Generation Cedar

Uncensored Thoughts of a Mother With 10 Children

I’m an (almost) 42-year-old mom with 10 kids, including a one-year-old. There are days I open my eyes in the morning, stare at the ceiling, and know that people think I’m crazy even though I feel pretty normal. (People, in fact, often make me feel like a freak for having babies.)

And I don’t blame them.

I could have not had 10 children. It’s easy to prevent them. Even with Natural Family Planning (which we’ve used before–and it didn’t seem natural at all), once you’ve resumed your cycle from breastfeeding. People think I chose to have this many children and I didn’t. Choosing not to prevent them isn’t the same as “seeing how many you can have.”

Sometimes I still get up at night with the baby. I’ve been getting up with babies for twenty years. I still can’t eat a meal without regular interruptions. Yes, some days I just want to eat my food and that’s all. (What if mealtime was just a quiet event with no noodles to scrape off the floor afterwards?)

I still have very needy toddlers. And wonderful. I have teenagers who are even more needy. And complicated. And also wonderful. Some days, quiet would be nice. But our house is full and bustling and always with needs.

I do have my hands full. And I am human. I wonder sometimes what it would have been like.

And right now, in the thick of it, I think I know why birth control is such a popular invention, and so vehemently defended. Because this very full-time job of mothering is, well, very full-time.



All the things in my life like being interrupted at meals or being tired of hearing “Mommy” or being tired of changing diapers or maybe just being ready to “be done” with all the busyness of motherhood–

Thoughts of a Mother With 10 Children

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I keep coming back to this:

All those things are self-centred things that completely disregard the eternal hand of God in my family, in this, my short life. And I am called to not set my mind on things of the earth so much.

I could have chosen to be less tired. I could. I could have chosen to have more free time or a firmer tummy. I could be living a whole different life right now, with just two almost-grown children.

But it would have been what I chose. And I can make really bad choices. Instead, I have what God chose for me. And there is an indescribable amount of peace in that.

(Yes, this post is partly just a talk to myself, a reminder to this very flesh-covered woman.)

So on the days when I’m tempted to feel overworked or when I’m tempted to look at another mother with a bit of envy, I don’t have to give in to that. I can rejoice. I do rejoice.

A Miracle

I carried my little-year-old fellow up the stairs tonight to change his diaper. His face was like staring into the face of God. I don’t always have those kinds of moments, but tonight I did. This little, sweet creature, (demanding as he can be at times) is a new person half me, half my husband, all himself. A miracle. I know people who don’t have 10 kids don’t believe I can feel the same for mine as they do for theirs (I used to be that mother), or marvel anymore or feel my heart will burst in two with love, but I do.

And here’s another bit of truth: I will likely have another baby if I don’t choose to prevent one. Most people think it’s crazy to have 10, much less another one. Sometimes even I do. I mean, 10! It’s not like I need any more children. But that’s never been the point. That’s what no one ever gets. They think I chose (or tried?) to have this number the same way they have their “perfect” number. But that’s never how it’s been.

I Didn’t Choose Them

I simply look at each of my children with more love than I can believe my heart will hold, and I know that I didn’t choose them and I’m so glad God gave them to me anyway. And I think the thought of missing one–even now–if I decided to stop for the sake of not having to endure any more criticism or another sleepless night, or whatever thing–breaks my heart.

Yes, I am busy with this many children. But I’ve given them my life–all of me so that I don’t think any one of them feels neglected in the least way. They still tell me they hope we have another baby. So the people who say that I’m spreading myself too thin must be wrong.

I don’t like the idea of announcing another pregnancy because I know it seems bizarre. I even fear it. But I can’t stand the thought of just waking up tomorrow and saying “no” to God for the rest of my short child-bearing years. I can’t stand the thought of missing the rest of my children.

In the course of our lives, we are being spent doing something. I don’t see why being spent into the lives of my precious children is such a bad thing.

Thoughts of a Mother

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209 Responses

  1. That was a beautiful post. Just exactly what this sometimes tired mama of 9 needed to hear. It is a blessing to come hear and be inspired, refreshed, encouraged. My love and blessings to you and your family.

  2. Kelly- I found your blog by accident when I was pregnant with my first child, now 2.5yrs old. (Our second sweet baby is 6 mos.) I have always wanted a “large” family of four kids. Over the last three years your blog had RADICALLY transformed my opinions of what family is- I have let your words streatch my mind, my heart & my prayers. I am terrifically grateful for you- and my husband and I have given over our fertility to God! We only have two now- and are thrilled to see if He has more for us!? (Hopefully many!… Now I say at LEAST four). πŸ™‚

    I bring up your blog topics at my Mom group from church, and it’s exciting to non judge mentally challenge them too. We give (& are encouraged) to give EVERYTHING in our hearts and lives to Jesus- but why no this? … It is helping me to open my eyes about how our culture really feels about children- vs. how God feels about them- He just LOVES babies!!! He really does! Naturally the enemy doesn’t- and wants to convince us not to either.

    Kelly- I could go on and on- thank you so much dear sister in Christ! (If God chooses) I can’t wait to read about your next pregnancy- what a BLESSING that child is sure to be!!!

    With much thanks, and love in Christ,

    Heidi πŸ™‚

  3. I want to thank you for this. As a 20 year old woman myself with very old fashioned views, living in a very progressive and liberal world can be hard. I have dreams about having six, seven, eleven kids! And sometimes I think, “am I crazy for wanting this?” Thank you. I know I’m not crazy and there are thousands of girls out there who aren’t either. They’re just being called by God to do something special. Thank you. I hope you know there is no one out there quite like mom. You seem to be doing a fantastic job. πŸ™‚


    1. Hi Brooke, I am a 23 year old mommy of beautiful twin girls. I also have very old fashioned views and have always wanted nothing more than to be a mother and God has blessed me with two at once. I pray that he continues to bless my husband and I with more children and a large family. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that some of us in the younger generation do still maintain those values. If you would ever like to talk about this subject or anything please feel free to email me.

      1. Brooke and Heather, I’m a 23yr old mommy to 4 little girls (5 and under). Yall aint alone though the narrow path does feel lonely. I would share my email address but am uncomfortable with doing so. Anyways, be encouraged you’re not alone!

      2. I’m a 23 year old mom to two under two! (Both girls) I’m the only mom in my church that’s open to as many as God wants to give us. It’s so kindly and stressful to have no one to text about it to or laugh about it with, even my mom and mother mother in law cut off their childbearing years early. I wish I had women around me who felt the same way instead of looking down on me in pity.

        1. Thank you women for your God given love for children. I ask, beg you to consider adding to your families by also being foster/adopt parents. We need mommas like you, committed to dearly loving each creation. There are somany lost children who need mamas and papas to call their own!

  4. Just what I needed. I love it when I am “inundated with babies”. It is awkward but it’s full of love. I have four “babies” under five. Until two weeks ago I had five under six. Brooke if wanting eleven children makes you crazy well then I’m guilty as charged because I absolutely want all eleven of mine ;-D I never really had a number in mind, I guess I just must have thought that I’d have two “like everybody else; except those Catholics”. I’m not meaning to demean any Roman Catholics here; just that I never knew any families with more than three when I was growing up that weren’t Roman Catholic. I’m 35 and my baby is 13 1/2 months and I’m not pregnant yet (although I could be and not know yet) which is my biggest break in many years and I’m starting to miss being pregnant lol. I never feel worthy of the blessing of eleven children and I definitely don’t feel able (of myself.) I think people think that I must think I am a brilliant mother therefore if I can handle this many I’m a supermum and that’s why I have more.
    Kelly thank you for reminding me that we all have those fleshly thoughts and where they come from. Will be more on guard against worldly and fleshly thinking ;-D
    We need to stand and not let the thoughts of others stop us from doing what God would have us do (and we can with His Strength.)

  5. This was so beautiful, Kelly.

    It may sound cliche, but this almost-52-year-old mom of an almost-7-year-old “baby” knows of that which she speaks:

    Enjoy those baby years while they last.

    One day there won’t be any more dirty diapers in the house; your baby will ask you how to run the washing machine.

    You won’t be checking baby’s mouth to see if the first tooth has erupted; you’ll watch her figure out how to eat corn-on-the-cob with her four front teeth missing on the top and the permanent ones not quite through yet.

    One day you’ll stop saying “feet first” as your baby attempts to get off the couch; you’ll watch her put her feet on the pedals of her bike and successfully ride without training wheels.

    And much later (but not really), the bike will turn into a car, and she’ll go down the road…

    (OK, I’m getting ahead of myself — thankfully, my baby isn’t there yet!) πŸ˜‰

    But someday the babies that used to come regularly will stop arriving. The baby’s birthday will roll around again, and you’ll remember that last year… and the year before… and …? …you wondered if she was your last baby. A new candle on the birthday cake marks another year the “baby” remains the baby of the family.

    The babies may have stopped coming, the sadness has set in, and the tears have started. But watch through the tears, mom, and you’ll see what God has done.

    He isn’t withdrawing His loving hand as He slowly closes the womb; look closely, and see how He slowly opens a new gift for you: the ability to savor.

    Kelly, I can see God has already begun to bless you with this gift. That moment in the stairway, carrying your baby, seeing him through new eyes — the Lord is teaching you to linger, to savor, to relish His good gifts.

    Hang onto that as each new baby comes and grows. Pray that your ability to savor expands with each passing year. And praise God, Who is our Giver of every good and perfect gift, Who makes this all possible.

    1. C, this:

      “The babies may have stopped coming, the sadness has set in, and the tears have started. But watch through the tears, mom, and you’ll see what God has done.”

      That is so perfect. May God give me those eyes. We need more words like that.

      1. Thank you, Kelly. I’m so thankful to God for all He’s taught me, truths I would not have realized on my own. Soli Deo Gloria.

    2. Thank you for those lovely words of perspective. I had tears as I read of the journey ahead….Lord, may we savor all the time we have with all our precious children.

    3. Oh wow, “The babies may have stopped coming, the sadness has set in, and the tears have started.” I’m only 38 with four children (and three in heaven), but my heart aches for another. I feel a terror deep in my soul that maybe God WON’T bless me with any more. Thank you for the reminder that even if He doesn’t, I can relish the precious moments I have with my Littles.

      1. Thank you, Carrie. Your comment moved me to whisper a little prayer for you. May the Lord shower on you manifold blessings as you mother your precious children.

      2. To those who can no longer have children, I would lovingly encourage you to look into adoption. I had a hysterectomy at the age of 41 but went on to adopt daughers when I was 49 and 54. Those young women are now 21 and 17 and they have rewarded our efforts a thousand times over. They love serving God by serving others. And yes, I am the proverbial 70 year old with a kid who hasn’t even started college yet. The thing I feard the most was the opinion of others regarding my age as a parent. I feared it would embarrass the girls. As it turns out, the girls tell us we look good, better than lots of their friends’ parents. We just look at each other and shake our heads. (We are not getting any

    4. Oh my word, I’m not sure you will ever read this, but thank you. Thank you. And, Kelly, I needed this post so very much today. Praise God, thank you.

        1. There’s a reason I faithfully read your blog. Because it is — and you are — one of the great blessings the Lord has given me, Kelly. Far beyond what I can describe. Thank you.

      1. Annie,

        Thank you for your kind words. I look back now at what I wrote and realize (in hindsight) that it was two weeks after my very last period. I think my heart knew what my head did not yet know.

        God brought me to the end of my fertility, and was faithfully preparing my heart for the next part of life’s journey. We can trust in Him every step of the way.

        Blessings to you.

    5. I am glad to hear that I’m not the only one. Momma(44) of 9 from ages 26-7 and yes, many driving! I just finished the phonics program with my 7-year-old and have been crying more these days. There is no one else to teach to read and my job in that sense is done. I went to the library and looked at all the cute board books, but thought…I’m not checking out board books anymore. I am watching them get up for work, drive away, and have their own lives. That is what we as parents are to do. We have not failed when our children grow up, but the sweetness has passed.

      1. It is so hard to see them grow up! My youngest is 8 and just crossing over from “my baby” to a little boy.

  6. This is my favorite post you’ve ever written.

    We daily ask God to, “Bless us”, but then say, “Oh no God, not the blessings of children. Just give me money, things, comfort.”

    I’m glad you are my best friend, and even more so the friend of my daughters who are beginning their journey of adult faithfulness.

