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Wanted by the Fertility Police
Crisis Magazine ^ | Mary Walsh

Posted on 10/24/2001 9:08:40 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM

Crisis - June

Wanted by the Fertility Police

By Mary Walsh 

At the pool last summer I met a mother of a three-year-old and a five-year-old. She started talking to me about my two youngest girls, Patricia and Kathleen. Slowly, she realized that Brian, the four-year-old boy bobbing up and down with great delight in the three-foot end, was also mine. When Maggie, my seven-year-old, came swimming up, I could see the fear in the woman's face. "Four!" she gasped, then repeated, "Four." Then Michael came back from the diving board. "Good heavens!" she exclaimed. "You have five?" I replied, "Well, actually, I have six. Christopher is not here. He's at a friend's house today." 

Six. She was stunned. I tried to help her out: "Really, it's not so bad. We have a lot of fun, especially at the pool in the summer." Six. She was still stuck on the number. When she came to, she told me that she and her husband were "thinking about having another child," but they were not yet sure if they would. When I told my husband about the incident, he joked, "Did you tell her you have to do more than just think about it?" 

This is only one of the many run-ins I have had with the people I call the fertility police. OK, so I admit it: I am jaded. Over time, I have become accustomed to the rude comments, "the glare," "the stare," and the "How could you possibly take up my airspace?" attitude from people with no more than two kids. Any mother with more than two, or with children close in age, knows exactly to what I am referring: that look of condescension that says, "Don't you know what causes that?" 

One of my favorite movie scenes is in Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), when the father of the twelve-child Gilbreth family refers to those "piddly little families with five or six children." (In another great scene in that movie, the local Planned Parenthood representative flees the Gilbreth house in shock.) I guess that with six, I have one of those  piddly little families, though most people I meet do not seem to think so. It is no secret that most people today think that managing more than a couple of children is darn near impossible. Contemporary culture is quite fond of ignoring the Creator and hence forgets that "with God, all things are possible." 

Lectures at the Grocery Store 

My first two children, Michael and Christopher, were both born in May, Christopher on our second wedding anniversary. Needless to say, encounters with the fertility police were frequent. The fertility police can be either well-meaning or downright rude. An encounter with them can be as simple as a shake of the head or as complex as lengthy inquiries about the proximity of the children's birthdays or unsolicited advice about the most effective methods of contraception. 

One place where I frequently run into the fertility police is the grocery store. There, one woman called me crazy. Another nearly fainted in the soup aisle while I was shopping with my daughter Kathleen, then a month old. This distraught woman insisted on telling me what it was like to be the mother of not only a newborn but also of a three-year-old boy (the "curse" of the human race, as she put it). When I told her I also had a three-year-old son and six children in all, she started muttering to herself, "Six children, six children, six children...," and made a beeline away from me. She did not utter a peep to me in the cereal aisle. 

Being open to new life and not cooperating with the contraceptive mentality of today's culture makes a Catholic parent a walking sign of contradiction. Apparently, seeing a family with more than two children causes a searing jab in the consciences of some people who had considered the issue of whether to have more children moot. Why else would complete strangers tell me their darkest secrets about using birth control, along with their reasons for avoiding having another child, some even graphically describing "cutting and burning those tubes"? 

My sister has a friend in Pennsylvania who is a mother of five. Her husband works as an engineer for a behemoth company. When he announced to his coworkers that he and his wife, both Catholics, were expecting their fifth child, the fertility cops started trailing into his office to read him the riot act. He responded with, "Hey, man, I get my marching orders from Rome." They were shocked by his response, and didn't bother him again.

My sister's mother-in-law, Martha, would probably have been classified as certifiable today. She and her husband were married at age 35 and subsequently blessed with five daughters and four sons in ten years. Martha's husband, a World War II veteran, probably never imagined that God had this in store for his life on December 6, 1941, when he was sent out of Pearl Harbor on a submarine the day before the Japanese bombed it. 

Last year, I clicked on a financial advice column on the MSN Web site just for fun. It featured an article on the biggest financial mistakes people make. I could not resist taking a peek, since I am always on the lookout for ways to save money. The venomous words "having too many children" jumped off the screen at me. The article said that one or two children were bad enough; that children are extremely expensive and time-consuming; that the problem with having a third child is that the parents often want to have a fourth; and that four children are just too many. Children, one of the greatest joys of married life, the symbol of love between a husband and wife, were summarily dumped into the bin of financial mistakes.

Unless a woman is lucky enough to have a pro-life doctor, the joy of finding out that another child is on the way is usually tempered by the impending grief the expectant mother encounters at the obstetrician's office. "Oh, boy," she thinks. "Here comes another lecture from Dr. Fertility-Is-a-Disease." Thankfully, there are some wonderful pro-life doctors, but their offices can be few and far between. Those of us who do not relish the thought of delivering a baby in a car prefer to stick closer to home. That, of course, has its price. Sometimes the comments of doctors and nurses are unreal. "Do you want your tubes tied before I take out the epidural?" "Is this one it?" "We need an adult activity center in the county, so adults will have something to do at night."   

Obstetricians and hospital staff should be overjoyed to have the business, yet they persist in their negativity to- ward large families. Luckily, my doctor has gotten used to the idea that my Catholic faith actually means I will not use contraception. I am sure he is puzzled, but at least I do not have to deal with his lectures. Obstetrical staff, however, is often worse than the doctor. The "look" alone is enough to wither healthy houseplants. 

The contraceptive mentality of our culture has trickled down even to our children. A fourth-grader in the CCD class I teach asked me when I was pregnant with my daughter Maggie if I was "going to keep it." "You already have two," she said. This little girl was ten years old, and she already thought two children was enough. How sad it is that many children today see love limited in this way. Children learn most of what they know from their parents; thus, it is vitally important for parents to give their children a proper upbringing in the culture of life.  

