Generation Cedar

Two Children are a Heritage From the Lord (After That, You Should Know Better)Will you please allow me a little rant?  Yes I know about love and grace and kindness, but does that really bar my right to get agitated?

The pastor sitting beside me as I waited to get my hair cut was a talker.  I mean big time.  You should know, by the way, that I don’t “jump” to tell people I have 8 children anymore.  Not because I’m ashamed of it…maybe it’s more of my weariness of the cliches and attempts at making me feel ashamed for my convictions.

So he’s really chattering, to me, and to my 7-year-old about the baby who’s sleeping in her seat.  And it finally comes up–the number of siblings.  His response?  (Grabs arms of his seat on either side and leans forward…) “ARE YOU CRAZY?”  Did I mention he was a pastor?

Rolled off.  Smiles, answer with my own cliche...”No, I’m blessed.” Another day.

Then yesterday, at the Thrift store, a lady I recognize.  Oh, she’s a lady that frequented our home often when my mother used to cater a monthly meal for The Gideons.  You know those people who do the wonderful work of spreading the Word of God?  She had already bumped into my mom.  So she says, when she sees me…

“I hear you’ve got number 8 in that cart?” Now, most people who see someone they know whom they haven’t seen in a while say things like, “Let me see that new baby?” Or even more simply, “How have you been?” Not this time.

“Yes ma’am”, I say.

She replies, “Don’t you know what causes that?”

OK, here’s the thing.  That question is as tired as jelly shoes and twist-a-beads.  (You’ll only know what that is if you grew up in the 80’s.)  If you feel the need to make a joke, could you come up with an original one?  And one that isn’t so, well, embarrassing to yourself?  And, if you’re a Christian, at least try to hide the fact that you don’t believe children are really a heritage from the Lord.

And really, consider how insulting this “joke” is.  Do you really think this is a subject to which my husband and I have not given a serious amount of thought, prayer and research?  All that intensity of thought is dismissed by your stupid question.

(Honestly, I think I’d rather have someone just be truthful and ask me why I don’t use birth control.  Because the question she asked clearly reveals that she is not even open to another take on the issue and probably hasn’t given it much thought at all beyond the assumption that if everyone else is doing it so should we.)

I really must start answering more creatively to this question.  It just begs for its own response.

Maybe a blank stare?  A tedious description of the reproductive process?  (“And I think that’s the way it works, am I right?”)

Maybe a reminder that God did not say,

“Children are a gift from Me…well, for the next 6,000 years or so.  But after that, you brilliant people will come up with a way to stop them from coming.  The easiest way will be with a pill that often causes mood disorders, weight gain, nausea, abdominal pain, cancer and sometimes even abortion. But don’t worry about those, this is my will for you, I just forgot to mention it when the Bible was written.  And when people make rude comments about your sex lives (which I created), you should be ashamed.  I mean, anyone with a brain should be on birth control.”

So, still trying to figure out how to respond to this awkward question.

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171 Responses

  1. My FIL asked us if we knew what was causing it with #4. I said, “Yes, and it’s just too much fun to quit.” He was embarrassed at the time. But, you know what? He has loved hearing about #5 & 6. He’s now encouraging us to have lots more. When a woman at church asked if we were planning on having any more, I said something about God’s planning not ours. That encouraged her and her husband to be open to their #4.

    I believe sometimes a sweet answer is required and sometimes a savory answer is. Which ever flavor, it must be the “Grace” brand of seasoning! “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Col. 4:6 ESV

  2. Personally I would LOVE to have eight children! None yet… and my hubby wants three, but we’ll see what happens 😉

    I think a great response to the question “don’t you know what causes that?” would be and enquiring look and the question “obviousy not. Could you please fill me in?”

    Why not turn the tables on them? lol

  3. “You know what they call people who use NFP, don’t you? Parents.”

    That’s the one I got for years from the medical profession.

    I had to laugh at the idea of your explaining the ‘process’ to any rude inquirers.
    If you ever try it, please let us know how it goes.

  4. You are allowed to get agitated. Even with love, grace and kindness – you are not made of stone. That kind of attitude is insulting (toward the kids), even more so coming from a pastor or a christian.

    My friend has a good response:
    If someone were to say to you that you have too many kids…

    You can ask them – which child would you have me give back?

    I guess that’s no help for a BC response. I like what Kathy said, though…turn the tables on them, let them explain it to you.


    You can type up a kid testimony. You can share how God has changed your hearts on this matter, etc. Have it ready to give out to people. 🙂

  5. Everything I feel! I cannot believe how our hearts deal with the same things! You are such a blessing and it is no coincidence that I found your blog! God is good! Wish we could someday get our families together!
    Thank you again and again!

  6. You should say, “No, I don’t know what causes it, could you please explain it to me?” How sad that these people, especially the Pastor, are ignorant to what God’s word says. Remember several generations ago, (prior to the 60’s) when having a large family was good. Actually, throughout history, even among the pagans, it was good. It still is good to have a large family, just not to the corrupt times we live in. Keep your chin up, because you ARE blessed!

  7. Okay, I already posted but I had a thought. I think I will print this out and keep folded copies of it with me at all times and hand it out to those wonderful people who dare to ask! Do you mind? 🙂

  8. In response . . . “Yes, I know, but I just can’t seem to give up the chocolate.” That might go right over their head though, since in pouring through Scripture they somehow missed that children are a blessing, too. 🙂

  9. Haha – I liked Erin’s “chocolate” response… 🙂 My husband and I are on number 3 (that’s THREE, not EIGHT) and we’re already getting that “Cause” question. Irks me to no end. I’ll pray for you, Kelly, cos I know how irritated I get after only 3 😉

  10. Sigh . . . Why do people feel it’s any of their business to make these personal comments, anyway? We only have 4, but recently we were visiting at a church where an older lady informed me that she had told my husband that he “should spend more time sleeping and less time making babies.” I’m still not quite recovered from that one.

  11. Sarah – wow! The lady who said that to you, was pretty brave to give such a nervy piece of “advice”.

    Makes you feel kind of sorry for her husband – who probably gets/got plenty of sleep! 🙂

  12. I completely agree! Having just had 8 & 9, I try to avoid telling people how many children I have, just because I get tired of the responses. I’ve never actually been asked if I know what causes it, but more often the person is so shocked that their mouth literally hangs open while their brain processes the information. More than once, I’ve been tempted to reach over and gently close their mouth for them. Maybe it’s the part of the country I live in, but it’s as if the idea that someone would have more than 2 or 3 children honestly never entered their head as a possibility.

  13. My girlfriend has 6 and frequently people will ask two specific questions – ‘are they all yours?’ Once she smiles and politely answers ‘yes’ they usually go with ‘the same father?’

    I was present one time recently when an incredulous woman was asking her these questions – not being used to the rudeness, I asked the woman why she hated her children so much as to not think of them as blessings – it didn’t go over very well.

  14. My husband says, in response to “do you know what causes it?” Yes, but I haven’t figured out what brand of water I can buy that doesn’t do that.

  15. Tell them to take care of their own house before taking care of yours. I’m 29 and single with no children and I am constantly asked why I’m not married yet. I tell people it’s because I haven’t met a man yet who wants a large family…crickets. Now I constantly get asked why I don’t just have children without a father. I wish people would just get out of business!

  16. Here’s a bold reply for that question that would put anyone who dares to ask it in their place pretty quickly with their own blushing cheeks (I mean, isn’t the reason their asking you that question in the first place to see if you’ll blush?) Here goes:
    “Don’t you know what causes that?”
    “Yeah, baby! We sure DO know what causes it! Since you asked… I have to tell you, our sex life is so incredibly blessed and amazing!!! I mean, outa this world. We just can’t stop!” 🙂

  17. Kelly, one day I got that same question/joke three times in a row. The third time, I said, “Oh, my goodness! Now, I just *knew* there was something my mother forgot to tell me before my honeymoon! Why don’t you explain it to me and my children right now?” (said with a big, sweet smile and sparkling eyes). The woman was totally flustered. She stuttered and stammered and finally had the grace to blush and laugh nervously. I continued to smile radiantly as I bid her good day and walked my crew out the door of the post office. Sometimes you just have to give ’em what they ask for. 😉

  18. Oh Kelly, it probably doesn’t make much difference in the long run, but I’m rootin’ for you! It brings tears to my eyes and pain to my heart to see how generous you are with sharing your love of children and God’s Word and how you are such an encouragement to so many of us out here and yet “Christians” have so much bitterness to it, to blessings. You might let someone in on the fact that, while they are complaining about *your* gifts, there is a young woman in Tennessee (and I know elsewhere) that is still praying for a child to love and that you’re just helping with God’s army while she waits 🙂 But please don’t think that when we start having little ones that you can “quit” 😉 Keep on keepin’ on, sister!!

  19. This made me alternately teary, angry and nauseated. It’s amazing to me how much we have bought into the culture’s lies about children and family. We have four children (not a lot by many standards) and we get similar comments and remarks. I feel like having #5 (if God should choose) tips the scales in many people’s eyes to CRAZY. We have been fed a bill of lies about children and most of the culture, Christian or not, believes it. It really saddens me. Thanks, Kelly, for venting about what so many of us feel! I pray that God would give you immense joy today in the presence of your children!!! That is his heritage!

