Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey

How Many Children Should We Have? Part 1

16 Comments

I don’t have a Mentor Monday post today.  Instead, I’m going to share about a topic I have wrestled with for many years, and the fruit of those years of study, thought, and prayer.

“Should we have another baby?” 

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of conversations with other women about family size.  It’s a decision that is supposed to be easy to make in our culture, but usually it’s not.  When my friends share their hearts about this topic, I so appreciate their transparency and boy can I identify.

I grew up in a large family and loved it.  I have always wanted a large family.  And now I have one.  No regrets.

I know some Christians don’t struggle with the idea of family size at all.  They view it as a decision for them to make, they make it, and they don’t think twice about it.

Then there are those on the other end of the spectrum, like the Duggar family, who don’t believe in limiting family size at all.

I believe the Biblical view falls somewhere in the middle.

I believe what God says when He tells us that children are an unqualified blessing.

Any child conceived is an eternal soul, made in the image of God.  I think we forget this sometimes in our cavalier attitude toward not having them.

I don’t believe that it’s ever a mistake to have another child.  Children are not a mistake.  They are precious to God and should be to us also.

I realize that, according to Jeremiah, God knows our children BEFORE they are conceived.  I have always had a great fear (respectful fear, not terror) of not having a child God has planned for me.

Our desire should be to have God’s heart toward children—He views them as a blessing, a reward, a gift, He loves them and He calls children to come to Him.

The Bible doesn’t address the issue of birth control at all.  And yes, it existed in Bible times, albeit not in the sophisticated forms we have today.  Scriptures used by “quiverfull” advocates are twisted and pulled out of context, proof-texts turned around to support their view.  God does not forbid limiting family size.

I respect the decision of any couple to have as many children as they desire, including the decision to forego all ways to limit or space children.  I believe that if God leads a family in this way, He will also provide for them sufficiently.

I believe that if a couple chooses to limit their family size, they should choose a way of doing so that does not threaten the life of a child they might inadvertently conceive.  Some common methods of birth control are potentially abortifacent.

I know that a lot of people claim that they can’t afford more children when in reality they don’t want to do without luxuries.

I have talked to many, many older people who wish they had had more children.

I have never talked to a parent of many who regrets any of the children they have.

I believe that most people pray more about whether to get married, change jobs, move, or buy a new puppy than about whether to conceive another child, another eternal soul made in God’s image.

But there’s a caveat.

{Read Part 2 here}

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Look for my eBook, Fearless Mothering, this fall!

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Linking to Better Mom Monday

A Pause on the Path

Deep Roots at Home

New Life Steward

*For those who have linkies in which I participated this morning…I am having difficulty linking back.  Please be patient, I do want to link to you!*

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16 thoughts on “How Many Children Should We Have? Part 1

  1. Thank you for this. This is something I have been struggling with lately.

    I look forward to part 2!

    Blessings!

  2. Thank you for your comment, Sarah. It took me about 10 years of persistent study/thought/prayer to settle it in my heart, so I understand. Blessings!

  3. I hear you Stephanie! We have 5 children and I wrestle with the idea of having another. I am only getting older, but our youngest 2 are only 23 months and 10 months old. I would really like to wait until they are about 3-4 before I conceive again; however, we will leave it in God’s hands while trying to avoid. 🙂 Great post!

  4. My mom didn’t start till she was 36 and had 5 children–my baby sis was born when she was 49! If that helps on the “getting older” part. 🙂 It is hard on your body to have them close together. I understand your desire to wait.

  5. This is something I have struggled with my entire adult life! Thank you!

  6. Totally agree with you here. If you had just one more, would you not want that child? I think there are times when you should not have children, but in America, income is not usually a problem. Stopping by from WFMW. Hope to see you at True Aim!

  7. Stephanie, I am fascinated by this post. We have talked about this so much, and my daughter has been studying the Bible to see what it says, too. Would you consider contributing this to my blog’s “EOA’ Wednesday link-up in the next day or so? I think we need more open discussion on it. I will be back to your blog and see some things I’d like to read already! Thank you 🙂

  8. Looking forward to it! Thank you!

  9. Jaqueline, thank you for your kind invitation, and I would love to join you all! However, your link just takes me back to your gravatar. I don’t see a way to get to your blog? Forgive me, I’m tech illiterate.

  10. Hi, I am new to reading your blog and I don’t usually comment on what I read but this has been an area my husband and I still struggle with. We have studied it inside and out. Looked at it from every angle. Some of our conclusions are much the same as yours but there is always one question that we cannot settle. Did not the God who created the entire universe in such intricate detail give us everything we needed? When he was done creating he said it was was good. He didn’t say woops I forgot something so you’re going to have invent something so you can effectively plan. He gave women a predictable cycle (for the most part), a start and end to our fertility. This gives us a measure of control but not complete. If he had intended us to have more control why did he not build us that way? Maybe scripture doesn’t speak against birth control but with everything it says about children and who the Giver of life is, is it really our job? These are just the rambling thoughts in my head. We began to question and search this whole issue 14 years ago when we ended up 2 children 14mo apart (while I was religiously on the pill)! We didn’t feel very much in control. We now have 6 beautiful children but we still haven’t come to a concrete conclusion on the subject. I am interested to have someone elses imput.

  11. Thank you for your thoughts, Elizabeth. I agree that it’s not an easy decision. I believe that it is important to not attempt to speak where God is silent.

    And yes, the world unbroken by sin was “very good.” Now it is still good, but broken and distorted.

    Actually there are many things that we have to effectively plan as a result of this brokenness. God created us with healthy bodies to walk, yet we know that we don’t have unlimited strength, so we use vehicles. He gave us eyes to see, but in our broken world we don’t always see well–so we plan to wear glasses to compensate. He is our provider, but we plan for the provision of our family in case of tragedy or emergency with wills and insurance. None of those plans would be necessary in a “very good,” unfallen world.

    And absolutely, we are not so much in control as we think. That is why, I believe, surrender and listening to the Holy Spirit are so key. Are we willing to receive from his hand? Would we welcome a surprise baby, or are we willing to have or adopt more at his directive? He knew that we would be born in a time when it is easy to space children or limit family size, and he still did not condemn that.

    Does that make any sense at all? To early, no coffee yet! 🙂

  12. Thanks, I like that perspective on the subject. It gives us more to think about. I definitely believe the attitude of our hearts and our openness to Gods leading are key. Sometimes we plan our children around health or financial concerns though we have seen God provide financially in amazing ways. Everyone thought we were crazy to be excited about #6. We had 3 boys and then 2 girls very close together so why would we want another 4 years later? We didn’t plan him but we are happy for him. Trying to have as many children as possible is trying to control things just as much as preventing them. I guess I am just always saddened when I hear people say they aren’t going to to have children or more than one because they couldn’t take enough vacations, or afford that bigger house. I think they are truly missing out on one of God’s greatest blessings. Our children have blessed us in ways that no vacation or bigger house could replace.

  13. Stephanie, once again you handled this issue with such grace. Thank you so much for sharing, I will be referring back to your words when I have discussions about this issue.

    I’m late making my rounds this week! It was crazy last week! Thanks for linking up with WIP Wednesday!

  14. I appreciate your encouragement! 🙂

  15. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on nordictrack elite 1300 elliptical.
    Regards

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