It’s Normal to Have Babies. (That’s Why I Look at You Weird When You Ask Me If I’m “Done.”)

My recent post on Facebook seemed to be a favorite, so I thought I’d share it here.

I ran into a sweet mom of 4 today. She told me that all she hears is “You’re done now, right?”

For those of you who say that to moms with more than 2, what does that mean? And why do you say it? And would it change your response if you knew that we hear that all. the. time.? And how would you feel if almost everyone you ran into asked, “Why don’t you have more children?”

And what does it imply of God’s created design?

That He forgot the cut off switch? That He just expected that we would *know* only 2 children are normal and after that if we don’t take destructive, body-altering drugs, known to have all sorts of side effects, then we deserve the comments meant to imply our apparent ignorance?

Why is natural so en vogue in almost every other area, but is virtually insane as it applies to reproduction? Do we even notice that we have let cultural expectations dictate what we call “normal”? It’s normal to have the babies God gives you. But the few who do are treated like misfits. It’s almost like making fun of people who don’t have tattoos. I’m OK with your tattoo. But I’m not a freak because I don’t have one. You made a deliberate decision to get one. It didn’t just show up one day.

In a normal marriage, and if God has opened the womb, babies will show up unless you deliberately prevent them. That’s OK if you want to. I’m not going to ask you why or imply your family is too small or that you must hate your children since you didn’t have more. But it would be so awesome if others would show the same courtesy. And even better, that other Christians would speak the language of Scripture when it comes to children.

Do you know what Rebekah’s marriage blessing was?

“May you be the mother of thousands and ten thousands, and let your children possess the gates of those who hate them.”

Is that the way we talk to young newlyweds? (Most often I think it goes something like, “Don’t get pregnant too soon.”)

God spoke of children–not just the first two–as wealth and prosperity, blessing and inheritance. The modern church ignores a lot of what the Bible says, but perhaps nothing as much as what it has to say about children. It makes me scratch my head a lot, I guess because, as a mom of 10, I’m sort of a “catch all” for the opinions of others about fertility. It makes me sad. Not me personally, not because of how much rudeness or misunderstanding I have to endure, but because of the impotence of the church as a result of our misguided beliefs about children.

God’s intentions were that we would not only love children for the sake of loving them, but that we would understand as He gives us each child, commands us to make a disciple of that child, we cooperate with Him in one of the primary and profound means of spreading the gospel. (Malachi 2:15 “He desires a godly lineage.”)

That generally, godly children would be the obvious fruit of a Christian marriage, and that would cause the enemy to quake. At the VERY least, a Christian who understands this, would rejoice when other Christians have babies, not make them feel like freaks. I’ve never seen reactions to children in the Bible like the ones we get so often. When the Hebrews were in bondage under slavery in Egypt, do you know what God gave them? More babies. (They couldn’t afford them, by the way.) I’m just challenging God’s people….where are we getting our cues about how to think?

And I may be meddling now, but I so long to see pastors return to a biblical view of children from the pulpit. It is your business, and it would revolutionize the church.

Want to read more? You should grab a copy of Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies

144 Responses to “It’s Normal to Have Babies. (That’s Why I Look at You Weird When You Ask Me If I’m “Done.”)”

  1. Velvet says:

    I was listening to a radio host yesterday singing the praises of large families, the benefits to the families themselves and society at large. It was really refreshing. Sadly we live in a culture that discourages children, certainly more than two is an oddity, and for increasingly absurd reasons, one of which is not making people who cannot have children (or who have made life choices not conducive to rearing them) feel bad. Yes, that’s right – curtail the God-given gift of fertility because it might make someone else jealous, or unhappy, or feel discouraged, no matter that they have more often than not have arrived at their childless state by their own hand.

    It’s bizarre to me that the cultural we encourage people in their extreme at all cost fertility treatments, all while discouraging the people who routinely conceive by the conventional route.. Cognitive dissonance, much? Multiple births by way of fertility treatment make the news, and so do natural large families, but guess which is most likely to be ridiculed, rather than celebrated with a media driven community baby shower?

  2. laura says:

    It is a blessing and men(and women) want debt (the curse) and forsake the blessing (children). I don’t know why in this life.

    Any Christian who praises large family is seen as an “evil” person who hates homosexuals or some other racial slur that they may come up with. Why does this happen? I don’t know. The root of it all may be just that, money.

    Money is more important than blessing by God.

  3. Rachel says:

    I’m a Karaite Jew, and a mother of three sons and zero daughters. At my 3rd son’s B’rit Milah (Bris), our Hakham took the time to translate some of the prayers and blessings used in the ceremony. With the final one in his selection, he turned to me and my husband and told us the blessing meant:

    “May he be the brother of seven and father of eight”

    Then he added in his soft Arabic accent, with a broad smile, a twinkle in his eye:
    “That means you two still have some work to do, ok?”

    It was a beautiful moment, and I wish I saw more of that kind of attitude in society as a whole.

    “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live”
    Deuteronomy 30:19

  4. Laura(yet another) says:

    Perhaps the issue is the fact that while having children (biologically)is natural, the amount of self-sacrifice, work, and unselfish love to care for and raise them is NOT natural, thanks to sin nature and the culture that likes to cater and pander to our “natural” selves, with the messages like, “You deserve more/better” or pop psychology terms plastered on magazines like, “self-fulfillment”…

  5. Lizelle says:

    Thanks, Kelly. Recently had our third and I’m rather fed up with all the comments about the fact that we didn’t have a sterilisation during her birth.

    It is a mere 8 years since doctors told us we won’t be able to have kids without major medical intervention (if any at all). We prayerfully (and with lots of tears) decided to trust God on this issue. Knowing that if we were not to have children He was still in control.

    I find it ironic that people can be overjoyed with us about our 3 little miracles and see God’s hand in that, yet feel that we now need to tell Him “thanks for the 3 blessings, but no more, thank you”. It feels like we would be tossing His grace back in His face. I just can’t find myself one minute saying ‘let Your will be done’ and the next ‘enough for now’.

    People somehow think that means I’ve got a great need for more children, which is not true. I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. 3 is more than what I’ve ever wanted. Yet He has been in control until now and I know He will know the best for the future.

    • Lizelle,

      What a wonderful miracle to see God answer your prayers! And you have said it well…perhaps it’s easier to understand God’s sovereignty when you’ve been on the other side of it.

  6. Christina says:

    I am a mother of 7 children and love your words, Kelly. It is sad that even at church we are the weird ones. We adore our 7 boys and are so thankful to God for them. I also desire for the pastors to preach the Bible when it comes to children.

  7. Mandy says:

    I totally get where you are coming from. I absolutely feel the same way. I believe children are absolutely a blessing from the Lord and that they bring so much joy to the world. But I am going to play devils advocate and ask a question-what if you are a young christian couple living on very little financially and you decide not to have children or you are waiting a while to have children because you are already living paycheck to paycheck? What if you want kids but you know that if you were to have them you would end up on welfare or something because you know you couldn’t support them properly? Just a thought….

    • Mandy,

      That actually describes us early in our marriage. (Here’s an interview with some links about more details of our story, our debt, and how we paid it off: http://couponpal.com/blog/couponpal-interview-with-a-savings-expert-kelly-crawford)

      But for me, it has always been simple: The Lord promises to care for His own and that includes the children He gives. I have found that promise to be true, though there have been very hard times.

      And even more obvious than that is, children aren’t expensive. Especially when they are young. Realistically, adding a baby to a family barely changes the budget. The expenses are very gradual and I think it’s unwise to consider cutting family members to make ends meet. There are always other things that can be cut.

    • shannon says:

      May I share something by way of personal testimony? My husband and I were that young couple and after living for years by getting in more debt, we finally learned our lesson and started cracking down. We were doing amazing by knocking out credit card debt first, then started working on our other debt. I was even in a position at work, due to a federal program, to have ALL of my student loan debt paid off if I agreed to work just 2 more years at the same job (At the time I had around $30,000 in debt from student loan). But, then, praise the Lord we had an unplanned pregnancy!

      This was not in our plans but it was in God’s as he wanted us to trust in him. We cracked down on spending even more and started to tithe from pure faith as we didn’t have an “extra” 10% to spare. I worked until my first child was 10 months old and couldn’t take the emotional burden of it anymore. Call it faith or stupidity but my husband and I decided it was best to stay home, thereby missing my income PLUS the extra $30,000. About a month later, my husbands pay increased greatly, and was absolutely unexpected; it had not even been on the forecast. I have not for ONE day regretted this decision. What I do regret is not starting to have children earlier. Sorry this is so long but it is one of my favorite stories (God has been good, I have a few of these miracle stories) to share of God’s working today, if we submit to him. So, this was a really long way of saying I second Kelly in saying God will take care of his own. 🙂

    • Amy says:

      Trust, Trust, Trust. Trust that the Lord will provide for the blessings he’s given you (or is trying to give you)…..trust not in your own understanding and certainly not the world’s. My DH and I often look back and think – “what were we thinking!” We only made matters worse by NOT trusting.