  7. Kelly,

    Thank you for a fine article about the marvel of children. We have eight (one with the Lord). Just yesterday, a young unmarried lady told one of my daughters and I while visiting with extended family, that our daughters should “give up on the idea of finding ‘Mr. Right’ and instead, go get a career.” I told her, NO, that I believe he will come for our daughters in due time. God will send him. The Lord honors those who honor Him, because He loves to lavish grace upon us, starting at Calvary and far beyond…

    The comment at the end of your article from the “almost 52” year old mom with an almost seven year old “baby” hits close to home for that is our situation, except that she is also special needs. A total delight! Thanks to that mom for reminding my wife and I to SAVOR these days. We are beginning to do just that…

    The Lord has been very kind to us, especially so, considering I used to think that the perfect family was only 4 (dad, mom, boy and girl) and these 30 years later, we pray often for the salvation and sanctification of all our arrows. That they may hit the Heavenly target someday. To see, know and hear “well done” when they meet Christ. This is our goal for them, and increasingly, it is their goal for themselves. Phil 3:9-11

    Thanks for the reminder that career over children is a VERY shallow choice. I thank the Lord often for my lovely bride who instead always wanted a home. I am a very rich man.

    A father of eight, husband of 30 years,


    1. Your comment blessed me, Gary. My 10-year-old son is special needs. Amen to these special children from the Lord being so delightful! And the Lord teaches us so much through them, and all of our children!

      Thank you, too, for the reminder to pray for our children. So, so important.

      God bless you and your wife as you raise the children with whom He has blessed you.

  8. Really beautifully written. Even though I have one, it is good for me to read this. I take care of my friend’s now 2 year old (since he was 6 months old) and her new baby will arrive in November. Sometimes I do get tired as I try to raise him like my own child and I will do the same with the new girl coming too.
    I’m not saying the 8-6 job is as hard as 24 hours a day, but this is a good encouragement for me. God gave us 1. I really think it is for the reason of helping others by having babies (sometimes we’ve had young adults for years) in our home.

    Let us not become weary…..


  9. Loved this writing, Kelly. Just what i needed this morning. I’m sooo there. Reluctantly, excitingly waiting for those two pink lines…again. Oh my, its amazing how you know my thoughts. Thank you for your honesty and turning our thoughts right back to praising God for this life he has so graciously called us to and blessed us with. – Mother to nine wonderful blessings

  10. Thank you, Kelly for all the encouragement and truth you speak. I have 6 little blessings and a new one on the way. As a 45 year old mama, I appreciate so much the gift of a new life growing in me. After several miscarriages, I realize more and more that my childbearing days are numbered. Motherhood hasn’t been easy, but as you said there is nothing I’d rather do. I wish I could rewind time and appreciate each little stage of motherhood/ babyhood more than I did as it goes by so quickly. I dread telling people I’m pregnant again, too. It is such a downer and is sometimes the worst with relatives. This time my daughter made a video of her little sister and slipped in the fact that we were expecting. It was sent to relatives and close friends. It was a fun surprise that way and it spared me from seeing the pained looks or hearing the less than excited responses. Thanks again for all your wisdom! God bless you!

  11. Thank you for writing this Kelly. I have been reading your blog for several years and we have exchanged emails a time or two πŸ™‚ I needed to hear this as I sit here 33 weeks pregnant with our 7th blessing. We also started a new home school year yesterday, and my goodness its exhausting! I will be re-reading this blog post today πŸ™‚

  12. How I love this blog! As one of the posters above put it, I don’t feel worthy of the blessing of my four (the 4th due at Christmas!) children. I spent exactly a decade on the Pill, when the Lord really got my attention regarding my life’s priorities in contrast to his…and I’ve basically been pregnant or nursing since that time. And I just cannot believe, when I stop to think about it, how the Lord in His Grace and Mercy brought me here!

    Especially as I’ve watched so many friends, during that time, go through repeated miscarriages, loss of little children, infertility…what deception from the pit of Hell cause us to think, ASSUME, that our biggest challenge is going to be trying to “cope” or “bear the burden” of outrageous blessing??!!?!

  13. Beautifully written! I’m sitting here, pregnant with #5, dreading the start of homeschooling next week, and the pile of laundry in the hallway, and the floors that desperately need to be washed. Feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. Thank you for the reminder to get over myself, since it’s not about me. I love my children more than I could ever express and I honestly hope that He blesses us with many more. So many women have bought into the lie of birth control and it makes my heart ache. I’m Catholic, and I’m a minority in my own faith when it comes to rejecting all forms of birth control. Sad, since it wasn’t all that long ago that Catholic’s were known for their big families. Thanks again for sharing your “raw” thoughts πŸ™‚

  14. Thank you for the encouragement, Kelly! It has been a discouraging time of broken hearts for us lately, and your words are helpful.

    Four weeks ago while preaching through Genesis 9, my pastor said, from the pulpit, “So as good students of the word, we understand that this creation ordinance is still binding on us today. So, what does this look like in a practical way? Does that mean a husband and wife need to be like rabbits and as soon as possible as soon as they get married try as much as possible to have as many children as possible? The answer to that is a definite NO. That is not what it looks like. There are different aspects, there are different wisdoms, and there is conscience and Christian liberty that comes in.”

    He then went on to discourage the very wealthy congregation from having more children than they could provide for (which has not been a problem in our family as GOD is our provider), because that would make us “worse than an infidel”. He stated missionaries who have too many children would “work themselves out of a job”, and twisted scripture so terribly that it went further downhill from there.

    While we have left this conservative, Reformed church (over this and many other issues) now, it has been so discouraging and depressing as we now receive bullying on the way out.

    Thank you for speaking the truth, even when the shepherds fail to. Thank you for providing an encouraging Biblical message when very few will. You have had a huge impact on our family. We have happened to have our last few children within days of yours, and when I just found out we are pregnant with our 6th (yeayy!), it made me think of you and wonder if God may just bless you with one more joyous little one! Our family for one, would be thrilled at that news.

    So while announcing another pregnancy may be hard at the grocery store, or even at church, know that distant friends in Arizona will be rejoicing GREATLY if you are given the privilege of that gift one more time. ;o)

    1. I have noticed this happening more in Reformed churches, Nicole :(. There is an agenda there, I believe. It’s very sad. Sure there are “movements” that have manipulated scripture, but most were initially based off of a biblical foundation then taken too far by extremists. I think the backlash of that could be scary within the church. “Christian Liberties” BLAH… that is a fairly new movement that is incredibly destructive to the church. Of course we have liberty in Christ, but so many horribly take it out of context. And “conscience”? Have so many forgotten that “the heart is deceitfully wicked”? A lot of scripture twisting :(.

    2. Nicole,

      I am grieved for the way pastors often handle childbearing from the pulpit. There is truth to what your pastor said–being fruitful does not mean we “TRY” to see how many children we can have (as I alluded to in the post). But claiming truths like that veiled in derogatory language (“breed like rabbits”) is not Scriptural. The Bible never speaks of children in that way, nor should we, if we want to be “good students of the word.” We must speak only as God speaks about these things and nothing more.

    3. I had to leave a comment on this one- I only have one toddler, but I grew up in a family with 9 children (I was the 4th). My parents had wanted to be missionaries since before they met each other, but over the years mission boards refused to send them – “too many kids”, “teenagers can’t adjust”, etc.
      It wasn’t until my parents were 50 and had had 9 children that God opened the door for them to go to Russia (7 of us children lived there with them, 2 were already in college). They have been there for 11 years now and rather than ever finding their children a hindrance they found exactly that to be what opened doors to conversations, homes and relationships that would otherwise never have happened. They also instilled in us the truth that we are not “missionary kids” but missionaries ourselves. As my sister once put it, “if God could turn the world upside down with 12 disciples, I figure we can turn it at least three quarters of the way”.
      In missions, like in everything else, if people would stop seeing children as a hindrance and rather as the opportunity they are, there would doubtless be many more missionaries.

  15. Oh, how I relate! I only have 5 children (ages 6 mos to 7 1/2 years), but #5 was a HUGE transition for me. I have never felt so weak and crushed by my flesh as I have felt lately.
    I continue to pray for a biblical view of children. To have a humbling realization that each child has been formed and had life breathed into them by God. Each with their own little spirits, crushed by the same flesh that I am. It’s such a trying, amazing thing! I do believe that we should graciously receive each child God gives us, but sometimes I just feel SO limited by my flesh :(.
    I have yet to truly avoid a child (we unsuccessfully tried to between our first 2… who are 13 mos apart!), and I hope God continues to refine and sanctify and strengthen me to faithfully take on this task. I don’t want to miss out on a single child either.

  16. Thank you, Kelly, for your honest and heart-felt post. You did a wonderful job of expressing, for so many of us, what I would love to share with those that just don’t understand our family. We have 8 of our own children and are adopting one.
    My husband ran into the grocery just this weekend and he parked by a pickup (in our huge van) that had a bumper sticker that said, “Stop Breeding”. I was hoping the owner wasn’t going to come out while we were at the grocery.
    I wouldn’t want to change a thing. I can’t imagine life without all of our blessings, though it has been extremely challenging at times, especially with illness in our family.
    I’m 50 now. The seasons are changing. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy each and every moment; we will never be sorry.

    P.S. I met you at Redmond. I was the one that suggested you come to the conference, if you remember me. Blessings!

    1. Moira, our kiddos are the exact same ages! We have 4 boys and 1 girl – I go back and forth between framing about what our next little one will be like & wondering if I will make it through the end of the day. How many boys/girls do you have?

  17. I love that line “I have what God chose for me.” I chose to only have three children. For seven years afterward I looked around for my fourth. It was a very strange feeling to be missing someone who was never born.

    There are many hard things in my life right now, but they are so much easier to bear knowing that I am in and doing God’s will. You are right about the peace we have in God’s will.

  18. Thank you for this beautiful post. I think you express the feelings of moms of many well, as on the one hand we are part of a culture that values comfort and material possessions more than children and we sometimes wonder how we might an enjoy an easier life; but on the other hand the joy of having many children reminds us that we have chosen the best path.

  19. So lovely! Do you know what I hear in this post? Contentment, peace that God in His perfect will has given you what He desires for you. And His desires have become your desires.

    I have what God chose for me, as well: one precious blessing that we waited YEARS for. It’s so freeing to come to the point of realizing that God knows what He is doing, that it doesn’t matter what other families look like, that it doesn’t matter that life is not what I thought it would be. There are days that I wish for the opposite of you…a house full of noise and busyness! My husband and I PLANNED for that to be our life! Some days it’s hard to understand why we weren’t blessed with a large family when it’s what we both desired. After all, shouldn’t God bless a desire that’s good?! But God knew what He wanted for us, and we can find contentment in His ways. Thank you for the reminder of this today, even though we sit on opposite sides of the coin!

  20. Kelly, what lovely words! I especially like what you wrote about the miracle of your baby being half your hubby, half you. Each and every child is an amazing miracle.

    Our last baby was born when I was 44 and hubby was 47. He is now a towering, talented, funny, amazing 15 year old who brings us joy each and every day. I’m so glad we didn’t stop at 10 or 11. We had 12 of the most amazing, wonderful kids on the face of the planet.

    We went through hard times and sleepless nights and broken bones and trips to the hospital. We had loud discussions about history or science or theology or “global warming”. πŸ˜€ We didn’t always agree on everything, but we had love.

    That’s what I read in your post: LOVE.

    1. We have twin sons whom we love dearly. I had hoped to have more kids, but wasn’t blessed with any more. My hubby says that many God knew that my body couldn’t handle any more pregnancies. I was #5 of 5,my hubby was #2 of 5. I love kids. At a time not so long ago, I looked around and began criticizing families: with too many kids, remarriages with “together” kids. I wondered how the big families fit in a home, had to take care of their siblings.etc… My husband told me that, it was the choice of the other families to have more kids. Even those who remarried, he said had a right to have kids that were a part of the new married couple. I have 2 cousins with large families. One cousin has a child the same age as one of their grandchildren; I thought that was kinda of weird. I guess it kind of reminds me of a song my kids and I used to listen to on cassette tape, “I’m my own grandpa”. Anyway I feel bad for criticizing big families. Oprah once had a show segment that featured large families back in the 80’s. I felt bad then; that the siblings had to be the live-in babysitters with not too many chances of doing stuff they wanted to. Anyway. Thanks for listening.

  21. My life is very different from yours and I can not have anymore children, but I enjoyed this post. I found it a little ironic that so many are so negative about someone choosing to go about childbearing in the way you have, yet if a woman chose to work like a dog to get ahead and puts in many, many hours, to the point of jeopardizing her health and her family’s welfare, it is seen as acceptable and really something to be commended. Anyway, just wanted to share that sense of irony I felt in reading this.