  20. It seems like people are getting more and more negative, and being bold about it.
    I was out walking with just 2 of my kids the other day, (DH was about 50 yards ahead of us with the other 2) and some guy passed me and made a reference to “octo-mom”. That was with 2.
    Once at Sam’s club, DH was taking all four out to the car while I waited in line and some lady walked up and said “Did you see that guy with the four kids? I would cut my throat.” I smiled and said, “Actually those are mine, and it’s not really all that bad.”
    Needless to say she walked away pretty quickly muttering about being sorry for embarrassing ME!
    Unfortunately, I don’t always manage to be as gracious as some of you.

  21. Last week with my TWO children–ages 25 months and 13 weeks–a man told me at the grocery store (with two of his own in tow) “You’ve got too many kids.” WHAT???!!! Ack! How can it be starting already?

    I’m glad you’ve got me thinking about this because I’m sure I’ll have to come up with my own responses in the future 😉

    To the “You know what causes that?” question, I would *like* to respond (we’ll see if I have the guts when my turn comes), “Yes I do. And, if you don’t mind, I’d rather not discuss it with you, as it’s absolutely none of your business.” And, if I was really irked I might also add, “And I’d rather you not refer to my chidren as ‘that.'”

  22. I get the “you only have one” comment. One time a lady told me I should try to have more (as if we weren’t) because her only child had just died and now she has no children. She wouldn’t want that to happen to me! I calmly (surprisingly) told her God had told us we were having one, and she wasn’t going to die before her time here was done. (It turns out that I had a medical thing that prevents pregnancy and God was gracious to tell us so we didn’t go through the years of heartbreak expecting/wanting more). You are not wrong to get irritated…but in your anger, don’t sin. I would get a book, cover it with a book cover that had “All About Sex With Detailed Pictures” on it and whip it out to show someone when they asked. OK, I really wouldn’t but it would be funny.

  23. I like these responses so much! I thought of “Yes, and it is such fun. What? Don’t you have fun anymore?”

  24. I always find it interesting when people ask this question. Many Christians really have never thought through what they are asking. The problem is that they think sex causes babies. Sex does not give life–God does. Many people are desperately trying to conceive a child by having sex and their wombs are closed.
    I think if I knew a person was a Christian and they acted shocked or made a rude comment about the number of children I had, I would ask them if there were other scriptures that they didn’t believe. Perhaps carrying a ‘business’ type card with scripture references about children being a gift from God and a blessing would be a good idea.

  25. Don’t you know what causes that?

    “Well, there is preliminary evidence, but we are still working on the field research before we release our findings.”

    (I totally get you, Kelly! I have six and I’ve been hearing these comments since I was pregnant with number two!)

  26. Kelly,
    Dont be discouraged! My own mother has 5 children! She would have had many more had the Lord allowed, in fact her last two (Me Included) are adopted! She also had the great joy of being a foster parent! People ask her these kinds of questions when she says she has five children!
    I hope the Lord wishes for me to have a large family as well when my time comes.
    Birth control is SO SO SO VERY DANGERIOUS! I don’t understand how any christian women can use it knowing it causes early abortions! ( I have actually heard Christian Pastors Defend the use of the pill, and say that conception is not the beging of life, but yet implantation is, so these early term abortions are ok! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! Its so shocking to me I almost dont know how to defend what I know is right, life begins at conception!
    Hope you find encouragment!
    God Bless,

  27. My husband and I have six children so far and have had so many negative comments including “Don’t you own a TV?” and “So, when are you getting the ‘snip,snip'”!! When someone comments on how many children we have
    my husband always tell them, “It’s called Family Planning!” The conversation usually ends there. I am seriously thinking of getting a shirt done up that says “Yes, they’re all mine and yes, I’m busy.”

  28. I can only speculate as to how it must feel to be asked these questions. My husband and I are on the starting end of feeling the blessings of children (we are about to have our first in January) and we are already being asked a lot of questions like “why we would choose to have children so soon”?” (we got pregnant 7 months into our marriage), “are we really sure we want to have so many kids?”, “how many kids do you plan on having again?”, and “so your saying you don’t use birth control?”. Words like chose, want, and plan strike a wrong cord with me. Much like your post, the majority of these questions and comments have been asked by our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we respond to them that we are open to life and feel children are blessings, they look at us like we are plum crazy!

    All jokes aside, it can be very difficult! I constantly go back to the word of God and struggle with standing firm on my conviction. Thankfully, I feel as though God is working through my husband whom I strongly desire to be my leader. I pray daily about openness to life as I know that it is not an easy path.

  29. Hey Kelly! Hope you and the “little-est” one are doing well. (As well as all of your blessings!)

    Thanks for the laugh, everyone! I needed that today!!!

    I used to wish I could come up with some scathing one-liners, but something I’ve found to be just as effective is a saccharine-smile and silence. If you give folks enough space to look (and sound) completely silly, they will.

  30. Acctually… This makes me think of an old episode of 7th Heaven thar was on yesterday!
    The Cambdems have 6 children and have twins on the way! So they are about to have 8! The youngest 3 children are “embaressed” that mom is a waking advertisment that mom and dad cant keep thier hands off one another! Through circumstance The Oldest Daughter gets the opurtunity to show the youngsters how wrong they are! And how wonderful a baby is!

    Also My Mom always responds to “are you crazy”: “Obviously! I have 5 kids! but I am happy!”
    and “Dont you know what causes that”: “No I dont guess I do?” with a smile!

  31. Confession: Before I had children and before God changed my heart, and before I was awakened to the Biblical truths and blessings of children and motherhood — I shudder to tell you, I said those exact words (Don’t you know what causes it?). I am now so ashamed. But, I can tell you, that not one time that I said those words was I intentionally attempting to be hateful or meddling or really anything. For me, I just really didn’t know what a good and appropriate response was to a woman who was expecting more than 2 in a culture that says 2 is all you need. So, not to defend the people who say these things, but, perhaps their motives are a bit like mine were: ignorance and lack of commentary to such an extraordinary situation in our cutlure/world. There are those who for sure do have malicious motives, but, without knowing who these are, “a gentle answer.” And now that we are expecting no. 3 (3 in 3 years), I get the same comment all the time. And I just smile. And becuase I have to withold a naturally-inclined sarcastic tone and spirit, I also bite my tongue. But let me tell you, I can think of some whoppers to blurt back….lots of good ones posted here. Here is one of my favorites:

    “My husband and I are 1st cousins and we are part of experiment with the government to see if inter-family breeding programs can be reintroduced into the population so that family planning can be dictated by a socilistic government that is sure to be a part of our very near future. So far our first two chldren are without defect, but they are requireing that we continue to procreate to ensure that there is indeed a level of success before they implement the program to rural families in Missiissippi for furhter test cases. It’s hard on the body and kind of freaky to be breeding with a cousin, but hey, the program pays great! You interested in signing up for it? I get an extra 5 grand for every person I refer who actually participates!”

    (No disrespect intended to our friends from Misssissippi! Or people who live in rural areas, like me, or anyone married to an actual first cousin:-)

  32. My husband just says, “It is my secret plan for world domination.” No one can come up with a response while laughing

  33. It is amazing what people will say – we have three, would love more. We get “are you done”? on a regular basis. Our youngest is a boy, with two older sisters, and many people assumes we were “trying for a boy”…and they’ll say it right in front of the kids, as if one is more highly valued or prized over another, or we would never would have wanted three if one of the older two had been a boy. It makes me ill, and yet I still fumble for the appropriate response (I know what I’d like to say, and it’s definitely not appropriate!). Funny, we’re quick to defend them to others in matters of misbehavior, but slow to defend their very existence. Hmm.

  34. You guys totally crack me up! Good comic relief. And I agree that mostly Christians make these comments out of a cultural precedent that has disconnected the event of having children from anything that Scripture says about it. To me, it kind of goes back to the reality that many who profess Christ don’t really allow/want the Bible to be lived out through their fingertips.

  35. You are much kinder than I. We have four precious girls and we often get the “trying for a boy?” or “poor dad!” responses in front of my girls. I smile and say, “no, we had some boys but traded them for the girls” or “I think you mean to say blessed dad!” My girls love to see the looks on the strangers’ faces.


  36. Oh, and I deleted a comment from a gal (Deborah, I think?) who wants to know “how it feels to have the shoe on the other foot”…she said,

    “so it’s OK to tell me not to work, to have more children to be a helper to my husband, etc., but you don’t want other people telling you what to do” (paraphrased slightly.–I actually deleted it on accident 😉

    My answer is this: I don’t walk up to people in the grocery store and say they should be a helper to their husbands, or, *fill in the blank.*

    I write it, much like someone who writes a book on a subject they believe in. It is here for those who want to read it. If you don’t agree with me, you don’t have to read.

    Mainly I write to encourage fellow believers and prick our minds to think against what I believe is infiltration of some ungodly philosophies in the church. I don’t “tell people what to do”. One must voluntarily read my opinions/convictions to “be told”.

    So that, my friend, is one main difference. (Since you didn’t want me to mention that “the Bible says so”, which is, I think, a really big deal 😉

  37. Yes… what KB said. When someone asked me how old I was recently (someone I didn’t know well and it was irrelevant to the conversation), I simply just didn’t answer.
    There is enough sarcasm in the world for us to be joining in… it’s out of place…kinda like seeing Amish girls sittng at the bar at Chi-Chis. (still can’t get that image out of my head.)