    • Laura(yet another) says:

      While I understand the fear that may drive a young couple to go that route, I can also say that my hubby and I had a family pretty quickly by today’s standards and are now expecting our fifth child. The trouble is nowadays, is the fact that so many young women aren’t practically prepared to do the necessary work it can take to cheaply have babies. What I mean is, many young women might not be willing to wash diapers, live in small cramped quarters,hang all their laundry, and cook cheaply from scratch! Many women may not be willing to shop at thrift stores, may not know how to mend (or sew) their clothes, darn their socks, and generally contrive(ie make do). Sooo many young women are more concerned that they have $ for their iphone bill and their daily allotment of starbucks, rather than be well-prepared to mother a family of several children on a shoestring budget… And just for your information, we are expecting #5 in April and live on one income that is under (net, anyway) $30K/year. We live well below the poverty line for our family size, and yet we have a paid off car, no significant credit card debt, we eat pretty well, and are prepaying our mortgage… We could totally qualify for WIC, food stamps, utility help etc. but we choose not to rely on those things, but find ways to cut our lifestyle instead. We have one cell phone, and no pad-things or other techy gadgety stuff… If a young woman is really prepared well to be a household manager, children will be a joy, not a threat.

  8. shannon says:

    Thanks for the affirmation! Baby #3 due very soon and I’ve already been asked if we’re “done”.

  9. Deborah says:

    I am a mother of 5 and I can honestly count on one hand the number of times I have heard negative comments about family size. There is no reason other than location and chance for this. It just may be that there are a lot of quiet admirers of large families amid (or sitting in the pews listening to) loud bad-mouthers.

    • Amy says:

      We are expecting #4 and I, too, can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had negative comments. I often wonder why people don’t question me. I figure they just assume I’m “weird”. And, I live in the Pacific Northwest, of all places. I consider myself blessed to not have to encounter peoples criticism on a regular basis. It is my fear, though.

  10. Johannnie says:

    Dear Kelly, I love your amswer! Beautiful. May the Lord bless you and your amazing family. I appreciate all your encouragement, advice and testomonies.

  11. Johannie says:

    Oops! Sorry for,spelling mistakes…feeding and typing;-)

  12. noel says:

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. tania says:

    thank you!! i don’t know how many times i have been asked “are you done…” i have really been blessed with your commentary, not only today, but everyday!

  14. These are wonderful thoughts! Thank you for writing this!

  15. Jennifer says:

    As the mother of 10 I heartily agree and am also very thankful for a wonderful and caring church family. They have made us feel blessed and have joyfully welcomed each of our new “additions”

  16. Been praying for baby #3 for somewhere between 5 and 7 years now. I guess it’s not normal for me to have babies :(. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think that they’re a blessing though. I’m quite jealous of people that can have more. I’m still not giving up though. Hopefully God will be willing to bless us with more.

  17. Lauren says:

    We have just been through our second successive miscarriage (3 live children, pregnancies 4 and 5 were miscarriages) and I have received some (one must assume) kindly meant assertions that speak of the attitude you describe.

    – That I should appreciate the children I have now (like you can’t appreciate your blessings and feel sad at the same time. I am actually extremely thankful for my three as a result of the mc’s. But I am allowed to feel sad too.)
    – That maybe this is a sign that I should ‘stop’ (actively prevent children)- would anyone dare say that to a mother who has a miscarriage on her first pregnancy?
    – It has been implied that wanting more children is almost greedy when I already have three.
    – It has been implied that wanting more than the three children I have received as blessings is somehow pathological, rather than a natural desire. Almost like I am being greedy.
    – I have been told that there is more to life than having babies anyway.

    I am sure some of those comments wouldn’t be aimed at a woman who is grieving the loss of a first or second baby. No one would be that hard.

    Please don’t think I am bitter toward those who made such comments. They came from dear sisters in Christ whom I love. I have just had a new insight into the prevailing attitude about children through this time and thought I would share.

    • Mrs. B says:

      @Lauren
      Lauren, I just want to encourage you. A couple of years ago we had experienced two sucessive mc’s. At the time we had five. A lot of other personal tragedies were happening at the same time, so praise God the people to whom were closest had sense enough to not make some of the terrible comments you heard.
      But if you will note, I said “at the time.’ I feel so blessed that this past November our sixth little blessing celebrated his first birthday. Now, I suppose since things seem to be going a little better we are getting “interesting” little comments here and there: a very close relative sent me an email demanding that we “STOP” (yes, in all caps).
      So glad we follow Peter’s advice:
      Acts 5:29
      “…We ought to obey God rather than men.”
      Stay encouraged!

    • Claudia says:

      Lauren~ Thank you for your comment. For the first time, in your words, I read what I felt people were suggesting after three successive miscarriages: I was GREEDY. Yes. For CHILDREN. And maybe I just needed to love the ones I had (as if I loved them less because I longed for another). And those comments also came from Christian friends and family. I know how much those comments hurt, and for that I just wish I could give you a big hug. I felt terribly alone and started to believe lies from the enemy about why I wasn’t able to have a third child. I wish someone had come alongside me and just comforted and prayed me through. Of course, in the end, I grew ever-closer to my Savior. I want to pray for you, Lauren ~and I will~ because that is just what I needed. And the rest of the story is that the Lord, in His great mercy, blessed me with one more precious son.

    • Lena says:

      Lauren, babies are a blessing. Period. Even if you have a miscarriage, know that they are little souls that wait for you in heaven. I had one miscarriage, and I always wonder if it was a boy or a girl, but I know that he/she is in heaven waiting for me, and that makes me happy. I hope all my children will be Christians and all will be in heaven one day. God blessings to you!

  18. April says:

    I honestly believe that most of the comments are just a reflection of the “asker” communicating that raising kids (even just 2) is just plain exhausting and they could not fathom what it would take to have more (as far as emotional and physical demands). I have 3 kids and those thoughts (never spoken words) cross my mind whenever I see a mom who has 4 or more kids and I consider the possibility of having one more. I think of my own downfalls as a mom, my own daily struggles to be loving and kind and patient with my kids. And the current culture now is to pour in so much more materially, socially and intellectually that most women, again, cannot fathom taking on additional exhaustion related to having one more child. I believe most comments are indirect declarations of insecurity.

  19. Sara says:

    Maybe I’m not reading well enough, but do you think it’s Biblical to prevent pregnancy? Do you think we can have Biblical families while still making responsible decisions regarding finances, cultures, careers, etc. It’s possible to have a baby a year; at what point do you think it’s more irresponsible to continue to have kids?

    I know I’ve been guilty of asking similar questions regarding families with a lot of children, but your post definitely set me straight.

    • Sara,

      I don’t think it’s “biblical” to prevent pregnancy. I also think a couple can space/prevent children in situations and not be in sin. But the whole issue is sensitive. I’ve talked to plenty of people who said they couldn’t afford more children, when they can afford a $300,000 home, several new cars, yearly vacations, department store clothing, a car for their children, and a hundred other luxuries.

      On the other hand, we had children when we were barely paying the bills–barely, and still God always provided, we were never hungry or cold. And now we’re better off financially, with 10 children, than we were with 3.

      So I think it’s not so much about the circumstances as it is a heart issue, which is the point I try to make in my posts about fertility. The more we trust in God as the Creator of life, seeing children as He sees them, the more the other factors become less significant.

      If a couple has the right starting point about the way Scripture tells us to think about children, they’ll enter any decision about preventing children with far more discernment and trepidation, which I think a thing so sacred deserves.

      • Mrs. B says:

        Hi Kelly,
        As I gain more experience with this life, I really begin to appreciate there is no “convenient” time to live trusting in God’s promises.
        We are NOT having an easier time of it with six than we had with two. (And quite frankly, I think the tough financial times would have come even if we had just stopped at two.)
        But let me tell you something. My precious little (and not so little) ones are truly my jewels. When my family is together in our not-so-fancy house, wearing secondhand clothes with a car that’s over 10 years old sitting in the driveway–I feel so rich! Our children are not perfect. It is very challenging having to deal with helping them to grow up. But how can I describe what a blessing their presence is? How can I quantify the sweetness of putting socks on fat little toes? How can I measure how my heart glows as I see my boys become young men, and my little girls blossom into young women. Oh, how wonderful!