  22. I wish I could say this article inspired me… but mostly it just made me feel worse… more “shoulds” that I need to try and live up that I just don’t want to do… We have 5-infant to 10y.o. We homeschool. Money has been tight for 12 years. I’m tired. I’m constantly annoyed. I’m impatient with all the children–all the time. I’m sick of the housework never being caught up and always feeling like a failure at everything, no matter how much I do, do, do. I’m sick of trying. I’m tired of other people assuming I am “supermom”… I wish I could just disappear. Spiritually speaking, there is so much to get done each day, I have no idea how to fit in any kind of devotional time–and when I do I fall asleep. Mostly, I am resentful, bitter, and angry–and feel so trapped–and with no recourse or way to cope. I don’t know how to do this–and have no idea how NOT to do this in the flesh–I exist in my flesh–and while I have heard so much about “works of the flesh” I have no idea how grace and perseverence in a spiritual sense somehow helps us cope in the physical “wash 5 loads of laundry, cook/wash up three meals, teach all the children all their education, do or oversee ALL the housework (and lots of yard too), AND somehow fit hubby in there… I don’t even feel like a person anymore with hopes, desires, ambitions or dreams. I feel like a slave to my circumstances… and I am tired of trying to tell myself how “important” this is… maybe I just don’t have spiritual eyes to see it… honestly, I’m struggling to even care…

    1. Laura,

      I am sorry for the weariness and struggle you are enduring. May the Lord be with you in your suffering.

      Do you have anyone locally whom you trust and can speak with? A clergyman or counselor perhaps? I am concerned for you — I hear much despair in your words. I don’t know you, though, and the medium of the internet does not always give the most accurate picture of a person’s circumstances. A wise counselor with whom you can meet face-to-face may be a better help to you in your time of need.

      I read a book recently that you may find helpful, entitled Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free, by Tullian Tchividjian. You can find it here:

      From the introduction of the book: “Suffering is suffering, and it is universal. The sincere hope of this short book is to explore how the reality of human suffering, in all its forms, might relate to the truth of God’s liberating grace in a way that is both honest and comforting.”

      The Kindle edition of the book (you can get a free app on which to read it if you don’t have a Kindle) is sometimes free, so it won’t cost you anything to order the book if you watch for when it’s offered free of charge.

      I think you would find the discussion of grace in Chapter 2 to be of much value; there is also much about coping to be found in this book, and other themes you mentioned in your post.

      I prayed for you immediately when I saw your post, Laura, and will continue to. You are a person of worth and value, and are precious in God’s sight. He is walking with you. May you always feel His loving presence in the midst of your trials.

    2. I will be praying for you Laura! I struggle in these ways at times. Sometimes I feel the load is so heavy it will either crush me or I’ll go numb. I do find a few scripture verses very encouraging- Psalm 51:17- The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise., 2 Cor. 12:9- And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me., Psalm 34:18- The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.,Philippians 1:6- For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus., and Psalm 113:9 – He makes the barren woman abide in the house As a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!
      The last verse is encouraging to me because it shows that not only did He give us these children but He has created us with the ability to keep our home (and all that entails)and be a joyful mother of children. We may not be there yet (and won’t ever be perfectly on this earth) but through Him it is possible.
      One day at a time, one thing at a time. If you want some good reads- A Mother’s Heart by Jean Fleming, Homemaking (aka The Family) by J.R. Miller, and Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss are wonderful!

      1. I would say that I definitely have been in the same place as you…recently. But what I have found is that as I go to the Lord with pure honesty, begging Him for help and confessing my sin, He really does begin to lift me up.
        Too often we are only looking at the tough stuff in our lives and fail to look at all we should be thankful for (having a husband who loves me, having food, having a warm bed, freedom to homeschool, freedom to read my Bible…).
        Beware of selfishness…it’s a tornado that will suck you up and spit you out.
        Often times all we need to do is regroup. Make a plan. Decide what you will do and do it. I lacked motivation this past year. We were basically traveling nonstop for 7 months until our home was finished being built. I also became pregnant with our 6th baby at the beginning of our travels. Our oldest is only 10. So morning sickness while traveling and living out of suitcases, was more than I could really cope with. Once we moved into our home, there was the whole adjustment of that and then delivering our baby 2 months later. I am just now 1 year after moving out of our other home, starting to find some sort of consistency, norm, energy, motivation.
        But you got to start somewhere.
        Begin by deciding what you want your day to look like at home with the kids. Keep it simple, but plan to do your plan for 1 day, then plan to do it again the day after. Take one day at a time, knowing the night before what it is you want to accomplish, then do it.
        But go to the Lord with a humbleness, to confess your selfishness, your anger, your resentment. Ask him to forgive. Then ask him to help you see the blessings of what you have. (We very easily could be living in some God forsaken place unable to have all that we have).
        For my husband and I, we like to spend the evening together without the kids since we are together so much anyway. So we put them to bed early and they listen to the Bible on CD. We have made it our goal to have a schedule Monday through Friday. Just decide what you need and make it happen. Sounds like you need fresh perspective, or a break.
        My husband always tells me to take my breaks or go have alone time, but never do it by myself, always bring God with me.
        What you describe was me, just a few weeks ago. Trust me, when you confess your sin, he is faithful to forgive us our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Read your Bible…practice patience, stop doing so many things and organize your priorities. Also if you aren’t eating well you will be suffering mentally and physically. And do a 2 minute workout in your bathroom when you go, so you get your blood moving. Listen to good Christ centered music. I love this anytime I’m discouraged…
        And give yourself some credit. πŸ™‚ But especially, give God credit.
        You are not alone…

    3. “He who labors must labor in hope.” I have said nearly the same words: “I failed yesterday and I will fail tomorrow and every day no matter how hard I try.” and ” I wish I could crawl under a rock.”

      I had a picture in mind of the home business my husband and I planned to have when our children reached teenage years that failed. I never had a plan b and still demands were there. I failed and crashed and was overwhelmed. How important my job was did not matter if there was no progress in sight. Feeling depressed in this situation is Scriptural. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

      God has a cure beyond grin and bear it. Our hope is in what Christ will do in our failed business, unaccomodating suburban neighborhood, job that takes all Dad’s time and energy whatever. What is your picture of success that you are not meeting every day and why? Start here.

    4. Hi, Laura. One last thought from me. You are obviously overwhelmed with what you feel are “shoulds” imposed on you from the outside. The only shoulds any of us need to concern ourselves with are those found in the Bible. Cling to the words of scripture and throw out the words of everyone else for a season, if you must — including my words! — if they place an extra burden on you. (And I don’t intend that as an insult to the many very obviously caring sisters in Christ who have reached out to you here!)

      God tells us in His word, “My burden is easy, and my yoke is light.” Ask Him for wisdom on how to recognize and be free of the burdens to which He Himself has not called you. The Lord promises wisdom to all who ask.

      Continuing in prayer for you…

    5. Laura, I’m so sorry. I have 5 – ages 3 through 11. I homeschool, too. And I, too, am exhausted. I have no words of wisdom, and I’m sure you’ve read every how-to and inspirational book,same as me. And you never feel like you measure up and you go to bed feeling defeated every night. And you feel guilty every time you sit down to take a little rest and maybe read something “just for you”, because you see the laundry basket full of clothes and the floor needs to be vacuumed and if you do get over that guilt, you can’t concentrate on your book because someone is quarreling or needs you to button up the “dress-up dress” that you just unbuttoned 10 minutes ago. All I can say is hang in there. Make yourself some index cards with Scripture and out them around the house. Create a “pretty place” in your house or a place of delight where you can look when things get insane and it will be a peaceful place for your eyes to rest. Even if the rest of your house is a disaster, keep that little corner neat and look at it often.

    6. Laura – I empathize with you. I would suggest going to a naturopath to guide you into good vitamins to take. B vitamins are so essential for stress, and there are adrenal supplements that may be of help, also. I have felt like you do and found relief in good supplements. Amazingly, they even took away the angry feelings. Anger is usually thought of as a spiritual problem, but I know firsthand that anger and irritation can be due to nutritional deficiencies. They have diminished greatly with good nutrition and supplements. I have gone through stages where sugar was the cause of my anger flashes and when I avoided sugar, the anger went away. I hope this helps you in some way. Most of my childbearing years I spent irritated, so DH will not have anymore, thinking I could not handle them.

    7. Hi, Laura,

      I would like to hug you. I wonder: Is there ever an opportunity for you to take a Sabbath for the day, and go out for some time alone? I am amazed, sometimes, how refreshing it is for me simply to sit in a quiet spot and have time to think one complete thought. Often, I am able to pray and see ways I might change things to allow myself more grace. Also, I tend to neglect sleep as a first response when everything feels out of control. When I am tired, my first “reactions” to even minor crises are hopelessness/anger. I also frequently tell my husband how important his encouragement is for me. If he praises my homemaking, mothering, or our homeschool…I have so much more energy for my callings! My husband is loving, but is a man with many concerns of his own…and I often remind him that his feedback is sometimes the *only* adult “talk” that is going on in my life. I hope you can find a listening ear for your burdens; you will be in my prayers. I know the road you walk is challenging.

    8. Laura,
      I will keep this short. Are your children kind? Are they loved? Then you are doing enough. Hang in there. (you can stop reading here)

      Book learning can wait. Pick what’s important and do that. My house is a wreck, schooling is sporadic, but my kids are a pleasure. That is enough.

      Maybe read some Raymond and Dorothy Moore. One title is “Better Late Than Early”.

  23. This was a lovely post, as someone who chose to close my womb after three (life circumstances and not realizing what I was really doing) I find it wonderful and exciting to watch your family grow. I started following your blog when you had just seven and every pregnancy after I rejoiced with you. You have a beautiful family and I am so very glad that you have them wishing sometimes that I had made the same choice as you. We need more warriors for Christ. Please don’t let others make you feel defensive, feel sad for them their legacy is small and possibly very short.

  24. I have to admit, I am jealous. Seriously jealous. I did want at least 8 kids. But there are reasons why I don’t. I have one beautiful teenager who is autistic and will not be fully adult until he is close to 30. But if I could have had more, I would. And would likely still be having them if I had my “druthers.” You are seriously blessed. Enjoy all the stages of your kiddos πŸ™‚

  25. There are times I feel frustrated with my children and with how much there is to do, but thankfully The Lord reminds me that He is God, He has a purpose, and I need to rely totally upon Him for strength, for the salvation of my children, for provision and that whatever there is that needs to be done (speaking of just for our family alone), how much more has God done for us by sending His Son The Lord Jesus Christ who in becoming a man, bearing with our infirmities, dying the terrible death of the cross, receiving the wrath of God the Father so that sinners ( “for all have sinned”) could be saved. Father in heaven, thank You for saving me and thank You for all that You have done for me and continue to do for me. Please help those who are struggling, thank You for Your help and thank You for the encouragement I have from You and from other brothers and sisters in Christ who deal with similar trials and share in many of the same joys. Help us to live our lives for Your glory.
    P.S. I give credit to those stay at home Moms taking care of babies, many homeschooling, many with multiple children. I was able to stay at home from work yesterday for the holiday and I had a small experience what it was like for my lovely wife almost everyday of the week with our five children and it can get tough so I am thankful for my sweetheart, what a blessing she is to me and our family. My children are blessed to have a Mom like she is. I am blessed to have her as my wife. So I want to say thank you sweetie for being such a devoted wife and Mom.

  26. Oh and for those of you who don’t know, the Lord Jesus Christ died yes, but He is risen from the dead and He now lives to intercede on behalf of those who believe on Him for eternal life, salvation from their sin and the punishment that sin brings. “For all have.sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.


  27. Thank you so much Kelly. The Lord knew I needed to hear this, exactly now. I’m expecting our seventh child, and our oldest is seven. Many people think we’re crazy, and sometimes I do too. Thank you for bringing my mind back to the heart of all this – I didn’t choose this, but God did. It is His plan and I can trust that is good. Far better than what my plan would have been, as simple and clean as my plans seem to be to me. Thank you for encouraging a weary heart!

  28. Kelly, I’m rushing off to drop off one of my eight to be a blessing to an elderly neighbor this morning, and I had to stop and tell you what a wonderful post this is! I am going to keep it on hand, both for my own encouragement, but also to encourage others walking this backwards (in the world’s eyes) path. I know I haven’t commented for a long time (long story), but I had to come out of my cyber cave for this! I am so thankful for your eloquence and thank God for you!!! May The Lord bless you and keep you, sister!

