ABOVE THE ANGELS--THE WIT AND WISDOM OF MOTHERHOOD
The following is the introduction to the above book that Dr. Luke McLindon would like to produce:
There is a beautiful woman who has just given birth a week ago to her fifth son, I am the proud father.
The star of the show, without doubt, is my incredible wife.
Everyone I meet has a comment to make about Madonna, whether they have met her or not.
Some comments made to me, her loving husband, are full of honour, others graceful, some polite, others tolerable and the occasional - absolutely insulting and downright disgraceful.
As a man and father, the lunacy of some comments gives me a fair indication from which phylum the protagonist hails, and provides good evidence for the theory of evolution.
As a woman and mother, however, the tolerable becomes intolerable and the insulting must be insulated, lest a raging fire of anguish is unleashed within a tender-loving feminine heart.
As I go about my business, which happens to be caring for mothers, I am struck by the repetitive narrative of insulting remarks relayed to me by many of these women.
It seems to me that everyone feels compelled (possibly obligated) to pass comment on a woman's family.
The larger the brood - the more rude.
Only yesterday a midwife, recently expecting her third - unknown to many, was concerned about what her mother would say. Was she being greedy? "After all you have two healthy children ... what more do you want?" This lovely woman was worried further by the fact that with her husband they pray more children will grace their family.
As a man and father I do not have the opportunity often to experience these comments first hand and unadulterated.
Often around the time of a birth I get a glimpse, and it gets a little clearer at each subsequent delivery.
Our new paediatrician (who was yet to be paid) whilst examining our newest arrival glibly asked "Did you have five on purpose?" Funny ... indeed.
But when they are as beautiful as ours, what can one say?
Of course WE did!
On the other hand, as a doctor, I do have the privileged position of being able to listen to women in the privacy of a consultation room.
I am becoming aware of a deep anguish brewing amongst many of them, especially those who are blessed with more than two in their brood.
To harangue these women is inexcusable.
They are bombarded by verbal abuse and destructive social pressure.
Like domestic violence, it comes often from the closest quarters - family and friends.
On the other hand, self-righteous total strangers will pass scathing comment without hesitation.
Women are being hurt, by the insensitivities of significant and insignificant others.
It is having an impact, and it is changing behaviours, mothers are reluctant to take (all) their children out in public.
Is it affecting family size? I do not know.
But I have yet to meet a woman who says she had too many children, the same cannot be said about the converse.
Too many I have cared for lament not bringing 'just one' more to the family.
The family of humankind is on the decline.
Throughout the western world we are facing a global climate change - a demographic winter.
Society's fertility rate is not at replacement level, we are not even close.
Mostly we enjoy the security of health and wealth, but our world's hope in the future is not reflected in our children.
Economic rationalists recognise a person makes a net contribution to society. Yes, even in developing nations.
If anything, society's reluctance to procreate tells of a pervasive hopelessness.
But there are others, who see children as more than work units, much more.
Children are a gift - the supreme gift.
They are the fruit of the mutual, selfless loving of husband and wife.
A temporal and spiritual participation in infinite love.
A gift carefully and deliberately given by a loving God, with all the essential graces a couple needs.
Children, to these loving families, are above the angels.
Creatures of body and soul, born of love.
It is to these families society owes much gratitude, for these families have hope in the future.
Hope in these children, who are the future.
Their trades and professions, their research and discoveries, their taxes and legislation is what will provide for the future.
But above all - their love of life.
Dr Luke McLindon MBBS, FRACGP from Australia
Australia spelling not changed.