  38. Kelly,

    I’m sorry that you had to endure those “insults” from those individuals. Society is quite “tipped” in the head when it comes to children and families (at least from what I have observed and heard). I currently have no children. I am 40, and on occasion, people like to ask why as if I have a choice in the matter. It’s not up to my husband and I, but it’s up to God’s timing and planning. It’s quite frustrating.

    It’s “funny.” When I used to use birth control and I got asked the “Why don’t you have children” question, I just told them I was on birth control and didn’t want children and they were fine with that. Now that I am NOT on birth control and get asked the same question, they still ask, “Why?” It doesn’t make much sense.

    However, if you have “more children than required by the norm,” people again ask “Why” or think you are insane or crazy! The entire ordeal is nothing but utter nonsense!

  39. So sorry you have to go through that all the time. I think you are right about it being separated from Scripture. I have NEVER heard it preached while sitting in church. 🙁

  40. I have eight and of course get asked the questions. I like what Amy Jo said, and I have always assumed that the questions are sincere. It hasn’t really bothered me because I have just expected that people will probably ask the questions.
    I have actually given the answer about “knowing where they come from and liking it”, not with sarcasm, but just as a funny answer because it really is a ridiculous question.
    I wish all of you could live where I do now. Most of the time the comments are very positive concerning a large family. On my street there are four other families that have at least four children. Maybe we’ve been an inspiration 🙂
    It’s very interesting though, if we travel downstate where I grew up we get the stares.
    Also, closer to the city (we used to live in Oak Park – west of Chicago). Oak Park is a very liberal town, and when I had number three people would literally stagger away when I answered yes to the “Are they ALL yours?”
    One time in the grocery store when I had my first five (under 6)someone commented “Day Care, right?”
    I have just figured that they comment out of ignorance.
    There’s just one thing I want to know though, “How are you going to pay for college for ALL of those children?” ~smile~

  41. Amen and amen. I can deal pretty well with the discouragment that seems to naturally come from the world, but its always more hurtful when it comes from fellow Christians.

  42. I don’t remember who said it, but the “world domination” comment tends to come to mind to me too, though I don’t tend to say it. But really, in 15-18 year our kids will be outvoting their “moderates” and lefties 2-1, or in your case 4-1. Take that!

  43. My husband and I have a 16 year old and 14 year old. We decided to get a reversal and have been blessed with a 3 year old and 1 year old. The comment we get all the time is “oh you have two families.” I really get annoyed with this, as I see us as one family.

  44. just a thought…whenever the Lord keeps bringing a situation into my life repeatedly, it is usually because He is trying to reveal the beam in my eye. prayer, and keeping my eyes on Jesus and off of others and myself shows me how to respond.

  45. I haven’t read all the comments, so if this is redundant…sorry. I have a friend (with 7) who responds, “It’s a good start don’t you think?”

  46. I hadn’t thought of this before, but if I were in the same situation and someone asked “Don’t you know what causes that?” (like I have done myself a long time ago, ashamedly) I’d probably ask back, “We sure do…why do you need some help?” All in love, of course 🙂

  47. Delores,

    Somehow I don’t think “bringing a situation into my life repeatedly” and the jaded comments of others about children are the same. Not that God can’t use anything in our lives to “reveal the beams”, but I don’t read the failure of the church to teach about the blessing of children as a lesson from God, I read it as disobedience.

  48. We have five kids. The worst comment I ever got was at the AWANA fair last May. A fellow church member came up to me and with a smile on her face said, “So are you ready to go crazy and kill all of your kids yet, like Andrea Yates?” I was floored and quickly responded with a “NO!” And she said, “Well, I guess if you were going to do it, you would have done it by now.” I didn’t even respond to that, because if I would have, you would have had to haul me out in handcuffs…lol. This was IN church…a fellow Christian…a mom of two. I still get fired up when I think about it (in case you couldn’t tell…lol). I have a hard time being in the same room as that woman. I sent the Voddie Bauchum (sp?) sermon you posted to our pastoral staff after that. They pretty much blew me off. That woman wouldn’t have such a terrible attitude if the church leadership were doing what God has ordained them to do. That’s what makes me more mad.

    I don’t really care about the ignorant comments I get in WalMart…its the one’s I get in church that sting the worst.

  49. Christina,

    I am shocked at that. Yes, that was a point I wanted to emphasize…the unbeliever has no opinion except his own. But the Christian is supposed to share the heart of God.

  50. I have 4 children and get the same comment all the time, that and “you sure have your hands full”. I’ve found the best response to both is “we are very blessed”. I know how hurtful the negative comments can be, when I told my dad I was expecting my youngest child he responded with “I thought you got FIXED after the last one” and “that’s going to be an awful burden on you”. I just told him I considered the blessing more than the burden and quickly got off of the phone with him and cried. I’ve tried to come up with sassy one liners to combat the negative, rude or nosy comments also, but then I came to agree with a previous poster who said the world is sarcastic enough w/out us joining in. Now I would much rather show them my grace and joy over my blessings, leaving a curiousity about that rather than the sting left by a well placed (and deserved) comment that reddens their cheeks.

  51. I hadn’t the time to read the comments…just a few words from a comment I received (in a roundabout way) today.

    We are expecting our 12th child. Last week we found out that it is a girl. We are very excited, because we haven’t had a little girl for over 12 years – the last 6 babies were all boys. Our four oldest daughters aren’t the only ones to be excited; even the boys and everyone who knows us is rejoicing at the news that a long awaited girl on her way.
    When my SIL heard this she said, “I hope she will make your life complete.” I take that to mean she hopes we’re finished now.
    The sad thing is that she lost two babies to a genetic disorder 6 weeks before they were due – born and died shortly thereafter. She struggled over that while her sister and I had our babies and she had none. Shortly thereafter she was able to adopt. Years later she entrusted God and conceived and delivered a completely healthy, normal baby. She had her two, and she was finished. Yet I don’t think she ever got to the point of fully accepting and surrendering herself to God’s wil for her life. And although she insinuates from time to time that we “should be done” now, she seems to have no appreciation for the new life she so longed for, at least after the number of children climbs past the norm. Sure, she has lots of time for herself and her projects, and her house is very neat and clean, but little does she realize how much God uses children to bless and grow us. When I get those comments, I just say that we wanted lots of children and God blessed us. Some people aren’t so blessed.


    The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults. ~Peter De Vries

  52. One of the funniest ones I heard, but haven’t yet tried is “yes, I do. Would you like me to explain it to you?”

  53. Wow, you poor thing. I only have five, and I get those comments! On the other hand I have had a couple of people say ” I thought that if you can handle 3 children, I thought that I could too” That might be a backhanded compliment, but you probably influence more people to love children, they just might not say it. Keep having your blessings. 😀

  54. I am preparing myself for all the comments when I will be out and about with my six and the new baby who is due early December. So far the responses from people at church have ranged from surprise to very positive….it is simply that my children won their hearts. When my twins were little they were being passed around for cuddles each Sunday but it was not the women who wanted to hold them …. it was the men! Don’t you think that is interesting? Most of the men have no more than four children and their children are grown or into their teens, I do think some of them were thinking as they held onto my tiny girls (they didn’t want to hand them back!) ‘Why did we stop at 2 or 3?
    As to respond to negative comments, my 12 and 14 year old daughters showed me how one evening when were picking up Chinese takeaway. I had the 4 girls with me. A middle aged, obese woman with a red mohican hairstyle and facial piercings was waiting with her skinny partner(another woman) Can you picture this! I knew what was coming… ‘Are they all yours?’ ‘Yes and I have two more at home’ to which I was subjected an ugly barrage of comments and jokes. I ignored them and turned my back on them but my daughters noticing that they had their ‘child’ with them a (small dog!) went over and started patting and complimenting their dog and asking the pair about him. Their whole attitude changed from outright offensive and they even started to smile and interact positively with my girls. I know my girls had simply shown them grace and unconditional love. I asked them later if they realized that the women were partners and they said yes, it was obvious and that they were thinking as they spoke with them that they were the ugliest women they had ever set eyes on! We talked about their dog and how this was an indication that the desire to nurture was God given and still present in their lives even though they had turned their back on God’s ways. The biggest lesson for me that day was that my girls did share the love of God whose heart is for all people.

  55. Yes, but you feel that feminists are telling YOU what to do, don’t you? They are simply writing books and articles with their feelings, same as you. But you all tend to react as if Gloria Steinem personally arrived at your door and dragged you bodily to a Planned Parenthood clinic!

    I’m sure you won’t publish this one either. That’s okay, you are perfectly aware that I am right.

  56. Hi Kelly,

    I have two little blessings, one girl and one boy (and one little blessing in heaven). I would love to have more but carrying children has been very difficult for me so it is in the Lord’s hands. I often get the comment “So you’re all set, you have one of each” or something similar. I didn’t realize I had a quota. Who knew????

    Thank you for your blog and your candidness.

  57. When I had four children, I was asked, on our way out of the grocery store, if I ran a daycare. Recently with five, again at the store, a woman asked if I’m the Pied Piper. No! I love my children and am just taking them home! I was also asked, with just two little boys, if I’d “gotten it over with”. I said quickly, “I hope not!” I’ve gotten most of the other comments mentioned too. Thanks, Kelly. Lillian

  58. I guess you could always move to Peru! THey think we are crazy here, too, to be having 5, but they always say “how brave!” I love that repsonse! It’s so much better than the typical American response! Yep, it doesn’t take the faint of heart to have a lot of kids. There is a certain amount of bravery in “faith” and trusting God.