  29. I’m only a mommy of two – a preschooler and a toddler – with another on the way and I feel like this many times. But wow, what an encouragement this post was! I loved it. Smiled. Cried. And thanked Jesus all over again. πŸ™‚ Blessings to you and thank you for being such a great source of encouragement.

    1. I say this with encouragement (no condemning or correcting tone… I just want to share about the words ‘just’ and ‘only’ …. Like when someone asks if you, as a woman, work outside the home and someone answers ‘no, i’m just a mother/housewife)….Did you know that ‘just’ to be a mother to even one is as special as being a mother to 20. You aren’t a mother to ‘only’ two …there is no ARE a mother to two, very loved and cared for special lives. Be blessed and enjoy the two! If you have more, then you’ll be a mother of _____!!!! I loved being a mother of two…so special having those two boys play together…then there were three…now five. But not ‘only’ five…even though I will probably have no more children….and I am OK with that…if a special addition were to happen, we’d be OK with that, too.

  30. I loved your post, I was told that I would never have children. But after I was married I put it in God’s hands and I have 2 beautiful daughters. I would have had 10 if he let me, I am so very thankful for my blessing of children. Thank you for you post, it doesn’t matter if it 2 or 10 God will give you what he has planed for you.

  31. Thank you Kelly. You are a voice that articulates so well the see-saw emotions of the journey, while still holding high the ultimate values that make this ‘risky’ life worth living!

    Precious #9 will be joining us soon, and I feel like it’s only been in this last pregnancy that I’ve let go of much of my fear and grief about what others think about our choices.

  32. I am so glad to read your post and the comments. I don’t feel so alone. I have been married for 24 years and we have six beautiful children. I know people think we are crazy. We have heard it from family, church family, and people we meet. I can attest that I am crazy. Crazy in love with my children (and my husband of course). I wondered during my second pregnancy how I could love a new baby as much as my first child. It is so amazing the love we can have for each child. They are all so different and all so wonderful. Thank you for expressing what it means to put your fertility in God’s hands.

  33. Thank you for posting! It hit the nail on the head! We have 2 little ones- 2 1/2 and 1. We would like to have as many children as the Lord will bless us with. And usually somehow that means to everyone that we plan on having 30 they say. Yet I can’t find a way to say its not like that. What I’m trying to say is that I love the Lord and I trust His heart for us. And whatever that entails we will rejoice in. Motherhood changes your life and you find inside yourself a love that you never knew existed. A love that overflows and presses deeply against your heart with love for your child. And you want to do it all over again and hold another precious little one in your arms again. Thank you for putting it all into words.

  34. Oh, I love this! I could identify with every single thing you wrote here. I especially liked how you said we *could* choose, yes, but we are capable of making bad decisions, and we choose to let God choose for us. Yes!!!

    I’m also am almost 42 year old, and I have nine sweet treasures. Your post blessed me today.

  35. Wonderful! We are soon expecting our 5th baby. I have HAD 6, but will only HAVE 5 once this one is born. The oldest is 19, the youngest is 5. I would love to have 10, but at 36, not sure it’s doable.
    I have family that criticizes every time we are expecting again. This time we waited till I was halfway through the pregnancy before saying anything, just because I didn’t want to hear the rude remarks, now they will hardly speak to me. πŸ™

    Anyways, looking forward to your announcement for any future babies. You have been an encouragement to me through the years.

    Oh, and a little tip I received a few years ago; if you wait till the next day to clean up the spilled pasta or rice, it is much easier to clean up. May sound gross but it really does work. πŸ™‚

  36. Laura yet another. I was feeling just as you described about a week ago. I often struggle with thoughts of failure. Failure as a daughter, failure as a student, as a wife as a homeschooling mother. I realised after crying out to God that those thoughts are not what He wants me thinking about myself. He made me and knows my weaknesses as well as my strengths and He still chose to bless my husband and I with 11 children (so far…I’m 35 so there could be more.) I think to myself sometimes that God must be crazy to chose me for the task.
    On a more practical level if you want to talk I’d love that. I will contact Kelly with my contact details (sorry I don’t know how else to do it) and you could ask her (I give my permission; if that’s ok Kelly?) I think it could be therapeutic to both of us.
    Sometimes I get overwhelmed and it’s when I think about all that I feel is my responsibility until I realise I have added to those that God considers my responsibilities and the list seems too long. Anyway I am feeling buoyed up for the time being and I would love to be able to help you Laura. I hope I haven’t offended by my comments. Much Christian love, Sister Hayley xx

  37. Also Laura if I read of the success of others I naturally (in the flesh) compare myself (which I know I should not do) and am jealous that I cannot be the “perfect homeschooling mum” yes I’m in Oz :-D) My husband does most of our cooking and I struggle to get homeschooling done sometimes. I remind myself (when I’m not feeling depressed and even sometimes when I am) that I can do what needs to be done…I just have to be tougher with my children so that they will not walk all over me and overwhelm the situation. I sometimes find myself feeling that “helpful books” are sometimes not helpful because then I feel like a bad person for having the feelings I do because look how that woman “has it all together and has all the answers.” They may be her answers for her and would not apply to me or she may naturally have more ability and therefore it’s easier for her to say “this is how it should look like for a homeschooling mum of many.” Try not to let the advice make you feel like a failure; easier said than done I know. I used to go looking for helpful older Titus 2 type women but my experience with that is that they had an aura of I have it all together and you should do it exactly like me to be a good homeschooling mother; and that made me feel like rubbish and putting myself under their direction was HARD and sometimes detrimental to my children. So I just love on them the best I can and worry less about what I should be doing and hope God will pick up the slack for me. Please do email/call me if you have time; I promise I will not be judgemental…I’m really in the same place as you ALOT OF THE TIME. Hayley xx

  38. Thank-you for this! I often ask myself if I am crazy; only 26 pregnant with my 4th. But I truly have that peace of knowing this is God’s will for my life, and I would be struggling if I didn’t surrender this to God. I often have conversations in my head and think how to answer someone when they wonder why we have all these children or if we will have more; the answer to why is For the Glory of God. The chief end of man is to enjoy God and glorify Him forever; by the grace of God he is giving me children that I can train up to enjoy Him and Glorify Him. On a side note; yes my four year old often tells me that he loves babies and that we need to have lots and lots of babies; this does make me smile, because I do feel I am spreading myself thin. 1 cor 10:31″ Whether you eat or drink of whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

  39. Wondeful post. Let’s not forget that much of it applies directly to the exhausted dads too πŸ™‚ I encourage you all to visit the large family directory I started few years ago. A number of prominent moms with blogs and families are in it. It is very private and password protected to get into the directory once you’re a member. And submissions are not automatically approved. I screen every applicant manually and keep it real and protect the families from spammers or haters, etc.

    There are about 600 families in it with their testimonies and they are inspiring indeed. Really there should be 500 families in every state in the directory. The purpose originally was so that families could find each other if they moved to a new area. As you know those with the worldview– that children are a blessing and therefore it doesn’t make sense to block God’s blessings–those families connect with each other and are instantly best friends and so are their children with each other. πŸ™‚

    It is commercial/$$$ free–just purely a directory resource for our families. I’m too busy with a small business in a new market to do anything else with it. I was going to post others’ blog posts such as this one for example to the site as there are so many excellent blogs like RaisingOlives, etc. But just don’t have time to collect the posts and link back to the authors.

    Any moms on here that are already in the directory give a shout out so that folks trust it’s good πŸ™‚

  40. I can’t even imagine anyone saying such an ignorant thing as the things you fear may be said or thought when you announce the next pregnancy. Oh how I would have loved to have 10, 12, or more children. Just as God has provided this for you, He had something different for me, and my heart will always yearn for all the children I don’t have. God bless you and your beautiful family!

  41. Well said! I, too, am a Mom of 10. My oldest is about to turn 30 and my youngest is 10 and a half. He was born when I was 42. You have voiced my thoughts from many years in a very clear way. Thank you!
    They do grow up. And it is busy in a different way. They are never far from your thoughts and prayers, even when grown and living far away. There is no better investment to make in life. And knowing you have all God wanted you to have does bring peace. Saying ‘yes’ to God in this area is an adventure and blessing. Blessings aren’t without sacrifice. The sacrifices are all worth it, as you know.
    And then the grandchildren come:) We have 2 so far!
    Embrace all God has for you! Don’t be afraid to announce another pregnancy. It is an honor to carry a child! I’m past that time now; child-bearing is over. I’m glad we chose to allow God to plan our family. Ten seems normal to me, too!
    Blessings to you and yours!

  42. I love it when a blogger puts down many of my thoughts!
    Well said
    ~ a 46 yo mama of 8, ages 5-22 (and grandma of 5, going on 6 little ones!)

  43. I really appreciate your perspectives! I hope you don’t mind, but I have some questions that constantly bounce around in my mind regarding children, and I don’t really personally know anyone with a perspective like yours regarding children. So I don’t have anyone else to ask who’s living this out.

    With having each child, do you fear that with the possibility of each new pregnancy, that your health will not be good enough to carry a baby and nourish a baby, while being so busy with your other kids? Because health plays such an important role in nourishment and correct development of babies during pregnancy. And getting all the nourishing foods and stuff for best health is EXPENSIVE! We have to pick & choose and hope for the best!

    And with your age, do you fear being older and pregnant? Risk factors really go up at 35 yrs. old.

    And how are you able to take the time to take care of yourself? Do you just say to yourself, I’m taking “x” amount of time to ensure that you shower, brush my teeth, eat snacks instead of skipping them, etc. And your kids just have to understand that and wait?

    I’ve got 4 kids with another one due very very soon – any day. And we’re so excited!!! I wonder if we will have more kids, but I’m now almost 35 years old, and I just don’t know if my body can hold up at all for another pregnancy. I don’t know if I can do it again. Plus all the risk factors go up with things going wrong during a pregnancy. And with each new one, my husband & I will be older and older when they are just teens and young adults. How can I keep up with little kids as I age, when already I’m so exhausted?

    But I LOVE my children, and I really feel like being a stay-at-home mom is what God designed me to do, which surprises me since it’s never something I gave even a second of thought about as I was going to school, college, and newly married years ago!

    Thank you for any input you can give!

    1. Jill,

      Those are great questions. These are my thoughts:

      Health is important and we need to be mindful of that. But health isn’t complicated. Rest, water, moderate exercise and enough fruits and vegetables places you above the modern American. Throw in a great multi-vitamin and you’re even better off.

      The biggest thing to consider is that pregnancy is healthy. You don’t hear that much, because society is not pro-life. But being pregnant offers a host of preventative benefits where it is actually scientifically documented that the more times a woman ovulates the higher her risk of certain cancers. I love considering all the health benefits of pregnancy and nursing.

      As far as increased risks…again, I would consider the source. What medical journals fail to consider when they throw out statistics, is that most studies of older women having babies aren’t done on women who have had babies naturally throughout their child-bearing years. Women in that category are at very low risks. Most risks involve women who have put off child-bearing and have used artificial means of bc. That’s something you won’t hear from most doctors.

      As far as having time to get everything done? There’s a bunch to say and I don’t have time to say it all. Yes, your children will be perfectly fine if you need to shower. Or wait. We’ve been fed a steady diet of what children need and it’s not often what they actually need. If you are home and devoted to your children, a shower or snack (that you can share with them) isn’t going to cause you to neglect your children. A stay-at-home mom devoted to simplicity and raising her children are going to have far more time, no matter how many children she has, than the average family has. That’s just a fact.

      Hope that helps!

    2. Jill,

      I had heard a lot about that “magic age” of 35, too, and how things supposedly would only get worse, more complicated, etc. from there on. In my experience, other than my varicose veins (a problem which is treatable) getting a little worse with each pregnancy, the pregnancies with my three youngest children (born after age 35) were considerably easier than with the three who were born in my 20s and early 30s. I had far less morning sickness, and when I was tired, I had the built-in assistance of my older children, something a younger mother doesn’t have as easy access to when she only has littles at home.

      I don’t know if your prenatal care provider is a doctor or a nurse-midwife, but after seeing an OB for my first three pregnancies, I switched to midwives with my first pregnancy after age 35. My OB had been quite interventionist, and that can really lead to a feeling of fear when you have a doctor who is so intent on focusing on everything that could go wrong.

