UPDATE: I won the coveted GOLDEN KEYBOARD award! Thanks, Owlhaven!
This answer is in response to Owlhaven’s Opinion Saturday regarding family size and how do you know when “you’re done.” Of course, that phrase always makes me think of being a turkey, but, anyway,…here goes:
I wonder how many times I have heard the question, “Are you done?” in regards to my family size. This question and other comments like that began immediately after my second child was born. The nurses crooned, “Ooh, look now, you can stop. You have a girl and a boy.” Most people assume you have children to check the “girl and boy” box on your life checklist. It is still acceptable to have three children, but only if the first two are of the same sex. If you would want to have more than that, well, you are downright crazy.
Let me back up and say that in my childhood I always pictured having four children. Soon after my husband and I got married, we lost two children through miscarriage and had a shaky start with our oldest girl. It was then that we realized that it was a little presumptive of us to plan the fruits of our womb so carefully in advance. God’s timetable certainly differed from ours, so we figured His plan for our family might be a little different too. Later, this same train of thought led me to just shrug my shoulders to the “Are you done yet?” question. I wanted to be open to what God had planned for us.
This is not to say that from time to time I have not thought differently. I have been overwhelmed by nausea and vomiting with all of my pregnancies. Each time after heaving up my guts, I have held up a number with my weak hand to my husband, signifying that I am stopping with this one. He learned to ignore my hand signs after our second child. I also can hardly think about another child after just giving birth. I always tell friends to never make up their minds about family size the first year after birth. That year is so intense, but so quickly forgotten as your family and the blessings that come with it grow too.
I also hear that “I could never handle that many children…I am swamped with only two.” I, too, felt that way. But the beauty about life is that you keep on growing and changing and (usually) babies never come in groups larger than two at a time. I am a much different parent now than I was when we first began. My first children are also older now, and that has made a world of difference. I fully believe that family life was harder when I had one or two than it is now. Many factors contribute to this: experience, age, playmates, and most importantly, my surrender.
Do I think everyone needs or can have a larger family? No, I do believe not everyone can or is able, but our society has definitely been blinded to the blessings of children. We somehow think that material comfort and luxuries will bless our families more than children. We also forget that God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. He has told us that children are a blessing…the question is do we believe Him. I have never known anyone to turn down more money, but we go to great lengths to avoid more children.
God is urging us in new direction now…adding to our family by adoption. I am so thankful that he allowed us to participate in the creation of our biological children. We are now looking forward to participating in the adoption of our “gospel” children. Of course, we worry about finances, laundry, and all of the other things inherent in raising children, but we know that God will provide for our deepest needs. He has been with us every step of the way thus far. I know He will continue.