Generation Cedar


And it happens a lot.

For a long time, I tried to have a clever answer for the jaw-dropping, invasive probing into my fertility…

“Are you going to have more babies??!!”

Me: “Well, we do love children!”

But the “my hands are full and so is my heart” quip just isn’t me anymore.

And mothers of large families know, you can’t look tired, act frustrated or appear, in the least bit, stressed out with your munchkins in tow. You did, after all, “ask for this.” (You would, however, be allowed to be tired and stressed with two and another career.)

But the fallacy of the stranger’s (and friend’s) logic is mind-boggling. The lady in line next to me at the store can see a therapist to keep from having a nervous breakdown because she has gone back to school for another degree, deals with moody clients all day at the law firm, rushes to pick up her two kiddos from school, speeds through the drive-through to get supper on the table, juggles her three hours before bed among laundry, paperwork, husband and homework, and then collapses before she wakes and does it again.

But be assured, no one will suggest she has made a fatal career choice, or that she mustn’t complain about stress, or secretly tsk her for her choice. She fits the mold and that simply makes her difficulties a part of her badge of honor.

No, I’m not mad at her. But I tire at the inconsistency of treatment.

I’m like the fertility feminist.

I thought the feminist movement made us equal? With choices? Without the stigmas? Not so much. Apparently we earned the right to be stressed, tired or frustrated ONLY if we made an acceptable career choice.

And I’m 40 now, so I am tired. Motherhood is delightful, wonderful, eternal, an incredible privilege, and downright hard, and it can rightfully be all those things and I shouldn’t have to make apologies for it. Just like any other woman with a full time job (or two), I have great days, and hard days. I love my children with reckless abandon, and they still drive me crazy sometimes. I wouldn’t trade my job for the world, and sometimes I cry. It’s life.

I don’t have clever answers anymore. Mostly, I just have a blank stare when someone snickers and asks me “if I know what causes that“, as if they thought up that cheesy question all by themselves.

Blank stare because I can’t–don’t have time–am too socially inhibited–to say what I really want to say.

But I do feel the need to say it. Somewhere. So I chose here.

What I would like to say when people act like I am some bizarre form of life because I am still having babies, and because I have chosen to pour my life into a job that has eternal implications:

“Why is it strange to you that I have not done something to stop the natural process of reproduction? Why is the burden of proof on me, the one whose body is functioning as it was intended to do? Why is it strange for humans to have babies when the rest of Creation constantly demonstrates the natural and important cycle of life? Why would God make women to naturally bear children for a season of life but then expect us all to chide the ones who actually do? What kind of “wisdom” defies the healthy human body and circumvents its normal function?

You need to know that I wouldn’t care about you using (non-abortive) forms of birth control if it didn’t make you so hostile to my not using it. And I’m not one who thinks it’s always a sin to prevent children either. Things do go wrong. Bodies break. But that’s not the issue you have with me. When birth control became normal, anything else became abnormal. The truth is, birth control is not normal. You may choose to use it, and that’s fine, and I won’t even ask you nosy questions about your choice, but it’s not your default state of being, it’s a deliberately and unnatural, altered state; and you need to be honest about that–that’s all.  I am not the one who has done anything weird. I haven’t done anything at all. I shouldn’t have to explain (or feel strange about) a naturally-occurring event. That is weird.

‘How do we afford them without welfare?’ (Yes, we’ve had acquaintances start rumors about our being on welfare.) How do you afford that car you’re driving? I wasn’t going to ask because I don’t think it’s my business, but since you initiated the conversation….how do you afford manicures? Yearly vacations? Out to eat every week? Gas, driving all over the place? Shopping at the mall? Buying your children a bunch of things they don’t need? Living in a house three times bigger than your family size? Those boots? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry.

As a Christian, and as a human, I am doing a perfectly normal thing, marveling at the miracle of life each time I am given the privilege of ushering a new one into the world. Please stop making me feel like a freak.

So, since I don’t make strange faces and insult you when it appears that you have surgically destroyed a healthy part of your body, could you give me the same courtesy for just being…normal?”

That’s what I would like to say. But I’ll probably just stick with the blank stare.

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232 Responses

  1. I’m sorry, Kelly. Being an adoptive mom with children who look absolutely in no way like me in the least bit, I deal with all sorts of completely inappropriate, completely none-of-your-business questions, too. And people ask these questions in front of my children. I do the blank stare, too, because most of the time I am so shocked that people would ask such rude questions, although I know many people are just curious and have no idea how rude they are really being. I’m not a snarky person, or someone with clever come-backs, so most of the time I don’t really know how to respond. Anyhow, I have no advice, just sympathy.

    1. With my LARGE number of three, and not divorced by now…..I seem like a strange member of society. My mother and my father grew up in 9 and 10 size families.

      In God’s eyes we are all “blobs of flesh” but more than that through the reading of his word. So why do these non-Christian doctors take control of women’s fertility and women’s mind. When will the real women stand up and let God take control of her entire life? When When When.

      We are in an era of repeating history. Hateful comments towards the unborn and towards the mother who raises a multitude of children are evident. We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal……we hold these truths to be self evident that all women were designed by our creator to serve him and to be the author and giver of life.

      Our small schools are shutting down. The numbers are not there to hold classes. Mothers need to teach their own to keep the lies out of their lives about who their creator is and wants them to be.

    2. This is for Kristen. I am curious about the appropriate way to ask adoptive parents questions. I want to adopt so badly but I already have 7 children and God has yet to open that door. But I LOVE to hear other people’s stories. I always feel like maybe I am being rude by asking. Do adoptive parents want to be asked questions by those of us who fully support her choices and love their children? How do we ask so that it’s not hurtful?

  2. Well said! We have 3 boys in our arms all a year or less apart and 2 in heaven. One from miscarriage and one still born at 37 1/2 weeks. I’ve heard them all. We are stuck right now and looking into adoption so I’m being hounded and pressured about when to have another or ” try for a girl!” So thank you for this post!

  3. Hmm. I disagree partially. Women, in general, are routinely criticized. Working moms get criticized all the time as well. Whether its taking a break to pump milk for babies, take maternity leave after childbirth, leaving early for little Johnny’s school play, or taking time off to tend to a sick child. We get criticized for speaking our minds at business meetings or asking for a raise. We get comments all the time that we’re terrible moms because we’re working and not with our kids, while we watch our male counterparts work 12-14 hour days without anyone batting an eyelash.