      • Lena says:

        The issue of having lots of children is all in our heart. Its all in how serious we are about God, the bible, and the way of Christian living. Some “Christians” should not have more children, for they tend to live for themselves and not for God. Only the true “Christians” should have more children so they can raise them in the proper biblical lifestyle, to love God, and to conquer the world for God. It makes me happy when I see a large Christian family, knowing that the children will be an army for God. May we have more families like that.

  20. I started getting comments like the ones you mention after my second child. Then, again with the third. Now that I’m pregnant with my 4th (I’m only 29, and my oldest child is only 6, so it seems to be more conspicuous to a lot of people), I get the question ALL the time: Are we done?

    It used to really upset me, but I realized that I’m not getting it from within our church very much (we’re Catholic and have an amazing priest who is not shy about speaking on this issue, so large families, if not entirely “the norm” in our parish are, at least, not considered odd), and I’ve started viewing it as a wonderful way to evangelize.

    Now, whenever anyone asks me that question, I don’t get upset. I just smile and tell them that my husband and I have a different philosophy on having children than most Americans. Rather than determine how many children we wanted to have at the start of our marriage and checking them off a list, we’ve evaluated after each pregnancy whether there is any serious issue that would prevent us from welcoming another child into the world. So far, by God’s grace, we haven’t had any serious health complications, etc. that might make us feel obligated to use NFP to space our pregnancies, and so we’ve been blessed with four babies (and one in heaven) in our 8 years of marriage. NEVER have I gotten a negative comment following that explanation. Though, I’m sure there are some rude, outspoken folks out there. Fortunately, they haven’t come across my path yet 😉

    • April says:

      That is a beautiful response Bethany. We are currently expecting or 4th and the questions keep pouring in. I try to always extent grace and assume they are asking if we are “done” out of curiously rather than assume they are make the judgement that we should be done. (It at least makes me feel better). Thanks for writing this post, such a blessing to me today.

  21. Heidi says:

    I believe that God only gives you as many children as you can handle, if you have 2 or 12, that is your prerogative. However, what I disagree with, is having too many children that you cannot financially handle it on your own. If God does want you to truly to have another child, there will be another child, chemical/physical barriers irregardless. I have seen too many families with more children than they can possibly handle, many getting help from food stamps, or other sorts of government assistance. Many have also had to turn to forms of aid, such as Medi-cal or let dental health go awry. This in turn dips into income of others who may have had the forbearance to stop at a lesser number of children. I do believe that God provides a way, but I also think that God has also given us reason to know when our limits are due.

    • Heidi,

      Your thoughts here are inconsistent.

      “I believe that God only gives you as many children as you can handle, if you have 2 or 12, that is your prerogative. However, what I disagree with, is having too many children that you cannot financially handle it on your own.”

      The first part of this statement implies you believe in God’s sovereignty. The second part denies that. You have to make a decision about what you believe about the Author of life, Who gives and takes away, and whether or not He is sovereign, even over our circumstances.

      Your next statement can’t be true, and I don’t think you apply it to other areas of your life.

      “If God does want you to truly to have another child, there will be another child, chemical/physical barriers irregardless.” (“Regardless”)

      This isn’t how God works, most of the time. His sovereignty doesn’t throw off our choices. Much of the time He leaves us to reap our own consequences for choices made.

      If your husband chose not to get a job, but He was certain of God’s promises to “care for His own”, would he insist that “the blessing will come” regardless of whether I work or not? One example of how God’s sovereignty and blessing works with our choices.

      You say “babies will come” even if you try to prevent them. Babies are discussed in Scripture as a “gift.” If someone brings you a gift and you outright refuse it, will the gift be left in your possession? Probably not. That’s your fault, not the giver’s.

      When you speak of “too many families” needing government assistance, I would bet that perhaps these families have another issue at work in their lives, besides just the expense of children. There are many reasons people fine themselves financially enslaved.

      In this post, I am addressing Christians, specifically. When the principles of finance our followed, and when a family/church understands their responsibilities to help each other in the case of serious financial uncertainty, there are hardly ever times where families would need government assistance to eat. I know probably more large, Christian families than the average person knows, and while some have struggled from time to time, financially, none are on government assistance.

      It’s a full understanding and practice of biblical principles all the way around, that answer many of these questions people raise about specifics.

      That’s not to say there is never a time a couple might consider spacing their children; but overall, the examples you gave are not biblically sound.

    • Liz says:

      Heidi,
      I totally see where you are coming from. I grew up an only child until I was 7 and my parents struggled everyday. God provided for sure, but I did have to go without sometimes. I rather have a smaller family and be able to afford a good life for them (i.e. a college education so they don’t have to go into debt like I am for it). While large families are great, so are smaller families too. Personally, some of the best families I have met are large families with several adopted children. It may sound wrong to some, but I rather adopt kids that have no home or family than bring more into the world. Orphans just break my heart.

      Blessings to your family 🙂

  22. Mrs. B says:

    And Kelly, I must confess that when I saw the picture for this post, I thought that maybe-maybe you had a wonderful exciting announcement! And maybe, still, I missed something. I need new glasses, I think.
    By God’s grace I’m coming to peace with the fact that my brand-new Momma days are coming to an end and it’s time to pass the baton on to the next generation. But there’s nothing saying I can’t get a vicarious thrill from hearing about how others are reciving God’s blessings.

  23. 6 arrows says:

    I really appreciated the last paragraph of your post: “And I may be meddling now, but I so long to see pastors return to a biblical view of children from the pulpit. It is your business.”

    You’re not meddling, you’re speaking the truth in love, something with which pastors should be concerned, too. Scripture is clear on God’s considering children a blessing, and pastors should be about the business of shepherding their flocks to think God’s thoughts after Him, to seek to grow more Christlike. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” Can we not see how dearly He loves them? Why don’t pastors speak about this more, and challenge us to think about what the attitude of our hearts are regarding the clear blessing of children?

    And worse, why do they themselves sometimes make disparaging remarks, right from the pulpit? I think I’ve told the story here before about a guest preacher at our church one time who laughingly said (from the pulpit) about his own children that he had four, “and there will be no more!”

    Beyond disappointing, a flippant attitude like that.

    Thank you for countering the faulty thinking in our culture, including in too much of the church these days.

  24. Kath says:

    Interesting 🙂

  25. Patty says:

    I am a mother of 12 and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have been ambushed in the grocery store, etc by strangers who expected me to discuss my views on reproduction with them!! But honestly, these people tended not to bother me as much as people within the church. I think the problem really lies with the lack of knowledge, or any deep thought, about what the Bible says about children. Most people don’t even realize they don’t have a personal philosophy regarding children that they live by. The way I see it there are 3 philosophies regarding children.

    1. Conception occurs when the conditions are right. There is no “big plan” by God. Children are not planned by God. Therefore it is perfectly logical to use birth control because God does not have a plan and we can go with our own wisdom.

    2. God has a plan. He plans the children we will have because He has a great design. Our children are not random. God knew the plan He had for them before they were born.

    3. God has a plan, but because we have free will, we can overrule His plan. He may have more children planned for us but it is ok for us to say no.

    The very term birth control means we are taking control. Are we taking control away from God? Are we supposed to be in control or are we supposed to acknowledge Him in all our ways? I obviously believe in #2, but I don’t think most people really stop to think about what they believe.

  26. Mama says:

    I love looking at large family blogs! Your family is beautiful. What is your opinion on continuing to have children even if the mothers life is at risk? Like, lets say you can get pregnant (that area works wonderfully) but you were born with a bad heart and with age it just gets worse? Part of me is like, God gave doctors to guide us in situations like this but then the other part feels like I do not have enough faith in God because I am not trusting his will for continuing child bearing (which is against doctors orders). I read the Word, pray and try to find an answer but can not figure out anything, I am just so torn.

