Birth Control

On planning babies: Jen from seven years ago talks with Simcha Fisher


Seven years ago, I found myself in a place of great upheaval. I was in the middle of a profound religious conversion and found myself in a no-man’s land, adrift from my old belief system, yet not fully integrated into my new one. Around that time that I came across a small blog by this woman named Simcha. She was a brilliant, hilarious writer on par with the famous names of the secular world…yet she was religious, describing herself as a Hebrew Catholic since she comes from a family of Jewish coverts to Catholicism. Reading her blog... Read More

Never say never, and other thoughts on having more kids

Some folks have asked if my doctors are putting pressure on me not to have more children. I usually respond with a sound like hoooooo-ho-ho-hooooo (which is not supposed to be a sound like what Santa says, but rather a hearty laugh to indicate, YOU HAVE NO IDEA). The doctors have said this before, when I was diagnosed with the clotting disorder after getting a deep vein thrombosis during my second pregnancy, but, luckily for my third, fourth, fifth, and sixth children, I knew that they weren’t that serious when they said, “You seriously... Read More

A conversation with my gay friend

The other day we got together with a friend of mine from high school named Andrew*, and his boyfriend, Tom. They moved out of state earlier this year, but a business trip brought him and Tom back through town recently, and we jumped at the chance to go out to dinner with them. This was one of the first times in a long while that we’d had a chance to sit down and talk with them, just the four of us. We caught up on life and work, Andrew and I clicking as well as we always have. I wore waterproof mascara because I knew I’d end up laughing... Read More

My life changing diapers

Now that I’m visibly pregnant, I get asked more and more often for a detailed plan of how many more children I’ll have and when I’ll be “done.” Much of the time, “Congratulations” is swiftly followed by one of the following questions: “So, is this the last one?” “How many more are you going to have?!” “When are you going to be done?” These are usually well-intended statements, expressed out of a concern for me. An old friend whose youngest just started kindergarten said... Read More

My answer to “Do you want more children?”

When people see me out and about with my four young children, one of the most common questions I get is, “Do you want more?” (Or, more accurately, “DO YOU WANT MORE?!?!?!?!“) I’m never sure what to say. “Yes” doesn’t sound quite right. Our fourth baby in four-and-a-half years is only eighteen months old, so I can’t say that I’ve spent a lot of time yearning for another baby lately. In fact, I’ve never really been a baby person. I’ve never had that moment other women talk about... Read More

How I went from lifelong atheism to orthodox Catholicism (Audio)

My story + 7 lessons I learned about conversion Thursday night I was honored to be asked to share my conversion story with the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) group at St. Elizabeth’s parish here in central Texas. I wanted listeners to be able to take something away that they could apply to their own lives, so I wove in seven lessons I learned about the conversion process. Click here to view the handout I gave to attendees (PDF). It includes a list of my seven lessons, as well as a page of recommended reading. You can listen... Read More

Why my life is better since becoming open to life

“You guys aren’t really going to have any more after this one, right?” a few people have asked me privately. “We thought about having another, but the sleepless nights, the diapers, the pregnancy and birth — ugh! Aren’t you just so ready to be done with all that?” a neighbor asked at the playground last week. “I do not envy you,” a lady at the grocery store said solemnly as I passed by with a cart full of three kids under five and a hugely pregnant belly. Whenever people say things like this,... Read More

Thank God for surprises, part II

This is a Part II to this post. So there I was a few weeks ago, moping around the house, nauseated and exhausted, thinking: How could it possibly be a good thing to have a baby right now? Is it not a bit of a stretch to say that “it must be God’s plan” when the circumstances are so very far from ideal? I had so many plans for this upcoming year, none of which involved another high risk pregnancy and having a newborn in March. In my grudging, grumbling prayers, I asked for some peace about it. I didn’t receive anything that... Read More

Thank God for surprises, part I

I can finally talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while: I found out I was pregnant a few weeks ago. Since we had just had three babies in three years, we definitely didn’t feel like this was the right time for baby #4. Honestly, I felt like I’d checked the “surprise pregnancy” box last year — we rose to that challenge, learned more about NFP after our conversion, and now we wouldn’t ever be in that situation again. Whew! When I saw the two pink lines, I thought I might pass out. I didn’t... Read More

It’s nothing personal

I came across something in Food and Wine this weekend that reminded me of the topics I was talking about over at America. The fabulous Joel Stein wrote a piece about hitting the L.A. nightlife scene with some of America’s top chefs. He writes of the following exchange at one of their stops: At one point, [Chef Jon Shook] disappears from the table and returns with a smiley, dark-haired woman draped over his arm…Cooking, I realize, is much more useful for meeting women than writing for magazines. “You can make them any breakfast... Read More

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