"No one can interfere in Mom and Dad's bed!" Rosa declares
When the Pope referred to couples having children like "rabbits," Rosa Pich-Aguilera Roca didn’t even blink. Rosa and her husband Postigo have more school-aged children than any other couple in Europe. For her, what matters is responsible parenthood, and she believes that people have misinterpreted Pope Francis’s words. She feels completely in line with the Pope, and she sees herself as a responsible mother.
"No one can interfere in Mom and Dad’s bed!" she declares. Neither the mother-in-law, nor the mother, nor the priest. Deciding whether or not to have more children is no one’s business but the couple’s, she says.
She is the mother of 18 children, three of them, sadly, deceased. When she was 24 years old, having already buried two children, Rosa and Postigo decided to keep saying "yes" to life, and that has guided them to today.
Pich welcomes Aleteia into her home, where she has set up a home office (she works part-time for a marketing firm). She explains the meaning of her life to us. Her husband, she explains, is her first priority. That is the beginning of her story, which she describes in her book How to be Happy with 1, 2, 3 Children, which has already been published in Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Slovak, and Lithuanian, and is being translated to Chinese, English and other languages.
The first question is obligatory. 18 children, work, time to spend with friends… How can you do it all?
Doing it. The problem with society is that they teach us to be good professionals but they don’t teach us how to live as a family. There are young married couples who, when they have their first child, are already fighting over who has to get up at night. They don’t sleep well, there is a negative atmosphere… And I have realized that I can explain how to be happy with one child, or with many.
That is what I wanted to put into writing, and we are traveling to places where they invite us to talk about it. Now we are going to Croatia, and we just came back from Lithuania. I want to get across the idea that it is possible to have several children and have a great time. It’s about enjoying daily life, changing our attitude. My message is not "blah blah blah" but a methodology based on real experience. It is possible. I live it. And I am happy.
Yes, in fact I don’t need to ask you if you are happy; it shows right away.
Being happy as a family is a wonderful thing.
It’s not all easy. Three of your children have died.
Life isn’t easy for anybody. We’ve been happy despite our misfortunes. What we want to teach is that there is a way forward. Our children want to get married and have large families. We are preparing them so that when hard times come along, they can keep going.
And we set limits for them; we aren’t waiting for them to be adolescents before we say "no" to them. We start from the beginning, year by year. And, you know what? The children are grateful, and their friends want to be their friends because they see that they are generous, helpful…
And yes, we have suffered. But suffering makes you more human; it teaches you to listen and to put yourself in other people’s shoes. We have to cry with our friends and their problems. People can be cold, and we cannot educate our children coldly nor encourage them to be that way.
Is there time for prayer?
God gave us intelligence so we can think; each morning we think, and those who pray organize themselves in a different way. I think right away, "How can I help my husband?" And then my children, my family, friends… We have to stop to think about people. We shouldn’t join a thousand NGOs and then neglect those closest to us.