    • Laura(yet another) says:

      I have had the same ponderings and feel like I just end up going in circles… Am I trying to “play God” or just “use wisdom and caution”? I really understand this, because before I became pregnant this time, I was REALLY struggling with whether I should look into being done or not, and was having hormonal upheaval and irregular periods and experiencing secondary infertility problems. And the doctor mentioned the word “tumor” on the pituitary gland… Talk about fearful… Anyway, to make a long story short, my pit gland was making too much prolactin–hence no periods and no fertility… I went on a prolactin-lowering medication and BAM! PREGNANT! Now, I ask myself, “was I STILL trying to play God?” And yet babies don’t come at random! Would this baby have come WITHOUT that medicine? I don’t know… And in many ways, I still don’t know what to expect after this baby comes. It will be #5 for us, and we live quite hand to mouth… God has always provided for our needs, but as the family grows, the needs grow as well (ie teenagers eat more than 5 year olds!LOL). I certainly love all the babies God has given us, but I do sometimes feel the pressure of HOW to manage them all and love them all, and frustrated at not being able to give them more (not iphones or pads but things like music lessons or opportunities to participate in homeschool co-ops or other stuff that we can’t ever afford). I also feel the pressure of how to do all the work required for a larger family (ie laundry and dishes) and how to get in enough study time/instruction each day in homeschool for each child(especially when one child has certain struggles and needs particular help)… The conundrum between work or convenience. Going cheaper means more work, going convenient means higher cost… Rarely is cheaper more convenient… Finance-wise we need low cost, WORK-wise, we need convenient… how to pick? Oi….. And more children often means that conundrum is multiplied… I think there may come a point in the life of a woman at which you come to God, and say, “God, I’m fearful about this. I want to trust You, and believe your Word, but all I can see are the overwhelming obstacles and needs that I can’t meet… ” And at that point ask Him to give you His peace about the issue, or make the decision for you… (like in secondary infertility)… Also, I will say that for some women, if hubby is NOT interested in more children, and wants wife to have surgery or something, I think it’s wiser for the sake of the relationship for the wife to do so rather than fight him on it… And trust God with her husband… Such a hard issue to wade through…

    • Mama,

      Certainly I don’t have those answers and those are waters that have to be traversed carefully, using much wisdom.

      I will tell you this though: I got an email from a sweet (young)mom just yesterday who had 6 c-sections, had her tubes tied, and then a reversal with 2 more babies. Before she became pregnant with her last, the doctors told her she had a heart condition and put her on meds and told her not to get pregnant.

      She got pregnant, took herself off the meds, had a healthy pregnancy and no more heart condition–she believes the Lord healed her through her pregnancy.

      She also shared some other good food for thought, like the fact that we are willing to die for our born children but we don’t think about our unborn/children-to-be the same way.

      I admit, that’s a hard one for me to swallow, but I hear the truth in it. It’s almost akin to the some of the abortion mindset in that we value born people but not those unborn.

      Again, I personally do not believe it’s a sin to make decisions about fertility with a prayerful posture. But I’ve also heard many wonderful stories that defied odds and opposed “common sense.”

      • lilah says:

        I respectfully disagree. I don’t think priortizing a mother’s health over the hypothetically unborn is the same as abortion. There are always other options like adoption or fostercare if you feel called to continue to grow your family.

        • Lilah,

          Even so, it’s not as cut and dry as we might like to think. Doctors give wrong prognosis all the time. Many of them also use scare tactics regarding their patient’s health to discourage them from more children (I’ve seen it, heard it, experienced it).

          I’m not opposed to exercising wisdom in unusual circumstances. And I’m not opposed to doctors. I am opposed to lifting them to a place above their human status and throwing out God’s sovereignty at the same time.

          There are stories upon stories that I could give to explain my position–some of the most world-changing humans born to mothers whose doctors warned against it, against odds, against health problems, etc. It’s so easy for us to come up with reasons not to have children and forget God’s role in it all. I think we have to be careful both ways.

          • Lola says:

            Kelly, why not suggest adoption as an option for Mama? You haven’t even mentioned or addressed that.

            • Lola,

              Because that’s not what her question was about. If you’ve read here any time at all, you know that I am a huge fan of adoption and support it in a number of ways. We are seeing a huge surge in adoption among large families who are choosing both to receive their own children and becomes forever homes to others as well. Adoption doesn’t strike me as simply an option for those who can’t have children. Adoption is a noble option for any family who feels called to minister to the fatherless in that specific way.

            • Lola says:

              Kelly I do not see Mana putting her doc on a pedestal. She is wondering whether to take his advice. If it were your life at risk, would you disregard your doc?

              • lilah says:

                I don’t think listening to your doctor even when they are telling you something you don’t like to hear is the same as putting them on the same pedestal as God. Perhaps it is worth it to get a second opinion.

      • Mama says:

        That is wonderful she was cured! I prayed for complete healing for years (mostly my teens and young adult years). Have have become content with my scars and health, since it was a birth defect and our Father says He formed me in my mother womb, that I was set apart (Jeremiah 1:5) and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). That is also great she did not have to be on medication when pregnant – it is always so hard for me to know that my heart medication (4 times the recommend dose) caused my babies to be so small. I guess they would have much worse things to battle if my heart never pumped the blood to them! The medication is probably the hardest adjustment, I always think of Paul who asked God to remove his thorn but God chose not to because he wanted Paul to lean on Him for strength (2Cor12:9). I think God wants me to lean on him when my heart beats like a jack-rabbit 🙂 hehe! I think we will do some praying and wait and see – maybe we will take the leap for one more, before my next surgery!

        • HRH says:

          Mama,

          Surgery? Medication? It sounds like your heart condition is something you should take very seriously. Your doctor is much more familiar with it than Kelly is. She is not a cardiologist.

          When someone asked Kelly if she”d risk her life for another pregnancy, she didn’t answer. I think you should consider that. Please take care of your health, you are precious in God’s eyes, and there is always adoption or foster care if you want to expand your family. Adopted kids are just as valuable and special

          • 6 arrows says:

            Kelly had already answered one of that commenter’s off-topic replies, and then the commenter went on to make two more (the one to which you refer, and another very snarky response). Kelly’s not obligated to answer anything anyone asks, particularly questions and comments that have nothing to do with the post and/or try to trap her.

            I think you should consider that, HRH.

            • HRH says:

              I am concerned about Mama’s health, 6 arrows. She has a lifelong severe heart condition.

              Kelly’s response concerned me also,. In response to Mama’s question about stopping further pregnancies to protect her heart, Kelly said, “It’s almost akin to the some of the abortion mindset in that we value born people but not those unborn.”

              I’d like Mama to know that she should value herself, too. And if she chooses to protect her heart and abide by her doctor’s advice, I don’t think that’s anything like abortion.

              I didn’t see anyone trying to trap anyone else and don’t know what you mean.

              • I didn’t intend to sound as if I’m dismissing Mama’s health. I wanted to offer things for her to think about, while still urging her and her husband to consider carefully, and weigh her medical condition in the equation while still considering the reality that doctors, for liability reasons, err on the side of extreme caution.

                That’s not an unreasonable suggestion. Consider, for example, the sharp rise of c-sections in the last decade. Many doctors perform c-sections because they think it’s “safer” than natural childbirth. It’s not. They also perform them for convenience and other unfounded reasons. (http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10285)

                Pregnancy is treated as an illness among many doctors. Many OB doctors are well-schooled in surgery and the technical aspects of delivery, but often lack knowledge in the subject as a whole. (Consider that the “normal” birthing position is lying down. That’s not the position the body was made to give birth in….just one of many examples.)

                So my suggestion to Mama wasn’t meant to disregard any medical advice, but rather to include the often-skewed treatment of pregnancy prompted by fear and poor education, even in the medical field.

              • 6 arrows says:

                HRH,

                I understand your concern for Mama, and it was good of you to share your thoughts and concerns with her. Here is some of why I replied to your comment.

                The commenter you mentioned in the second paragraph of your Jan. 13, 5:02 pm post who asked Kelly a question to which she didn’t respond (that would be “Lola”) could have done what you did: engage in discussion directly with Mama. Instead, she turned the focus of the conversation toward Kelly with the question, “…why not suggest adoption as an option for Mama?”

                The question could be asked of Lola why she herself couldn’t have suggested it to Mama. Is it Kelly’s responsibility to bring up every possible angle to every single question she’s asked, no matter how far the conversation wanders from the topic at hand? No, it’s not, and I think everyone here realizes that, including Lola.

                What you may not know, HRH, is that Kelly has long been hounded by trolls here. They make their appearance on hot-button posts like this one, not interested in engaging in mature adult dialogue, but in steering the conversation elsewhere, asking personal questions and passing judgment on what Kelly did or did not say.

                In short, they behave very much as Lola did. (“You haven’t even mentioned or addressed that.” A judgment call; passing judgment on Kelly for not bringing up something Lola easily could have. “…would you disregard your doc?” A personal question that has nothing to do with Mama.)

