Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Best from the Past--It's my body...

So, I'm in the final countdown waiting for baby to arrive, and I have lacked energy and drive to write anything worth putting up here. BUT...I had been writing and saving stuff elsewhere (myspace) and thought that this one was very timely considering I'm counting the days until our new baby arrives.

By the way, pray for me. The doc announced yesterday that she thinks our baby is going to be another "big" one...sigh...and I had so hoped for a normal sized baby. That picture of her foot back at the end of January should have clued me in, I suppose.

Here it is:

My husband and I are expecting our 6th baby (we each have children from a previous marriage, but this our 6th total), and we couldn't be more excited. We both knew before we met each other that we wanted to have bigger families. You can imagine my surprise when we first talked about size of families to find out that he wanted a large family too (I come with THREE of my own to start with!). But God is so good like that. He knows our hearts, and when we let Him, He puts us where we should be, with the people we should be with.

I'll admit that for the majority of modern families, the idea of more than two children (okay, maybe three...most of my friends who have children have three, not two) is vastly overwhelming. As a woman who had been raising three alone for several years, I can totally relate to why it IS overwhelming to think about for most people. But there are others, people who see more children as a joy, a gift, a chance to bless the world with adults who will make a positive difference, a prize even...well, to these people...small families seem odd.

As I watch TLC and other similar channels featuring shows with families that are comprised of 12 or more children, or shows like "John and Kate plus Eight", I realize that money really isn't a factor in whether these families choose to have "big" families. In every one of these families, mom stays home and works fulltime running the household and childrearing. These women, if employed outside of the home, would likely hold high-stress, high-powered positions because the skills that make them effective caring for numerous children and caring for/maintaining vehicles/homes also are the same skills that would make them highly qualified and effective executives.

And yet, when a woman chooses to have a large family (I have to question if men are questioned the same way...I have heard no reports from my husband of co-workers, etc. questioning his choice to rear a large family), society comes down hard on her.


I have several theories on this. First of all, I believe that we are all called to different purposes. Some women are not "built" for this lifestyle, either childbearing is not physically easy for them, or their passion does not fall to childraising. That's fine. I would hardly advocate that someone fight what their body will do or what their heart and stomach can handle. And their choice is just as valid as mine.

Another theory of mine is the pervasive cultural theory of stuff. Because mothers with large families rarely work outside the home, and because growing children eat TONS of food, create TONS of messes, outgrow TONS of clothing/shoes/toys, a large majority of the family's income goes into raising the children rather than into "toys" and stuff to fill a house. But why is it that people justify going further into debt to get a newer, fancier car, but can't understand how a family would choose to have another baby (that they will not put onto credit)? I know that no car, boat, RV, vacation home, sound system, theater system is going to make my life, from a hindsight view more blessed or meaningful. They just won't. But I believe strongly that looking back at moments shared with my children and spouse--moments of joy, laughter, tears, and pain--will highlight my life as I look back.

And perhaps, my third theory is that there are just too many people who are unhappy with the choices they've made in their own lives and who have too much time to criticize me for the choices I've made in my own. And for these people, more than anything, I have great sadness in my heart (for I know that, at times, I am guilty of this type of criticism towards others). Perhaps for these people, if they had had more children and less stuff, if they had made other choices, they would be too busy enjoying life to spend time questioning and criticizing mine. (Yes, don't worry...I'm reading my own words as I write them and feeling the conviction...and betting that in two months when this baby arrives, I will have too little time to spend worrying about others' decisions...and if not, shame on me!)

As for me and my family, I have no idea yet whether we will choose to have more children. Is six enough? Only God knows! But I feel strongly that it is God's decision, not mine (and definitely not society-at-large's) whether we have more children. And yes, for the record...I know what causes babies...and no, we don't have too many....
I mean, it's my body, and I'll pro-create if I want to!


Christina said...

Okay I have 7 so you know what side of the coin I'm on with this one.

kmom3 said...

Right now, we have three. Only God knows if He has more planned for us or not. I just heard a radio program about the joys of a large family and now I read this that you have written. Hmmmmm......are You trying to tell me something, Lord?
I will be praying for you as your due date approaches!!!! Blessings!

Kelley at Aroma of Joy said...

AMEN Sister! Like Christina, I too have 7 children and I have heard it all. Many times from my own family! I don't know that we ever planned how many we would have but I did pray GOd would take away any desire for more when I was done (I really didn't want 10kids and to still feel that desire for another one). God is good and we are done!

Congratulations and I will be praying for a smooth delivery!