      Midwives, on the other hand, while they certainly don’t throw caution to the wind, are, in general, more well-versed in nutrition and naturally healthy pregnancy than are physicians. I was very blessed by my experiences with midwives, and became much less fearful about pregnancy and childbirth after I began seeing them for prenatal care.

      The main thing to remember is that God is in control. He created our bodies and knows our capabilities and limits in all He designed for us, even when we’re not sure what the future holds. He is faithful to give us all the grace we need for each day. Take it one day at a time, Jill, and know you’re in good hands trusting in the Lord’s provision.


    3. As someone a little younger with a less wisdom, I really wanted to chime in here simply for another perspective. I have six beautiful children and live in a house on stilts in a village in Cambodia. For the past five pregnancies I experienced severe antenatal depression. The moment those babies were born, however, the depression disappeared. Until the sixth pregnancy, I did not know I was depression, only that something was terribly wrong. Each pregnancy the depression was worse, and by the sixth, I was unable to care for my family and was suicidal. When number six was born, I had postpartum for the first time. The doctor said the depression had become chronic because I had not treated it for so long. Now, we are using natural family planning (which I agree feels SO unnatural). We are working so hard to improve my health with the hope that healing will come and that God will give us more children. Sometimes the Lord may say wait. I would just encourage you to seek the Lord will all your heart both in prayer and in the Word. Seek Him and then compare what He says to any and all advice you receive. Heath problems and financial problems will probably come. Get in the habit now of seeking Him and leaning on Him in this and every area of your life. Don’t plan in this area – seek first. May God bless you and your family.

  44. Jill, about the health risks. The book Be Fruitful and Multiply answers a lot of these concerns. In fact the author documents that continued cycles without a pregnancy can be more stressful on the body. Totally different view!

  45. I just recently found your site and am so excited and grateful. I’m 32, blessed with 6 children and get comments all the time like “Are you done yet?” I’m lucky to have a good lookin, strong back boned, seasoned with salt husband who deflects most comments to himself. I tell other believers to seek the truth in scripture on God’s thoughts on children and not the world’s thoughts of them being a burden. The verse that comes to mind for me recently is Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I think the friction in us is really how we perceive what blessings should look like and what God calls a blessing and to trust Him in that. Really it is quiet amazing how I am where I am today (I’m not talking about having lots of kids but rather my growth as a beleiver). I grew up with 1 sibling and never heard of homeschooling or Christian colleges etc. I was your typical all american girl until God got ahold of my life and taught me to look to Him for all things. I seriously thought we would only have 3 kids and be done, but it’s amazing how God has worked in our hearts and transformed our thoughts, I’m in awe at where God has taken us and when I ponder what God HAS done, it propels me to trust in Him even more.
    We are a really active family and enjoy skiing, trips, lake, etc. like anyone else. People just don’t understand why we would want any more since it makes getting out the door almost impossible. Yes, the extra effort and time and mental capacity is completely streching us every day but, wow, we have grown some muscles and continue to be surprised at how God uses these times to grow us and reveil how selfish we are. I still struggle with comments from other Christians, but try not to take them personally. I am encouraged by you and other mom’s who find their strength and identity in Christ alone. It is amazing going out in public with our family and instantly we get all this attention (questions, looks, comments) It’s incredible how the doors are opened and the opportunity to glorify God is so readily presented. Others are so curious and we are so eager to share where our joy comes from. Thank you for being real! May God bless your witness to the world and may we do all through Christ who gives us strength!

  46. I really wanted a large family when I was younger but it took forever for me to have #1 and then 4 years later came #2 and another 4 years came #3 then the doctors said I needed to make a choice: another baby or at the least bed rest for the whole pregnancy or possibly death for the baby and probably me. Did I want to leave the kids I had here on earth to fulfill MY dream of a large family? NO so we stopped at 3 BUT then I was shown that there are a lot of kids out there that need a mom (who is not biological) to take care of them. So we did foster care for a while and after that ended we just took in kids that needed us that our kids brought home. I now have 7 sons and 15 daughters. God was good and fulfilled my dream of a big family

  47. Exactly! I have 11 amazing children. My youngest turns one in a couple of weeks and my oldest is 27. I also have 8 grandchildren. I am 45. I don’t listen to the criticism of society, I listen to the gratitude of my children for their life!

  48. Hi. I am 29 with 7 kids and one on the way! I know what you mean about being in love with each child and how that doesn’t go away just because you have so many. My heart absolutely belongs to my 1 year old right now, just as it has belonged to each of my other children since I began having them 14 years ago. I am a little different from you though, because I actually do TRY to have more, lol. I can’t help myself, I am so amazed at what my husband and I can create! I want to have as many as nature allows, or as many as my body allows. I don’t care that society thinks our family is too big, because society is full of mean, hateful people. I want to be surrounded by a big, loving, happy family, so I built my own. My children are SO happy whenever I get pregnant again, they are always telling me “you should have 10 more!” lol. The only opinions that matters to me are theirs, my husbands and my own. If we all agree that a new family member should be added, my husband and I simply make a new family member! I feel SO blessed to have such healthy fertility!!

  49. Dear Laura, Could I offer a suggestion to help you with your obvious despair. Please try contacting a local homeschool group in your area or even maybe approach a family with older children at your church. Ask for a volunteer mother’s helper that might come in one day or afternoon a week and assist with cleaning or caring for the children. It sounds like you may not be getting any breaks at all and could benefit from some. Praying for you.

  50. That was really beautiful. You have made a wonderful decision to not prevent the birth of your future children. I wish I had made the same decision and not used birth control as a young woman. I am now a grandmother and wish I had the wisdom then that you do now. I know it was pure selfishness on my part. I pray that the Lord continues to bless your life with all things good.

  51. Thank you so much for your honesty! This momma of 5 (for now) is afraid if/when we get pregnant again to announce because of the scrutiny we received announcing our sweet little number 5. My hubby is Military fixing to deploy, one of my children has special needs, we homeschool, I’m grateful every day for the babies God chose for me, though a Good nights sleep would be really nice. πŸ™‚

  52. Kelly
    Just sitting here thinking “I could have written this”, I too am a 42year old mother of 10 children. So excited to read you are the same:) Though my oldest is 21, the youngest 8 months. I understand totally all your thoughts and feelings!

  53. Said a short prayer for you Ms Kelly. =) I could FEEL everything you were trying to “say” through your post. I got goosebumps many times. I’m sorry you have to endure such negativity just because you have felt convicted n this area of your life and open to the blessing of however many little children chooses to bless you and your husband with. I “only” have 4 and after 2 I dreaded telling anyone too. It’s SO VERY sad that we live in a society where announcing a new life is feared by many women. It made me sad to hear you say you would fear announcing another baby but I get it. I would be too and we both need to give that to God. Fear of man is not ok and neither you, nor I should care what any person on this earth thinks when we know we are in the will of God. I pray you would find peace and that God would make His will known to you.

    My children hope for more siblings too and just love our baby to death! It does warm my heart and I uguess it seems perfectly normal to me so don’t think twice about it but maybe not all young kids want more brothers and sisters? Anyhow, I’m sure you are a wonderful, flawed mother like the rest of us and your children are blessed to have you.

    Truly praying God would cover you in peace.

  54. Beautifully written! Our nine children are almost grown-our baby is 17. We homeschooled for 27 years and those years flew by. What a blessing to have that privilege. When people would ask if a child was planned- I said by God. Our doctor(60 ish) recently told me if he and his wife could do over they would have more children.God bless you.

  55. As a mom to 18…..I love this article. Granted, 15 of my 18 are adopted but we sometimes still dread telling family and friends we are “expecting” again. But as time as worn on, it is easier because we just get to a point where we say….God has called us to this, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. They can be negative all they want but we choose to follow God’s calling on our lives.

    Thanks for sharing from your heart. Oh….I’m 53 and I have a 3 1/2 year old. Sometimes I do ask God what He was thinking to give me two more toddlers this past year, but oh the joy (and the trials) these two blessings have given us. I can’t imagine life any other way.

    God’s Blessings always be upon you as you continue to follow what the Lord has called you to do for Him.

  56. I just found out I’m pregnant with #4 (I’m 25 years old and our oldest is 4). I’m a little over 8 weeks and I haven’t told anyone yet. I have three boys. They are ALL boy. I feel like people will judge me for having another one, when at times I can’t even control the three I have. This post makes me realize why I do what I do. I love my babies. I can’t imagine EVER being at a point in my life where I don’t want more babies. These amazing little gifts from God are my life right now. I can’t wait to have my newest little babe in my arms in a few short months πŸ™‚

    1. I know how you feel I have 4 boys and all are all boy lol I just announced my 5th pregnancy to my family and friends and while lots of people say your crazy or have no clue how you do it but its what comes natural my oldest is 11 and my youngest just turned 1 2weeks ago and my SO and I still want more

  57. That was amazing, and such a blessing. I only have five babies on earth and I get so much grief from all around. We moved away from an amazing group of large families that was so supportive and I miss them so very much. Thank you for this. It’s like being around my old friends again.

  58. Thank you for the wonderful article. My youngest (of 12) was born the day before I turned 45. She is four now and prays daily Mommy would have twins. I’d love to oblige her, as I so miss the nursing baby stage, but that hasn’t happened yet…. In the meantime, we are trying to content ourselves snuggling my grandsons/her nephews whenever we can. We have five of them (so far). Parenting is hard work, but is so richly rewarding!

  59. 43 yr. Old Mommy of 10 precious gifts (and 2 in heaven). Thank you so much for sharing. Us mommies encouraging each other and supporting each other is a gift. Our heavenly Father really does provide. Faith and trust has helped me in my journey. Just knowing I’m doing Gods will brings me peace. My prayers are with all of you. ((Hugs)) and God bless!

  60. Also 43, with eleven children–#11 is two. My husband keeps joking that I will be the youngest 61 year old I’ve ever met since my baby will be twenty that year. My answer to that is, “you never know–God might send another one!”

    You did a wonderful job of putting my life into words. Thanks. Off to share this on facebook now!

  61. Yes and yes!!!!! Thank you for putting this into words for me. I know people will look at me like I’m even CRAZIER after I announce a (hopefully) 9th pregnancy in the next year. Oh well, I was sent here to fulfill my Heavenly Father’s purposes and I find such peace in doing so.

  62. I am you, only 20 years later. I have 9 children, I in Heaven. My youngest is about to turn 19. Some of My children have children. Some of my children are in college. Only 4 are at home. What I miss most is the noise. Every 2 years at thanksgiving, they are all here. There is laughter and everyone gets along because this mama says they will.
    Quiet is over rated. Enjoy those babies, every single one of them.

  63. Kelly,
    This really spike to me. I am a mother of 5 living and 1 passed on…. I get the looks and comments but I also have the attitude i am not trying to have more but if that is Gods wish so be it! I want to share a short story that just proves GOD has a plan and his plan will be done! I had just had my 4th child ( a boy we named Justin) and i went to my obgyn doctor to have an implanon placed and I met a sweet mother in the waiting room as she was also waiting to see her obgyn there. She had several of her children with her. She spoke to me and our conversation led to what I was there for….i told her I was getting the birth control known as implanon placed. I see it now as GOD speaking to me through her although I choose to go about my original plans. She was trying to explain to me GOD’S will and convince me that the birth control was not in her belief as a way to go. Well after I had it in a little over a year I started bleeding for what I thought was a period at first (my periods are very heavy for most of the duration and last upwards of 10 days) and it got worst. I was isolated to the bathroom as the bleeding was so heavy and then I started passing tissue. It was very small (about an inch to inch and a half) and the blood clots were huge. I eventually after about an hour or two was able to control the bleeding with pads and such. I called my obgyn and they got me in a few days later and I had the implanon removed. About 2 months later I discovered I was pregnant again and I conceived about a month from the episode of what I truly feel was a miscarriage due to the tissue passing. I think that was GOD again telling me I was to have a baby and I did…. GOD works in mysterious ways and to this day I am still friends on facebook with the sweet lady who took time to speak to me.