                Maybe Lola isn’t a troll, but it is clear to me that she was far less interested in engaging in dialogue with Mama (in fact, she didn’t at all) than she was in grilling Kelly with personal questions and passing judgment, like I said.

                Not only that, but Lola’s 6:36 pm “Congrats” post was very snarky, IMO, as nowhere in Kelly’s 6:33 pm post did she say or imply that she had adopted. I see no evidence of cognitive challenges Lola may have that would cause her to think Kelly had adopted when she had not. The “congrats” comment struck me as juvenile and foolish. That kind of behavior does not deserve a response (Proverbs 26:4; 18:2), and Kelly was wise not to respond to any more of Lola’s comments after the first, IMHO, when she began getting more personal and snarky.

                So my main motivation in telling you “…you should consider that” (Kelly’s non-response to the “what would you do” question from Lola) is that there are many legitimate reasons people choose not to answer certain questions, and it may not be for the reasons we think.

                And sometimes those questions are meant to “trap” people, by which I mean there are some of those commenters (many of whom get their comments deleted) who steer the conversation away from the topic at hand and try to catch Kelly in what they think are inconsistencies in the things she says. Her words get taken out of context because the broad scope of a topic that briefly gets introduced in these tangents is missing. Their intent is not to stay on topic, but to introduce straw men and other fallacies and make distorted and oftentimes utterly false claims about what Kelly believes. She owes no one any explanation when they repeatedly and deliberately say these things.

                I hope that clarifies where I’m coming from, HRH. A lot of this goes on behind the scenes, but I’ve seen it and know it’s there.

                • Mama says:

                  6 arrows – I never meant to come off as ‘snarky’ nor was I trying to pick at (or question)the owner of this blog (Kelly?), I honestly think about this 24/7… I tried to talk to some women in my church about it but they just dont understand. Know one will I guess…
                  Kelly – Thank you for the kind words and we will continue to pray about it. My situation is not like the c-section ones, or the one were they (drs) want to induce you because you are one day late 😉 Those situations bug me, and so do the women that fall for them! Mine is much more complicated then that… I have already had two open heart surgery and yearly monitoring to catch the next one at the perfect time But I just read on A Wise Women Builds her Home that the bible says 365 times “Do not be afraid”. So, if DH and I agree to do it again I will try not to be afraid 😉

                  About adoption and Lola, I dont know… My DH is open to it but I just dont know if my heart is there yet.

                  • Mama,

                    No worries–I assure you, 6 arrows was not referring to you 😉

                  • 6 arrows says:

                    Mama,

                    I’m so sorry I gave you the impression that I thought you were snarky! You weren’t at all! I realize now my comment on Jan. 13 at 5:32 pm was confusing because I didn’t say the name of the commenter I was talking about. (It was Lola.) Please forgive me for that oversight.

                    I think it is wonderful how rooted in the Word you are! You mentioned so many great Bible verses in one of your posts. I love it when I can sit at the computer with a Bible open in my lap, reading comments by other Christians who are seeking the Lord, to know His will!

                    Please know I’m praying for you as you contemplate the Word and address your health issues. May God bless you with abundant wisdom as you serve Him!

                    Hugs and blessings.

                • HRH says:

                  6 Arrows,

                  I’ve re-read the posts and simply don’t understand what you are referring to. It seems everyone was respectful and there were no harsh words. I understand Kelly may not respond to every question . No one seemed upset or hurt by her silence. (And of course silence sends its own message, how could it not?)

                  I think sometimes we can be too sensitive about innocent comments. Perhaps this comes from past hurts? In any event, why not let Kelly handle her own readers? She may not be nearly as offended as you are.

                  Have a wonderful day.

    • Jenny says:

      Mama,
      I completely understand Kelly”s points.

      However, remember that there are also women who die because they have disregarded dr”s orders. They leave their living children without a mom. These women cannot send Kelly an email about their experiences, but their experiences are real nonetheless.

      I am sure God does not want you to risk your health. He sends dictors to us for a reason

      Blessings.

      • Jenny says:

        Sorry, meant to say “He sends doctors to us for a reason”!

        • Mama says:

          Thank you for the kind words! I agree, God gave us doctors for a reason 🙂 Think of all the loved ones who we might not have known if it was not for the quick appendix removals or the antibiotics that just saved our Pastors life from a deadly sepsis infection this Thanksgiving! I think I have to pray for complete contentment with whatever we choose 🙂

  27. Sherry says:

    This article and discussion has absolutely blessed my heart! I am so happy to see some of the next generation allowing God to plan their families and articulating these Biblical truths so clearly. I am on the other side of the spectrum, proof that if you allow God to plan your family you will not necessarily have a child each year. In 32+ years of marriage I have had two pregnancies for which I am very thankful. We were blessed with a daughter after 7 years of marriage and a son 9 years later, but we will get to know him in heaven. We embraced the idea of a large family, prayed a lot, considered very carefully various infertility treatments but went forward cautiously seeking God’s will rather than demanding our own, believing He knows best. Now I do not think we did not have more children because we could not handle them, but boy did I struggle with feelings of inferiority or unworthiness during my childbearing years. God bless all of you who are persevering, trusting God for provision, looking at your children as the treasures they are, doing your best to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And thank you so much for your testimony to the world.

    • Liz says:

      Sherry,

      You are certainly not unworthy or inferior. God has a different idea for everyone. My mom didn’t have me until she had been married for 12 years and then 7 years later she had my sister. She wanted kids and was blessed with two. As she says, that’s all she can handle (poor lady lol). I don’t think God has many children in my life’s plan. Babies cry when they look at me. Children do not take to me well. But that’s ok because I know my life will be amazing and that there is still a plan. And he’s not finished with you yet either. Blessings.

      Liz

  28. Kelli says:

    As a mom of 4, I totally get it. It would be like asking someone “Why do you only have one?”
    One thing to be careful of though: Please don’t make the assumption that all pastors don’t preach the Word in this area. My husband is a pastor and very clearly preaches that children are a blessing. I also know that there are others who have lots of children and are clear on scripture in this area. Sorry for a little tangent!
    Will be sharing this post for sure. :)’

    • Amy says:

      People do say, “Why do you only have one?” “When are you going to give that girl a brother or sister?” Etc, etc., etc… Trust me!

    • 6 arrows says:

      Hi Kelli,

      I’m so glad to hear that your husband, and other pastors you know, preach on children being a blessing. I am sorry if my comment above gave the impression that I assume that all pastors don’t preach the Word in this area. That wasn’t my intent, and I don’t believe Kelly was saying that in her post, either. The fact that some pastors (and that may be a conservative number — I’m more inclined to say “most”, as I have never had a pastor who spoke about it) fail to preach it is what is being addressed.

      There’s a pastor in our area who has, I think, 18 children. 😉 So that is very much a blessing!

  29. Kathy says:

    I, too, am on the other side of the spectrum. It’s painful to read those words “It’s normal to have babies”, when I know I can’t. I am blessed with three stepsons, but their mother is in their lives and I so wish I could have just one of my own. It’s hard for me to see large families because it makes me wonder why God would choose to bless them with so many but not give me even one.

    So don’t be concerned with comments from other people. They aren’t living your life. You are.

  30. Amy says:

    Kelly, I know this is not quite on topic here, but have you ever considered writing a post about infertility? I realize that it’s not what you have experienced, but in reading the comments, I can’t help but think that you have readers who are dealing with infertility who could use some encouragement, and some readers who would benefit from hearing what life is like on the other side, so to speak. Obviously, there are probably other blogs out there that address some of this, but it would be such a blessing to have a blog writer with a large family address some of the ways that they can encourage their sisters who long for a child. Being at church and among Christian women can be one of the loneliest places to be suffering from infertility.

  31. MRT says:

    Because everyone has different limits as to what they can handle, so they cannot relate to people with different limits. If I can only rain three miles, and I see you rounding on your eighth mile, I might say something to the effect of “Wow, going for another mile?” This is the same thing. Just because you can handle four kids doesn’t mean everyone can (you probably will say everyone can but you are not qualified to say that, given that you have no clue of the mental, physical, and psychological health of other people and their families). So when someone with two kids questions you with four, it is just interesting to them someone who has more limits.

    Also, the tone you take to two child families is a little…condescending. If you don’t want people to think negatively on your family size, don’t do the same to others.

