Be fruitful and multiply: A Childless Woman’s Thoughts…

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of berries ripening on the vine on "Be fruitful and multiply: A Childless Woman's Thoughts..." on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog
Wobble Warning:  As the title suggests, I am discussing the Bible verse, “Be fruitful and multiply,” as well as the Pope’s recent comments about childlessness.  Because of this, there is the possibility of a wobble (or two or three) while reading this blog post.  Though I truly believe you will feel empowered by the end, please only read if you are feeling strong enough to make it through the potential wobbles.

“Be fruitful and multiply.”  -Genesis 1:28

Before we talk that, let me back up and tell you what prompted me to write about this Bible verse…

The Pope…

Like many of you, stories about the Pope’s 2022 New Year’s address have shown up numerous times in my newsfeed.  I didn’t join the online discussion about his remarks.  In fact, it took me several days to decide if I wanted to join in this conversation at all.  If by some chance you haven’t heard about the Pope’s declaration, here are a couple of quotes…

Trigger Warning:  Quotes of the Pope’s recent comments about childlessness, pet parents, and adoption…

“Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children. Yes, it’s funny, I understand, but it is the reality. And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity. And in this way civilization becomes aged and without humanity, because it loses the richness of fatherhood and motherhood.”  -Pope Francis

“How many children in the world are waiting for someone to take care of them?  Having a child is always a risk, either naturally or by adoption. But it is riskier not to have them. It is riskier to deny fatherhood, or to deny motherhood …”  -Pope Francis

*Quotes from 2022 CNN article, “Opting for pets over children is selfish and ‘takes away our humanity,’ says Pope Francis”

My Childless Perspective on the Pope’s Comments…

As a childless not by choice woman who battled infertility for ten years, seriously considered adoption, but ultimately redefined momhood as an over-zealous dog mom, the Pope’s comments are disheartening, hurtful…

I am not Catholic.  I am, however, Christian.  Throughout my life, I have attended Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and non-denominational Christian churches.  So, as I considered Pope Francis’s words, I considered them through the lens of my Christian faith.

My Initial Thoughts…

My initial thoughts were…

Pope Francis is a human being.  He is not God.  And the only entity with whom I place unquestioned belief is God.  That being said…

In my humble, not-a-scholar-on-the-Bible, have not gone to seminary, am a flawed human being opinion, the Pope’s comments are just his opinion.

That being said, I think we must all remember some very important things…

  • Just because the Pope said it does not mean it’s true.
  • Not all Catholics will agree with the Pope’s comments.
  • Not all Christians are hyper-judgmental.
  • The Bible does not condemn childlessness.
  • Jesus was sinless. And childless.

I did a bit of research about what the Bible does say about childlessness, and I came across the verse, “Be fruitful and multiply…” from Genesis 1:28.  As I considered this verse and what it means, these thoughts came to mind…

My Childless Perspective on “Be fruitful and multiply”

As I stated previously, I have not gone to seminary.  Though I have studied the Bible in Church, I have not read it cover to cover.  I am a flawed human.  A does not have it all together Christian who makes tons of mistakes.  That being said, I pondered this verse, wondering if I, as a childless woman, have fulfilled this command…

And I think I have.

How I, a childless woman, have been “fruitful…”

As a blogger & advocate…

In 2017, I started Not So Mommy…  And I prayed that my blog would reach the right people, that sharing my story would help others on this journey to feel less alone.  My prayers have been answered.

As of January 7, 2022…

  • 31,192 people visited Not So Mommy… during 2021, viewing 59,622 pages
  • 1,552 people have signed up to receive monthly email updates
  • 2.9K people follow Not So Mommy… on Instagram
  • 2.2K on Facebook
  • 847 people on Twitter
  • 841 on Pinterest
  • 51 fabulous ladies joined the closed Facebook group–Childless Holiday Card Exchange–during the last quarter of 2021, sending & receiving holiday cards from fellow childless warriors (Note: This group will reopen in Sept/Oct 2022 for the 2nd Annual Childless Holiday Card Exchange!)

Yes, I have most definitely been fruitful AND multiplied!

As a plant mom…

As I continued to ponder this verse, I thought about the fact that my husband and I have planted hundreds of plants, bushes, trees, herbs, and vegetables on our two-acres.  And we’ve specifically planted things that attract bees and butterflies.  Because we want them to be fruitful and multiply.

As an aunt & host mom…

We have played significant roles in the lives of our nieces and nephews (by blood, by marriage, and by friendship).  And we continue to nurture the relationship with our foreign exchange daughter, seven years after she lived with us.

“Be fruitful and multiply” means more…

To believe that “be fruitful and multiply” can only be fulfilled by having biological or adopted children is absolutely preposterous!