  64. We are so very blessed with many children. The awful thing that stopped negative comments about our family adding another child was the newborn death of our daughter who would now be 15. Sad that it took a tragedy to ‘wake up’ our family and friends. Our household had many bad days and tough times, but with all of them grown and grandchild #14 on the way I can truly say it was worth every tear. πŸ™‚

  65. Wow! Thank you for sharing this πŸ™‚ I’m 30, expecting my 5th, and our oldest of 4 girls is 5 years old. It’s easy to feel like a weirdo when various of methods of birth control are so readily available in our culture (and people look at us like we should know that!). But when I think of possibly giving myself a break, I just think of how all my reasons for doing so would be selfish, and I get sad at the thought of willingly/knowingly depriving ourselves of the joyous gift of another miracle with which to share life. God is the Creator of life, and His plan for our family is certainly better than one we could devise!
    I, too, have entertained the concern that maybe I’ll be spread too thin for my family. But I’m learning that with each child, the love grows exponentially and there is more of it to go around! That is another miracle in itself πŸ™‚ Thank you for helping me, and so many others, not feel all alone in the world! πŸ˜‰

  66. I come from a family of 9 children. I know I have been given a rare gift of brothers and sisters to grow old with. They support me in ways no others can. We enjoy each other’s company and have an unexplainable love for each other. I am 16 years older than the baby of the family and I still remember the excitement of my father telling our next door neighbor he was going to have another baby. And my mom widowed only two years after her birth, a woman with joy. Not someone who didn’t suffer but a woman with joy in the midst of all God gave her. So happy God gave my mom & dad all of those babies.

  67. What a beautiful testimony you have of being a mother and of God’s will. I have been blessed 6 beautiful blessings and love another but I am now 46 and I fear I might be done. Which makes my incredible husband truly sad.

    I do get overwhelmed at times but I know that my life couldn’t be sweeter. Thank you for reminding me of how truly blessed I am.

  68. I wanted to thank you for this.. Its been a hard year for us and a lot of uncertainty.. There have been times that I have almost resented my kiddos because I had so many “dreams” that will never be achieved.. I had goals, plans, hopes.. None included children.. The Lord has blessed me with 5 sweet little ones, my oldest is 6 and the littlest is 4months old.. Its not what I had planned as a teen or young adult.. But I can’t imagine a better way to spend my life. I need to remind myself of that when Im overwhelmed and thinking of what “could have” been.. Honestly, I can’t imagine Id be as loved or needed as I am right now holding my little nursing baby rocking him to sleep.

    I do think Satan would love for mothers to decide they rather choose not to have children, to choose not to concentrate on their families, to not put the best things first.. So when Ive been making an effort that every time I feel discouraged I say a small prayer and its helped some. It doesn’t make the dishes get done quicker or the laundry pile to disappear but it makes my heart feel lighter and gives me a bit more patience when my 2yo has decided that she couldn’t possibly wear a diaper or use the potty..

    I look forward to the future.. I don’t know if the Lord is done sending us these blessings but Id welcome any more he sends. It might not have been what Id planned but its what the Lord had planned for me.

  69. Thank you for this. I have 3 children, but the last few weeks we have been really struggling. I’m tired, and have been dealing with chronic illness and depression and my kids have been needy and clinging and seemingly wanting more from me then I have to give.

    Part of me has been desperately craving quiet, alone time, a meal in peace, a night without one of my children waking me. (hey a night with only ONE child waking would be alright even πŸ˜‰ ) and this internal conflict has been making me surly, and irritated and just not in the mood to deal with clingy children.

    Reading this post has really helped me reframe my perspective, and to give me much needed encouragement to keep going, and to give myself to this life I chose πŸ™‚

    1. Jess,

      Be encouraged. I know from experience that the dark doesn’t last. And yes, it really is a matter of constantly reframing our perspective. That is largely what life is about, I think.

  70. I’m not religious, but I can relate to the spiritual yearning to not control or deny a child that may chose to come through me into the world. I have two, and have chosen not to use birth control after my second was born. That was 6 years ago, and I have not become pregnant again. I’m 37, and everyone in my life assumes we are done, but I don’t feel “done”. I’m still open to another, at least for today. It’s strange how my heart resonates with people who have such a different worldview than I do, but there it is.

  71. Kelly-
    Thank you so much for this post!! I am 42 and expecting baby #12. We have a few in heaven due to miscarriages and still born. People look at me like I have two heads and tell me I’m nuts. They will tell us nobody does this and why don’t you both control it!! We know we are doing what is right for us and just want to honor the Lord, after all he allows us to have each of these children. This time I prepped myself and promised myself I would not let people steal my joy !! I just say, isn’t just great that the Lord is blessing us again. Who would say no to the Lord’s gifts!!! Smile and walk away.

  72. Lovely. I am 55 and had my last two babies at age 39 and 41. They are such a blessing to me now. I can’t imagine life without them. Prior to these two, we had 5 children and lost a baby girl during pregnancy. I am the youngest of 8 myself and love big families. As I commented to another mom (of 9 children)a few days ago, “And then all of a sudden they are gone!” We had 3 weddings in 3 years and one several years before that. One boy is away at school and our little family of two boys seems ridiculously small. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. The years go very fast. Of course, the grandchildren follow. 9 so far. And they are wonderful.

  73. I was so blessed by your post today… I cried
    A friend shared your post.
    To have someone understand that it’s not the we CHOSE to have so many children (we are currently pregnant with #7- but our oldest is still only 8)
    We simply chose to trust God and allow Him to make the best choices for us.
    This WAS a hard choice to make- to leave it all up to Him- and we have intervened on occasion in the earlier days…but at last turned it over to Him.
    And truly- only when we have done this can we recognize the Value of these blessings God has given us. When we sit down to dinner- it’s not at a restaurant, or in a clean newly renovated kitchen with upgraded anything…- but it’s at a table full of beautiful little children- blessings from God that fill our hearts with more joy than any other “thing” could.
    THANK YOU for sharing πŸ™‚

  74. Yes, this is so me. Except the 1-year-old is now turning four. I hope you are blessed with another baby! Number 9 was born when I was 42 and then I just didn’t get pregnant again :(. It is a very sad time. No more babies is not as great as it might seem to you right now (in “those” moments that we all have).

  75. Oh, Kelly this is so true! I love this! I will always rejoice with you, my friend, as I know you do with me! It makes me so sad when I think it may not be long till our crib , that has been beside our bed for so many years, will be taken down., saved for grand babies. I am so very grateful to you and every amazing woman I know that joins with us in our beliefs about family. Lots of love and hugs always, Jen

  76. This is my first time coming to your blog; I found this post from a friend who has 6 children and she was so encouraged by your words! I have three amazing children and planned on many more. For me though, God had different plans. A heart condition and blood clots put an early end to my child bearing years and after MUCH prayer, weeping, and getting godly counsel, we knew that this WAS God’s answer: that three was enough. There is always the hope of adoption, but for now, I am learning to give this heartache to God. To trust completely that His plans are far greater than mine. I know what you mean when you say that you don’t want to miss out on the REST of your children. That is the pain that I’ve had to give to God over and over. I felt that I was giving up not just the idea of a specific number of children that I expected, but another (or several) little souls, complete little people, that would have been a blessing to me and the world.
    I say all this to say that I am also encouraged by this post. That you are willing to surrender to God completely, to be grateful for the hard work of mothering 10 children (and possibly more!). That you won’t tell God “no” if his plan is more years of hard work and noise. Though we’ve had to submit to different plans from the Lord, I feel that I can understand your heart’s desire to serve God through the raising of your children and the daily placing of your trust in Him. I am sorry for the people who can’t keep comments to themselves about the size of your family. I am sorry that you have to fear announcing another pregnancy. But thank you for pronouncing loudly that children are a blessing from the Lord!!!

  77. This blog speaks to something I’m struggling with lately. Years ago, because we believe children our a blessing from the Lord and why would you not want more blessings, we decided to have a large family. I am now pregnant with my fifth child and I’m 36. I’m very excited about the new baby, but I’m struggling with the desire and the decision to have more children.

    It’s not because I dread sleepless nights in the newborn stage, or the terrible two’s. There are two reasons: financial and health.

    We are having a hard time making ends meet. My husband is working hard, but he doesn’t make a lot, and I stay home and homeschool the kids. We are stretched thin. Consequently, my kids and I are on Medicaid (it would be $900/mo for our family to be on my husband’s insurance). Most of my kids are boys, too, and I worry about them getting the higher education they’ll need to provide for their future families.

    Reason two is that each pregnancy is getting more difficult. With this pregnancy, I have gestational diabetes, severe round ligament pain (that sent me to the ER once), a blurry spot in one eye, bad varicose veins in my legs, and an umbilical hernia or two.

    I never expected the decision to have more children to be this hard or this complicated. How do we best honor God in this?

  78. You and the people who commented sound so sweet-hearted. I wish I were. I feel exponentially loving toward my daughters, but the opposite toward my son. I’ve begged, and continue to beg, God to change my heart. Please pray with me.

    1. Freedom, I, too, have struggled in this area. Can I encourage you? Act upon your desire for change. I started taking naps with my daughter, taking her on dates, journaling my observations about her to learn who she was. I reflected often upon her life and why she might be acting the way she was. God used the action (that was quite often only acting without feeling love) to change my heart and heal my daughter from the way I had treated her because of my lack of feelings. I pray for you! Satan will fight you, make you feel guilt upon guilt. But God does not motivate that way. Your guilt was destroyed at the cross. Ask God to replace the guilt with a drive to act. Ask Him to bring love from the acting. Bless you and your son.

  79. I may not have 10 kids, I have 8. I would of had 9 but miscarried one of them. Even though I have 8 right now, Sometimes I feel the same way as you. I never planned on having 8 kids. I have tried birth control, but it just didn’t work for me. So I decided not to use it. Thanks for writing this article, I really enjoyed reading it. Sincerely Marie

  80. I loved reading this I have been told I was crazy for years because I wanted a big family of like 6 kids and then to adopt 1 at least I came from a family of 8 and my SO comes from 6 and he and I decided we wanted a big family befor our first date im 30 now have 4 boys and just found out we are expecting baby #5 and your story hits home and I love hearing about others out there who think like me and love being a mother/parent as much as I. I had my first when I was 18 and everyone said I was ruining my life but I was always like no my child/children are my life and are what I have spent my whole life dreaming of. I remember watching leave it to beaver on nick at night when I was a kid and that’s the life I wanted to be a mom raising the kids, teaching them, cooking, and cleaning and its the life I have and most people cant understand that. they just cant understand how anyone could want or handle that and I think its the most natural thing in the world to be a parent and want to spend my time with my kids.

  81. What a beautifully written article. It is lovely to have a peek inside the head of a ‘mom of many’. πŸ™‚

    Just for a little bit of balance, I will say that not everyone without ten kids fits this quote:

    “I know people who don’t have 10 kids don’t believe I can feel the same for mine as they do for theirs (I used to be that mother), or marvel anymore or feel my heart will burst in two with love, but I do.”

    I am a mom of two, but not by choice. There are loads more like me. God doesn’t let all of us keep our little bundles, and even loads more who never even get the chance to have a single bundle to love on. So please don’t think that everyone with two kids has a designer family of some sort, and don’t think that we all look at you with recrimination. Perhaps the pained expression you are seeing comes from a sense of personal pain and loss, or maybe even a little bit of envy. I, for one, am in awe of mom’s of many (MOMs). I say that I don’t know how you do it out of respect and admiration; not as a judgment. πŸ™‚ Be blessed.

  82. Thank you for sharing! If I could put my feelings into words, I could have written a similar post! I will be 42 this year and I also have 10 children!

  83. Thank you for your post! I’m glad my parents didn’t stop after 6…I’m number 7! I’m also glad they didn’t stop after 7,8,9 or 10! They had 11!

    1. I love this! How awesome it is to reflect on that reality…that you wouldn’t be here if your parents had gone with the standard “one for me and one for you, praise the Lord, we’re finally through!” (h.t. Voddie Baucham)

  84. WOW! This speaks volumes to me. I have six children and struggle with so much;And yes there are those days where I want to pull my hair out and scream……days where I feel like I have given up on my own dreams to be a mom. It is overwhelming..well all the time. I too get a little jealous and envy of those who get quiet time and girl time all to themselves…while I struggle to keep laundry below eye level and floors free of clutter. However in the end of my selfish rant and fleshly outburst………God calms my soul with that tight hug from the precious 15 month old and says “i wuv u momma”. Then I realize being a full time stay at home mom and having a large family is a Blessing. One I will embrace with courage,contentment, confidence and boldness. Today we press on.

  85. I am the 3rd of 14. I love big families and have always loved being a part of one. I have only been blessed with two children myself, and never liked it when people said, “oh a boy and a girl! You have the perfect family, now you can be done.” It always really bothered me. Who is to say what a “perfect” family should be? I sometimes feel bad that my kids will not have that experience of so many siblings as I did. But I am forever grateful to God for the gift of my son & daughter, and that they have each other. Being a good mom is hard work! May you be blessed and loved for the hard work you do everyday. And never listen to the critics. They really don’t understand the beauty you are creating in & through your life. Blessings!