  32. MRT says:

    Run* not rain

    • Danette says:

      I understand what you’re saying about people having different abilities or limits. But I have honestly found that those abilities and limits can and do change as needed.
      I often think about how hard it was for my husband and me to get one little baby ready for church, and get there on time. Now it’s four children, two horses, eleven goats, ten chickens, four ducks, two dogs, and we usually have to be at church early to help out in some way.
      One weekend recently, I was feeling like I just couldn’t handle everything. It was overload. Then early on that Saturday morning, a friend called. Her husband was in ER, and she needed help with her young children. I went to the hospital and picked up four of them. Then at her request a little later, I went back and got the youngest one, too. All five of them ended up spending the night with us. And you know what? It was okay. Really, it was. I felt like … what’s five more kids? A little more mess, a little more chaotic at times. Back to being up in the middle of the night, etc. And I will admit that I don’t know how people do it with nine or more of their own. But that’s because I’m not them. God gave us grace that weekend with nine children, and he gives people with nine children of their own the grace they need each day as well. When God gives us a child (or nine or ten) to take care of (for a weekend or until they’re grown), He always gives us what we need to be able to do it. And in the process, we learn more about His faithfulness and love!

  33. amanda says:

    I have to say, we are expecting our 5th right now, and we NEVER get asked questions like ‘are you done?’. Thankfully, people have been very polite and congradulatory. I have to admit I am questioning this myself because I simply cannot handle the workload of being extremely sick for months on end on top of trying to keep up with my 7, 5, 3 and 1 year old! The first 3 months I was literally on the couch morning, noon and night, and my mothers brought us meals (angels!) or hubby made them when he could…now I’m feeling somewhat better but lacking the energy to do everything!! Kind of sad about it but I’m thinking this may be our last…:'( Not sure if we could afford extra help (if we have another) but is that also something God provides for His own? I feel like it’s a luxury we can’t afford…
    I’m thinking hubby wants his normal (non-couch potato) wife back too:-)

    • 6 arrows says:

      Amanda,

      I understand where you’re at with being very sick for months on end. I was sick for eight weeks generally for all six of my full-term pregnancies, and the third time was the most severe. Sick night and day. (I’d wake up in the middle of the night and have to run to throw up, which never happened with my other ones — not the middle of the night part.) With my third one, I threw up 5-6 times a day for about five of those eight weeks, lost 10 pounds in my first trimester, and struggled with a lot of health issues the rest of that pregnancy.

      God in His mercy blessed us with a healthy baby despite all that — she weighed almost 9 pounds at birth — but I thought I couldn’t bear going through another pregnancy like that, so we decided not to have more children (although we did not take any permanent measures like sterilization).

      I won’t tell you the whole story of how God changed our hearts on that matter, but three years after her birth, He did just that, and I conceived shortly after that. I had some fears of getting so sick again, but I knew God had brought me through before, and He could certainly do it again.

      Long story short, I was MUCH less sick with my fourth child, and by the time I got to my fifth and subsequent pregnancies, I never threw up anymore, and sometimes the sick feeling was so mild, it felt like I wasn’t even pregnant.

      God showed me that sometimes things change, and circumstances don’t always play out the way they did in the past, and even if they do, He gives enough grace each day to come through the trials.

      I’m 51 now and likely will not have any more babies. I look at my three youngest children (the ones who wouldn’t be here if we had decided to prevent more after our third child), and I can’t imagine life without them. All the positive memories I’ve collected of them (and the many more to come, God willing — they are ages 6, 9 and 12) greatly surpass the temporary challenges of pregnancy.

      I’d encourage you, Amanda, to see beyond the present challenges, and look to all the blessings that can come in the future. Trust God, and let Him show you His mercy and strength in this season (and, like any season, it’s only a part of the big picture, and might be over much sooner than we realize). I like this verse (from 2 Corinthians 12:9): “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

      I whispered a little prayer for you just now. Blessings to you and your family.

      • amanda says:

        Thanks for your prayer, 6 arrows. I completely have had all those thoughts you are talking about…though, I have been that way with ALL 5 pregnancies (puking in middle of the night…).It’s tiring, but I also know it’s temporary and the Lord willing in due time will have a baby to raise in the fear of His name. PS, my babies also tend to be approximately 9-11 lbs….which adds a little stress 🙂 that being said, I don’t think hubby sees that temporary part vs. new eternal being part. He feels mom needs to be there for the kids and cannot fulfill her calling if she is so sick. He also feels God has given us brains and cycles that we can use. We are still thinking about it, maybe we’ll just take a break and by that time my 7 year old will be older and help out better/more. I just turned 30, you never know how long until the fertility ‘runs pig’s (or God closes womb), but it ‘could’ be a while yet!

        • amanda says:

          Autocorrect: ‘runs out’. I didn’t finish but it posted. I think we will need to spend some time in prayer before the Throne of Grace…

        • 6 arrows says:

          So sorry about all that throwing up in the middle of the night (and I’m guessing not only then) in all your pregnancies. Very hard, I’m sure. My mom vomited the whole 9 months in her last pregnancy, and then got her tubes tied after my youngest sibling was born. She regrets that decision very much, as her fertility was brought to an end before even reaching the age of 28.

          Approaching the throne of grace in prayer — yes, very needful. I’ll continue praying for you and your husband, too, Amanda. My husband was reluctant to have more children when our special-needs son’s challenges became very difficult, so I understand how some circumstances can be quite overwhelming, and preventing children for a while can be a consideration. We are no longer trying to prevent them now, but did for a few of the early, challenging years.

          Pray for your husband and aim for unity with him as much as you can. There are blessings in that, too.

          P.S. Nine to eleven pounds…whew! My biggest two were nine-pounders, and most of the rest were eight. Hard for me to imagine having bigger ones than that! 🙂

          • amanda says:

            Yes the large size gets challenging at the end; my third was stuck for 2 minutes, so with my 4th I was rather worried. I purposely, naturally induced a week early, he came fast and weighs in at 9lb. 10oz. Had he cooked a week longer, he would have been another over 10 lbs. And trust me, I’ve changed my diet! According to midwife I have hips made for big ones! With this one we have the same natural induction plan in place for a week early…:-) Thank you once again for your prayers.

  34. And if you haven’t read it, DO. Matt Walsh:

    “This is true. This is beautiful. This is why parenting is a high calling.

    And this is exactly why our society hates children.

    No matter what anyone else says, THIS is why we’re experiencing historically low birth rates. It’s got nothing to do with an economic crisis, and everything to do with a selfishness crisis. This is why we dehumanize children, kill them, exterminate them. This is why we have less of them, and why we call birth control a “preventative medication.” It’s why couples who choose (note: I said CHOOSE) not to have kids will often refer to themselves as “child-free” — much like a recovering patient might call himself cancer-free.” Read all at Your Life is Over When You Have Kids

  35. Stevens says:

    Kelly wanted your thoughts on a particular item in my life pertaining to this topic. W have a special needs child we found this out at age 3. To be honest I’m not sure if this of genetic or not. We are on a waiting list to see a specialist. I’m feaful of any additional children. Raising a child with special needs is hard. Explaining this to family is hard. Worrying about her future..who will care for her when we are give. Lots of stress. I’d love a large healthy family. There are no guarantees on baby no.2 so for now we will focus on one.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Stevens,

      My husband and I are raising a special-needs child, too. It IS hard, but, as I’ve said before, I do believe that God gives grace as we walk through difficulties.

      We have six children, and our special-needs child (a son) is the fifth. The birth of our sixth child three and a half years after our son did untold wonders for his development. He was severely delayed with many things, but as his sister acquired new skills, he often picked up on them shortly afterward.

      And not only that, the companionship he has developed with his younger sibling is such a blessing. He had a harder time relating to his older, neurotypical siblings for a long while, but the camaraderie he shares with the younger one has been of mutual benefit to both of them in ways I can’t begin to describe.

      I hope that you will consider the blessing siblings could be to your daughter, and she to them. Many times the stress of which you speak, and what I know through experience to be true, can be lessened when there are many in a family with whom we share bonds of love. I’m not describing it very effectively…but those myriad love bonds outweigh the stress.

      Prayers for you as you raise your daughter.

    • Chrissy says:

      Stevens, I also have an eldest child with special needs. His younger brothers came along before we had a defined sense of what we were facing with our oldest, and it is genetic. Luckily, it is the kind of genetic that is triggered, so we have been able to avoid triggering the same problems for our other two, who have similar genetic patterns. The second child (N) is the one that is the real blessing to our oldest (E) because N’s precocious speech, natural social facility and pure energy has been the best therapist E could have had. They are best friends (E’s idea from the time N was born) and they provide encouragement and security to each other. E’s life would be much diminished without his little brother….and his vocabulary would be smaller. 😉 God is good. If we had known….we might have chosen not to have our second and third sons. We would have all been less blessed in so many ways. Plus…they are hilarious.