My children are always so thrilled to find out that a new baby is on the way that they can hardly stand to wait. Seven months (we break the news when I'm about two months pregnant) is just too long. Their anticipation of visiting Mommy and the new baby in the hospital fills them with joy and excitement. When the baby comes home, we have a "zero party" to celebrate his or her original birthday. 

Large-Family Flak 

Cultural opposition to large families, while nothing new, is especially intense today. Even when I was growing up, the neighbors teased my mother, calling her "Mrs. Rabbit" because she gave birth to the five of us in seven years. Though we have had our share of spats like any other family, we are tightly knit. Family closeness is not something that can be bought or sold, but it is one of the most precious gifts you can have. I thank God for the gift of my big family. 

Sometimes the flak large families receive comes from those who should know better: grandparents. Some mothers and fathers are actually afraid to tell their own parents that another baby is on the way. For heaven's sake, it is not as if they were unwed teenagers. Responsible sex used to mean being married; now it means using a pill or a condom.

Flak can even come from Catholic natural family planning (NFP) advocates. For example, my friends Adele and Ryan were on vacation with their seven children. At Mass on Father's Day, as they left the pew, a man shoved an NFP brochure into Ryan's hand. Which one of their beautiful children did this man think should not exist? Was it any of his business to suggest that there was something wrong with their style of "family planning"?

In our society, if a woman chooses to abort her baby, the  pregnancy and fetal destruction are private matters between only the "woman and her doctor." If she has the baby, her decision becomes public property: How closely are your children spaced? Do you intend on having more of them? Are you going to have your tubes tied? 

One of the reasons for this hostility toward large families is a failure to trust in divine providence and the graces of the sacrament of matrimony. Even many Catholic NFP-users are so caught up in managing every temperature and trace of mucus that the big picture becomes lost in a blur: Every child, "planned" or not, comes into the world through the grace of God and is part of His plan. God will not give you more than you can handle, and He will always be there with abundant graces to help you. 

Large-Family Misconceptions 

There are many misconceptions about large families, and most of them spring from the pervasive anti-child attitudes of our culture. Some of these misconceptions are: 

•     You cannot love more than two children.

•     Your numerous children will not be able to attend college.

•     It takes a fortune to raise more than one child.

•       Parents of large families do not have any private time.

•     It is impossible to raise a large family in 2001. 

Love, however, does not divide or subtract with more children-it multiplies. A new sibling not only receives the love of his or her parents but of all the other siblings as well. Mother Teresa once said, "How can you say there are too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers." With her ability to speak from the heart and pierce like a sword, Mother Teresa knew that it is impossible to be a good parent and remain selfish. Putting the good of your child ahead of your own needs requires commitment and sacrifice. 

I do not spend wakeful nights worrying about how to put my children though college. If college is in God's plans for them, I am sure we will find a way. There are loans, scholarships, and good old-fashioned diligence. The evils of the day are sufficient unto themselves, and it is fruitless to spend countless hours in worry. Time is better spent working out God's plan for us and helping our children discern His plan for them.

It does not take a fortune to raise children, either. They may want designer clothes or the hottest toy, but they certainly do not need them. In fact, we can teach our children valuable lessons about priorities and detachment by telling them the reasons why we do things.

For example, my husband was talking at the dinner table-where great conversations originate-with our two oldest sons. They were remarking on the fact that I buy everything on sale. "Do you know why Mom buys everything on sale?" my husband asked. "So she can stay home and take care of you and teach you." They were amazed: "Mom loves me enough to stay home with me" is the message they received. My husband and I do not feel the need to buy lavish accoutrements because we are already giving our children the best of our time, talent, and resources. We do not have to bear the guilt that many other parents feel today for dumping their children in day care or dropping them off at an ex-spouse's house, and then compensating them with new toys or exotic vacations for having wrecked their world. 

As for private time, there's always the shower. Sometimes I am able to stay awake for a few hours after the children go to bed-and sometimes I put on my jammies right after them. But even when I don't have a lot of time to myself, I don't care because I know there will come a sad time when I will no longer hear the pitter-patter of little feet. There will be no more requests for drinks of water, infectious giggling, or midnight whispering about the day's events. Likewise, there will be no more arguing over who sat in whose spot on the couch, who drank the last of the chocolate milk, or who wrecked the greatest Lego creation since last week. Nor will there be any more "creative cleaning," in which my kids jam half the possessions of a Third World nation under their bunks. So I am content to recognize that there is a time for everything and to cherish their childhood while it is here. Parents do not always see their efforts pay off immediately. It may take years, but every good deed, wiped nose, tied shoe, changed diaper, answered question, and story read will form a child who grows secure in love and faith in God, a soldier of Christ.  

All big families are as unique as the individuals who make them up, and thus, there is no perfect way to run a large household. One thing is for certain: Parents, in order to survive, will mellow as they have more children. I never fully understood the concept of picking my battles until I had children. Really, the fate of the world does not depend on whether a toddler takes a bath in a mud puddle: Clothes can be easily washed. Naps, however, are important for both mother and child, so I insist on them.  

Surprisingly enough, parents with more children tend to be more organized. Families with eight always get to Mass before us, and we arrive before those with three. (I guess we need a couple more children to be truly punctual.) I love the magnet I once saw on a friend's refrigerator that read, "Cleaning your house while your children are growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." I do what I can for the day, and of course, my older children are a big help. If the house is not perfect by twilight, it is OK. We live here.