    We women aren’t thin enough or pretty enough or quiet enough or self-confident enough, or pure enough, or a million other things that society/world would have us believe.

    Can we really have a quid pro quo on this subject though—whether SAHM or WMs have it worse. I don’t think we can or should.

    Although I wouldn’t want to criticize someone on their family size, the feminist movement did not wholly strip away the lens of criticism. I may think a woman has a right to a career and fight for her right to do so but it doesn’t mean I need to agree with her choice of working a job so much that it brings detriment to her family. That’s not what feminism, in its purest sense, was all about.

    Know what’s even worse, we women can be our own worst enemy. We tear each other apart while men often sit in the stands either cheering one team over the other or not even caring.

    I truly believe actions speak louder than words. Keep living your life, Kelly, with the joy and happiness of the life choice that you made for yourself, your family..for God. Keep your chin up. 🙂 I know that I will probably face criticism for my choice to be a nurse, but I’m excited and happy for my life choice, for helping my family, following God’s calling and eventually helping my many many patients. 🙂

    We women truly need to stick together……

    1. LVH–I’m sure you’re right that there will always be criticisms. However, I think there *is* a difference that, unless you’ve been there, you can’t fully understand. To go to a family function and have everyone excitedly question the working women about their lives, but ignoring yours because, well, I don’t know–they disagree? They think it’s unimportant?

      To hear a woman praised for her going back to school mid-family but to be scorned when you announce your pregnancy…it can be painful. It’s a whole different level of criticism and it’s almost from every direction, all the time. It requires very thick skin and sometimes, on those hard days, the skin just wears thin.

      Mostly though, it’s not so much a personal insult, as it is a heart-felt burden for a whole society who has wrong thinking, demonstrated by individual comments….if that makes sense.

    2. LVH, I respectfully disagree. I have been a work-outside-the-home, a work-inside-the-home mom, and a full-time-raising-my-children-at-home mom and the latter IS treated differently. WOH moms are admired, far and away. To a degree, some SAHMs are admired (mostly by the older generation). This post, however, was about large families – specifically, those who have not chosen to prevent the natural function of women. And these women are, in fact, often handled with condescension, ridicule and derision. I believe Kelly’s point was well made: if some want to take an abnormal approach to the number of children in their family, that is their prerogative – but don’t try to make those who are taking the natural, normal approach into pariahs – which, honestly, is often done to make the speaker feel better about their own choices.

  4. Here is the latest remark we got when we told a certain individual that we were adopting again:
    “Wow, it’s like collecting baseball cards!”

    Okey dokey then. I mean, that’s all I’ve got. Okey dokey. Sometimes all I can say is “Okey dokey” and move on. 🙂

    I’m so happy you’re having another baby, Kelly!!!!! So so happy!!!!

  5. We have 4 children, and get some of the same questions…I guess people get more honest as you have more because we haven’t had the ‘don’t you know what causes that?’ question, at least not directly 🙂 My question to you is…shouldn’t we expect this? I DON’T expect the world to understand, because they are NOT raising up offspring for His Kingdom. They are staring at us trying hard to understand…how and why we ‘do’ this. They ask silly questions because they are desperate for some answers. They are watching us all very closely which is our cue to share with them the gospel or the way the gospel is played out in our lives, in the grocery store, at the pool, when we go out with our kids in tow. Let’s not get snarly on ‘them’. Give them a smile and show them God’s love. You and I would have been one of ‘them’ without His grace.

    1. What a beautiful reply! There’s an implicit warning in the Beatitude, isn’t there…”Blessed are you when people persecute you…” because they will.

  6. so glad I am not the only one who isn’t quite sure the best response to verbalize either 😉 We have 6 – ages 7 1/2 and down to 2 months.

  7. I’ve been blessed with 4 and I get the comments all the time. I never have anything fun to answer back with. My favorite (not rude at all) comment was from a friend of a friend I met and they have 6 kids. When I said I had 4 the father jokingly said I had it so easy. I laughed and was so refreshed from that remark. I like the blank stare idea. It’s better than my usual shrug of the shoulders. Blessings

    1. This in reply to Charity…about people in the church saying rude comments. I will admit to having a WONDERFUL church family and though some may have a difference in opinion than us regarding having kids, never have I had issue with someone saying something rude to us (from the church). Instead our kids our celebrated. For this I am very thankful and I’ve come to realize not everyone has such a supportive church family. There IS something wrong with the church/preaching…if there is no support or encouragement…not something you alone can fix of course 🙁 Pray?
      I saw this in another comment…if you have issue with someone in the church, you need to go to them and talk to them if they have sinned against you. If that does not work, speak with an elder in your church about this situation and what you can do to restore relationship. Same goes for with your family! Talking about it with others or harboring bitter thoughts is not going to help the situation any, nor will it give your kids a good example.

  8. Ah, thank you Kelly! Again, you are SO right. The thing that gets me (and I guess this should be in response to Ruth in the above comment asking ‘shouldn’t we should expect this’) is that the most horrible comments don’t come from strangers, but from church people and relatives. I don’t think we should expect that! Those people should be the most encouraging and supportive, but it isn’t at all so. Over the past two years we have pulled back from many relatives/family relationships, and not just for the comment reason. After much prayer and many tears we have ended many “family relationships” over the past six months, so there are many comments and remarks that I (and my children) no longer have to deal with. (My stomach ulcers have also healed and the child that would develop tummy trouble each time we had to be around these relatives no longer has problems, and one of my other children had a nervous habit of digging at her thumb with her forefinger till it was raw whenever these relatives were around, no longer does this.) We are expecting our fifth baby in a couple months and our oldest child is 6 years old. I often think that their closeness in age spurs many people’s comments, but then again if the Lord had seen fit to give us these babes over a more stretched-out period of time I’m sure there would just be different comments in regards to that. My husband and I have been floored for relatives to comment right in front of our children that we should’ve aborted “at least a few of them”, and just thankful that our children don’t know what they are talking about. A family member told our children (in our company) that one day they won’t have a house to live in or food to eat because they have too many brothers/sisters for daddy and mommy to take care of. Upon seeing my mother-in-law and her realizing I was expecting again, she knelt down to our 5 year old and said ” If daddy and mommy don’t stop having all these babies you’ll never have your own room or toys to play with like other children.” Our sweet daughter looked at her with a wrinkled up nose and said “But we have each other.” 🙂

  9. I couldn’t agree more!! The worst one that I have been asked, mind you, in front of my 6 children, 11 yrs – 18 months is, “Do they all have the same daddy?” What do you say to that? It’s just sad. The best answer I have come up with when I’m asked if I know what causes that is, when my husband and I find something else better to do we will stop having kids. I know, that’s not the best Christian answer, but like Kelly, I have reached my limit. The answer that I have come up with in response to, how do you afford all those kids is, you can afford what you want to afford. I guess I really need to practice my blank stare look.