  59. Having 6 myself, I always have my ears open for the “responses” like those mentioned here. I believe that in the Hess’s book, “Full Quiver,” they answer a question about having six kids…someone asked “are you done yet?” and they answer, “yes….with the first half dozen!” Pretty good response for those of us with 6. Love the post Kelly.

  60. I’m the oldest of 7 children.My mom was always asked,”are you Catholic?” And “how many sets of twins?”

    I’m in a very difficult position.I have 3 children and have never in my life used ANY form of BC (except ecological breastfeeding, if you count that). However,my pregnancies are horrific! Isuffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, a pregnancy illness. It’s like morning sickness times 2 billion! I usually lose 20-30 lbs and have to be hospitalized for rehydration. – require SO much help from friends and family that they say it’s irresponsible of me to keep having children. But I don’t want to quit having children, and have as many as the Lord wills.h ow would you handle my situation?

  61. I believe the people that ask such questions have a issue of the heart. I and I really liked my jelly shoes and twisted a beads:)


  62. Great post Kelly!! As a mother of eight children, 13 years of age down to 3 months, I’ve received so many comments. I have enjoyed reading all these responses. I always try to keep in mind that my children are watching me as I respond to these questioning people.


  63. On a recent trip to Uzbekistan my husband was asked about his family. They were shocked to hear his wife was expecting child number 4. His translator asked him what people in America said about that. He said “they tell us to get a new hobby, but personally like this one!” 🙂

  64. I enjoyed reading your rant. I feel the same way. And we just had our 4th in March. My husband and I were asked just this past sunday if we were done. He confidently said “No”. And the lady laughed and said something about him having to work 3 jobs and me taking care of them. What?! These are the same people that talk about God being our provider yet they don’t seem to believe his provision is available for the children he gives us. You know it doesn’t surprise me when unbelievers make these comments, but it’s quite frustrating when it comes from those in the church. Well I could go on and on, but thats enough for now

  65. R.–I think that wanting to adopt is wonderful, and that children by adoption are blessings. But why do you need to avoid one to have the other? One blessing does not cheapen the other, and families don’t have a certain number of slots to fill. Why limit God?

    Check out Amy’s Humble Musings–she has 6 (I think–haven’t been there in a while) and also suffers from hyperemesis.

    Kelly (WW)–
    I think that’s the easy question. All sorts of good answers (though personally I will stick with the ones that are positive, not going to insinuate I want to stop). I think my favorites are “yes, do you need pointers?” and “Sex. Why, don’t you do that?” and the like. My IL’s, whom we told separately about our first, both said “How did that happen?” (But that was because we’d been suffering infertility). I believe I said something like, “Well, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much…”

    The comments I get (starting the day after finding out the gender!) are about I have the perfect little family (My response: I hope that won’t last long) and how he will complete my family (My response: I sure hope not!) So even with two, a boy and a girl, people feel the need to comment, and I really think that’s offensive too. So tired of it already. I hope I don’t have to wait 10 months for number 3 like for number 2–I don’t know if I can stand hearing the comments about my perfect family with perfect spacing for that long.

    I just don’t get why people seem to hate kids.

  66. R.–I agree with YCW about the adoption/birth child. I can’t imagine it a *good* thing to interfere with your body in order to refuse the fruit of your own womb…I have friends who adopt and have their own–it works beautifully!

  67. VBACwarrior,

    I know several women with hyperemesis, so I know exactly what you’ve described. And I certainly don’t want to undermine that kind of suffering–I can’t imagine it. It’s hard to give advice about something you haven’t experienced, but just going by my “baseline” about fertility, I would pray that God would continue to give me the grace I needed when/if the time came again. I’ve heard testimonies about incredible things women have learned while going through their most physically/emotionally challenging situations.

    Our culture typically defaults to “avoid suffering”, but I don’t see that in Scripture.

  68. I would feign ignorance:

    “Do you know what causes this?

    “Causes what?” (confused look on face)

    “Do you know what causes this?

    (act like they’re saying the baby has a disease) “What are you talking about? She’s perfectly healthy!”

  69. We only have four children and have received rude comments about the size of our family.
    I would like to have more children but I don’t know if it will be possible- I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis in November 2005. I had surgery to remove two ovarian cysts and was told I was infertile. But in February I got pregnant with our fourth and gave birth in November 2006. I used to use the birth control pill for my bad cramps but I started having severe migraines with it. I still suffer from migraines. Both my husband and I gradually over the past couple of years have agreed to let God determine the size of our family. I regret ever using birth control.

  70. Wow, I’m sorry people are so rude! Especially a pastor. The worst comments I’ve gotten are from people who would call themselves “on fire for Jesus”. Yuck. Of all the people who should know better.

    The rudeness started when I was pregnant with my second child. He was also my second boy, so people were all “Oh, poor you, going to have to go through it all again to get your girl, huh?” And then my third child was another boy and it was “Oh, no girls for you then, huh?” and if I said “Well, we don’t know that yet, that’s kind of up to God” and they realized we were open to *more* they got all bug-eyed and stammery. I mean, really, what can you say to a crazy woman? And anyone who wants more than three is *obviously* crazy, right?

  71. My husband was working the night shift when I conceived our one and only son (child #4). His then boss asked him when does he have time for that when he works the night shift. He just smiled. We have six children now 😉

  72. My husband always says comments like that are from people who are actually deep down jealous of the fact that you consider “children” a blessing and that you have been set free by that TRUTH!

  73. While I’m sure you get some especially nasty comments for having alrage family, I think people just enjoy being rude in general when it comes to children. Before we had a child, complete strangers would ask when we were going to have kids. And now that we have one, we get “When are you going to have another?” We are not of the quiverful mindset, but I don’t know how many children we are going to have and I don’t wish to explain this to everyone in the world!!

  74. Kelly (WW), VBAC Warrior’s question wasn’t really answered. I think she feels she personally can go through it again, but since she needs so much help from her family (mom/sister/??,) she is being irresponsible for inconveniencing THEM. I am interested in your opinion regarding that.

  75. Personally, I would go with Scripture alone: “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” [Psalm 127:3] Because, let’s face it, the world’s quarrel is really with God and his Word, not with you – you’re just the messenger! Remember, there’s a power in the Word that is not present in the words of man, so go ahead and turn it loose!

  76. Kelly, you wrote: “I don’t read the failure of the church to teach about the blessing of children as a lesson from God, I read it as disobedience.”

    I’ve said it here before, but I’ll say it again: I am SOOOO overjoyed to see so many of my non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ standing up for God’s vision of sex and family! Unlike so many people, I grew up (as a Catholic) with a clear message that God wants sex for marriage and that He wants the fruitful nature of that sex not to be hindered. Children ARE a blessing! I cannot understand, for the life of me, these churches that don’t want children in service (there are some who believe that Children’s Church better SERVES the children, which is it’s own thing, and that’s not what I’m talking about; I’m talking about churches that don’t WANT them there for one reason or another). I almost burst into tears once when a pastor’s wife, mother of two, told me after my daughter was born, “Don’t worry. You’ll get through it; she’ll be out of the house before you know it.” As though it was some sort of prison sentence to care for my precious girl!!

    If you’ve never read (and I assume you haven’t) Humanae Vitae or Familiaris consortio (they sound scary, but they’re actually quite readable), I think they would give you a lot of encouragement. One is by Pope Paul VI which reaffirms the importance of human dignity and how being open to children is a part of understanding that bigger picture; written in the 1960s when all this birth control stuff started to get big. The other is by Pope John Paul II and is about the importance of family life and how vital strong families are for the survival and strength of the Church.

    I know “Pope” and such can get some people’s hackles up. I’m not trying to get on a Catholic soapbox or anything. I just really think that you would enjoy reading these encouraging letters, as a Christian. Hope it’s ok to share them here.

  77. Marie-
    Yes, I do feel that my body can handle more pregnancies. I just struggle with overwhelming feelings of guilt: “Is it fair to those who have to help me…at times practically *raising* my children?”. “Is it fair to my children…having a shadow of a mama for 9 months and still too young to understand why?” “Is it a lack of faith on my part that causes this horrible illness?”

  78. VBAC warrior,

    I see where I didn’t exactly answer your question before…

    This is where, to me, we really have to embrace God’s Word and believe it. And though we can’t make others see or understand what we believe, it’s a good start for us to be at peace.

    I’m talking about the way we view hardship and suffering. I’ve written extensively about it (I’ll try to find some links if you’re interested), but all throughout Scripture we actually see God doing His most amazing work through suffering–through events our human eyes tend to see as roadblocks, but in God’s irony, He uses to demonstrate His strength.

    Think of Paul…do you know the “hardship” he was on the saints of the church? He was always praising him for their ministry to him, pointing out that the very act of their service was the gospel being fleshed out.

    His hardship was not evidence that he was doing the wrong thing; it was God’s perfect plan. He probably didn’t feel like it at the time, but we see it so clearly now.

    Just as it is with children, motherhood and building the Kingdom. We (the culture) are so quick to conclude that hardship (on the mother or those around her) during pregnancy permits us to interfere with the growth of the Kingdom through the womb just because we can. (Disclaimer: I don’t think it’s always wrong to delay pregnancy for extreme situations, I’m just using a general statement.)

    But think of the foreign missionary who encounters enormous hardship…the church often has to step in, family has to help out, but we all think of it as “work for the Kingdom” and consider ourselves blessed to be a part of it.