It is not impossible to raise a large family. First and foremost, we do not do it by ourselves: We do it by the grace of God. When people ask me how I manage, I often try to lighten the conversation by saying that I do not manage the children-they manage me. What I should say is that God has given me the strength to fulfill my vocation, and He will strengthen you to do yours. "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of" (that comes from another of my favorite movies, The Bells of St. Mary's).

There are lots of little ways to cut costs: Buy on sale, plan your meals according to the grocery store specials (but do not become neurotic about it), buy clothes after the season for next year, go to library book sales, shop early for Christmas, and ask St. Anthony to help you find things that you need.  

No Such Thing As Too Many 

Dear friends of mine, Dave and Kathleen, are truly heroic people. When I met Kathleen, she and Dave had three children of their own-two daughters and a son-and had just adopted two sisters who had been in their foster care. At the time, her oldest was five, the next was four, and the other three were each seven months older than the next. Dave was transferred to Thailand, and they lived down the street from an orphanage. Soon after, they adopted a seven-month-old boy who was thought to be physically and mentally disabled, but all he needed was a family like Dave and Kathleen's to love him. Later, they adopted two sisters who had been beaten by Mommy and Daddy No. 3, and a twelve-year-old girl whose Thai name, Pan, meant "no name." Her new name is Claudia. Then they adopted a seven-year-old boy abandoned at a construction site and rescued by a Catholic priest. The priest had heard of this American family and asked them to take in the little Cambodian boy. Last, they adopted Yimmie, which means "Smile" (she was with them only 18 months because of red tape that prevented her adoption). Kathleen calls her family her "little United Nations." 

It often appears to the worldly that people who accept children lovingly from God are a few cards short of a full deck. Contrary to popular opinion, however, large families know they have something of great value. Remember the parable: A man buys a field for an outrageous price, and everyone thinks he is crazy. But in fact, he knows there is treasure buried on the land. The world may not understand the value of every human child God sends to us, but we do if we are willing to open our hearts and minds to trust completely in Him. 

While raising children is not always easy, most things in life that are rewarding require much time, effort, and commitment. Children are irreplaceable, and no material thing or vacation could ever compensate for not having them.  

Michael, eleven, has a heart of gold and is always helpful and kind. Christopher, ten, is his brother's best friend. Maggie, nearly eight, is a tomboy (no surprise considering she has two older brothers) and the Pied Piper to her younger siblings. As the middle child, Maggie is a conspirator with the older boys and a ringleader with the younger children. Brian is five and keeps us entertained with his infectious laughter and silly antics. He enjoys his big audience. "I love home," he often says (I would not trade that compliment for all the tea in China!). Patricia, three, is our little redheaded princess who craves nail polish, tea parties, dolls, and going to the store. Kathleen is 18 months old and thoroughly enjoys her walking and discovery skills. Her smile lights up the room. She loves to sing in church but thinks all the hymnals there belong to her, and consequently, she scowls at anyone who picks one up. 

Without my beloved husband, of course, I would not have these beautiful children. He is my cavalry riding to my rescue at the end of the day. He keeps me calm and helps me focus on God's big picture for us. I know that fairy tales are not supposed to come true, but we'll be married for twelve years in May, and all I can say is that he truly has been my prince. 

One of the questions that newlyweds most often hear is: "Will you have children, and if so, how many?" I used to say that I wanted six because I figured it would keep the fertility police at bay for a while. Now my husband and I are expecting our seventh child in November. How many children will we have in all? Only God knows the perfect number for us. 

Mary Walsh writes from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Back to Crisis June 2001 Table of Contents

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1 posted on 10/24/2001 9:08:40 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: patent; *Catholic_list
pro-life, pro-family, Humanae Vitae ping
2 posted on 10/24/2001 9:09:57 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: proud2bRC
Great article. I think it was posted a while back, but it would be in the archives by now and you can't get to them. Either that or I read it over at Crisis. Can't recall for sure. We only have three and get that reaction already. My family is so certain that we are insane that they don't even dare say anything anymore.
3 posted on 10/24/2001 9:14:41 PM PDT by patent
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To: patent
I searched before posting it but didn't find it. Great article, IMHO. Friends here are expecting their 12th. But in rural red neck south central mountains of PA, you don't make snide remarks to a family that size.

"The children of one's youth are like arrows in a quiver, blessed is the man whose quiver is full."

4 posted on 10/24/2001 9:22:45 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: proud2bRC
"Being open to new life and not cooperating with the contraceptive mentality of today's culture makes a Catholic parent a walking sign of contradiction."

I find this an odd statement, considering how very, very few Catholics actually have large families anymore. As a matter of fact, most of the large families I know are protestant homeschooling families. (And I know of some large Catholic homeschooling families, as well.)

5 posted on 10/24/2001 9:26:06 PM PDT by joathome
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To: proud2bRC
You would have had to search the archives too, and they aren't available at the moment. At least I can't get to them, which I guess isn't the same thing.
6 posted on 10/24/2001 9:26:07 PM PDT by patent
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To: proud2bRC
We have met a wonderful family in our neighborhood - they have 6 children plus a mother in law living in their home..... I wonder every day how they manage to do it, but they are one of the nicest families I have ever met....
7 posted on 10/24/2001 9:27:07 PM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: joathome
I find this an odd statement, considering how very, very few Catholics actually have large families anymore. As a matter of fact, most of the large families I know are protestant homeschooling families. (And I know of some large Catholic homeschooling families, as well.)
Depends on what the meaning of is is, I mean Catholic is.

patent  +AMDG

8 posted on 10/24/2001 9:27:32 PM PDT by patent
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To: proud2bRC
A friend of mine, age 48, is expecting her 10th - her children range in ages of 23 - 6 - currently.

