Selfish Parents – a profound essay on life and family from a contributing author to SJST

I am pleased to present the following essay from a contributing author. The subject matter is quite relevant to our time, and the essay itself is profound in its depth. Sarah Rollins comes from a large family and is herself the mother of a large family. What she has to say, with the questions she asks you, are sure to make you slow and think.
Well, why don’t I simply let her tell her own story! Enjoy.

St. Thérèse with her large and very joyful family!

“Have you ever wished that you had never been born? That you never even existed? Have you ever felt like the whole world doesn’t even care about you? Or even something as benign as not being wanted around?
I come from a family of eight. My older sister is beautiful and musically talented. She shared this special gift with my dad. They used to sing together when he was alive. I never had the joy of doing that. My brother is a great musician too. My dad taught him how to play harp and guitar and he shared that bond with our father. But, I couldn’t play. My dad has been dead now for six years, but I can still remember him saying, “Before you were born mom and I used to……”
My family is close enough, but I must be honest with myself. If I had not been born my siblings would have had more in life. If I had not existed, then my parents could have afforded voice lessons for my sister or a tutor for my brother. My little sister would not have had to wear my old hand-me-downs and may have been more popular in school. It was I who introduced drugs to my brother. If I hadn’t existed, he might not ever have done them! Even as an adult, I have been a thorn in their side, and I am not sure if they haven’t wished that our family was smaller.
We moved around a lot because of financial problems- problems that may have been avoided if our family wasn’t quite so large. My parents sometimes fought over money and my dad had to work very hard to support us. He was often gone on the road, now I wonder if he wasn’t just trying to get away from all of us! Most of the time, he was exhausted when he came home. Perhaps, he wouldn’t have had to work so hard if I hadn’t ever existed.
My mother could have given more dedicated time and attention to her other children if I had not been born. But, she was divided, and I am sure my siblings were jealous at times. My mom worked hard too. She learned how to be economical, fix toilets and leaky pipes, and stretch meals for growing children. Perhaps, my siblings wouldn’t have had as many growing pains had they been given a better diet. But, because I was born, my mom was on a strict budget.
You disagree with me? Really? You say I am wanted, my family loves me and I am important to my spouse and children. Sure, I am happy now. But, it has recently been brought to my attention how selfish I am for having wanted to live. Today, children are “planned” out of existence.
Apparently, if you have too many you cannot give them enough love, attention, and of course material things. People say that if you have too many children that they will be unhappy growing up. I have heard it is actually selfish for parents to have more than a few children. I guess it is because those “selfish” parents just want to have children like property. They selfishly want many babies to make themselves feel good, never mind the outcome of the deprived children! They can’t possibly love them!
Well, I am alive because my mother didn’t think this way! I am alive not only because my mother didn’t kill me, but because she didn’t use contraceptives. I am alive and I am the happiest person on earth to be alive! When I wake up on a sunny morning to my children laughing in the sunshine of the window, I am happy to be alive! When my husband smiles at me I am happy to be alive! When my little brother says, “Hey sis!” I am happy to be alive! When my sister sings songs my daddy sang I am happy to be alive! When I see pictures of my nieces and nephews with their basketball team or horses I am happy just to be alive to see it! When my big brother gives me his monthly “checking on you” phone call I am happy just to be his little sister!
When I think of my dad who used to talk about the things he had to give up because he had so many kids, I am thankful to him, because, he gave them up and not me! He used to call me his “princess.” So, I was never jealous for not being called his “star” like my sister. When I look at my little brother, I can’t even tell you how happy I am that he exists! He looks like my dad – who I miss with all my heart! I love each of my siblings and am thankful for the experiences they have given me! Like counting stars on the trampoline, climbing trees and building forts, and tramping through irrigated fields just to see what was on the other side of the hill. I am happy to be alive. Does that make me selfish?
With nine children, I have carried them through hot summers, gone through labor nine times, my insides are prolapsed and my eyebrows are turning white. Every year I have had an infant with croup, a child with the flu, and a few trips to the emergency room. Yes! My children bring me joy, but they also bring sadness. I have cried, I have hurt, I have pulled my hair out during many a sleepless night! Would I give any of them back? Are you crazy!?
So you might ask my children – are they happy to be alive? Would they prefer I had not had so many kids? But, lets return to the original accusation, that of being selfish for wanting so many kids. Is it okay for children to be so selfish as to not want a sibling? Should we encourage this kind of thinking? I assure you, my children love their siblings and would not wish to lose any one of them!
So, who is the selfish one really? I am insulted that some people masquerade as if they are being charitable to NOT have many children so they can give their few children more attention and stuff, while at the same time insinuating that I am somehow selfish for giving all I have to as many children as God wants me to.
My dad was alive and now he isn’t. I miss him. I also miss the seven other siblings I would have today had they not died prematurely. I miss them because I know that they might have been. I wonder what it would have been like to have another sibling who loved me. Think for a minute of all the laughter that is missing from this world of “planned parenthood.” When a child commits suicide who can tell them that their life was valuable? Who today truly believes life is valuable? It is our degenerated society that has lost sight of the incredible value of human life that is at fault for the sadness in so many children who believe they were a “mistake” an “accident” their parents were good enough not to kill them, but not good enough to want them.”
 – Sarah Rollins

About Walter Adams

Professionally, I am an educator and experienced business executive. Academically, I hold an A.B. in Economics from Princeton University and a Masters Degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University. Raised as a Methodist, I joined the Catholic Church on Easter of 1985, just prior to marrying my wife of nearly 30 years. My Catholic spirituality is grounded in the sacraments, Eucharistic adoration, and True Devotion to Mary. I am influenced more specifically by the combined spirituality of Ste. Jehanne d'Arc and Ste. Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus. I interpret Jehanne d'Arc through the spirituality of Thérèse, notably as represented through her plays and poetry about Jehanne. My ardent devotion to Ste. Jehanne d'Arc inspires me to seek her world view for my own. In order to do that I desire an authentic interpretation of the enigmatic saint. I believe Ste. Thérèse to be the most authentic interpreter of Ste. Jehanne's soul. My mission is to facilitate the coming of the Father’s Kingdom “on earth as it is in Heaven” by inspiring others to “seek first the Kingdom” through a repentant, dogmatic confession of Catholic faith and through exemplary Catholic ideals. Ste. Jehanne d'Arc and Ste. Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus are representative, in my humble view, of some of the highest and most noble of those ideals.
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