    1. “You can afford what you want to afford” is my favorite response so far! That is so true! People say they can’t afford to have kids but many times it is that they do not want to sacrifice their selfish/comfortable pleasures to have children (until it may be too late, unfortunately), who actually offer their parents eternal pleasures. I used to think this way but have changed.

  10. I have to agree with Charity! We get our most rude comments from family members and church family members. It just amazes me how people who in one breath say that children are a blessing will in the next criticize us for having 9 and wanting more. It’s sad that when we are expecting again, we can’t share our enthusiasm with friends, family and our church because we just don’t want to deal with the comments and nasty looks. The bad thing is that if we don’t tell them, then we get nasty comments about “keeping it from them”. I can understand those comments coming from the unsaved, but from those who call themselves children of God? The sad truth is that we get more support and encouragement from the unsaved than Christians (for the most part).

  11. This is one of the best posts on the subject I’ve ever read…I think because it is true (in general, obviously – that “general” part should be automatically assumed by most readers), and it likely reflects how many women feel…but aren’t “allowed” to say. Thanks for writing this. I hope it spills all over the place. Get ready for back lash from the Nazi’s though. 😉

  12. Hope it won’t make anyone blush but when my beloved and I were asked, “Don’t you know what causes that?” we replied, “We’re pretty sure…but more testing is required.”

    1. Like that reply! My husband will sometimes say “Yes. And it’s too much fun to stop!” I have quit blushing at his statement, but it sure makes the questioner blush!!

      1. Askers of THAT question SHOULD blush when it’s turned over on them! LOL!! I like the “more testing is required” idea . . . pretty sure my hubby will, too. 🙂

    2. I wonder sometimes too if a question like that requires a response like, “Why don’t you explain it to me.”

  13. I would just give one caution..
    Matthew 18 gives a clear path for dealing with individuals who we have issue with…have u talked with any of those u alluded to in your post..
    If not why not…sounds like they offended you. I also would say that most of the time it is a two way street. I was very ill and almost died with my third child. My.body could not carry anymore children. It was devestating and the most grief I received from only having three cgildren were mommas with lots of kids. Many times they didn’t ask just lectured me on why it was wrong for me to stop
    Makes me sad that women are women’s biggest attackers…maybe if we could just absorb those questions and answer them without taking offense..our daughters won’t go through what we have. I am thankful for your family. Pray each of your children are saved to the glory of God. And I pray ladies love on u in practical ways. God bless you sister. Lori Beard

    1. Lori, so sorry! I’m in similar situation with health concerns regarding future pregnancies. I completely agree with your comment here. We should all work on respecting and understanding one another, especially our Christian brothers and sisters.

  14. Thank you for your post! A friend shared this on Facebook. You are a light in this world. My dream is to have a large family one day – I have lost two babies to miscarriage so far, and I’m praying that if its Gods will, we will one day have our large family (weather through birth or adoption). It’s a blessing to see people like you in this world!

  15. When you’re ready to give one of those “clever” responses, I’ve got a couple you could try :D…

    Don’t you know what causes that? You have to look really innocent and smile and say, “Someone mentioned something about the water.”

    Don’t you have a tv? Answer 1: The tv is broken, Answer 2 (from my Venezuelan missionary friend): “Yes, but you see the problem is that the tv is in the bedroom.”

    I used to get really offended when people would ask questions like that. Really offended, but I really don’t anymore at all. I realized that we just look different to them and that usually the same people who ask those questions are the same ones who observe your family closely and are usually impressed and changed in the end and even go on the brag about you, even if they preface it with something like, “I don’t really agree with having so many children, but I know this amazing family…”

    1. When someone suggested that we needed a TV, my husband said “If you think watching tv is more fun, you’re not doing it right!” (And we were only expecting #3 at the time :/ )

  16. Thank you for your honesty, Kelly. Anytime I start to admit that I am tired, I quickly follow it up with an “But I’m okay!” Because all too often, people make remarks about me having 4 children. How that if I hadn’t had that many, then I wouldn’t be so tired. I only have four, I can’t even imagine what you must encounter with your nine! 🙂 I’ve been told that I’ve been excluded from girl’s night out because I “have my hands full”. Wouldn’t that make me MORE eligible for a girl’s night out? 🙂 There is a double standard. Bless you for your encouragement!

  17. The second people found out I was pregnant with my third they started saying rude things to me. I have two boys and one girl in that order. After I had my daughter people would say thing like “well, you got your girl, so are you done now?” I get that one a lot, from complete strangers! We also get the you know what causes that? a lot. My husband gets a big smile and says I sure do lol! Makes everybody blush in embarrassment. When people find out we are planning on having more they look at us like we’re alien life forms. It bothers me quite a bit. Part of me wants to have eight kids just to really freak them out ha! But I wouldn’t really do that just for that reason. When talking about having a big family my mom will try to discourage me saying things like you won’t be able to go out to eat, or on vacation etc..
    People aslo have a problem with my age. I was married at 20 and am now 26. People think I’m too young to be a wife and mother. And that’s annoying too! It’s like well what do you want me to do about it? Anyway, that’s my rant for the day. Thanks for the post!!

    1. I would like eight as well, there’s just the matter of convincing my husband we can afford it somehow. :). But really I go to married at 30, and had my first at 31. I want so many more, and pray God provides so we can.