I'm 44 and I would love to have another!! We have 3 sons - ages 18, 14, and 10.

9 posted on 10/24/2001 9:27:50 PM PDT by MasonGal
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To: MasonGal
..meant to add that the friend of mine who is expecting her 10th - as been Catholic homeschooling for over 13 years now.
10 posted on 10/24/2001 9:29:01 PM PDT by MasonGal
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To: proud2bRC; Wally Cleaver
A friend of mine has eleven. When he worked for me a few years ago his handle was "kids9@____.com" I don't think he changed it.
11 posted on 10/24/2001 9:31:03 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: proud2bRC
Nice
12 posted on 10/24/2001 9:32:17 PM PDT by Sabertooth
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To: proud2bRC
If every 'family' waited 'til they could "Afford" a child.......this old world would be a barren planet, in no time.

...which is just what all the 'watermelons' really want -Because they are Commie Red on the inside and Enviro-Green on the outside...)

13 posted on 10/24/2001 9:35:56 PM PDT by Alabama_Wild_Man
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To: MasonGal

Three home schooled children, desperately hoping for more! They are now 9, 7, 5. Always thought we'd have two more before our "baby" would be 5, but all in God's providence.

14 posted on 10/24/2001 9:36:23 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: proud2bRC
Ping from a non-Catholic mom of six, who wouldn't mind more. . .
15 posted on 10/24/2001 9:36:44 PM PDT by nepdap
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To: joathome
As a matter of fact, most of the large families I know are protestant homeschooling families

I see you haven't met our Catholic home schoolers group yet...

We belong to both the general Christian home school group as well as the Catholic home school group. Likewise we've attended state meeting for both. I gotta admit that at least here the Catholic homeschoolers are out procreating their protestant counterparts ;-)

16 posted on 10/24/2001 9:41:28 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: proud2bRC
It's a wonderful article. Now, as for me - as a Catholic, I'm having a hard time with the BC stuff. I have two kids, at 33, and people with large families have a lot more courage than I do. I figure I've been blessed with 2 perfect beauties, I don't want to push my luck. Believe it or not, I got assaulted by the fertility police when I was expecting my 2nd! So I use BC, but it's very important to me that it's ethical BC.
17 posted on 10/24/2001 9:46:38 PM PDT by edayna
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To: proud2bRC
I admire people who can handle having more than a few kids. I'm all for it, as long as they are doing it like this lady- some people *do* just not think about it - have crappy marriages and just keep adding kids because they don't know what else to do.

Anyway, I have three and that's enough for me. I want to do one on one stuff with them, it's already very challenging to find the time. I'm happy with three, and so is my achin' back, to hear that we won't be having any more. Sometimes I feel that longing, but it goes away quickly. :-)

18 posted on 10/24/2001 9:51:45 PM PDT by Terriergal
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To: proud2bRC
I can see how, once you get to three, the temptation to go on to four is intense. With three the geometry of equitable shares is too complicated.

Like the carpender said to me, "You want it a third of an inch? Awright, show me a third of an inch on this here rule."

19 posted on 10/24/2001 9:54:45 PM PDT by William Terrell
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To: edayna
there are some wonderful pro-life doctors

While we actually do exist, I continually lament how many are not. I currently am serving as an obstetrical anesthesiologist, and refuse to do elective terminations -- the flack I take from my colleagues is huge. I just wish physicians would remember the original oath of hippocrates "I will not procure abortion..."

20 posted on 10/24/2001 9:56:14 PM PDT by gas_dr
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To: proud2bRC
They're called condoms...look into them! Is there no humor on this thread? Any Irish twins (sibs born 10 months apart) posting here?
21 posted on 10/24/2001 9:59:13 PM PDT by spanky_mcfarland
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To: proud2bRC
"Hey, man, I get my marching orders from Rome."

I'm not even Catholic and that's a cool line. The writer points out the most glaring liberal hypocrisy of all: abortion is a private choice over what a woman 'does with her own body,' but it is perfectly acceptable to criticize someone for choosing to have that child and a few more besides, bringing in the govt if necessary. So much for staying out of someone else's bedroom.

22 posted on 10/24/2001 10:04:02 PM PDT by Free Vulcan
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To: proud2bRC
Last year, I clicked on a financial advice column on the MSN Web site just for fun. It featured an article on the biggest financial mistakes people make. I could not resist taking a peek, since I am always on the lookout for ways to save money. The venomous words "having too many children" jumped off the screen at me. The article said that one or two children were bad enough; that children are extremely expensive and time-consuming; that the problem with having a third child is that the parents often want to have a fourth; and that four children are just too many. Children, one of the greatest joys of married life, the symbol of love between a husband and wife, were summarily dumped into the bin of financial mistakes.

I see dirt poor families getting by with three or four children while couples with six-figure salaries are tying their tubes because they "can't afford" a second or third child. We've got three and would like to have at least one more. My kids are priceless--worth more than all of the luxury cars, six and one-half bathroom houses and high-priced vacations in the world.