    I view the mission field of children the same way…I hope this encourages!

  79. You’re all scaring me about how soon we’ll start getting comments! I’m expecting #2 in December, and if it’s a boy…won’t we start getting comments as soon as we concieve #3?

  80. Bethany,

    Thank you for your encouragement. Yes, I have read some of the Human Vitae and agree wholeheartedly with what I’ve read. Interestingly, though we have some differences, I find I agree more with the Catholic church on many issues than some of our fellow Protestants 😉

  81. Katie,

    Absolutely 😉 But, I will say this…though I get irritated and some responses, overall I think it’s a precious opportunity to just get to express our love for children.

    When we go anywhere now we rather “stand out”. So I try to pray and remember to use the opportunity to plant seeds and show people a rare view of children.

  82. A friend encouraged me to read this post after I received a monotone reaction regarding my 3rd (current) pregnancy.

    I am impressed and thankful for God loving families like yourself and your husband! And praise God for continuing to bless y’all!! I think the world is ignorant, besides it’s a “feel good now” type of society – raising children is a downer and drain on selfish desires. Think of all that they are missing out on!
    God Bless –

  83. I hope you haven’t already heard this (forgive me for not reading all 95 comments :)). We only have 5 children so far but when I get the “Don’t you know how this happens?” question, I answer with a big smile, “Yes and we like it!”

  84. I so enjoyed your post! As a mom of “only” 5 boys I get SO MANY rude comments. My responses:

    “Do you know what causes that?”

    YES. And we cannot give it up!

    “Are you Catholic or Mormon?”

    Nope. Just passionate protestants!!

    I do have a question, though. my hubby has said we are not going to have more children due to my overwhelming pregnancy sickness (all 9 months) and the fact that when I am pregnant I cannot homeschool my other children….and to take basically a year off every other year is not good now that they are getting older, etc. I agree to some extent, but I really do want more children. He does as well but does not want me to be pregnant again. We would love to adopt. Anyway, how does one “submit” to this??? Not just in actions but in attitude???? Especially if I do not agree.

  85. Tiffany,

    In addition to my answer to VBAC warrior (go back a few comments), perhaps you could propose some “thinking outside the box” solutions. (I know several women who have 9-months of sickness and have done incredible jobs of compensating.)

    For example, during the time when you are less available, you could switch to a more student-guided curriculum. There are lots of them out there. Or a video curriculum. Depending on your type of schooling, of course.

    Recognizing that mom’s weakness can be an incredible opportunity for the rest of the family to learn to serve (isn’t this what the Christian life is really about?) and think creatively might change his thinking a little. Just talking about these things would be a good start.

  86. My father is an auctioneer. We attended a gala benefit auction with him. One of the items up for auction was a vasectomy. I think we had 5 or 6 little ones at the time.

    When this item came up for auction, my dad looked up from the podium in front of the entire room of attendees and said, “Rick, I’ll buy this one for you!” To which my husband responded from his seat in front of the entire crowd, “No thanks, everything seems to be in fine working order. I’ve no need to be “fixed!”

    When we had our first 3 girls and then our first 2 boys, my mil gave us a card that proclaimed that we now had a “full house!” I asked her, the mother of 6, which of her children she would send back. Well of course, she said that she loved them all and would never send any of them back. But, if she had to do it over again, she would never choose to have 6 children! I then asked again, which of her children she would like to live without. She just didn’t get it!

    At the root of this entire discussion is that we, both pagan and most Christian people, do not understand that *GOD* is the Creator of life. Not sex….not man….but GOD! He ordains a time to be born and a time to die. Not us!

    But, we in our pride and arrogance, think its all about us. sigh…………When we truly understand that its really all about HIM and *LIVE* that way, then we will be able to do away with these types of comments that are really against God….not us and not our children….but against the holy, righteous and perfect Creator of the universe!

  87. My most succint response to “Don’t you know what causes that?” is, “Apparently!” with a smile.
    Mama to almost six! Praise the Lord!

  88. “Don’t you know what causes that?”

    Are you JOKING? She asked you that?? How witheringly patronizing do you have to be? As for the are-you-crazy thing..My gosh..I need a minute here..

  89. The two very best responses I’ve ever had to my children happened at the grocery store. I was the only younger adult in the store, with children and an infant! My then 3 yr old son was having ONE OF THOSE DAYS when a little old lady walked up to me and asked if they were all mine. I looked at her wearily and answered,”Yes, all THREE are mine”. I KNEW she was going to make a comment about my hands being too full or something to that effect when she surprised me. She said “I remember those days. I had 13 children”. My jaw about hit the floor as she continued, “You’re children are so wonderfully well-behaved”. She obviously didn’t see my son almost upset a mountain of 2-liter soda bottles! She just smiled at all of his energetic boyish antics. The second time happened in the Wal-Mart parking lot. My son begin yelling at me because he didn’t want to sit in the buggy. It was either give him his way and end up raising the antichrist or show him Momma was boss. I chose the later. I thought no one was around and we began our little discipline session. Just as I finished praying with my little sinner and loving on him and telling him how I expected him to respond in future situations and practicing, around the back corner of my vehicle walked a gentleman who was parked beside us. He got into his convertible, looked at me and said, “Good job! More parents need to discipline their children”. He had been standing behind my car the entire time, listening to what was happening! His encouragement really made my day! May God give ya’ll all someone who surprises you and encourages you with your blessings! If not, you could always tell them what my husband says when someone asks “Do you know what causes that?”: “Yes I do! 🙂 Just because I get it more than you doesn’t mean you have to complain to me!” or “Yes I do! Do you know how many times we had to go at it to get where we are?” And then smile gently and walk away. Or you could do what one of my girlfriends does. She says yes, and then starts explaining the process, “because obviously they failed biology and slept thru health class!”. My husband also said to add this “We gotta increase the population so we can out vote you liberals!” LOL 😀

  90. VBAC Warrior and Tiffany —
    I would have to say that Scripture is overwhelmingly clear to both of you regarding your questions about difficult pregnancies. Scripture may not tell you exactly what to do about more pregnancies, spacing, etc, but it does tell you this clearly and without exception:

    SUBMIT TO YOUR HUSBAND WITH JOY. Pray that God will enable you to do that and He will.

    Blessings to you both from a kindred sister.

  91. I am always amazed and rather embarrassed at what people will comment on, sometimes even well-meaning strangers. I have a chronic illness that has been the cause of four miscarriages, including a late second trimester miscarriage, as well as my daughter’s premature birth, though thankfully she was born strong & healthy. Now that she is nearing three, the questions are non-stop about when another child will be coming. This is especially odd as my husband has just returned from a year long deployment, so how on earth I could have produced a child in the past year is really beyond me, but I digress. ;o)

    Well-meaning people asking when the next baby is coming or jokingly tell me how I should “get to it” since my husband is home this year. Even some who know of my woeful pregnancy history and the specifics of my disorder, people who really should understand how hurtful their questions are to me. People with less noble intentions have assumed I use birth control and taken it upon themselves to tell me what a sinner I am, for not having faith in God like they do. I’ve been called a hobbyist mother, in front of a large group of people at church, where my young daughter could hear, and strangers have accused my daughter of being spoiled, when she hadn’t been acting in a way to warrant such hateful comments about her. All of this is embarrassing and rather hurtful, regardless of what somebody’s intentions might have been. Sometimes trusting God to plan one’s family size might mean the quiver is full at one, or maybe none. There is no one size fits all plan or quiver size, nice as that might be.

    I think it is a shame to live in a culture where we feel comfortable demeaning others, just because we can, or probing into matters that are none of our business, whether it be about health, marital status, number of children, childrearing choices, or anything in between. In a perfect world, mutual understanding, respect, and compassion would abound, but, of course, such kindness is not possible, all of the time, in a fallen world.

  92. I’m astounded that people will ask personal questions of strangers and expect a response! I have 5 children, 4 homemade and one adopted, and I like to answer every question like “Are you going to adopt (or have) another?” with “Why do you want to know?”

    I also usually comment to the parents of a large family how blessed they are–and I mean it!

  93. Q. “Don’t you know what causes that???”
    A. As sweetly as you can say it, and with a big smile: “Oh, I do!! My heavenly Father
    absolutely delights in giving me wonderful
    gifts, and I am absolutely blessed to receive them!!” 🙂

  94. I got similar comments when I spoke to my in-laws about my desire to have 4 children. I call our son our little starter baby. They were so shocked that I want “so many”. I am in shock that they consider that a lot of children. I met a pastor’s wife who is joyfully expecting #10. That is awesome!

  95. You’re totally correct, Amy; there are rude and nasty people on both sides. If folks would just keep their noses out of others’ reproductive issues, everyone would be happier!

  96. To be clear, I wasn’t advocating use of the pill. There are; however, literally millions of children worldwide without parents. I understand that neither option is mutually exclusive, but practically speaking having a large natural-born family, makes it more difficult to adopt many.