  18. Excellet post, as always. I’ve been very fortunate to NOT have received many rude comments about our family. I have heard “Better you than me”, to which I reply, “I couldn’t agree more!” I just turned 42, so my “clock is ticking”, but I know I can rest in His perfect will and plan for my life.
    Thank you, Kelly, and many blessings to you!
    (My people are 15 months to 15 years old :), with a couple of m/c in the middle)

  19. For most, the truth of the matter is, ‘They’re just asking’.

    And what I mean by that is, I used to think that the only reason that one needed to have a lot of kids was if they had a farm and needed extra farmhands. Really.

    But years ago I met a dear sweet lady, I believe pregnant with #5, and I asked her if she was going to have any more. Her response changed my whole way of thinking.

    She smiled saying, “Whatever the LORD gives me.”

    I went home and let that marinate.

    I began to think on all of the reasons why someone would not have a large family. Every reason was purely selfish.

    I also realized what a great leap of faith it was to really “let go and let God take control”.

    I love her for that. I often speak on her when I encounter people that think like I once did. Her cause is now my cause.

    I only have 3, but I have lost some to miscarriages.

    She now has 14, and counting!

    Pray and ask God for wise responses to each individual you encounter.

    It may change their whole way of thinking.

    And for some, the blank stare may be just what they need!

    Be blessed!

    1. Delaine–I know you’re right about some. I probably actually have the bigger problem with complete silence through en entire pregnancy as a demonstration of disgust; it’s the overall, general inconsistencies, prevalent but made manifest through the individual.

  20. Not sure, but I’m betting most of this pressure on women comes from other women. I won’t pretend we menfolk are off the hook in this regard, but I think this pressure to “perform” in your given roles is coming more from the womenfolk.
    That being said, my wife and I decided that we wanted to give our two kids the best shot (including/especially financially) at life and we stopped at two. Have to say we’ve gotten the flipside prejudice from folks about birth control (in this case I went under the knife) and how stopping the natural process is a sin and how we must not really love kids that much and blah blah blah.
    Regardless of our choices, I think this discussion comes down to the sin of judging others. We do too much of it, and Christians are especially guilty. Most, if not all judges are really just trying to size themselves up compared to you, and it’s really more about their own personal insecurities (try throwing that back at them). I try my best to let the Lord do the judging, that’s His job and when I try to do it I am attempting to replace Him…and that’s essentially blasphemy if you think about it.

    1. Thank you for that perspective, Greg!
      I don’t hear from many dads on this issue . . . and in many ways I agree that women are far more critical of each other. It’s sad that we Christians tend to be so critical of each other anyway–aren’t we supposed to be loving one another? Besides that: if the Lord led you and your wife to stop at two, then Praise God that you’re in obedience to Him!
      I think for many, the issue to ‘leave it up to the Lord’ is about trusting God for provision, and that ‘taking control’ is indicative of NOT trusting God. I can’t think that’s necessarily always the case. A dear friend and her husband also decided to stop at two: then discovered they were expecting a surprise third just before he went under the knife. Now two years later, they’re adopting three brothers from Haiti. You never know where the Lord will lead! LOL!! After all, they’d stopped at two . . . and will have 6 in their household within the next two years.
      My husband and I are expecting our fourth on a very small income. We don’t do yearly vacations, we don’t eat out weekly, we have one TV (that’s 13 years old). We don’t have a lot, but don’t feel deprived in the least. Every time (and it’s just four so far, granted), and I do mean EVERY TIME we’re expecting a new baby, the Lord has provided either materially or financially AFTER we became pregnant. It never happened beforehand, always after the fact. This provision has proved even greater now that I left my job to be a stay at home mom. (I left $43K/year, BTW. My husband makes $34 now, and we have more financially and materially than we did when I was working. Figure that one out if you can–I can’t! LOL!!)
      Just wanted to share that. 🙂

  21. The only response I feel like making these days, to just about any question, is that all those questions and excuses people make still doesn’t mean that raising these lovely people isn’t worth the time effort or tiredness. Gees, what are they doing to contribute to the next generation,,,,,

  22. I have 5, there ages are 20, 18, 16, 12, and 7… I never got the “do you know what causes that…” question, but I did get alot of “I don’t know how you do it!!!” My answer is always, “by the grace of God.” You will always run across ignorant people. In my better, more watchful days, when someone would irritate me, I would reply with “God bless you.” I would get funny looks, but this sort of puts people in their place and makes them feel bad for how they’ve behaved all at the same time while you are keeping your cool, and blessing your enemies? I did have my tubes tied, when I was 35, but that was only because I didn’t want to run the risk of having a handicapped child (the risk is greater after age 35), and that is because I have an autistic brother. Maybe some of you will say I should have left it to God. But it has been done. I love my children dearly and they make life interesting, but they also drive me crazy. I do work. And spent half of my time raising them as a single parent, after my girls’ father and I divorced in 2002, and I didn’t move in w/my new spouse until 2012…so 10 years of single-parent hood, by the grace of God. :))

  23. I so agree with all that each of you said. I had my first 9 months after we got married and when she was 5-6 months we found out we were expecting again and you should have heard what people in church were telling me. I miscarried at 18 weeks. I got pregnant 5 months later with our second and the comments came again. After I had my second I was instructed to get a tubal ligation, and I did, but it was not a permanent ligation. I got it reversed 6 years later and got pregnant several times, but ended up miscarrying all of them and the last one cost me my right tube as it was a tubal and my tube burst. Since then we have tried getting pregnant but nothing has happened and it has been 2 1/2 years. I so much would love to have more kids, at least 2 more now, due to our age, but more would be what I would like, I have been a SAHM since my oldest was born and then became a home school mom and I love every bit of it. We need to stick together,

  24. Thank you! We only have 5, and I’ve been dealing with this for the past 4+yrs… I think I’ll point folks(church/family) to some of your posts when they start 😉

  25. My favourite comment so far, from a stranger we ran into in a Home Depot aisle, was “You folks must not have a television” – I just laughed! I was holding my precious #6 baby in my arms that day. (You know their may have even been a tidbit of jealousy in his voice – lol)
    I have heard other big families use sharp sounding quips in response to negative comments such as ‘Which one do you think I should get rid of?’ – or ‘We are planning on taking over the world!’…well – funny I guess. But I tend to just remind people of the truth. “Children are a blessing! Not a curse…and we’ve seen God provide in amazing ways each time He has brought a new life into our family”
    It’s not easy. But nothing worthwhile in life is. My children aren’t perfect – I am not – and this whole life process is most definitely refining. Challenging at times. Very.
    Something that confirms God’s biblical truth on trust in this area is the heart of our children. They do not get upset, jealous or envious of another baby (if God gives one) – quite the opposite. In fact, we just went through a 2nd trimester miscarriage – and each one of my children had to deal with the loss and were saddened by it. They we looking so forward to holding that little one in their arms. There is nothing in my life more tender and precious than to see the tears of joy upon my older children’s faces when they first meet their new sibling.
    I desire another child – but I wait upon the Lord – for He knows more and He knows best.