23 posted on 10/24/2001 10:06:50 PM PDT by Atticus
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To: proud2bRC
Every Sperm Is Sacred From the film "Monty Python's Meaning of Life" Words by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. Music by D. Howman & A. Jacquemin --------------------------------------------------- There are Jews in the world, There are Buddists, There are Hindus and Mormons and then, There are those that follow Mohammad, But I've never been one of them... I'm a Roman Catholic, And have been since before I was born, And the one thing they say about Catholics, Is they'll take you as soon as you're warm... You don't have to be a six-footer, You don't have to have a great brain, You don't have to have any clothes on You're a Catholic the moment Dad came... Because... Every sperm is sacred, Every sperm is great, If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate. Let the heathen spill theirs, On the dusty ground, God shall make them pay for Each sperm that can't be found. Every sperm is wanted, Every sperm is good, Every sperm is needed In your neighbourhood. Hindu, Taoist, Morman, Spill theirs just anywhere, But God loves those who treat their Semen with more care. Every sperm is sacred, Every sperm is great, If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate. Every sperm is sacred, Every sperm is good, Every sperm is needed In your neighbourhood. Every sperm is useful, Every sperm is fine, God needs everybody's, Mine! And mine! And mine! Let the pagan spill theirs, O'er mountain, hill and plain, God shall strike them down for Each sperm that's spilt in vain. Every sperm is sacred, Every sperm is good, Every sperm is needed In your neighborhood. Every sperm is sacred, Every sperm is great, If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate. ---------- Nicked from "The Fairly Incomplete And Rather Badly Illustrated Monty Python Song Book" and transcribed by John G. Wright
24 posted on 10/24/2001 10:17:43 PM PDT by spanky_mcfarland
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To: MasonGal
Your #9 reminds me of a story. There were 10 in my ex's family. When she was three and the two youngest were 2 and 1. The oldest pair came home for Christmas. The three youngest cried for hours until they got used to the "strangers" in the house.
25 posted on 10/24/2001 10:23:51 PM PDT by breakem
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To: proud2bRC
that look of condescension that says, "Don't you know what causes that?"


We have five (in seven years). When I was expecting my 5th, I was in the grocery store. The cashier's eyes got wide when she saw my four little ones and realized I was having another. She said, "Don't you know what causes that?"

I replied, very cooly, "Yes, and my husband and I enjoy it so much, we can't stop!"

Well, she got so red in the face and embarrassed, that I decided that was my response to all those thoughtless clods!!

26 posted on 10/24/2001 10:35:17 PM PDT by It's me
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To: proud2bRC
It featured an article on the biggest financial mistakes people make. I could not resist taking a peek, since I am always on the lookout for ways to save money. The venomous words "having too many children" jumped off the screen at me.

I think Mrs. Walsh is being more than a tad defensive about the size of her family. What's "venomous" about an article stating the facts of reality? More children do cost more money, and if you want to save money one good way is simply to have fewer children. If you don't like that advice, don't take it. Find other ways of saving money (or earning more).

As someone who has only one child (but four siblings), I have no problem with those who prefer large families, as long as they pay for all those children themselves. Don't go on welfare, and don't make me or other taxpayers shoulder the cost of your decision. That way we can all be free to make our own life choices without imposing those choices on our neighbors.

27 posted on 10/24/2001 10:58:01 PM PDT by dpwiener
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To: proud2bRC
My wife and I have always had the philosophy that we can never let them out number us. :)
28 posted on 10/25/2001 2:21:04 AM PDT by Outrance
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To: proud2bRC
My wife came from a 7 child household. She felt lost in the group and wishes she had the close relationship with each parent like I had with my parents. Gifts were always the same for all but different colors. There was never any privacy to discuss matters of concern with her parents. She was in the middle of the "pack" and the parents never were sure it she should be treated like the "little ones" or the have to be responsible like the "older ones". She was never treated like an individual and always had to conform to trail blazed by older children. Parents couldn't participate in each kids activities and financial limits prevented them in joining many events anyway. When they could join a activity it had to be something either a older sibling had started in first or something everyone could do. You played softball because your sisters played softball even though you would rather play field hockey.

Today its much happier. With all those kids grown up and with children of their own, my kids have lots of cousins and our frequent family get togethers are lots of fun. Sadly, when her mother fondly reminices about the kids growing up, the kids usually bring her back to earth.

We have a boy and a girl. Last spring my wife arranged a trip for my daughter and I to visit the San Diego Zoo, Animal Park and Sea World on the opposite coast. It was the best trip of my life. My daughter and I grew even closer than we had ever been. She knows she alone is my "princess" and is as devoted to me as I am to her. Next year in addition to our family vacation my son and I are going camping in the Grand Canyon. Saturday mornings I take my son to hockey practice she takes my daughter her horse riding lessons or vice versa.

We have tried to expose our 2 kids to as many activities as possible to allow them to find if they have a passion or talent for something. My wife and I have had many activities one on one with each of our two children that would have been less possible with a large family.

This is just my experience and not to be construed as negative to all large families of which my knowledge is very limited.

29 posted on 10/25/2001 3:02:53 AM PDT by Outrance
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To: spanky_mcfarland

My Advice To The Newlywed

by Brian J. Kopp, DPM

My advice to the newlywed:

While you’re young, use your head!

Have a baby...

Have a few!

I don’t mean just one.

Or even two.

How about four?

How about eight?

(Making babies is really great!)

Don’t worry about college.

Don’t worry about clothes.

Their every need God already knows.

And when you’re old,

in time of need,

with no more clamoring mouths to feed,

look to those you two made.

To be your comfort.

To be your aid.

Your children today are your greatest treasure.

You will receive in the amount you measure.

God’s greatest gift to husband and wife?

A newborn child!

An eternal life!



Back to Dr. Kopp's Page

30 posted on 10/25/2001 5:32:06 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Atticus
Published by The Wanderer Printing Company, June 14, 2001

Our Unexpected Date With the Culture of Death

by Brian J. Kopp, DPM

Let me share with you our unexpected date with the Culture of Death this past weekend. We were in Chicago for a wedding. We had left our children with Sue's parents for this "adults only" wedding and reception (we assumed it was "adults only" to save on wedding expenses). The bride was Sue's best friend from high school. They were in youth group together in Sue's Lutheran church growing up.

