also been one of the most frustrating sacrifices your dad and I have ever endured. It has forced us to stretch our relationship and our love for one another in ways that were both painful and healing, and it has taught us how to trust in God in a way that has impacted our lives like no other. Sometimes that trust has come easily, but other times, the times that we have struggled financially, mentally, physically, and/or spiritually, that trust has felt like walking across a rickety old broken bridge and praying Hail Marys all of the way to the other side.
So, Dear Child, as you and your spouse approach what I hope will be many beautiful years of marriage, there are a few things that I want you to know.
I want you to know that I am proud of you for following the Church's teaching on family planning. I know how hard it is to pick the more difficult road. I know how appealing it might be to grab that magical pill that promises what you are longing for: physically connecting with your spouse whenever your heart desires without fear of pregnancy. When it gets hard to stay on the right path, remember what I taught you. The easy path is rarely the best one.
I want you to know that I understand how difficult it is to discern if you should try to conceive or try to avoid pregnancy. While it is true what they say, the timing will NEVER be perfect, using NFP will help you to pray your way through each cycle. It will help you talk with your spouse about your fears and then hand those fears over to God in prayer and through sacrifice. This discernment will sometimes feel like a roller coaster of emotions, longing for a child one minute and realizing how badly your need to avoid pregnancy the next. This discernment is not always easy, and I want you to know that even when you feel like no one else understands what you are going through as you pray for God to guide you, I will understand.
I want you to know that I trust in your judgement. As I mentioned before, NFP has helped to refine my heart. It has forced me to call myself out on my irrational fears and really dig deep to discern if my reasons to avoid pregnancy are just. I want to remind you that God knows your heart, and as long as you are prayerfully discerning, it's OK to chose your path even if everyone else in the world thinks your decision (whether TTC, TTW, or TTA) is wrong. I know how hard it can be to trust God to guide your heart when faced with such a life-changing decision, and it only makes it worse when the world is telling you that it's too dangerous to rely on prayer as your guide. Trust God anyway.
I want you to know that I will support you with every pregnancy. I promise to hug you, to cry with you, and to tell you with each and every pregnancy that I love you and that I'm proud of you. It doesn't matter if you're worried or if I'm worried or if all of your friends and family are worried that the timing is bad. If God sends you a child, His timing is never wrong. He knows far more than we do about His plans for you and for your family. In those emotional moments after seeing that positive pregnancy test, I want to assure you that I will be your refuge. I promise that I will be by your side and that I will allow you to feel every feeling that comes with each and every pregnancy. You can feel happy even if everyone else feels like you shouldn't be happy, and I will rejoice with you. You can feel sad and scared about what lies ahead (even though we both know that you already love your child). You can feel angry and frustrated and overwhelmed, and I will remain next to you so I can hold you up when you do not know how you will stand.
Dear Child, I want you to know that I love you, and in this crazy, mixed-up world we are living in, I am here for you--to listen, to talk, to rejoice with you, and to cry with you. I am your mother, and just as God knew that your presence in my life would be a gift that I would treasure forever, He knows what's best for you and your family as well. Trust in Him.