    1. Well said, Tara. I agree in giving a response that points to the truth. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby. Blessings to you.

  26. I mentioned it in another comment, but part of the source for writing this post comes, not from the comments, but the silence–the demonstration of disapproval. And more than that, it’s the burden of seeing a culture who has completely been conditioned to think wrongly.

    So I guess I’m trying to communicate that’s it’s not necessarily the individual comments that bug me, but their demonstration of a society who, at large, thinks illogically and doesn’t give credence to the Life Giver, treating those who do with scorn.

    If you read my blog, or if you just popped in, you may misunderstand me sometimes. I don’t walk around with a chip on my shoulder for personal reasons or feeling personally persecuted. I have a sort of “compelling” spirit to champion certain causes that I perceive are damaging to society at large. So a comment–it may or may not affect me personally, but it burns within my heart the revelation that the comment is of our thinking. Our thinking about children and birth control has been the NUMBER 1 factor in seeing abortion ushered in and become a common household term. (Perhaps a post on that later?)

    I hope you understand what I’m saying here.

    1. Kelly, Humane Vitae. Pope Paul VI predicted what acceptance of birth control would do to our society, and he was spot on. People don’t realize that birth control changes the purpose of the marital act, and therefore really marriage itself. I like this post, it’s not about what people are saying, but what has lead them to this line of thinking.

      1. Natasha,

        The connection between bc and abortion is one most of us aren’t willing to make either. I have another post in the works, featuring the despicable commercial by Planned Parenthood about the Abortion pill, and the new “Birth Control” movie which seeks to make the connection.

          1. Well, I hope it doesn’t seek to condemn the whole practice. At bottom it is a personal issue.

    2. I’ve been gone for awhile, but so glad to be back. We only got to have one, but you’re previous posts about this helped me celebrate when people told me how many kids they have. Before reading your blog, I was brainwashed to think that there is such a thing as too many kids. You helped me change my thinking.
      Keep up the good work!

    3. Well said, Kelly! I think some are missing the core message of the post. Birth control changed our thinking. It gave us a mindset-permission, if you will, to “choose” whether or not we wanted children. Once that thinking permeates our minds, our finite human nature blinds us to what is true and real. Now, because of this backward, ill-logical thinking, we have come to a place where it is okay and acceptable to murder our children in the womb. Birth control is the mother of abortion! Lord, help us!!!

        1. Birth control is as old as the day is long – and so are abortion and infanticide. Read about it in the Bible – the sin of Onan. Hormonal birth control is modern, but there have always been herbs and things used to induce abortion. Prior to 1939, every Christian church considered it to be a sin. Hormonal birth control alters the lining of the uterus, making it inhospitable to the newly conceived child, and thus it is abortifacient. For a fresh and different perspective on the beauty of God’s design for marriage and the family, try learning about Natural Family Planning which allows a couple to use the wife’s natural fertility signs to avoid fertile times through abstinence or to maximize their chances of achieving pregnancy through observing the most fertile time of the cycle. The Pope Paul VI Institute and Couple to Couple League have wonderful information about both the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning and the Sympto-Thermal Method of Natural Family Planning. It is easy to learn; illiterate couples in Third World countries are able to learn and use it quite easily; therefore our highly educated society should not ever think that NFP is too complicated to learn.

  27. A resounding AMEN! I am an adoptive mama to five and I get all this plus the inappropriate pries into their birth history. I once had a man ask me if I knew what was causing this and I replied, “Paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork.”. He was speechless.

    1. Allie, I find it hard to believe that people think it is ok to ask about adoptive children’s personal history, but they do. It is so”none of their business!” I have gotten so many inappropriate questions and remarks about my kids’ race, circumstances of birth, etc. it’s appalling.

  28. Remind me not ever to cross you.

    I completely see your point. My husband chuckles at me because I get agitated when people ask “are you having any more kids?” I have two children. Whether I have, or don’t have, any more children is nobody else’s business. I don’t know why acquaintances, whatever their motivation, feel it’s OK to ask me about my reproductive life.

    I get that your issue is comments about large families, but considering that heartbreaking things like miscarriages happen (usually quite privately), unless it’s coming from someone with whom we’re in a VERY close relationship, I think the question is just flat-out inappropriate – no matter the number of children involved.

    But the question will continue to be asked. I love how my dear cousin, who currently has five, responds to the comments you mentioned, “I’m raising an army. It’s all about world domination.” LOL!

    Great post.

  29. Thank you for your thoughts. My husband and I are just starting out on our wonderful journey of having children. We have also decided to trust the Lord for His timing and number. It’s always encouraging to know we aren’t alone in this.

  30. Hi Kelly, Thanks for writing. Let the critics be silent, let them say nothing your entire pregnancy, let the comments (when they come), come. Your audience is for One. When we take a non-culturally-normative stance on things, we can’t expect a response that we would like. Trust me. I have heard and not heard many a negative point made, including my grandmother, who said to my face and in front of our children that she was glad that two of our babies died. Does it hurt, yes. But really…can I expect a different response? We are only responsible before God for our choices and our responses to those who oppose or offend us.

  31. This post and the subsequent comments are incredibly thoughtful. “Women and Fertility” is such a loaded topic these days! So much tenderness and grace is required, at the same time, it’s good to have a chuckle once in a while, at a culture that’s so upside-down in it’s thinking.