Although neither of us were in the wedding, we were staying in the groom's condo (we couldn't afford the posh hotel where they reserved rooms for their out of town guests) and had been invited to the rehearsal dinner. Friday evening we went to the rehearsal. It was in a Lutheran church in the city of Chicago four blocks from Wrigley's field where the Chicago Cubs play. It was a very yuppie, affluent area.

The church sign said "Holy Trinity Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), A Reconciling in Christ Church." I wasn't sure what that meant. There were beautiful icons and many candles in this church, kneelers, a crucifix front and rear, both with a corpus, and a Holy Water font at the entrance. Further, there was a statement in the bulletin about the importance of the role of Mary the Mother of God in our devotions and spirituality and Martin Luther's writings extolling Marian devotion, and the reason they use incense in their liturgy and celebrate weekly "Holy Eucharist" instead of the Lutheran norm, which is far less often.

As we rode to the rehearsal dinner with the groom, I asked him about the church and its pastor. He wasn't clear about all the details because he had just joined this church several weeks before, having just abandoned his Roman Catholic upbringing. However, he thought the pastor had a Catholic background, and that the pastor had some "issues" with certain Catholic teachings.

He said a fellow participant in the "new member" classes the previous week had been in training to be a Lutheran minister. The ELCA said he had to choose between being a pastor or an openly practicing homosexual, and he had chosen the latter and subsequently joined this church. The groom said he was fairly certain the pastor was of homosexual orientation but had chosen to be a pastor, implying the pastor was not an open and practicing homosexual. Further, he said the "boys town" (homosexual men's) section of Chicago was just 2 or 3 blocks from this church. He also suggested we not talk about the subject because people at the wedding would be offended.

Saturday Sue and I went to the church 3 hours before the wedding so Sue could share family pictures with the bride while the bride was preparing for the wedding. I walked around the church and found a bulletin board outside the pastor's office.

There was an explanation that "A Reconciling in Christ" Church accepted and supported the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) lifestyle, newsletters were posted for the Lutheran LGBT ministries, and many pictures of several deceased AIDS victims from this church hung on the walls.

Most eye catching was this headline, "Condom Packing Pizza Party." Alongside was an open invitation for one and all to join in helping to pack 10,000 condoms for the upcoming Chicago Gay Pride parade while eating pizza and Pepsi. It dawned on me that I had never realized that the Culture of Death even throws parties in its own honor. It was clear that this church affirmed homosexuality and homosexual acts as healthy Christian behavior to be celebrated and welcomed and not judged.

By this point, I really didn't care to attend the wedding, and would have left to return home to my kids, but Sue convinced me that it would have been uncharitable to our hosts. The 15 minute Lutheran wedding was thankfully uneventful.

Between the wedding and reception was a 3 hour break. We found a beautiful, huge old Catholic church, St. Mary Star of the Lake, in a Hispanic neighborhood. We attended their anticipated mass, a welcome respite from the tomfoolery of the day so far. The old priest seemed decent but insisted on playing fast and loose with the words of the mass.

As I approached Holy Eucharist in line, I genuflected prior to receiving communion. The priest stopped and said sternly, "May I request that you refrain from genuflecting in line?!?" I did not answer but my heart screamed out, "NO, you may NOT ask me to NOT give proper reverence to the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in this Holy Eucharist!!!" I wondered if he too, this crusty old Chicago priest, had lost his faith like the groom in the wedding. At least the groom joined another church. This was the worst affront to my sensibilities the whole weekend.

We then drove to the "adults only reception," at a restaurant the likes of which I had never entered. It was situated on the top floor of a 40 story luxury apartment building, overlooking Lake Michigan's Chicago shoreline, with the rest of Chicago's skyscrapers in view from the 270 degree view. It seems the reason our children weren't invited had little to do with economic hardship, as 170 guests enjoyed $75 dinners and a world class view.

We sat at a table for eight. One seat was empty. The woman explained her husband could not attend because he had just had surgery, and indicated a "snip snip" motion with her fingers. The guest across from me winced and his wife asked, "How many do you have?"

"Two," was the woman's reply.

The others nodded their approval.

My wife and I locked eyes and exchanged an unspoken expression of disbelief at the never-ending litany of the Culture of Death this weekend had dealt us. After trying for several years now, we had just learned the previous day that once again, God had not yet blessed us with our next pregnancy. And here were healthy young affluent yuppies throwing away their gift of fertility like so many barnyard animals.

31 posted on 10/25/2001 5:37:11 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: proud2bRC
Unexpected Date continued:

Seated next to me was a kind, warmhearted man with an easy smile, whose Albanian Muslim parents had fought communist oppression in Albania and fled to America for freedom in the 1950's. He said he really didn't know the Muslim faith of his father and had never entered a church here in America since arriving here as a 6 month old in 1959. He smiled as we discussed matters of faith. He said it was really great to actually meet someone who went to church every Sunday. He was not joking in any way when he stated that he simply did not know anyone who attended church. He was essentially raised in Chicago with no religion for 40 years, and he knew no one that believed. No one.

We drove home Sunday. It took 9 long hours to return to the loving, happy, screaming arms of our beautiful 3 young children. It has never felt better to be home. I never realized what a sheltered paradise we live in here in this rust belt steel town in the mountains of west central Pennsylvania, where a large percentage are Catholic and a large portion of them still believe and still attend mass regularly. I never missed my two sons and my daughter so fiercely in my life as I did while immersed in that Culture of Death in Chicago. It is good to be home in simple, sheltered, small town USA.

Before we left we placed a small housewarming gift for Sue's friend and her new husband on the kitchen counter, a country sampler of some jellies and jams from our local fruit stand.