  97. Kelly, I completely and whole-heartedly agree with your position on allowing God to control the size of your family. I haven’t always felt this way though. Even though I grew up in the church, I was never taught that children are a blessing and that we should give God control in this area. Over the last couple of years (and especially recently when I found your blog), God has completely changed my heart in this area and now I long for as many children as He would want to give us. Unfortunately, my husband (who also loves the Lord) doesn’t. He isn’t really even open to discussing the idea either (believe me, I’ve tried). We have three boys and when other people ask if we would like more, he always answers with “our hands are already full…” What can I do? I’ve been praying that God would change his heart, but so far he still hasn’t budged. It’s so hard when the message that he’s getting (even from other Christians) is that it’s the responsible thing for us to control our family’s size…to do otherwise would be irresponsible. I really want to be faithful to the Lord in this area, but I know I also have to submit to my husband. Do you have any advise for me?
    p.s. I admit that in the past, I too have said things like, “you really have your hands full” and other comments like it. I never meant anything hurtful by it at all, I just couldn’t think of anything else to say. Now I simply say, “you’re really blessed!” and I mean it!

  98. Dawn, I have a friend in a similar situation. She, too, has three boys. She was “infertile” for 10 years, then God blessed them with 3 in 3 years. I think she’s more open to God’s plan for their family (which could be just the three they have), but her husband is not, for similar reasons to your husband’s. She is willing to submit, but here’s the sticky part: Her husband went to check into getting a vasectomy, and they found out SHE HAS TO SIGN THE PAPER, TOO! My first reaction was, “Well, that’s good,” thinking then husbands wouldn’t just go git ‘er done, without their wives’ consent. But, she said, “NO! It’s not good! I don’t want to sign.” So… It’s sticky.
    We sisters in Christ can certainly pray for one another, in so many things.

  99. If she doesn’t want to sign, she does have say in the matter. It is her husband’s body, but it’s an issue that doesn’t just involve him.

  100. My Hubbalicious went to a vasectomy consult and then made the appointment to have it done. This was after many long LONG discussions between us, since I am 100% against the whole thing. I had to come to the point of submission to him even when I do not agree. This was the hardest thing I have ever done. I would have had to sign the paper.

    SO….the insurance company said it would cost us $45 to get snipped. Hubby set the appointment. I was so sad. The day before the snippage the doctors office called and said that it would actually cost us $750 to have it done.

    *Insert sound of angels singing HERE*

    Well, Hubby realized we did not have that kind of money for such a frivolous thing so he cancelled the appointment. I call it a miracle 🙂 Now to pray God changes his heart and gives him a DESIRE for more babies! 🙂

  101. It looks like 119 responses have been posted already, so maybe someone said this already (okay, probably). Please forgive me if this is redundant.

    To answer the question, as rude as it is, with something deliberately witty and humerous would do a disservice to yourself and to the person questioning you. If I were in your shoes (I’m not married, hence not in your shoes) I’d respond with something like what you said here–that the decision not to use birth control was one you and your husband did not undertake lightly, that you’ve considered your situation with a great deal of thought and prayer, and that you consider each child to be a blessing from God.

    I think an answer that honest and bold, spoken calmly, would go a long way toward expressing your position while also pointing out as politely as possible how rude the questioner was being.

  102. I think that Erin makes a good point when she says that answering with a humorous answer is not always the best thing. However, I do think that often people ask these types of questions just to be funny or to make light conversation and I don’t know that a theological discussion is really what they’re looking for. These types of questions really don’t bother me, unless they’re asked in a mean or hateful way (and then they need an “honest and bold” response, as Erin mentions.) Most of the time, people who ask us “don’t you know what causes that” ask not to insult but because they honestly think it’s a funny thing to say. So my husband likes to make the humorous response: “I keep telling my wife to stop using my toothbrush.” It’s just a fun thing to respond and then the conversation moves on. Of course, if someone is really serious then it needs a serious answer, but I’ve never known anyone to ask us that in a serious way.
    Another question we get asked a lot is “when do you plan to stop?” Rather than go into a long discourse on birth control and our stance on it (which most people really aren’t looking for), we just again respond in an off the wall manner and say “we’re going to keep trying until we have an ugly one.” Again, if the question is asked in a serious manner, that’s different, but when we’re standing in line at the grocery, chances are the person asking is just making conversation and isn’t looking for a theological discussion. 🙂

    Anyway, that’s just the way we handle things now. Perhaps God will place something different in our hearts in the future.

  103. What a fantastic group of supportive women! This is my first time on the site, and I am so impressed.

    I am the second of six daughters, with no brothers. I have heard “Your poor father!” no fewer than 10,000 times in my 26 years. I finally started saying “He will be after paying for all the weddings.” It’s much easier than explaining that my dad is in love with his kids and that my parents were *not* “trying for a boy.”

    When my husband and I were announcing my pregnancy with our son, I had four of his family members ask me if it was planned. I said “We were open to whatever God had planned for us.” Things only got better when I followed up with “We want at least four” (which is my secret way of saying “I want 40.”). People act like that is a small nation!

  104. “Yep! Its fun you should try it sometime, you might like it.” If they don’t die of embarresment at least they’ll lose their train of thought.

  105. Thanks for this post. I enjoyed reading the comments, too. I agree with whomever said that people in general just tend to be nosy and they will find SOMETHING to comment about, whether children “too soon” or why don’t you have any by now or you have too many or are you going to try for one of the other gender or…

    I guess I’m finally getting to the age (25) where “society” would deem it acceptable for me to have a child and not be “too young” for it, so lately I’ve been asked a lot whether I have children by people I am just meeting. Fairly normal, innocuous, getting-to-know-you type question…except I’ve yet to find the self control to respond in any manner except bursting into tears and choking out a “no.” After seven years of marriage, my husband (who on the night we met told me the name he had picked out for his future first-born son) recently decided he would have a vasectomy and it didn’t matter a bit how I felt about that. He’s been completely brainwashed by society that children are evil and a burden to be avoided at all costs. He even managed to find “justification” IN. THE. BIBLE. for his selfish decision, and also claimed “God was telling him to.” He can twist any Bible passage you care to find to fit his personal viewpoints and desires, and I’m supposed to submit to this? My heart is broken, sometimes it feels like irreparably, but God says love. So I try. Maybe someday my husband will even come to realize that love is a choice and actions and sacrifice instead of warm fuzzies, and believe that I love him even when I’m having a hard time “liking” him at the moment.

  106. Oh Sara,

    My heart breaks for you. May the Lord grant you that love and peace for where He has you, and may you know that you are His and that you can mother and teach and nurture in many different ways.

  107. We have six children. Three are mine biologically from my first marriage and three my husband and I have adopted. While in the store one day and older woman eyed our crew and said quite indignantly “Don’t you know what causes that?” My husband, ever the joker, put his arm around her and answered sincerely “could you explain it to me because none of them are biologically mine”. The elder children died laughing as did I, the lady turned bright red. Several others within earshot stifled laughs until she stormed out of the store. It was priceless.

  108. ‘Do you know what causes that?’….

    1. Yes, and after a few more, we will be experts!! Thank you!

    2. *looking around for the that with confusion on your face* “What causes what??”

  109. We have 7 blessings. First we had 5 girls then 2 boys. I have heard all the the comments. I used to get upset, then I tried the funny stuff. I just got so tired of it, especially when I am running errands and have lots to do. So now I just I just look at my children and say what a blessing they are. It bring a smile to my children’s face every time.

  110. Totally understand it – just had our seventh and have threatened to print tshirts that say “WELCOME TO THE FREAK SHOW” for those all family trips to Costco.

    We adopted 3 of ours, so when people ask if we know what causes that, sometimes we say “Paperwork.”

  111. When I was pregnant with my 3rd child, and my mom told one of her friends, the friend said, “What? Is she trying to repopulate the earth by herself??” I wanted to cry. My mom was miffed, she told her friend, “No, God is blessing a faithful daughter.” The friend just walked away.
    And many of you here are so right, the world and many “Christians” have not truly read the Word of God, don’t understand it, don’t know what is means, and don’t truly care…as long as their Pastor is happy with them, they think they are okay with God. I would love for all of you to go read my ‘Journal Post’ called “The Swiss Cheese Bible”…and no, I don’t think the Bible is made of Swiss Cheese! But many Christians take a smorgasbord approach to the Bible…I’ll take a little grace, some love, but I don’t like that Obedience part…that is not for me! They use their “mental scissors” to cut out the parts they don’t like…like children being a blessing and a heritage from the Lord.

  112. i get those annoying comments alot to. we don’t use BC but we have used “timing” methods
    i’m not all that sure the timing methods are the right thing to do, but we were desperate for a break after my fourth born with medical problems.
    we are praying and waiting for another child to be blessed into our lives now that our 4th is a year old.
    i have 4 kids age 5 and under, some comments are nice “look at all those cute boys!!”
    and some are dumb “gosh your hands are full..” or “do you know what causes that?” “geez i’d go nuts…i had my tubes tied after two!!”
    stuff like that and then some are down right rude “aren’t you on birthcontroll yet?”
    “isn’t it selfish to have so many kids? think about your self!”
    “what about over population?”
    “are you crazy??”
    “ive never seen SO many kids that woman must not be educated…”


    the worst part is the worst comments usually come from “family and friends”
    i love my kids, they are blessings from God and even though some days i feel like tearing my hair out in fustration i really hope God blesses us with more–maybe alot more– i’d love to be a family like the duggars.