    We’re expecting baby #8 this spring and this is something we are so excited about, and yet, sharing the news of each new pregnancy has been an area of incredible (certainly, ungodly) stress for me. The silence can hurt the most.

    It’s difficult to talk about these things, but I’m glad you’re building the guts to do it.

    Thanks, Kelly!

  32. I have 4 of my own and for the most part people are polite and encouraging. I love when an elderly man or woman looks fondly at my children and feel led to tell me how many they had. I especially love the elderly fathers of many who puff up with pride at their 6, 8, or 10 grown children.

    Sometimes, I want to borrow some of my nieces and nephews and see of I get treated differently.

  33. I told my son’s baseball coach that we’d be missing a game because my husband and I were going away for the weekend and the kids would be with their grandparents. The coach said, “Don’t come back with another baby! You already have a basketball team.”

    I just looked at him and said, “We play baseball.”

    LOL! He totally cracked up.

  34. As a mom to eight (17 down to seven months), i so totally *get* this post. Most of the worst comments were surrounding our third child (we lived in a very surfacey, appearance driven tourist town). Now, i hardly ever get those comments. But we have been blessed with relatively supportive family. I have often thought of the dangerous disconnect where intentionally sterilizing yourself is the norm” – and it is getting pretty weird how the majority of the world think sex and babies are completely not connected (ie the American president saying he wouldn’t want his daughter “punished” with a baby) – it’s biology! Sex makes babies, and i feel for young girls who are not getting this message. Anyway, i love that i have met so many women, in “real life”, and on the internet, who *get* the beauty of finding peace and joy in how God designed our bodies to work, and in our marriages 🙂

  35. Thank you for another great post Kelly. It is very encouraging to me. I can relate to the silence received during pregnancy (we recently had our 6th), and experienced that silence by some. I also find a hard balance with being careful not to look too overwhelmed or worn out, because after all it was our choice to have ALL these children! Praise God, it was His choice to give them to us! And although I love homeschooling and having a large family, the realities of life is that we do get tired and overwhelmed at times. It really is amazing that just because we have chosen to allow our bodies to work has God created them (like you said) that we should be looked at as crazy. But I am encouraged, that if you persevere and just show the beauty in these blessings of God and the grace and joy of Christ, how God can change people’s hearts. We have received many positive comments too over the years. Continue to persevere and write these encouraging posts! Blessings to your family.

  36. “mothers of large families know, you can’t look tired, act frustrated or appear, in the least bit, stressed out with your munchkins in tow. You did, after all, “ask for this”. (You would, however, be allowed to be tired and stressed with two.)”

    Ha! Good point.

    We all know the actual feminist movement was not about choice, as proven by one’s classic words, “Women should not be allowed to make the choice of being a ‘housewife'”.

  37. You know, what drives me crazy is how I know that some, upon seeing a burdened mother, may think or imply, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t have had all those kids.” If anyone ever implied this in words, and they had a few kids themselves, my reply would be, “Well, YOU get stressed sometimes. Which one of your kids do you think you should have done without?”

  38. Hi, I enjoyed your post. I’m in a different situation but equally as persecuted! I’m 33, got married at 31 and we want to have kids, we have been trying since we got married and have a lot of odds against as I am overweight and keep having doctors frown at me like I’m an awful person for even wanting to have children! I desperately would love to have a large family as I am from a very large extended family (my dad is one of 11)! I love kids and my husband and I can’t wait to be parents. We get the ‘when are you guys going to have kids – you’re not getting any younger you know’. Well duh! It’s kinda out of my hands! God will have to do a miracle in my life if I am to conceive naturally. We believe with all our hearts that He WILL do that and we will have natural children. We have had to let go of our ‘wants and desires’ and just completely trust Him. I had to let go of my ‘I had to wait till my 30’s to get married so I should get to have kids easily’ entitlement complex that I picked up and now we are trusting God to do what He does. I’ve come to the conclusion that I would truly rather live in His will than have kids (We believe His will does involve kids) but I’m sick of the comments about ‘hurry up and get on with it!

    Thanks for being a strong inspiration. I am extremely quick-witted and come up with almost too spiteful comebacks to them, my favourite answer to ‘don’t you want to have children? ‘ is ‘No we are afraid they may turn out like you!’ but I have to bite my tongue and come up with the more respectful and polite comments. I will have to give your mute stare a go next time! I watched several aunts go through some real hurtful times when they struggled to concieve.

    I’m glad you have a big family and I (while slightly envious of you) wish you well with your family no matter how many God chooses to bless you with.

    Spare some thoughts and prayers for those of us struggling to conceive as well.

    1. Jo, I have been there. Infertility is the worst ache in the world when your heart’s desire is to have the blessing of children. I also know the “entitlement” feeling you mentioned. It’s hard to understand God’s ways sometimes, isn’t it? I would have welcomed a large family with open arms, and yet He has chosen to give me one precious blessing instead. But do you know what? I’m living the life He chose for me, the experience has taught me to be more like Him, it’s taught me how to show grace to people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Well, usually I wouldn’t! I do wish more parents of large families truly understood how blessed they are, as it seems they often take their fertility for granted….we just look at each other and get pregnant, etc. (It seems to me you shouldn’t be surprised if people jokingly bring your sex life into a conversation if you do it yourself!) At any rate, Jo, I pray that whatever God’s plan for your life is, you will be able to find peace and contentment in Him. People will always say ridiculous things. Even now people say unintentionally rude things even knowing the difficult journey we took to parenthood. I think having an only is just as unacceptable to many people as having a large family. Protect your heart, lean on God, and I pray that you can find a friend who just “gets it”. Blessings!

  39. You know what you should do, Kelly? I’ve thought about this a lot and I really think that not only would it get the point across in a dignified manner, it would also show the rude acquaintance or stranger that as a Christian, you chose to treat them kindly and honestly, intelligently answer their question…

    You should print out some copies of the rant (or some modified version thereof :D) and roll them up and tie with a little ribbon and put them in your purse.

    When someone makes the rude comment, after the blank stare, say, “You know, I can tell you are truly wondering how this makes sense, and you look smart, so when you get a moment, read this…” And hand them one.