On it I attached this note:

"Dear J & C, Congratulations on your marriage! Thank you for letting us be part of your celebration and welcoming us to stay in your home during our visit here.

One thing Sue and I have learned is that the greatest gift of our marriage is our children. The only thing we can do in life that lasts for ETERNITY is bear and raise children to give Honor and Glory to God. We can write great novels, build marvels of architecture, even bring peace to the world through great acts of heroism or diplomacy, but none of these things lasts for Eternity. The only thing we can take with us to Heaven is the soul of a child. Their souls are our only Eternal treasure that we can store up in this life. Be generous in having children and raising them to love Him, and God's generosity will flow in untold and wondrous ways!

Here's a corny poem I wrote long ago for a college friend's wedding, updated a little:

MY ADVICE TO THE NEWLYWEDS
by Brian J. Kopp

My advice to the Newlywed?
While you're young, use your head!

Have a baby...
Have a few!
I don't mean just one,
or even two.

What about four?
How about eight?
(Making babies is really great!)

Don't worry about braces,
or college, or clothes.
Their every need
God already knows.

Then when you're old,
in time of need,
with no more clamoring mouths to feed,
look to your children
that you (and God) made,
to be your joy,
comfort and aid.

Your babies today
are your greatest treasure.
You will receive
in the amount you measure.

God's greatest gift
to husband and wife?
A newborn baby.
An Eternal Life!

Love,
Brian and Sue"

Its a silly little note, and a corny poem, my one and only attempt at poetry. Compared to the sophisticated, high brow company this couple keeps, it will probably seem to them to be so much hayseed and backwards thinking from their eccentric Catholic friends from backwoods Pennsylvania. But Truth has a power all its own, and this couple may never hear this message elsewhere. Despite the culture they live in, like so many others they are good decent people, if a bit ignorant of reality, and deserve to hear the Gospel of Life.

The Culture of Death isn't simply abortions at a clinic. It is any lifestyle that is not open to life, be it one of contraception, sterilization, homosexuality, abortion, or euthanasia, and it is being preached in many pulpits, both religious and secular. I pray they hear this little message, a message of a Culture of Life that groans to be heard above the roar of the Culture of Death out there in that big city and across this nation and world.

32 posted on 10/25/2001 5:38:10 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: proud2bRC
Don’t worry about college.
Don’t worry about clothes.
Their every need God already knows.

Just make damn sure that you ask God, and not my already excessive tax payments, to bail you out.

33 posted on 10/25/2001 5:50:36 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: proud2bRC
Thank God there are still families like this. It took me too long to shrug off the eco-guilt about over-population and now I realize that that isn't the problem at all. Half of my female family members don't have children, and all are over 30, some over 40. Too late. Many of the girls I grew up with don't have children, we're pushing 40. Just about no one has more than two. I'm 6 months pregnant with my fourth living child, we lost two to miscarriage.

"Cathlolic" countries like Spain and Italy are having 1.5, 1.2 children per woman. Same with Japan. Half the women in this country between 15 and 44 haven't had children, are they all waiting for their 30s? It's harder then. If we don't love your family and our nation enough to make a future generation for it we are doomed. And I fear that the response to the terrorist war is not going to be, have babies, but this is no world to bring babies into. I feel that myself, and I only thank God that He sent this child before this happened.

Mrs VS

34 posted on 10/25/2001 6:43:18 AM PDT by VeritatisSplendor
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To: steve-b
No problem.

Just curious...the greatest demographic threat threat to this country in the next three decades is the inversion of the population pyramid. My kids, and the kids of these other large families, will be paying your social security checks and medicare benefits, while those who whined several decades before about our large families have few if any offspring to fill the coffers.

I'll make you a deal...stop whining about medicaid today for large families, and we will fight against your kids for you when they desire to euthanize you 'cause you're taking too much of their paycheck.

35 posted on 10/25/2001 6:46:04 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: spanky_mcfarland
Condoms have a 10 to 15% failure rate. Why use jellies, jams, and dams when you can do it God's way and get better results, while avoiding mortal sin?

The Catholic Church supports the most effective, inexpensive, and safe method known to modern science. The Sympto-thermal method of Natural Family Planning, not to be confused with the less effective rhythm method, has been proven to be 95 to 99% effective. An article in the British Medical Journal of March 1993 entitled "Natural Family Planning: Effective Birth Control Supported by the Catholic Church," states:

"Increasingly studies show that rates equivalent to those with other contraceptive methods are readily achieved . . . Indeed, a [World Health Organization] study of 19843 poor women in India had a pregnancy rate approaching zero [99.2%] . . . whatever the standpoint there is no doubt that it would be more efficient for the ongoing world debate on overpopulation, resources, environment, poverty, and health to be conducted against a background of truth rather than fallacy. It is therefore important that the misconception that Catholicism is synonymous with ineffective birth control is laid to rest. Understanding the simple facts about the signs of fertility confers considerable power to couples to control their fertility, for achieving as well as preventing conception."

Unfortunately, the multi billion dollar contraception and abortion industry would suffer greatly from just such knowledge in the hands of couples. Therefore, they and their advocates have a vested interest in keeping the knowledge of the effectiveness of Natural Family Planning from the masses who would otherwise buy their products and obtain their abortion services. The derision of the Catholic Church and her teachings, and the insinuation that Natural Family Planning is inherently ineffective, serves to protect this vast industry.

Once I teach a woman the art of Natural Family Planning, I may never see her again. There is no monetary gain for me. I will never get paid for an office visit to renew a prescription or a surgical fee to implant a device or to "fix" reproductive organs that were not broken, in order to cause sterility. But I have given her a power, an independence, and a freedom of choice she will never receive in a contraception or abortion clinic.

