Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey

How Many Children Should We Have? Part 2


{Read Part 1 here.}

Here’s the thing.

Biblically, I know that we live in a broken world.

I believe that in a perfect world, every person would be able to fully care for as many children as they could biologically produce.

In a perfect world there would be no pain or sickness, no conditions that require intense times of special care (of children or parents), unlimited energy, time, emotional resources, finances, mental resources, food, and help.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.  Sin and Satan have conspired to break everything good.

In light of the fact that God does not condemn birth control, and that we live in a broken world where sometimes people are too sick or exhausted or poor to care for another child, I still don’t believe it’s an easy decision.

To me, it’s choosing the better of two bad options, the only options given us on this sin-shattered planet.

One is to disallow the life of another human being in order to steward the resources God has provided us for those children He’s already given.

The other is to have more children, realizing that it may be difficult to adequately care for them (financially, emotionally, or in some other way).

Yet I have to know that God sees our hearts, and that we can be blameless if our hearts are right before Him.  Do we seek Him?  Do we have His heart toward children?  Do we view them as a blessing or a curse (both those we have and those we might conceive)?  Do we have children, or not, according to His directive?  Are we willing to do whatever He asks us to do, whether it’s to have more children or not?

These are questions and thoughts I struggle with.  I wish there were an easy answer, a solution at the snap of our fingers.  But there’s not.  It comes back to our relationship with the Author of life.

And seeking God brings peace.  Following Him brings peace.  Obedience brings peace.

In peace, we can rest.


Please feel free to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!  I would be thrilled!


Look for my eBook, Fearless Mothering, this fall!

27 thoughts on “How Many Children Should We Have? Part 2

  1. While my husband and I have chosen to avoid methods of family planning, I agree that it a decision each couple must prayerfully make. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. You approached this topic with so much grace and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. I’ve read entirely too many blog posts that fall very critically on one side or the other but you were able to take a very gracious and balanced approach to a touchy subject. I completely agree with what you expressed here…we have three children, two of which were sort of “planned” and one who was an absolute shock. Every one is a blessing and I know that I certainly wouldn’t regret having more if it weren’t for my three c-sections which put additional risk on each pregnancy and delivery. (My mom had 6 c-sections and had serious complications after the last one, which I’m trying to avoid.)

  3. I love the perspective you’ve given here. I struggle with this issue. My husband is firmly at “we will only have 3 children”. I waffle between I want 4 and I want however many God gives us and I don’t want people to talk about me! But I’ve never thought of it from the perspective of living in a fallen world–where things just don’t work as they were designed to.

  4. Thank you so much for your gracious comment, Jenni.

  5. I’m so glad it helped, Elizabeth! Yes, weighing the very real possibilities of birth complications in situations like yours can be hard, but so necessary. You sound like a wise mama.

  6. It took me many years of thought, study, and prayer to get to this point, Mary Beth, so I completely understand. Thank you!

  7. hello! i really enjoyed your post! i just wanted to expand on “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 am one of those people, and i do not feel bad or ashamed about it. we waited 8 years between babies because i HATE being pregnant, after being a babysitter and a nanny for many years i never wanted 2 or more children in diapers and carseats, and we were never really sure if we wanetd another child at all. now that we have 2 kids i am sure once we found a bigger apartment we could have another one but its true we do not want to do without “luxuries”. To us “luxuries” means being able afford traveling all over the world, and being able to buy my kids the name brand shoes and clothes once in a while, being able to spend the extra money to buy organic food is very important to me, and also i do not want to give up my little “luxuries” like getting my nails done and a massage once in a while and things like that. i know that sounds petty but right now its the life we want, but maybe God will lead us in another direction later on down the road. 🙂 ( i have never stopped wanting to adopt!)

  8. I’m not advocating some kind of ascetic poverty mentality, Eden. God has given us good gifts to enjoy, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    However, there is a difference between enjoying those things and disallowing human life because of our “I wants.” And in my own life I have discovered that when I make choices based on my “I wants,” I am usually considering what I want more than what God might want.

    It comes down to what we value, I think. If God has another child planned for me (which I can only learn if I ask him in true surrender), are daily luxuries worth more to me than a living person, an eternal soul made in His image? That’s something each person has to answer for themselves.