    We have four and if we have another, I’m totally doing this! 😀

  40. Thanks for posting this! I am anticipating dealing with feelings like this in the future if the Lord chooses to bless us with more children (which we hope He does!). We currently have 3 and would love to have large family such as yours, but is up to the Lord. Thankfully, we haven’t dealt with the rude comments yet, but when people ask us how many kids we plan to have, we do let them know that it is up to God and we really don’t know. We are leaving that in His hands! I love that I am not intentionally trying to prevent a child from coming into the world and love knowing that there could be more! I see it like you do, of eternal significance, and I hope and pray that God gives us more little arrows! May He bless you during your pregnancy!

  41. Just a few short thoughts (I think):
    First of all, I am assuming through this thread that you are expecting again. Congratulations! I pray that you have an *easy* and enjoyable pregnancy and deliver. Second, be cautioned (and reminded) that being pregnant (and being a woman)is a highly hormonal state — you are going to be over-emotional and more easily offended — and more prone to react. I know you know this, having done this many other times, but cut yourself some slack…and maybe don’t let your emotions wear on your shoulder since they are probably more hormone-induced than usual. Last, and from a place of genuineness, I think that some of the reason that people are so *offensive* regarding large families is because the “large-family” movement has put themselves on a platform/box and done a lot of shouting about themselves in the last 15 years. ALOT! People don’t tend to have a lot of compassion for those who are a part of a group who tend to be “in-your-face”. I’m not suggesting that you have done this, but the “group” that you are associated with has. And one more final thought: the people who are critical of you would be critical of anyone for anything. Folks with a criticial spirit are just looking for the next “victim.” So, if the didn’t criticize your for your large family, they would criticize you for your hair, shoes, house, teeth..etc…you get the point. It sucks. People are mean. God is good. Be blessed:-)

    1. Amy–you make lots of good points. VERY true about the emotional/hormonal part. There were some hormones pumping when I wrote this post over a month ago (it took me that long to get up the courage to publish it). And yes, I’ve read the haters junk (complete waste of time). They actually *did* make fun of my hair 😉

      1. 🙂 Once upon a time…a long, long time ago, I used to blog…deep in the heart of my gestating/lactating years….and many times those hormone-induced emotions were not my dearest friends during my posts. I actually (yes, I will confess this now) created a second private blog where I could write (I MUST write) and no one could read — save 5 -6 close friends. It was a relief, and I didn’t feel trapped with that “to publish or not to publish” concern. It was a great relief!

  42. My honest opinion….who cares what other people think? Live your life, keep the blank stare and move on because they’ll never get it. They either get it or they don’t. They are not going to change just as much as you are not going to start rejecting God’s blessing of kids. It’s really a lose, lose situation for them. Keep being blessed by children. And the others? Well, just forget em’ and walk on by. 🙂

    1. Jenny,

      You may not have seen my other comments (and it’s difficult to tell from this post what’s at the heart of it), but it really has a lot more to do with speaking to a broad, general thinking fallacy that permeates our culture, than just with my own offense. I’m like that about everything 😛 I can’t help it. I’m compelled.

  43. My name is Alisa. I absolutely love this post !! I agree with all of you ladies. I have 7 kids 9,8,8 (twins) 6, 4 2, 11 months and due with #8 in beginning of April. I have heard it all. I live in a small rural town…where everyone one knows everyones’s business and they all love to talk and it’s not always pleasant talk either 🙁 I believe all children are blessings from GOD and he doesn’t give you more than you can handle and will bless you as he sees fit and in his own time. I am healthy and happily married and these blessings are all ours together. They are happy & healthy and provided for. Want for nothing. They are close in age and best friends and LOVE EACH OTHER so much. They look out for each other and are very thoughtful of eachother too.

    I have heard ” You know what causes that right ? ” and our response is YES we do !! And we are pretty good at it and don’t plan on giving it up any time soon 🙂 ” Are you nuts ? ” YES I AM…nuts about my kids !! ” Better you than me !!” Apparently so…I tell people my hands are full BUT MY HEART IS SO MUCH FULLER !! I wouldn’t have it any other way. We aren’t materialistic people. We are all about family !! Birthdays and Christmas are so much fun 🙂 We truly feel so blessed to have all the kids and such a loving, big, family !! We aren’t sure when we will be done but we always tell people we aren’t getting our tubes tied/vasectomy we will have as many as the lord blesses us with…unless my health becomes poor and having babies isn’t healthy or ideal anymore. I don’t wanna leave the children I do have motherless . I too wish I could announce my pregnancy but we keep it to ourselves to save the grief and ride comments and harrassment we get…from family & people in town. We just are tired of hearing it…and out families aren’t happy or exctied to have a new baby on the way…they are just like oh well how nice…big deal..we should have known 🙁 So I tell my supportive friends and family and eventually when I show the other find out…then I catch grief for not telling them and keeping it secret 🙁 We tell them well we knew you wouldn’t be happy or wouldn’t care so we decided not to share our exciting news with negative people who wouldn’t be happy for us or with us !!!

    So glad to read this post and see I am not alone. We are all blessed to have our big wonderful families and each other for support and fellowship 😀

    1. We felt as though we had to hide our 5th pregnancy. It felt strange. Here were were married and hiding a pregnancy from most friends and family? The judgement we knew that we would face from some was not going to be easy (we homebirthed AND homeschool all of our kids), and that was the choice we made. We only told those who had no connection to those who would judge us. We knew who had lose tongues. We eventually told others when I got too big. Family gatherings were cancelled and weddings, well, we had too many kids to be invited…so it was easy to avoid those comments for a time. We had visions of showing up at things with a new baby in tow, and were going to answer questions and comments then.

      Well, some things went wrong and people were offended that we didn’t tell THEM. When it finally came out, some supported us, but the ones we judgmental ones turned it onto us as being bad…even when we were fully honest about the hurt they caused us in the past and why we chose not to tell them. My mom had hurt me when, being sick with my 4th, (she had 4 when very young), asked when I would stop. So hurtful…a comment of how are you feeling? would have been nice. The rest of my relatives (one guessed) there were very excited for us…and that is why I had to tell my mom. But with the fifth, it was all about her again, and she found out from my sister who . I could not avoid her visit. She refused to respect us and keep it silent even when told the reasons why…what a bees nest she opened. My mom claimed it was concern over my health (um, nope, the aunts put my one aunt through this fire too.) All of my pregnancies have been good except one unknown-to-me early med-induced miscarriage. She also accused me of holding a grudge (um, I was protecting myself). She also asked my MIL if I was mad at her too!? She even cornered my poor aunt (mom of 11) who knew and had her be a mouthpiece for her agenda too. 🙁 Her true concern…all about what she might look like to her siblings and why I never told HER…she has never really been concerned with my well being as evidenced by many happenings in my years, and I don’t think that changed.