    • Claudia says:

      Stevens,

      I know your struggle. Our first child was born with a rare genetic disorder, not diagnosed till he was three at the Mayo Clinic (as nobody in our area could figure it out). I was not a believer in Jesus Christ. We waited 5 years to have another child. The chief of the genetics dept. told us our 2nd son “likely” had the same disorder when he was 5 months old. They ended up being wrong. Then, our third son was diagnosed with the same disorder. WRONG AGAIN (they didn’t remove the diagnosis from his records till he was 10). They just had no evidence, and all the labs just baffled them. At one point they said they had never seen anything like it. Then, when my first son (who has multiple health and neurological disorders) was about 14, a new doctor challenged the diagnosis of the doctor at Mayo. In the end, the Mayo doctor agreed with the NEW diagnosis (also untreatable)and he now has a new rare metabolic disorder. All that to say that I am not bitter at all. I just smile. I have such a testimony before all these incredibly intelligent geneticists. The Lord used my first son to draw me to Himself. Tears. Still – some 16 years later. Thankfully, I’ve never been the same. I would never trade any of these experiences. The Lord has used them in millions of ways I understand, and I’m sure many more that I don’t. I pray, Stevens, that you will continue to seek the Lord and His wisdom, and know He loves you *PERFECTLY* and will see you through victoriously as you trust in Him. “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thess. 5:24

  36. Neysha says:

    This was beautifully written. I have not read the other comment in full but I did want to say I am a mom to 9 children 17and under. 1 child is a ft in a wheelchair and need all my care. I also usually vomit a few times a day for about 14 weeks in pregnancy and after my 6th I was told I could carry no more children I would m/c them all. But I also serve and AWESOME GOD who is faithful in all. I am so thankful for my children and often now I might feel sad for families who have not been open to more children. It has not always been easy for us. but WOW the Lord has showed us so much through our trails.

    Blessings,
    Neysha

  37. Tonya says:

    I feel you on the have more than two and people assume you’ve never heard of birth control comments. I have five and surprisingly I did use birth control mostly to space them out a little. I always had rough pregnancies so I never wanted to have back to back pregnancies even though that is exactly what happened with my two oldest daughters who are sixteen months apart. Now when people ask I can honestly say unless God works a miracle I’m done not so much because I wanted to be,but because genetics conspired to give me several illnesses that are not compatible with carrying a pregnancy to term. My last pregnancy was fraught with complications and when the doctor suggested having my tubes tied during my c-section I decided it was really for the best.

    Yes it makes me a little sad knowing my Emily is the last, but then I remember the months of fear and worry, and how I knew I just wouldn’t be able to handle it if I lost her. I also have my older kids to think about there’s a good chance another pregnancy would kill me and I think I owe it to them to try and be around till they’re adults at least. I want to see them grow up and I want to still be around to see my grandbabies and spoil em rotten.

    I don’t see anything wrong with large families mine is larger than average. Admittedly there’s not much extra room or money, the kids are loud and the house is messier than I’d like, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have it any other way. Still I think number of children is a very personal matter and people should just live and let live when it comes to family size. Having had the negative comments directed at me whenever I see a mom with several little ones I always just smile and if I say anything it’s commiserating that yeah they keep you busy and sometimes a little crazy, but they are all blessings

  38. Stevens says:

    Thank you for your wisdom and kindness. Those testimonies give me hope. Hugs

  39. Therese Jacobs says:

    Just came across this from a friend. Love it. Rarely find families who share our openness to life. Thanks for voicing it so clearly and beautifully. I am grateful for our Catholic Church that supports us in our love of new life and our disdain for the perversions of artificial contraception.

  40. Gillian says:

    Amen, amen, and amen! Thank you. I would LOVE to hear this from the church pulpits, as well …. sadly, you just never hear this topic addresses (or rarely) …

  41. Me says:

    In Biblical times, there were not as many people in the world as there are today. Common sense tells you we can’t continue to reproduce at that rate… If you can’t financially/emotionally/physically take care of more children, then no, you should NOT have them. Do you have ANY idea how many kids are in the foster care system?! Why is God not “taking care” of them like you said in your article… Most people cannot financially/emotionally/physically take care of a large number of children, which is why you probably get these comments. If you’re one of those few people who CAN take care of multiple children, then good for you. I’m glad your children are growing up in that type of family. Most families aren’t that family and it’s not “normal” to have as many babies as possible just because you can…

  42. CJ says:

    “The modern church ignores a lot of what the Bible says, but perhaps nothing as much as what is has to say about children.”

    ……..Maybe you’re in the wrong church. Maybe you should be in The Church. 😉

  43. Heidi says:

    I have “only” two children, not by choice, but by infertility; i.e. that’s just all God gave us. (Granted, we could have pursued fertility treatments or adoption, but at the time, our marriage was not strong enough to handle more children.) My point is that the reverse discrimination also happens; I have received negative comments about the “smallness” of my family. In my experience, in evangelical churches, large families are much admired and respected, and the mothers get lots of positive attention. I have often felt like since we don’t have at least 3 or 4 kids, we’re not “important” in the church. I can see where negative comments from the world, and from liberal churches are wearisome, but I would ask that you also be careful not to be “proud” of your ability to have many children, to the point of marginalizing those who cannot, for whatever reason.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Heidi,

      It is very presumptuous of you to accuse me of pride–which is a grave sin–because I address what I believe is a huge problem in the church universal. I have written many, many times, that God’s sovereignty includes those to whom He has chosen to give only one or maybe no children. To say the church thinks wrongly about children does not, by default, marginalize those with small families. The jump is ridiculous, in fact, and I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but you’re not the first to accuse.

      I have many, many friends who deal with infertility and I am very compassionate toward women who long for more children. Never in my LIFE have I thought less of a woman with fewer children, even if she has chosen that. And never in my life have I believed that having a large family makes me more of a Christian.

      What you’ve accused me of is the same as if I told someone that talking about the sacredness of marriage and the importance of monogamy marginalizes those who are divorced and caution them not to be proud that they are still married.

      Truth is truth. That’s why I write. Not because I have arrived (believe me, I am as human and in need of a Savior as anyone) or am “proud” of my family. You do a grave disservice to me and others, when you discourage them from fulfilling the calling ALL of us have to speak the truth in love, to teach what the Bible teaches and to speak out against lies that have crept up in the church. That we don’t treat the subject of children the way the Bible does is one such lie.

      I am compelled. And I do so in the deepest humility and gravity.

      • Amy says:

        Kelly, I would encourage you to reread Heidi’s comment. I don’t really think her intent was to accuse you of anything, which is why I think she put the word “proud” in quotation marks. I think she was really just speaking from her heart about her experience. Obviously, I could be wrong, but it seems to me that your response kind of missed her point.

    • Amy says:

      Heidi, I don’t know if you will read this, but I can identify with what you are saying here. I do not think Kelly is showing pride for her large family, so it probably wasn’t the best word to use. But I think I know what you mean about the vibe some large families give. It’s tiring to try to explain, and very few people actually understand. I’m sorry it’s been hard for you to deal with infertility and the small family comments that can be so hurtful.

  44. “It makes me sad…because of the impotence of the church as a result of our misguided beliefs about children.”

    Great word choice!

    Impotence: 1) the quality or state of being impotent
    Impotent: 1) unable to take effective action; helpless or powerless.
    Potent: 1) having great power, influence, or effect.
    Potency: 1) the power of something to affect the mind or body.

    I too “long to see pastors return to a biblical view of children from the pulpit.” Last year I felt God’s call to start writing letters to our pastor and church board on the issue, and then blogging at http://www.righttome.com/category/birth-control/

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  46. […] Why I Look at You Weird When You Ask Me If I’m “Done.”). Generation Cedar. Available http://www.generationcedar.com/main/2014/01/its-normal-to-have-babies-thats-why-i-look-at-you-weird-…. Last accessed 19th Jul […]

  47. Lindsay says:

    Yes. I only have 4 (beautiful) children and I get asked all the time. My youngest just turned 1, so I guess I’m about due for another considering I’m one of “those”. But my doctor believed that it would be unwise for me to carry another baby. And I’m still grieving because I’ve never felt “done” but, now, I am. Every time someone stares incredulously and my “large” brood and asks if I’m done my heart feels ripped out all over again. I am done, but I don’t want to be! Someday I’m going to either go off on some innocent stranger or start sobbing all over them like a crazy person. I’m so tired of being asked!