    God bless

  113. oh another note. as i read the comments posted by others somthing comes to mind, the worst comment anyone has ever said to me was proabably the time somone asked me “are they all from the same dad??” or just last week when some older women were making snide comments about that “irresponsible woman who can’t keep her priorities straight” when i walked into the doctor’s office with my four little ones. (yes alone, my hubby was at work)
    I’m only 25 and i look much younger so people that don’t know me have often asked me who’s kids I’m babysitting. (yea haha really!)
    infact once i had a 14 year old boy trying to ask me out and i was 6 months pg with my third…i said “um, didn’t you see the ring on my finger hun? and these two babies calling me mama?? your sweet hun, but i’m much to old for you and married.” it was cute though.
    anyways back to my point. people can be rude and discouraging, especially if you have a child with medical issues but we try really hard to put a positive spin on the comments people make, because people always say it in ear shot of the kids and that irritates me more than anything.

  114. I am the mother of nine children and have been asked several times if I didn’t know what causes it. I usually look them straight in the eye and say,” Yes I do know what causes it.” My mother, who is more outspoken than me, once told a man who had just said to me that I didn’t need to repopulate the world by myself that if he had more manhood he might have more children.

  115. We deflect these questions with humor usually – unless it is someone that we feel is really seeking info for his or her own life. My dh usually responds to the “causes” question with “whipped cream” – and gets high fives and enthusiasm from his associates when a new one is announced. When the kids are close by, we try to just answer “Yes, God” to reaffirm to them that we know the gift they are. While it’s annoying, I’ve been blessed by just as many people who say I have a beautiful family. Also – sometimes when I get the “are they all yours” question, I will slowly look at each child before turning back to answer “Yep, these are the ones I left with!” Or we’ll enjoy a confused look when I say “some of them are my husband’s”.

  116. How’s this for a response :
    “Normally I don’t tell people how many children we have because we hear so many stupid comments,much like what we just heard from you.”

  117. I’m only pregnant with my third and I’m getting the “WOW, you’re busy!” comments, and the “Was this a surprise?” questions (my answer is “No surprise to God!”). But the worst is from my doctors. One said, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd!” He has 3 children, btw. Then I saw another one who said, “Do you want a tubal?” I said, “No!” He replied, “Aww, too bad!”

    And then there’s the really mean ones from friends and acquaintances about overpopulation: “Well, hopefully there’s enough of us only having 1 or 2 to make up for all your extras.” I just shut my mouth with those, because anything that comes out of my mouth most certainly WOULD NOT be pleasing to God!

    But then again, sharing with another family in the church about leaving our family size up to God MAY have contributed to them going from “We’re not having any children” to in their joking words, “We’re planning on having a litter!” They decided to be quiverfull, too. 🙂

  118. How I would love to have an open womb that actually gave me a choice in how many children I did/would or could have. I’m so sorry that you and those of you with full quivers are so subjected to such disrespectful and even insulting non sense.

    I’ve battle infertility all of my life and even though I do have 8, 13 and 19 yo daughters (Thank-you Lord) I would have gladly more.

    I have no comebacks but being on the other side of this three way fence-not being able to have children- I don’t get those people anymore than you do.

  119. When I was expecting #4, a friend said, “how did you get pregnant?” (She had 4 at the time too.) I looked at her and said, “I had ***.” She was shocked at my response and we both had a good laugh. We both have 5 now! 🙂

    I do have a friend (expecting her 6th) who wants to get a shirt that says “not Mormon, not Catholic, just a Protestant who likes ***”. If only we were so bold. 🙂 I think people would stop asking!

  120. I find it so entertaining when people ask me if I’m expecting my first and I say no 7th. The stare and ask how I keep my sanity. I tell them I go to work to rest. Dad is the one at home with the babies. (it’s true)They don’t really know how to respond to that.

  121. I am pregnant with number ONE and have gotten these comments! People think we should have taken some time as a couple before being “tied down” and “rushing into” having children.

    You will all like this story. I was babysitting my friends’ two youngest children, a four-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home. In the checkout line, the little girl was talking about how fun it would be when my baby comes. The lady in the next line exclaimed, clearly shocked, “You’re PREGNANT? Was it planned?” I didn’t say anything, too busy getting my jaw off the floor. But the little girl thinks and says, “God plans everybody.”

  122. This is very late, but I wanted to respond to R who asserted that having a large bio family essentially excludes adopting larger numbers.

    I know one family that adopted a sibling group and has no other children. The other families I know who have adopted multiple children also had multiple biological children. The number of bio children families have seems to be very closely related to the number of children they feel capable of adopting. The larger families have adopted the largest numbers of children, in my observation. The families who are open and willing to have a larger family in the first place, feel better equipped and more willing to take on larger numbers of adopted children as well.

  123. I’m loving all the comments on here!

    To VBAC Warrior….

    I feel your pain!! I too have hyperemesis gravidarum during my pregnancies and there were moments when I would have been happy to die in my sleep. My life was never in danger, I knew it was temporary, but women who’ve only had “morning sickness” cannot possibly imagine what this feels like! My last pregnancy was terribly hard – women from church were taking turns caring for my other children, cleaning, and bringing meals while I struggled to hold down food one tiny bite at a time and at one point was even having hallucinations. I can totally relate to your concerns over being a burden to other people – not to mention not being able to care for your own children.

    I had three children in pretty quick succession (age 3 and under) and begged and pleaded for my husband to get a vasectomy while pregnant with #3. I seriously turned those screws. My husband did not want one…did not think it was right and would have liked more children…but I put my hands over my ears and would not listen to my conscience telling me that my behaviour was wrong. Let me add, that up until this time I thought I had fully embraced the Biblical view of children and family but decided I had suffered enough and that it couldn’t possibly apply to ME :O)

    My husband had the vasectomy and I was very happy about it. He was gracious and forgiving, and never held it against me. We were both under tremendous pressure from concerned friends and family to be “done” with having children to the point that it was hinted that if he “really loved me he wouldn’t put his poor wife through another pregnancy.”

    It’s been six years and I never, ever regretted the vasectomy….UNTIL NOW. God has done a radical work in my heart in the past month or so. Little bits of truth were starting to trickle through (this blog was part of that!), and then we had a “false alarm” last month and I was surprised to see that although I was scared of the suffering I welcomed the idea of adding another little one to the family. My husband was excited in spite of the extra “burden” I would become. I began to realise what a blessing it would be to my family, (my children have often asked me to give them another sibling), to my small church that needs more children, and to the world in general to have another child raised in a loving, Christian home. In fact, I could think of no GOOD reason not to have another baby. ALL my reasons for not having another were based on fear and doubt, and a total lack of faith in God.

    A few weeks ago I apologised to my husband for not submitting to his wishes and nagging and manipulating him to go through a vasectomy he did not want. I can’t begin to express how terrible I feel about the way I treated him. He had tears in his eyes. I told him that if he wanted a reversal I would support him, and if he didn’t want to go through another surgery I would understand that too.

    And now we are in the early stages of planning a trip to a Christian doctor with a very good reputation, for a vasectomy reversal. Hopefully it works. It isn’t cheap, but thankfully we can afford to do it.

    I’m scared, but excited. I know without a doubt that we are doing the right thing. I’m afraid of the suffering, but I have children who are old enough to help (my youngest is seven) and I have a plan for how to deal with it this time.

  124. I love reading your blog. I agree with how you think on things and I have a question for you. Just curious how you would handle this situation.

    My first pregnancy was a molar preg. It was very serious and I came close to having to have a hysterectomy. After surgery and 18 months I was cleared to try again. I had 5 healthy children over the next 7 years with only one loss in between #3 and #4 which they thought was also a molar.

    My chances were then 1 in 4 of having another molar. After baby 5 I had another molar which required surgery. They told me absolutely no more babies.

    I gave it to God and was willing to be done at this point. I didn’t want to stop, but didn’t want to risk my life anymore. Well, we accidentally got pregnant again. When I found out I was due on my birthday I was just sure this was God’s answer to me that I was supposed to have more. Nope, same thing again. I ended up having to have chemo after that pregnancy because my hcgs wouldn’t stop rising.

    We don’t agree with using hormonal birth control and I am feeling forced to use a vasectomy which I have always been against. We are currently using natural family planning, but it is scary when my health is that much at stake.

    I would love to hear any words of advice you have for me.

  125. Kelly I have really enjoyed catching up on your blog today while resting from this incredible sickness!
    I really needed to read these words as I have been struggling with our decision in this area. Sometimes the weight of the world gets incredibly heavy.
    I’m really thinking that the next time someone asks me if I “Know what causes that” I’m going to get terribly graphic to the point that they feel the embarrassment due them (as long as my kids aren’t in earshot of course)

  126. I loved reading this post! Sometimes people will say the rudest things! I have a friend with 10 children… I asked her one time how she deals with people’s responses to her large family… She said that when people ask, “Don’t you know what causes that?” She just says, “Yes! Hubby and I finally found something we are good it!” She says that’s usually the end of the conversation! LOL! 🙂

  127. Hi Kelly:

    We have 4….and when I was pregnant EVERYONE asked why we kept having babies, etc…I just told them that we really LIKED our children…most people just got really embarassed after that! 🙂

  128. I work with a lovely woman who has 10 children. I asked her one day what made her choose to have so many (I was curious since we are fed that more than 2 is a crazy idea). She said that if she could trust Jesus for her salvation, she could certianly trust Him to take care of her family. She changed my whole view on how many children is a good plan. (the answer is as many as the Lord gives me)

  129. I’ve answered critics in various ways, depending on whether I think they *really* want to know or they’re just being jerks.

    One relative asked “WOW, you have 4 (that was then, now we have 6), that’s expensive, you know that rigth?” I said “Well, if God allows me to get pregnant and have the baby, don’t you think He can provide us with the money to take care of him or her?” He grinned and said ‘He sure can, you’re absolutely right!’ He is one of our biggest fans in the family now.