  86. I doubt anyone will see this in the sea of other comments, but I just have to say, not everyone with 0, 1, or 2 children are choosing to have that number, anymore than you have chosen to have 10. Some of us desperately wanted more, but for whatever reason it wasn’t God’s plan. So please, please, please…as much as you don’t want to be criticized for your large family, please don’t make snap judgments about those of us with only 2 children either. The situation is very painful for many of us already.

    1. Crystal,

      Thank you. I agree that judgments shouldn’t be made. The difference here (which is one reason I wrote the piece) is that if/when judgments are made about small families (I personally do not make them and haven’t heard anyone else criticize someone with a small family) they are not verbalized nearly as often. There seems to be an invisible “green light” for friends, family and strangers alike to say all sorts of things to moms of large families that would be inconceivable (pun not intended) said to anyone else. So while someone may *feel* they are being judged, moms of large families do not have to speculate at all.

      1. I agree with you, Kelly, especially about that “invisible green light” to go ahead and speak anything that comes to mind about large families.

        My husband has received lots of such comments from co-workers and others (mostly men, and many of them non-Christian).

        However, I, personally, had never heard anyone joke about our family size until only a few weeks ago, when I ran into an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in many years.

        At one point during our conversation, with her knowing how many children I had and what their ages were, she looked my 17-year-old daughter in the eye, pointed at my husband and me, and said, laughing, “They need to get more blankets — there are other ways to keep warm!”

        My jaw about dropped to the floor, and if you knew who this was coming from, you would know why.

        This friend had struggled for years with infertility, and when she finally got pregnant, she miscarried a couple months later. She was heartbroken. I had gone to be with her after her miscarriage, and she’d already bought all kinds of baby clothes, diapers, etc., which were spread out all over a table.

        She did go on to have two more pregnancies, and has two beautiful and healthy children, one of whom was with her that day she made that remark to me.

        I was floored that, after all the heartache she’d been through, the death of her baby, the fertility treatments, everything, she, a Christian woman, could make a comment like that about us.

        If that’s not a sign that that kind of joking about large families is hugely prevalent and acceptable in our culture, I don’t know what is. πŸ™

      2. Kelly, you mention that you could have chosen to have just two, and later mention all the people who think they have some “perfect” family size. I only wanted to caution you to please not paint all small families with the same brush.

        I think that sometimes large families are judged by small families, and sometimes small families are judged by larger families (sometimes to make assumptions about why they have a small family and/or how you think they must feel about large families, sometimes harsher judgments about how a couple must not be spiritual enough, blessed enough, etc.) with that said, there are a lot if times when large families simply “feel” judged as well.

        I think the difference is that you are only willing to admit that the comments you receive are judgmental or hurtful, but not those of others. You made comments about small families even in this article, and looking back through the comments I can see that I’m not the only one who noticed them. But sometimes it is difficult to notice our own biases. Your reply to me made it clear that you aren’t willing to consider the feelings of others in this regard.

        1. Crystal,

          I’m sorry you feel that way. Actually, your comment reveals that there is something deeper going on with you and I think that makes it easier to blame me for something. Nothing in my post was judgmental toward small families. The fact is (there are stats) that the majority of Americans do choose to prevent children after 2 or 3. Does that negate the fact that there are parents with none, 1 or 2 who want more? Of course not. Nothing about this post or my comment insinuated that. Often when I write about a topic, it is necessary to make generalities and I can’t qualify every word. My reference to “the perfect family” in my post doesn’t include those who wish to have more children but are unable. Typically, people can see that.

          I am beyond sympathetic with those who desire more children. How could this post have been an insult to them? I have friends who are infertile or who just stopped having children and desperately wanted more. My heart breaks for them, and for you.

          But please don’t raise that as a straw man and get distracted by the point of my post, or worse, blame me for something I haven’t done.

          1. I do not think she was creating straw men. If you look back a few responses, you will see where I directly quoted one point you aimed directly at small families. You seem to know what we think? I hope that I was (and continue to be) gentle and careful in my reply. I do agree, though, that you do seem to ‘call out’ families with only two children.

            I noticed it in another article of yours I read the last time I was on this site, as well. You may not ‘see’ it, but to a mother of two, it does seem like we are the go-to family you ‘fight back’ against, for lack of a better term. I know you do not mean to be combative, but anyway. From someone who can see her perspective and not feel the need to shame her for having feelings; she is not the only one. <3 Be blessed. πŸ™‚

          2. Thank you for your thoughts. No, I guess I don’t see it. I’m never fighting against people. I fight against an idea that has pervaded our culture and is often revealed in the hurtful comments made to and about moms with larger than average families. I’m fighting for the dignity of my children and others, who know by the response of people that they are not valued. I don’t have even a hint of animosity or judgment toward a family of two (the idea of that is absurd to me). I have a great problem with the prejudices our culture has created against having more than two. That is the only thing I am trying to combat in my writing.

  87. You are much stronger than I (in more way than one).

    I’m in my early twenties and am constantly hearing from my mother that by the time she was my age she was married with three children. Both sides of the family have a habit of having 5-7 kids each. Big family, holidays are awesome, when everyone comes to visit.

    As much as I love my big family, but even so, and as much I as Love my boyfriend. I don’t want children. And I seem to be on other side of the coin from you. You always hear how absurd it is, etc. But I grow very tired of everyone telling me that I’ll change my mind or come around or its absurd that I don’t want to reproduce. People seem to feel its okay to say things to me that they wouldn’t usually say so I might have an inkling of how you feel.

    But anyway, that turned into more of a rant than intended. I just wished to give you a bit of encouragement. You are stronger in faith than I!

  88. I have printed this *perfect* blog post and put it by my teacher’s manuals, so I run across it often and read it over and over again. I am a 40-year-old mother of 7 and would welcome another if God willed it so. Do I feel crazy for thinking I do it AGAIN?? Yes. But I just don’t care. My husband and I LOVE the little babies and toddler smiles and preschool antics and having a legitimate excuse to be 40-somethings doing the Hoky-Poky!! πŸ™‚

  89. I guess I just don’t agree with her implication that God wouldn’t have chosen for her to only have 2 children if that’s what her and her husband had (in whatever way) chosen it. Or if they had limited their biological offspring and chosen to pursue adoption instead.
    She and her husband could have prayerfully chosen to space four kids out… or stop at two and invested all that “extra” time, health and money into a thousand amazingly kingdom-centered worthy causes. And that could have shown her the face of God too. I’m not saying God didn’t choose this for her, because He did, apparently! But He works through means too and often ordains in conjunction with our strengths and preferences (ex. a man with business talents will likely be used by God in that area). A woman desiring many children (and finding NFP “unnatural” indicates she probably did want a lot) will likely be used by God in that context. Many women with few biological children are passionately pursuing spiritual children– which is a wonderfully valid Kingdom pursuit. Many others could keep having children at great physical toll yet feel that would be poor stewardship of the children and ministry they already have. Let’s not imply that they are choosing their own way, and only those doing nothing to prevent or time biological reproduction are truly allowing the Lord to give them what they need.

    Gardeners “limit” their harvest by planning and pairing and thinning seeds. Yet they do so trusting the Lord of the harvest to give them food just as much as those who rely on foraging and hunting.

  90. will you be my best friend. LOL. πŸ˜‰
    My sister in law sent me a link to this post.
    Wow. You wrote my own thoughts, feelings and convictions exactly!!
    Thank you for being you and listening to God!
    I am a Mommy to 11, 14 and under and 40 years old.
    Just had number 11 in Feb. 2015

  91. Praise God! I too know the feeling of having a large family. We have been blessed with 15 beautiful hearts, 4 of which are Angels in Heaven. Our story is pretty much like your own, so don’t feel the lone ranger. I can no longer have children and my heart grieves at the thought but God has been so very good to me and this awesome family of ours. May God bless your family and know that you all are in His care!!

  92. I currently am 38 and have four girls ages 8,6,3,1. I started late as I became pregnant with my first at the age of 29. I always wanted a large family but am now a single mom as my husband left me for another woman. I still want more children and pray that someday I can maybe have that dream. I do not consider myself a good mom at all. I push them away a little too often, I say no more than yes, I do not enjoy them the way I should at times but I love them all. As a single mom I find normal challenges even harder as I deal with the aftermath of my divorce and trying to normalize our life again. Thank you for your thoughts. May God bless you!

    1. Angela,

      My heart aches for you. I simply cannot imagine going through life, especially as a mother with little ones, alone. I am so sorry for the pain you have encountered. I do pray you can find healing and that the Lord would guide every step for you and your girls.

  93. Just what I needed to read today. We have been struggling financially, dealing with teenagers, struggles in our marriage and just found out baby #8 is on the way. I will be 43 next month so I know we will be facing extreme criticism but, I know in my heart we have to trust God to work all this out including the harsh comments and attitudes when people learn we are expecting again.

  94. Thank you for your post. I often have that mommy envy you are speaking of. All of my friends have less children than I do. They get to do fun things like ski club and soccer and gymnastics. I look at my two oldest and think: If I had only two… they never fight, they are such good kids, they are so talented, beautiful and could do so well in all those activities we can’t afford… what were we thinking?…
    But I have to remember that growing up, getting married, and having a family wasn’t about me or my husband. It was never about us. It’s about furthering God’s kingdom, doing his will, sacrificing myself for the glory of another.
    I just have never read someone (or hear someone) being so honest about her fleshly struggle especially in the area of “what if”… when at the very same moment, you would NEVER give back the others that are running your nerves raw, and being especially needy at that moment.
    So, I thank you.

    1. Kelly,

      Thank you. It’s so easy to be lured by the temporary pleasures of this life. Not that they are bad of themselves, but often they can distract us from what is eternal.

  95. Why does everyone think that having babies is the only way to be completely at peace and to please GOd? There is so much more that woman can do (just like man’s only way to please God is NOT just getting married and raising a family) think about Esther, about Hannah…they weren’t pleasing the Lord just because they had children (even though esther did not) God doesn’t reward with a special peace woman are ‘open’ with their fertility more than women who know they only want a specific amount of children…God can definitely give peace and fulfillment to a woman who doesn’t believe that birth control is wrong or that only having two children is cowardly. I think we need to remember that God is in control of our lives as women (even if you’re married) and he guides us. We don’t merit special blessings from being open minded about reproduction.

    1. Rachel,

      Where on earth did you get the notion you’ve stated? Are you battling your own, internal war? Nothing in this post insinuated peace comes from the number of children one has.

      1. The words she typed herself “I think we need to remember that God is in control of our lives as women” People say that frequently but they don’t want that to include the womb. Most of the people that I encounter who get “angry” or in a twist about a post like yours are women who have chosen to keep their own womb closed. And so the mentality of an open womb to let God be the one who closes it or fill it – that mentality causes them hostility. The hostility is not directed at you (or me) but really at themselves and God. Late reading your post by the way, we have seven children and I am 43. And everywhere I read I am sensing the “you are not done.” I feel so old!!!

        1. “Most of the people that I encounter who get β€œangry” or in a twist about a post like yours are women who have chosen to keep their own womb closed. ”
          Not everyone whose womb is closed chose it. I know plenty of women who would be ecstatic to have been able to get pregnant one time or who could only have a small number of children. And for whom adoption is not an option (or even fostering). I’ve seen where can be a deep wound when seeing someone announce their sixth, tenth, etc. child and you’ve been left unable to conceive or even afford adoption. I don’t think it’s a fair judgement on Rachel N’s comment. It was probably hard for Rachel (the one married to Jacob, not the commentor) seeing her sister Leah have seven children before having one. It can seem like (as someone once told me) that there aren’t enough babies to go around to everyone who wants them, with some people having large numbers of them.
          And I think Rachel N. brings up a good point, that women aren’t just vessels to bring forth more children. If someone chooses to have that many children and they can afford to do so, that’s fine, that’s up to them. It’s just that there are other things that can and need to be done to serve God as well that women can do and have value in.

          1. Sarah,

            Your reply to Andrea, while true in one sense (regarding the pain of infertility for women who want babies), is off-topic.

            You quoted Andrea, who said: β€œMost of the people that I encounter who get β€œangry” or in a twist about a post like yours are women who have chosen to keep their own womb closed.”

            Then you replied, “Not everyone whose womb is closed chose it.”