As shown, I have fulfilled this verse through my blog, through being a plant mom, an aunt, a host mom.  And I haven’t even talked about the FABULOUS life that Dane and I are providing for our fur baby, Maddie.  (Unlike Pope Francis, I do not think my dog mom role is “funny” or a “denial of motherhood.”)

From yet another perspective…

Considering this verse even more deeply, I thought about “be fruitful and multiply” from yet another perspective.  Galatians 5:22-23 states, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…”

Is it not possible to “be fruitful” and multiply love—whether that be as a biological parent, adoptive parent, fur parent, host parent, plant parent, aunt, uncle, teacher, nurse, mentor, friend, and the list goes on and on…

To “be fruitful” and multiply joy by sending cards to fellow childless, giving care packages to childless elders, sharing a different perspective on a Bible verse, and on and on…

“Be fruitful” and multiply peace by not joining the incessant bickering on social media…

Multiply patience by giving others the benefit of the doubt…

Kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…

I truly believe God would be pleased if we would “be fruitful and multiply,” filling the Earth with the fruit of the Spirit…

Some Final Thoughts…

So, others—even the Pope—might think I’m selfish because after a ten-year battle, I decided that it was time to let go of my dream of traditional momhood, accept my infertility, embrace my life as it is, redefine momhood as a dog mom…

But I’m quite certain God doesn’t think poorly of me because of this.  In fact, though I am an imperfect human being who makes a ton of mistakes, He loves me.  The infertile, childless, crazy dog lady me!  So, I will continue to “be fruitful and multiply” the love and joy and kindness and generosity within our absolutely phenomenal childless community!

LOVE, fabulous ones!  So much LOVE!!!

If anything I said resonates, fabulous one, tell us about it in the comments…
Subscribe to my email & receive a free Not So… Goals Chart to help you live authentically…
Do you appreciate the work I’m doing here at Not So Mommy…
Photo of an olive green heart on "Would you please donate?" on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless not by choice blog

Click to learn more…

Featured Photo: Created by me, using Canva

You may also like

7 comments

Jessica January 11, 2022 - 10:00 am

I’m in no way religious or a believer in God. But I feel as tho you hit the nail on the head with this! I think it’s fabulous and enlightening! Thank you.

Reply
Brandi Lytle January 11, 2022 - 3:21 pm

Thank you for reading and for the kind words of validation. Hugs…

Reply
Susan Huth-Beckley January 11, 2022 - 7:05 am

Thank you for reminding me that it’s “ok” for me to be a female misfit. Another Christmas has passed… another year of never knowing the feel of my child and their excitement when they see that Santa did come as promised…. It never gets easier but seeing these posts does help to know I am not alone. I do enjoy the cats ripping through their stockings and the dog chasing them around trying to steal their gift or trying to get her dog snack back! All creatures great and small…..

Reply
Catee January 10, 2022 - 9:20 pm

I AM a Catholic and my faith and the culture of my faith are a pivotal part of how I define myself. I am still sorting through my feelings about these words but I can say this – I have been underwhelming supported in my infertility journey by my faith. In a Church where we are asked by our leaders and dogma to not pursue fertility treatments and to accept the road G-d has set for us, we are subsequently left on the side of that road to hitchhike toward deeper understanding. Certainly adoption should be simpler and certainly if it were then many more people would open their arms and their homes to the abandoned children of the world. But that is parallel to saying that if medicine were simpler, I’d have become a doctor. Duh. And as for choosing pets over children, I believe that G-d gives us all blessings and it’s up to us to recognize them. Certainly every animal in my life who ive lived and has loved me back has been no less a blessing then any of dear family member. I’m disheartened and embarrassed by this…

Reply
Catee January 10, 2022 - 10:01 pm

Please forgive my horrible grammar! I shouldn’t use my phone. 😒

Reply
Brandi Lytle January 11, 2022 - 3:19 pm

Catee, thank you for trusting me & the Not So Mommy… community enough to be bravely vulnerable and share your heart. I am so sorry that you have not been supported by your Church throughout your infertility journey. The description you used–“left on the side of that road to hitchhike toward deeper understanding”–is poignant and heartbreaking. And you are right that adoption should be simpler. If it were, then I truly believe my husband and I would have adopted a child. We spent years researching, attending meetings, filling out paperwork… But the cost and rules were overwhelming. I pray you find peace in God’s love and that you feel a sense of belonging here at Not So Mommy… HUGS, fellow warrior!

Reply
Sherry January 10, 2022 - 4:49 pm

I love how you worked through this and made it make sense. My favorite message: God would be pleased if we would be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth with the fruit of the Spirit. Amen!!

Reply

Leave a Comment

UA-103943978-1