36 posted on 10/25/2001 6:50:21 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: proud2bRC
I'll make you a deal...stop whining about medicaid today for large families

No deal. You have 'em; you pay for 'em.

we will fight against your kids for you when they desire to euthanize you 'cause you're taking too much of their paycheck

I'm not stupid enough to assume that there will be any Social Security system left, and have made other arrangements.

37 posted on 10/25/2001 6:58:44 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: gas_dr
I currently am serving as an obstetrical anesthesiologist, and refuse to do elective terminations -- the flack I take from my colleagues is huge.

From a father of six, tell them that they 'terminated their mother's pregnancy' by being born alive, and that doctors who hack babies to death have aborted their own conscience. Their souls have rigor mortis.

Cordially,

38 posted on 10/25/2001 7:23:32 AM PDT by Diamond
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To: proud2bRC
Surprisingly enough, parents with more children tend to be more organized. Families with eight always get to Mass before us, and we arrive before those with three

Well that's one thing I CANNOT say about our family with four kids. We just can never seem to get to Mass on time, except when I'm serving (Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist) and I absolutely HAVE to be there a few minutes early. Even with the two older ones off to college, we still seem to get delayed for one reason or another.

All of our closest friends seem to have at least four and some have six children, and they DO look upon children as a wonderful blessing.

A good comeback for those of us with more than the 'allowed' two or three kids when we are confronted by the 'fertility police' would be "They are my "old age insurance". They'll be paying MY Social Security and yours too"!

39 posted on 10/25/2001 7:32:50 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: proud2bRC
I am the youngest of seven kids, 9.5 years apart, and am glad I grew up in a big family. The middle child, my sister Gloria, died at age 16 of cancer. 30 years later, we still miss her and talk about her all the time.

We never had much money growing up, but we didn't really notice, because our parents took good care of us. We relied on each other to help us grow up.

Big families are a big blessing.

40 posted on 10/25/2001 7:38:58 AM PDT by Silly
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To: proud2bRC
Nice article- bump from one of four, wish it had been more.
41 posted on 10/25/2001 7:41:36 AM PDT by mafree
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To: steve-b
No deal. You have 'em; you pay for 'em.

Ah, there's the rub, eh?

I know dozens of big Catholic families. NONE of them accept government assistance in any way. But we're still going to have to pay for your retirement benefits and Medicare, regardless of you "taking matters into your own hands." Bit of a double standard. We pay, you collect. You whine, we don't collect.

42 posted on 10/25/2001 8:45:08 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: proud2bRC
But we're still going to have to pay for your retirement benefits and Medicare, regardless of you "taking matters into your own hands."

I take it English is not your first language. This is an obvious contradiction in terms.

43 posted on 10/25/2001 8:48:39 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: proud2bRC
Father of 4 and open to more ping!! :-)
44 posted on 10/25/2001 8:52:18 AM PDT by goodform
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To: steve-b
Neither is reasoning your strong point. I have thousands of retired patients who do not need their social security checks. Not one has sent a check back to the government with a note saying, "Kind sirs, my personal investments have made it unnecessary to use this check. Please put it back in America's treasury."

The retirement population will become the single greatest voting block in America with the coming population pyramid inversion. You would be delusional to propose that this voting block will allow Social Security and Medicare funding to go bankrupt.

No, you will cash that check, paid for by my children's labor, and have no remorse. No more than your pathetic bigotry towards large families today.

45 posted on 10/25/2001 8:56:51 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: proud2bRC
bump for insane, children-loving families
46 posted on 10/25/2001 9:03:24 AM PDT by mamaduck
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To: proud2bRC
A big bump here for NFP. My wife and I looked into NFP as newlyweds after learning the very real and unpublicized abortificient effects of "the pill" and other popular contraceptive methods.

NFP helped us avoid pregnancy early on, but the true value of it was revealed when we first tried to conceive. We suffered and grieved horribly through losing two children through miscarriage. Fortunately, with the science we learned through NFP and the library of charting data we saved, our pro-life physician was able to quickly identify the issue we were confronted with.


I am proud to say we will be expecting our newest daughter to join us in two weeks -- and are hopeful that we will be blessed with many more.


Because of the way NFP has changed our thinking, and our lives, we are planning on becoming a teaching couple next year.


I'd encourage anyone who considers themselves pro-life but who uses alternative contraceptive methods to research the abortificient effects of those methods and consider NFP.

47 posted on 10/25/2001 9:05:26 AM PDT by el_chupacabra
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To: proud2bRC
Your comments about "bigotry" are a classic case of projection.

(Oh, and I assume that you have given back all the money you got from the rest of the taxpayers through your special deductions?)

48 posted on 10/25/2001 9:09:48 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: proud2bRC
No Such Thing As Too Many

Amen to that ..

When I first saw the title of the Post I thought they were looking for me:>)

God is faithful to provide for every child that comes from his hand..in Psalms we read "I have been young,but now am old,but I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor Hhis seed begging bread"

God always provided for our family of 7..

Five are college grads and one career military

I got looks and comments..I just smiled and had one more*grin*

Some years ago at a pro-life rally the speaker asked all the "planned" pregnancies to raise their hands..I told my kids to keep their hands down..God planned them I didnt *grin*

49 posted on 10/25/2001 9:12:08 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: proud2bRC
Hee hee! My favorite scene from Cheaper By the Dozen is when the local planned parenthood lady comes by to solicit Mrs. Gilbraith's support and they humor her for a while before introducing her to all their kids. Bump from 1 of 7!
50 posted on 10/25/2001 9:16:23 AM PDT by soccermom
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