            Of course not! Andrea wasn’t talking about infertile women who desperately want babies; she was speaking of women who “have chosen to keep their own womb closed.”

            Two very different categories of women. Your comment was a non-sequitur.

          2. 6 Arrows, no it’s not a non-sequitur. She said and I quote again “Most of the people that I encounter who get β€œangry” or in a twist about a post like yours are women who have chosen to keep their own womb closed.” That just isn’t correct. She ASSUMES most of the people who get angry over women who choose to have child after child can have them, which just is NOT the case. You can’t just assume someone who has commented in a dissenting way is fertile. When I did a search, it gave me anywhere from 10 – nearly 20 percent, depending on where in the world or age, as in possibly up to 1 in 5. And there’s no way to tell if those dissenting opinions are fertile and choosing not to have kids or if they’re infertile. If say 100 people all commented in a “negative” way, but let’s say in this hypothetical example 70% of those are hindered by lack of fertility, that doesn’t automatically mean that most of the people who have dissented chose not to have kids. THAT is the non-sequitur. And you, like Andrea, totally dismissed the rest of each statement, that there is more to serving God than just having tons of babies, but that evidently is equivalent to being a second class citizen when it comes to serving Him. How very dismissive of those who cannot have a large number of kids or don’t want to. But go ahead and assume big family = the ONLY way to serve God and dismiss any other way. I’m not coming back, so say whatever you want, it won’t matter to me. I’ve said my piece and you totally missed the entire point of a dissenting view.

  96. Wow, I could’ve written this post! Everything you said, I have thought/felt. I’m expecting #10 (a complete surprise), and I’m terrified. I’m also grieving over how much more of myself I will have to die to. It is hard. Also,I hate being so different than most everyone else. I look around at other families and think how much easier I could’ve made things for myself. Sounds so selfish when hear my own words. πŸ™ Thank you for being so honest.

  97. What a beautiful post. Fertility is such a gift and so is acceptance of God’s will for your life, whether you have ten or two. We have two children because God chooses not to give us more and that also requires daily “dying to self.” He must know better than I do. I have plenty of “me time” and would gladly hand that in to grow our family.

    1. Mary,

      What a beautiful example of trusting God in ALL circumstances. I know your heart has ached, but I’m encouraged to see you not resort to bitterness but an acceptance of God’s love and sovereign will.

  98. Thank you for writing this. It was a great forward look at where I hope my heart is when I reach my later season of motherhood.
    I’m a young mom (27) of 6 children 8 years old and under. Strangers have often approached me as I’m walking through the grocery store with my little crowd, “Man, you’re not gonna have any more are you??”

    Something I told my husband a few months ago before our 6th baby was born was, “I WANT to go to be exhausted! I want to collapse in my pillow knowing full well in gonna wake up in an hour feed the baby and then in a few hours after that feed all the rest. I want to do it because this is my calling in life. To BE MOM!”
    Just like you, we chose to have these children. No we aren’t trying to see how many we can have, God has proven to give them to us at the appropriate times too without us intervening in any way.

    I didn’t have a mom as an example and we are the first people in both of our families to walk this road. But no matter how hard the day is, how tired I am or even how bewildered I become. I know full well I’m right in the middle of Gods will for my life and THAT is why I can wake up exhausted every morning with joy in my heart and a song to sing!

  99. Wow, wow, wow. This explains the heart of my husband and I. Thank you so much for sharing your raw thoughts to the world. We have 4 children 5 & under and we can’t bare the thought of preventing a life. And how these are the only things in our lives that will last eternally. Because of your realness here, I really want to follow you, so I’m subscribing to you! Thanks again πŸ™‚

  100. Blessings upon you, my Friend!
    I appreciate your willingness to share your heart; your honest moments of internal conflict, and the personal resolution surrender to the Most-High brings. ” He that goes forth, weeping, bearing precious seed shall DOUBTLESS come again with rejoicing..”
    I’m a 58 year old mamma of a ” Baker’s Dozen”, no longer childbearing, (only child-rearing!)
    It’s interesting even now, as my “nest” is rapidly emptying, the pressure from others that mounts- “encouraging” me that now, FINALLY, I can “get a life”… pursue my own interests… But oh! What a life I’ve had! And what a life-harvest just now beginning to roll-in for me and for my dear husband! I identify strongly with the Mom who encouraged you to look through the tears and cherish today… for In my embrasure of Christ’s TOTAL Lordship ( even Lordship over my reproductiveness) I was so confident that the babies would just roll on over into the grandbabies and… “No empty nest syndrome for me!” I thought. (Silly me! ) The heart gets so full of love with each child you embrace, that it truly DOES fill empty when they go… and sometimes, holding my “babies’ babies” just reminds me how very thoroughly “over” my own “baby-days” are! So I cry after they all leave… & I find myself helpless to move beyond those days which, though I treasured, I grew impatient or chafed at- Once again, I’m finding myself in another season of embracing the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all things… “GET a Life??” HE is my life! And bearing or barren; whatever our state-of-being, the ONLY lasting fulfillment and fruition of life is found in surrender to the One Who not only knows best; but knows us best. .. God is good. ALL the time. Now that’s a life!


  101. Read this today, first time reading your blog. Realize it is an older post but so awesome! Your entire blog is awesome and you could be my totally and truly best friend! As I read your posts, I think “well, we only have 7” like that is normal and tiny! It is so much fun to have a large family, I love it so completely. Our youngest is 2, and I am 44. At 52, my husband – after 10 years of leaving our family size up to God – has decided he does not want to do that any longer. And I am crushed. I have broached the subject a few times, always with the same response. So I just pray as I continue to age… God changed our hearts originally and He can do it again! I’m there for sure. To think about not having any more makes me so incredibly sad. My 18 year old walked into our room and caught my hugging a boppy pillow with tears streaming down my face! She then started crying too. Rambling, sorry, but just wanted to say I love your writing, I love that you seem very honest and sincere.

    1. Andrea,

      I’d love to be your totally and truly best friend πŸ˜‰ And I am soooo sorry for your heart. If it makes you feel any better, as I am now almost 45 and thinking probably by baby days are over (and a part of me kinda sorta feels ready for that) I still broke down with my OB when I talked about it and I don’t think women who have embraced receiving children freely ever feel completely done, in that, our hearts probably still always long for a baby because we loved that part of our lives so much. At least that’s where I am. All in God’s sovereignty, even that part. Praying you find peace and/or the Lord turns your husband’s heart. “He has foreordained whatever comes to pass.”

  102. I so love this! I loved it when I read it the first time, and I loved reading it again. We just had #6 in December. It was a terrible and awful.pregnancy and I struggled with the idea of reclaiming the control I had laid down at the Lord’s feet about who he had for our family. And then after a surprise trip and 2 week stay at the nicu and a diagnosis of DOWN syndrome- I REALLY struggled! Nevertheless, I just can’t let go of God being the one who knows WHO HE wants in our family. I don’t know what the future holds for our family, but I can’t bear the thought of being the one who stood in the way of a person God desires for us.

  103. Thank you for your wise words!
    I am a 43 year old dutch mom of four beautifull boys and a little daughter in heaven. (All born prematurely after hectic pregnancies).
    My husband had a vasectomy after our last baby was born, partly because of our age (and being worried of having a handicapped child), partly because of my fear of what people might say and partly because i felt guillty towards my children about the things (time and attention) we could not give them in prengnancy and if we had more babies.
    When we told our boys (after the vasectomy) one burst into tears becouse he (and his brothers) would have loved to have more babies (in spite of the consequences), i felt guilty about the not being willing to recieve a child with downs syndrome from God and realised i had been trying to live up to other peoples opinions (and not the Lords! How often do we do just that?!) and that i just wish We had not chosen to have the vasectomy!
    We chose that for only wrong reasons…
    Please be grateful for your children, the are Gods beautifull creations!

    1. I am sorry to hear the evident pain in your words. You are wise to see the Lord’s hand in the beauty of every life, but don’t beat yourself up about doing what you felt was the best thing for your family.

      1. Thank you for your kind words kelly. And you were rigt about my pain!
        We decided not to test the result of the vasectomy, and prayed to God that if He still wanted us to have more babies, to please give them to us.
        So i am quite at peace with it now, and enjoy my beautifull boys and husband!
        May God bless you and the fruits of your blog in the lifes of many families!

  104. Wow!! I am a 43 year old mother of 10 with a 2 month old! I love and live every word!! I’ll have to look around your blog for an update!!

  105. I have 11. My oldest is 30, my youngest is 4, born when I was 44. Beautifully said. Exactly what I say. God is either telling the truth or not when he says children are a blessing. I didn’t want to miss out on the blessings he wanted to give me. Yes I’m tired and overwhelmed at times. So what? My children are worth it. I would not change my life for anything. Were my children planned? Of course. God planned them and let me in in on his plans one at a time. And for the haters, my body, my choice. πŸ™‚

  106. You can definitely see your expertise within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

  107. I’m right there with you. I’m 41 with 14 children. Just checking their math makes my head spin. Everything you described goes on here in full force. I have 3 children under the age of 4, and that’s just insane most days. I absolutely love my family and what God has given us here. Yes, in the midst of chaos. ❀ I love this post.

  108. The bickering got to me today so I scoured the internet for support and found this post. I’m so glad I did!

    I’m almost 44 and halfway through my 15th pregnancy. I have 8 still living at home and 3 adult children. (I don’t get to raise the other three.) My husband and I thought we might have 6 or 8. We know thar each one has been planned by God cuz we surely didn’t plan them. Babies are never convenient, are they? My current youngest is a boy of 2 with Down syndrome and so I thought maybe we were done but I didn’t have the dr do a tubal. (He asked if we were 2000% done cuz he didn’t want me regretting the decisions a previous patient had done. I had to answer “no”.)

    Anyway, today was a tough one and while I have an incredible support system in my community, I have no one who truly gets this life I choose to live. They don’t get choosing to stay home. They don’t get choosing not to participate in a 100 extra curricular activities. They could never do it and say that I deserve medals of honor.

    I’ve started being very frank with people – explicitly explaining my life. My toddlers are terrors. My floors are filthy. I never clean my bathroom. (Hubby does.) I never do dishes. (My 16yob does.) I am exhausted and trying to go to bed before 10p each night. We have a day shift and a night shift. I’m the day shift. I am OFTEN if not always in bed before the kids. When I tell my friends that sometimes I want to sell the kids to science they look at me like I have 2 heads. And so I remind them that I’m human too.

    Anyway, I got the support here that I needed today. The reinforcement that allowing God to choose my family size resonates with my soul and my whole being even on days like today when I’m 20 weeks pregnant, milking a goat twice a day and pulling extra shifts at the place where I volunteer. I am living my God given dream.

  109. I got your book in the mail today ‘Think Outside the Classroom’ and I love it so much. It is such a refreshing book, concise and short enough for a busy mama to read in a day. I only have eight kids, I can’t imagine having more, what a blessing that must be! My youngest is 19, and I’m a grandma. I wanted God to bless me with as many kids He wanted me to have, I had five biologically, and was blessed with three more through adoption.
    Though I am not a young mom anymore, I am still embracing lifelong learning as my youngest is slower than some, and that’s ok, we both have a lifetime to learn, of course. <3 Lifelong learners <3 that is a beautiful concept to embrace.
    I love what you said in your book, no beginning set time, no ending set time to learn.
    I have felt rather anxious lately. Some of the kids of my youngest son's age whom he has known most of his life are in their second year of college. Of course, they haven't had to climb the uphill battle that my son has faced since birth, things others may get easily he has had to reach harder to attain. Your book has blessed us both.
    I read your letter to Jacob from the back of the book, and I changed the name to my son's. I told him that the teacher that he knew when he was young, in a private school, and hurt him with her words may never apologize to him, but he deserved to hear your words to Jacob because his teacher believed the 'lie' as well. He smiled when I finished reading your letter, it truly blessed his heart, and mine.
    He is so smart in so many ways, as you had written to Jacob. He is great at tearing down parts of a car and helping to get new ones in place and the cars up and running again. He has worked on so many cars already, from minivans to a BMW πŸ™‚ He loves working with his hands, and is turning out to be quite an artist as well!
    Thank you, Kelly. I just had to look you up and was hoping to see how things are with your precious family.
    Keep up the incredible work, thank you for blessing me and my son today!

    1. BJ–I’m just seeing this, so I don’t know if you’ll see my reply, but this brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so very much for sharing it. Your son is going to do amazing things.

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