A family adventure
BACKSTORY | Growing up and seeking God in a city steeped in history
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Chiara Lamberti was the first applicant to the first WJI Europe course in 2022. As soon as I read her articles and saw the issues she covered, I knew I wanted her to write for WORLD. Lamberti was born and raised in an evangelical Christian family in Naples, Italy. She studied journalism in Rome, and her work has been published at CNE.news and Loci Communes, an online journal of Italian evangelical culture. She and her family are part of Breccia di Roma, a church plant in central Rome. Breccia means “breach” in Italian, and church members pray God will use it as an opening for the gospel in the Eternal City.
What made you want to write about mothering and the falling birthrate in Italy? When I became a mother in 2020, I never thought of myself as an exception. Very few of my friends of the same age had become mothers, but I did not see the problem with the whole system. Gradually, I realized that I was the youngest in the prenatal class and there were no women my age in the hospital waiting room. When I gave birth, people congratulated us on our brave choice of having children so young. However, since 2020, I’ve realized how serious the birthrate problem is. Now that the first half of 2023 has set a new negative birthrate record, the issue of declining birthrate is on the agenda in our country.
I decided to write about it because it is always treated as an economic problem for the future of our country. But little is said about the cultural problem of a society that does not value the family. A society that does not place a vision of the family at the center of its life impoverishes itself in many ways and is in danger.
What was the most satisfyingly surprising thing for you about becoming a mother? The biggest surprise was the realization that not only do children get born, grow, change, and learn, but so do I. Giving birth also meant I was “born” into being a mother, and this role is an ongoing journey of growth, improvement, and discovery.
For most people, Rome means ancient stones and monuments. What is it like to live day-to-day with all that history in your backyard? It’s a constant adventure. When I drive my children to kindergarten in the morning, I meet dozens of tourists going to the Vatican museums. We go to a school built in the 1930s, and for years we went to a church within walking distance of the Colosseum.
Living in a city so full of history is sometimes overwhelming, because you know you will never discover all its secrets and all the stories that are around every corner.