  48. Sophia says:

    I have only one and I get the “When are you going to have another?” or “You need to have another.” Really? I should have more. Thank you for your permission, I’ll get right on that. You don’t even know me or my situation.
    I think children are a blessing, whether you have one or 10+. This topic is very sensitive and PRIVATE!! How dare people tell a couple to have more or have less! It’s extremely rude! Really I just can’t understand the lack of manner people have… well, I guess I can’t be too surprised since manners are no longer taught.
    Advice to those rude enough to make comments: STAY OUT OF OTHER COUPLES BEDROOMS! And if you ARE really so concerned about the mother of multiple children and her sanity, bring dinner over or volunteer to watch the children for a few hours! 🙂

  49. anonymous says:

    Why are simple questions so offensive? It’s simple to tell someone that you wanted a big family, or to tell them that you’re not sure you’re done and you think you might want more. Problem solved. No offense needs to be taken up. Just give them an honest answer.
    Big families are not the only ones to struggle with questions. Small families do too. You talk about families of two, but I know plenty of smaller families who get questions on when they’re going to have more.
    Families who can’t have children probably get questioned more than you do with your 10 children. My husband and I have struggled with infertility for over 3 years and we get questions all the time. Rather than getting offended we are open with our situation! Everyone has suggestions of what we need to try (all of which we have tried or have decided we won’t try) but it’s ok. Answering their questions honestly, rather than getting offended, immediately diffuses the situation and give me an opportunity to develop a trusting friendships. It also helps me to gain allies in our struggles towards having children. Getting offended just alienates people.

    Some people may think it’s weird that you have a big family, or some people might be amazed at your ability to keep it together with that many kids. Either way, it’s a silly thing to get offended about. Not only that, the language you use in this article makes you sound completely insensitive to the situations of people who love Jesus, desperately want children and are unable to have them, or are unable to have more than what they’ve got. Godly children are not the obvious fruit of a godly marriage. My godly marriage has no children, but we are not any less blessed or honored by God, nor is our marriage any less godly because we do not have the “obvious fruit.”

    Many people feel that they have the right to decide what is and isn’t normal and based on this article you seem to feel that you know what is normal too. I don’t believe that this was your intent, but this is how it appears. Having children is a wonderful blessing and it is natural, but classifying it as normal is very exclusionary. The fact that I do not have children does not make me any less “normal” or any less blessed and it does not mean that my marriage is not godly, or that it is less godly than a christian marriage that has produced children.

    In the same way that I think people need to watch the language they use when they ask questions about a couples situation regarding the number of children they have, it’s also important to realize that the language used when expressing frustration about those questions can alienate entire demographics of people, completely destroying the point that was being made in the first place.

    • Anon,

      Way to disregard what the article actually says and create straw men to make me look like an Ogre. No, I don’t take lightly those who struggle with infertility (and I’ve sympathized many times on this blog with that struggle, though I cannot add a disclaimer every time I discuss the problem stated here).

      And since you obviously missed my point, the post isn’t about being offended.

      “It makes me sad. Not me personally, not because of how much rudeness or misunderstanding I have to endure, but because of the impotence of the church as a result of our misguided beliefs about children.”

      I write for far more important reasons than being offended.

      Furthermore, your comparison isn’t the same. When you explain to someone you struggle with infertility (for which I am deeply sorry), that changes everything; it’s just a matter of an explanation. It doesn’t matter to people why I have 10 children, that’s the whole reason they’re being rude.

  50. Brittany says:

    Amen!

    I’m not married, and I don’t have children yet, but this blog is awesome! (Coming from #2 of 5 kids)

    And I want Rebekah’s marriage blessing. That is awesome!

  51. Rachel says:

    A well-meaning but dead-wrong older man who lives across the street once asked me (bearing #3) if that was a “mistake”.

    A “MISTAKE?!?!?!?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    I respectfully responded no.

    Children are NEVER NEVER NEVER A MISTAKE. NEVER EVER.

    Just in case any one out there ever asked you that, too. God makes babies; He never makes mistakes.

  52. inga says:

    Thank you for your honesty and candor Kelly. I am pregnant with my fourth and am disheartened by comments from my own family and friends. I wouldn’t be offended if people simply asked if we are done, but “you’re done right?” IS very offensive to me and I don’t think it’s me being too sensitive. I just think it’s no one else’s business. It’s like I feel compelled to say of course. Before this pregnancy, I felt like a liar whenever I answered but I felt like I had no choice. As if it would be better if not happened by accident rather because we actually wanted a fourth child. I had to repent of that. I was ashamed to admit when we had a miscarriage before this one and although family was sad for our loss, some suggested it as a sign. Now that this pregnancy has been challenging and my husband and I have made some major life choices (me giving up my high-paying career to live on his lower income so I can be a full-time SAHM and homeschool our children) the questions (I.e.judgement) never ends. It truly is annoying but it has brought me to my knees at the throne of God. I do feel overwhelmed, nervous, unsure, underprepared, unworthy and anxious about adding another child but I recognize that God never intended for us to do this on our own. These children are not mine, but His so I must continually rely on Him to help. Of course I cannot share any fears with family because “that should have been my cue to stop” especially at my age of 41. And the truth is that this may be our last child BUT it is between God, my husband and I and my prayer is that others would respect that for me and everyone else.

    • I’m so sorry. I have found that more and more, I just have to close my eyes and ears to the criticism, and look up to Him who says, “Blessed are you, and let the little children come.”

    • Di says:

      I have truly enjoyed this post as well as all the comments from so many godly women. I have been sitting here reading all this with tears of blessing. I totally agree with this post even though I don’t have a big family due to the shape of my uterus resulting in many chemical (I think that’s the right word) pregnancies that abort themselves. I have 2 children already and will be 40 in a few days and I have been going back and forth on this very issue. Thank your for sharing Inga! I feel the same way you do ! I have all the same feelings and thoughts. Now my youngest seems to have some health issues that I really need to focus on and I keep going back and forth on if I should be done or just keep trusting God. We live in a small rental house on my husband’s small salary and trying to feed my children a healthy meal and struggling to have enough to eat. Right now I am just so overwhelmed and Satan has really been working hard to get me to feel depressed and defeated. But at the same time I feel I need to trust God. I got pregnant with my first when my husband lost his job and got pregnant with my 2nd after I lost my job. (I now get to be a SAHM that homeschools which I love!)So I do believe His timing is not always ours. Each baby is a miracle and I feel so blessed so I don’t really want to say thanks God that’s enough either.
      I am probably rambling a bit and I can hardly see to type as the tears keep flowing, but wanted to say what a blessing and much-needed comfort all this has been to read today.

  53. […] It’s Normal to Have Babies. (That’s Why I Look at You Weird When You Ask Me If I’m…– Generation Cedar […]

  54. Sarah says:

    Yes!! Why am I just seeing this?! I totally love your respectful defense and explanation of why we do what we do! Thank you so much for this encouraging post!

  55. Sheri says:

    It was good to read this again. We are expecting #10 and have 2 children married and have 2 grandsons. Those outside our close circle can dish the comments and are full of questions. They really don’t understand and it is usually fruitless to try to explain.
    Those close to us understand and give us support, but I have challenges with each pregnancy and the constant questions about how I am doing can be just as hard to answer as the questions about why we continue to have children. I don’t want my challenges to be an issue because I don’t want the younger women to be scared to continue having children, even in their “old” age. Because of all the questions from both sides, we have decided that this pregnancy is going to be more private. If we need specific prayer, we will ask, but otherwise we are just marking off the weeks, thankful for this blessing that is growing in my womb.

  56. Eleanor says:

    It’s true that in the Bible children are viewed as wealth – and in the time period they were considered a form of wealth both economically and spiritually. Keeping that in mind, here are Words for you to think on.

    “Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

    “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.”

    “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.”

    “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

  57. Sophie says:

    While not in any way an advocate for hormonal birth control, I have to ask how having a caesarean is not taking control away from God? As you guys are in USA your c-section rate is around 50% (ours in the U.K. is 20%). I’m pretty sure I’m we’re being biblical that no one in the bible had their baby cut out of their womb….

    • Hi Sophie,

      Without reading all the comments I’m not sure what your comment is in reference too, specifically, but while your statement is true, there are many medical procedures not done in the Bible that are thankfully done today. When we discuss the sovereignty of God or “taking control”, we must realize that God was in favor of health, healing, restoration, etc. Sickness and death are a result of sin, not God’s design. So using the knowledge and medicine that improves, restores or saves our lives can be, I believe, embraced to a certain degree, as biblical.

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