    Many times I’ve heard “WHY would you want more kids?” and I’ve said “If everyone had kids like mine, they’d want more too” (always in front of my kids, who then straighten right up and look like they could burst with pride) I’ve also said “LOOK at my kids! They’re too gorgeous not to have more!”

    I’ve told people that I’ll stop an ugly one, or we’ll quit ‘eventually” with a big wink.

    I usually answer ‘you know what causes that?’ with “Yes, God does”. Hubby answers with a big grin, a wink and “yep”.

    If someone really seems to want to know why we have ‘so many’ I say “B/c they are the greatest blessing of my life, and bring me more joy than I’ve ever know. How much would I be missing without even one of them!”

    Love Samantha

  130. i am so grateful to finally find husbands and wifes that are truely willing to give there marriage and family over to God. My great prayer is that everyone can enjoy the life giving spirit that comes with bringing a new person into this world. Its not something horrid or terrible its a true blessing. I read a few days ago in my mothers bible about how the angels in heaven gather around at each and every birth to see what this new life looks like. Even the angels see that children are a blessing but yet to many people just say the world has enough people in it already. Well i heard a scientist say one time that all the people in the USA could fit in the state of Texas with a one foot by one foot space to stand in. now come on people we have alot of room out there still left to occupy. Plus if God didnt want us having babies anymore he would close our wombs and not allow it. God bless all the wonderful families willing to follow Gods word.

  131. Neither I nor my husband can have any more children now. We have five – three biologically and two adopted. I have prayed for a particular group of four for the past 2 years, but my husband is not feeling led for us to be the ones to bring them home. Although not child-bearing any longer, this is a particular issue that is close to my heart as a matter we dismiss in our culture without a thought to the Lord’s desires. I blog on it in a line titled Conception. I am so encouraged to read these posts from parents who’s hearts are responsive and choose to be obedient!

    God bless and thank you.

  132. You are totally awesome and I think its great that you are who you are and living the life GOD called for you. My hunny is going to get a vasectomy reversal in September and we are praying that everything goes well. I have been wanting more children for a very long time and my hunny has said now is the time(hoping we are not too old ;), so we will see. The other day I think GOD showed me a few things and I came to realize how sad the world is. Meaning when we had gotten the vasectomy done it was paid for by insurance and no questions asked, but if we wanted it reversed that was another issue, you have to pay yourself. Then you look around and see that you can get birth control and all these things to help preventing pregnancy. But where is all the help and love and understanding if you want to have more little ones. HE just showed me that the world is pretty much against the way that is right. Anyway GOD bless ya and I hope you have a great and wonderful day 🙂

  133. Of all the things I would like to say after finding your website and your testimony, I will say this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My wife and I are not alone, we knew we weren’t but hearing you say the things we believe in the face of the opposition that we have seen is well worth saying thank you again. Thank you. We’ll be back. 😉 God Bless.

  134. Long ago, I don’t know how long… Oh, about six or seven babies ago, I did the cutesy quips. Then about two children ago, I was just offended and did the blank stare.

    Now, I’ve come to realize something… Those women, especially women, who have become so crude and callous to the way they were CREATED to be, those women who make comments, cry for them. Do you know why? They will make these comments:

    “Better you than me.”
    “I couldn’t handle my own.”
    “I sure wouldn’t want more.”

    And not only would they make them to me, but they would make them in front of their OWN children. Nothing like stating you didn’t like children or motherhood in front of your own children…. Sigh.

    We have been incredibly blessed this past month by finding out we are currently expecting our tenth child.

    We are so incredibly grateful to have heard this message when we were young. And so I pray, “Lord, let our love for You shine through us. Let the gratefulness of our hearts pour out in front of these women…. Help them to wonder what it is they are missing. Let us show your grace, mercy, compassion, and wisdom to them in our answers, seasoned with salt. 😉 Help us to not grow frustrated when they are rude, callous, and sharp. Blunt our edges, make us soft and let them have eyes to see…….

    You never know what it is that you say today that will make them stop, think, or pray tomorrow.


  135. I sympathize with you! It’s always amazing what awkward things people say without realizing it! My husband and I are at the opposite of the problem – we have been “trying” for awhile, but haven’t received any blessings yet. We get asked ALL the time when we are going to start a family. This is quite hurtful when you can’t have children! But I don’t feel it’s their business to know that either! So I usually just smile (if I can) and say that we are still practicing.
    It’s always good to keep in mind that some of these people may be trying to be hurtful or to tell you what to do – but many of them just don’t realize how it comes across. More and more I am training myself to simply look at someone and gently say, “That wasn’t very nice.” It’s their decision how to react to that – and it often starts a conversation where I can gently point out how they are coming across.
    On another note – (I shall preface by saying I am one of 15 children and LOVE being from a big family – although I think my parents were not the best of parents choosing to have children, but not to be interested in their children.) But- the only problems I have with people choosing a large family are: 1)if they expect the older kids to parent and raise the younger kids – chores are one thing, parenting is another; 2) If they expect the rest of the family to help them pay their bills, clothe their children and do everything FOR them BECAUSE they have such a big family (as one family within my family does); and 3) if they are HAVING multiple children, but not RAISING and TRAINING said children!
    Children ARE a blessing and I pray and beg of God to bless us with the number of children that HE has chosen for us – not setting a number (whether small or large) because HE knows best one way or the other!
    One last parting shot: I am sickened and saddened by women who HAVE large families who act and think as those they are more spiritual for having large families when really they don’t know anyone else’s story either.

  136. I am really surprised at most of these comments. I am the oldest of 15 children and I can tell you that everyone in my family gets lots of questions. Not because people have “heart issues” or are bad people. Most of them are just curious. I usually start a conversation with them and answer their questions. People are not perfect, whether they are christians or not, and often say the wrong thing. I find it interesting that you think it is wrong what they say to you, but instead of thinking of something to say that is positive, you want to return mean remarks back and judgement about their motives.

    I have had people make the same exact comments you mentioned to me and I only have 2 children. I don’t think it matters if you have 5 kids or 50, people say things just to make conversation. Yes, some of them are dumb comments. Yes, some of them are hurtful or insulting comments. I have been the victim and perpetrator myself, many, many times. When I had infertility a lot of christians, especially ones with many children, would tell me how selfish I was to only have one child. I consider what fellow believers have to say and actually think about it, and I try to be accountable and have biblical views to back-up my beliefs, other than that, it is between me and God. I realize this was a humorous article (I write humor myself), but having a lot of kids, no kids, or only a few kids does not make you more or less Godly. The number of kids you have (or don’t) does not make you a better, or worse christian. Everyone has to do what they are called to do with obedience and love. That is all.

    1. Sonia,

      I appreciate your rebuke, and I agree that most are simply curious, although this post was spurned by a pastor and Christian woman in ministry who I would expect to have even a remote concept of the blessing of children and reflect that in their speech (they are required to, according to Scripture, build up the body, and teach that which is Scriptural, being in the ministry.)

      However, when you say, “having a lot of kids, no kids, or only a few kids does not make you more or less Godly” you are reading into my post (or maybe you were referring to the comments? if so, forgive me) because I certainly do not feel this way.

  137. When people see me with my four children, I often get “My, your hands are full.” I love to respond (with a huge grin), “Full of cuteness!”

  138. I read the perfect response on another blog somewhere long ago…

    Don’t you know what causes that?

    Yes. An open heart and the Lord’s blessing.

  139. So sad to hear how some Christians have bought the lie of the world and have adopted bad attitudes towards children. My husband and I were at the park last week for a going away party for some friends. We met a youth pastor and his wife that knew our friends. I was holding my baby girl and when his wife smiled at her, he commented ‘no, don’t touch the baby….those things are addictive and we don’t want another one’. I was so saddened by his response that I had to walk away. And he is a ‘youth’ pastor? He obviously doesn’t see children as the blessing God says they are.

  140. We have six children and were moving from NV to TN when a trucker asked me that oh-so-original question of “Do you know what causes that?!”… I told him I liked what caused it. I enjoyed his lack of response. 🙂 We are so thankful God gave us our Splendid Six!

  141. Most of the things you articulate happens to be supprisingly legitimate and it makes me wonder the reason why I had not looked at this with this light before. This piece truly did switch the light on for me personally as far as this specific subject goes.

  142. We just birthed our 5th a week ago so I’m gearing up for these questions. Most know my in laws had 9 so they’ve paved my way and most say nothing. We also homeschool so it adds an extra element to life. Having 4 kids in 5 years (now 5kids in 7yrs) & homeschooling them with no day care is taxing on the mind and body, it means your home isn’t always perfectly immaculate when someone drops in. You need to rely on God to pull you through the tough times and tough moments. I think it’s these things that make children hard to deal with. I don’t get to sit and watch day time soaps with a glass of wine, feet up chilling before getting my kids from school. I prefer it this way, Gods will for our lives.

    But when a lady at church said to me she doesn’t know how I can do it with the struggles she’s had with her 2 I was able to encourage her and let her know if she fell preg again God would give her what she needs. See, god doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. I couldn’t raise 2 kids until my second was born, likewise he’s increased my abilities with each child, I wasn’t ‘ready’ until it happened and HE showed me how to do it.

    I love that I used the opportunity to encourage another mum in her walk with two kids through the life he has given me and I hope that He gives me the opportunity to do so more and more!

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