  9. what you say is totally true, and i was not suggesting that you were advocating some kind of ascetic poverty mentality! (i really did not think i wrote that in a rude tone and if thats what i did i apologize because that was not intended!)
    I agree that daily luxuries are not worth more than a living person, but the quality of life that i can provide to the children i have now is worth more to me than adding another life on this planet. and what about the millions of kids in the world that God “planned” and now are in desperate need of a home and parents? One of the things i do not understand about people who want large families is why keep having more and more kids when there are kids that would love to be adopted? anyway, i was not leaving a comment to cause i fuss, i just wanted to say that some of us have good reasons not to bring more life into this world. (i really enjoy reading your posts tho! thanks)

  10. No worries. 🙂 I’m glad you felt comfortable offering your viewpoint. Adoption is an amazing choice and I hope it is something you can pursue some day! YES! There are so many children who need families!

    Have a great day, Eden!

  11. As someone who went down the road of adoption, I can say that this issue takes on many more layers. Generally those layers are pages and pages of stacked forms, applications, profiles, legal documents and cancelled checks. Thank you for your graciousness and avoidance of a superiority that is often present when large families are discussed – especially when adoption hasn’t been part of the picture. I really appreciate this. (Found you through Mary Beth’s linkup)

  12. Thank you, Amy. Your kind words mean a lot. I have many friends who have adopted. Have you read Jen Hatmaker’s post on adoption from yesterday? It was good! (I’m going on the assumption that most ppl in Christian adoption circles are familiar with Jen. LOL)

  13. Maybe I shouldn’t make that assumption. 🙂

  14. Thank you so much for sharing and linking up at Simply Helping Him! These 2 articles were wonderfully written. Our children are a blessing, and God has given them to us because we need them if not more than they need us 😉 Blessings!

  15. I think you are so right. Although not everyone of small families regret not having more kids I usually find NONE of the large families regret having that many. My Mom was one of 14, my Dad one of 6, together they had 6, There us never a time I hear oh I wish our family was smaller, never once. However I too have talked with other women who regret not having more than they did and I do struggle with our relatively small family. (we are a family of 5) It is in this that although I will no longer carry a biological child, I am hoping to increase our blessings via adoption.

  16. Yes, yes! My kids have done more to help me grow than anything else, in the best possible way.

  17. I hear so many positive comments from people who came from large families! Adoption is a beautiful way to grow your family also…What a joy it would be if you are able to do that!

  18. This is such a gracious, well-thought out, rational post! Blessings!

  19. Over the past few years I have read many a blog post on this issue, and this is the most rational, yet spiritual one yet! How very true it is that in this fallen world it is not a feasibility for every woman to have a dozen or more children. Thank you for expressing this in such a kindly manner.

  20. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Marcia. It means so much!

  21. OK, I think I found you, deeproots! 🙂

  22. Thanks, this is something we are working through as well. We have 5 little ones, 7 under and #6 due in another couple months….. I appreciated your thoughts!

  23. Just a few thoughts: If one child is a blessing, isn’t that also true for the second, third, eighth, fourteenth etc. ? Or is that only true for the ones you had planned for? Do you think that you can make babies, or not, by just following some plan? Do you think you would automatically have a mega family if you didn’t prevent them? Does God enter into this picture, or is it you who controls all? Are you willing to allow God to take control of this area, or not? If God chose to give you more children, is He not capable of providing for their needs? How many times do we have to let go to let God use us for his plan? How many times are His ways better than ours? Our culture encourages the stuff mentality. God says to be content with food and clothing. The culture says glorify yourself, God says to glorify HIM! How many times do we miss the very best because we are holding on to what will not last in eternity? How many times do we put ourselves in first place, instead of God? (I’ m speaking to myself on this too!)
    Search the scriptures, be a seeker, life here is very short!

  24. Yes, Marilyn, I think that was the gist of my post. View children as unqualified blessings, seek God with a surrendered heart, and trust Him to provide as he leads. Are we saying the same thing?

  25. Jen, I understand. It took me many years to formulate my conviction, and then it was just waiting for peace that our family was complete. Working through it can be a process. Blessing on the birth of your newest one!

  26. Right now my heart is aching because I would like to have another child. I was never mentally prepared that 2 would be it, and so I didn’t prepare myself that my last pregnancy would be my LAST. However my husband doesn’t want another. Suggested readings on this? I pray daily that the Lord would change my heart, or allow me to accept this choice of my husbands, OR change his heart. I want us both on board with which ever decision, because right now it hurts a LOT.

  27. Maggie, I’ve been on a break but I’m just now seeing this. I’d continue to pray for unity either way and seek to be content in the meantime. God cares! I’m sorry for the hurt you’re going through.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s