Friday, November 05, 2010

making babies

I have friends with lots of kids. And I mean LOTS of kids. One friend has 15, one has 13, one has 11. Many of my friends have families that fall on the larger end of the modern spectrum. 4, 5 or 6 kids is a normal sized family amongst my friends.

Many of them follow the quiverfull movement, a movement that eschews any kind of contraception. They believe that we should give complete control of our wombs to God, an idea which sounds perfect in theory, but can break down in practice when we assume that ceding control means total inaction.

We always intended to have a large family.

But after Nate (severe PIH, gained 30 lb of fluid in the last week, kidneys failed, was induced and delivered a floppy, grey baby 4 wks early - thankfully he perked up quickly), people told us we should stop. I wondered if I could ever go through that again. I wondered if it would be foolish to try again.

And yet, I knew God had put it in my heart to bear more children. So we tried again. Had Susannah (preterm labor at 31 wks, PROM at 33 wks, delivery with chorioamnionitis at 34 wks), and then Abigail (PROM at 33 wks with a transverse lie, emergency c/s, chorioamnionitis again, NICU).

Everyone thought we were nuts when we got pg with Luke. But I did better (36 wk c/s) and then with Gabe I actually went term (38.5 wks, 2 cm separation in uterus, c/s, high blood pressure). My parents begged us to get a tubal. But we held on to what God had put in our hearts.

And had beautiful Leah by c/s at 35 wks. And a tubal ligation. Because I have people here who need me. And a big God who can grow my family by adoption too. And there is a difference between reacting out of fear and acting out of prayerful prudence.

My point is, go to the Father and then just obey. Yes, the world's view on children is skewed. The Church has embraced this view and even many Christians see children as a burden instead of a blessing. But that doesn't mean we are spiritually obligated to pop out as many children as we possibly can. It means we need to see kids with God's heart, cheerfully accept the ones He brings into our lives and obey Him. The point is to yield. To be putty in His hands. It's not a contest to see who can collect the most kids.

I have friends who have born children at great risk to their lives, and I worry about the children who may be left motherless if they choose to bear another child. But on the opposite end of that spectrum I had an elder at our old church tell us that God doesn't care how many kids we have. That our childbearing choices (other than abortion) are no more important to the Father than the color of the car we drive. And I think they are both off base. We need not be foolish when our bodies are screaming to stop. But children are a blessing, and we will advance the kingdom of God as we raise godly seed. So ending our fruitfulness on a whim of personal preference seems just as foolish. We must be very prayerful about any decision of this magnitude and make sure our hearts and motivations are clean before altering God's design for our bodies.

I don't want to be labeled "quiverfull" though I certainly believe I have a full quiver. I want to be clay in His hands, submitting wholly to His will.


stephanie r said...

another great post my friend :) I totally agree.

sophiaofthrace said...

I can so relate to this post. I wasn't "supposed to" have children. I was warned as a young girl that it would be too dangerous. Then in college I was told I'd need fertility drugs anyway. But even as a little girl, no matter my current interests or goals, there was no question- ever- that I wanted to marry and be a mother. So my husband & I had planned to adopt before we were even married.

Three years after marriage, I became pregnant. When I took the pregnancy test, while I was waiting for that result to appear, I nervously prayed the Lord's Prayer. "Thy will be done." It was positive, and I was ecstatic. Everyone else was worried. There were warnings of the possibility of severe deformation, a lengthy hospital stay, probable miscarriage... But I honestly don't remember ever being afraid.

I had 4 high risk pregnancies, each with their own little troubles, and all C-sections. But all of my children are happy and healthy. I too had a tubal, and it was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I still have a hard time, wondering if my decision was based on wisdom or distrust, and I'm not sure where the line is between the two for me. But I know now that I need to focus more on the children we've been blessed with, and I am so grateful that God saw fit to grant the desire of my heart.

Anna C said...

I love this, "go to the Father and then just obey." I don't believe God has a one-size fits all approach to our families. You capture the sentiment perfectly!

Terra said...

I think God speaks to each family individually as to what is best for them. We aren't to judge someone's quiver-full of two any more then one's quiver-full of 11. We will be done after this one #4 and we believe that this is best for our family. In my world most of my friends have only 2 or 3 and think we are crazy for having 4. :)

zekesmom10 said...

I heard something just the other day that secular families believe 2 or fewer children is the "right" size. Families that attend church believe that is 3 or more is the better size. That makes me happy to think that the next generation or two could see a trend toward decidedly more conservative and religious families.