      Anyway, we have decided because of judgment of both sides of the family, that we will not tell others if we have another. It is our baby, our family, our life, God’s plan, God’s special gift. If they cannot support that completely, they don’t need to know…again. They have proven our thoughts about this. There is no binding thing that says that they do need to know, and you know, we liked having our family secret. It was nice having something private for a change.

      A couples perspective does change when you get married older, have problems conceiving, have a miscarriage, hear not to expect any more children, and then God starts giving you children. I PRAYED deeply for them! We didn’t know that big families were a “thing,” but always believed that big families could be a good thing.

      We both come from large families. We started out by telling others that we wanted a minimum of 4. They laughed at that time…when we announced our first at a family gathering, someone almost choked on his food. ALREADY he said? Um, yeah, at least we did it in the biblical order…married, then babies. Why was that such a shock? We were older too. We were supposed to wait? Why? They all had kids. Yes, they waited, but they were young.

      Oh well, I get all the time, “How do you do it all?” I used to reply “I don’t,” but now that is drawing other negative comments. I even got this from one stay at home mom that has one less, but doesn’t homeschool. She is busy too, but maybe my new response should be, “How do you do it all? Maybe we can swap constructive ideas…”

      As for the you know what causes that? statement…I like the testing it more response.

  44. I find this article interesting. As a grandma who was always a stay-at-home mom, before the days of homeschooling, etc. there were remarks about my choice of life-style. I have 3 children and 16 grandchildren, all of whom are being homeschooled. The family that lives nearby, my son and his wife, will celebrate 12 years of marriage, have 9 children–11 years and younger. Tremendous blessings! A neighbor couple my age who never had children would have those negative comments every time I mentioned that a new one was on the way. At some point, however, they noted that these kids are courteous, have tremendous imaginations when they play outside at my house. They even questioned that the reason might be that they don’t have TV. Ever since, their attitude is very positive. May our children and grandchldren be lights in this dark world.

    1. Thank you for sharing that. I agree.

      Sometimes, there’s nothing you can say or do.

      “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” – Exodus 14:14 ESV

  45. Kelly,

    I just have to say that I thought this post was Great!!

    Now I know there will be those who will always say that we should always give some kind of Godly answer and I agree that would be great if Life Just Wasn’t So Real All the Time!! Yep..we do all have our days where we are just worn out.Wether it be from working all day, or taking care of kids all day.(it’s work too!).

    Although we only have six..We heard comments like this all the time!Sometimes, I just stared at them..sometimes..I would stutter out a reply..I think the best one when people would say..”Don’t you know what causes this”..would be to just say..”Yes..and we like it”..That quiets them actually did that a couple times to complete strangers.I also think printing out what you wrote and handing it to them would be great!…really lol..

    Now as we joke about all of this..I can honestly say that I so understand and it does get frustrating at times and fun to vent on what we might like to say! My kids are all older now so nobody seems to say those things now. Interesting..isn’t it. People seem to find it fascinating that we have all these grown Christian young people!

    One family member even went so far to say that we were not leaving room for other family members(who were not married and still aren’ have kids)..What?? Sometimes you just have to remember to not take it personal when it’s coming from a family member or even a church member.We think the church is the one that is going to understand but not always so..sadly.. So..Here is what you need to remember when this happens!! One of these days..Those kids are going to be a POWEFUL Testimony to the World around them!

    You will watch them go out into this crazy world and make a difference for the cause of Christ! They will be mocked for their faith and maybe even lose their job because of their faith..(just happended to one of my sons not to long ago)..But that is okay!! They will stand strong..and will be a Blessing to family members and Church Members..There is so much more I could say here(you know me Kelly..trying to remind everyone what it will look like when they are grown) I will leave with now with just a funny story after the birth of, I think the 5th kid..

    We were leaving the hospital.For some reason my husband had brought all the kids with him to pick me up.We had just had our 5th child.If you can picture a mommy in the wheelchair holding the newborn.Some of my kiddo’s holding the arm of wheelchair and walking next to me..some of them helping carrying my stuff. My husband carrying flowers, cards, and baby gifts.My two year old decides to take off down a hallway and so wheelchair stops as my husband goes after her..finds her and brings her back. We are all laughing and trying to get out of there while people are just staring at us. As we wheel past the nurses station with our entire crew and my kids all wave to them and they all wave back..My husband pipes up and says..”See you all next year”….of course all the nurses were doubled over and laughing and so was I. I could have kicked Him!!

    1. Keri,

      HA!!!!! That is exactly what my husband says when we’re leaving! Because it was true at least for a while. The nurses remember us too 😉 Love your “keep the vision” encouragement, as always!

  46. Now why don’t I read your blog more often!? I’m starting today 😉

    “And mothers of large families know, you can’t look tired, act frustrated or appear, in the least bit, stressed out with your munchkins in tow. You did, after all, “ask for this”. (You would, however, be allowed to be tired and stressed with two.)”

    HA! Love it!

  47. Laughing @ Keri how cute and funny…lol…reminds me of hubby bringing in all 6 of my kids last february when I had #7 the kids walked down the maternity hallway and the nurses were smiling…I am sure they said crap after hubby & kiddos walked past…they came in and we shut the make it quieter for other patients and for privacy….the OB nurse came in and said my kids were so beautiful and well behaved and you would never know 6 kids 9 and under were in there. And when I left they said I am sure we will see you again soon…and low and behold it’s true will be back 14 months later to add our next blessing…they call me The Veteran…i don’t need help or any fussin over I am well aware of what to do…and I even check out early..miss my other kiddos and my bed and hospital beds are horrible to sleep in….and on another note that is kinda funny in my OB office I have a super thick file looks thicker than the BIBLE…they said I will need another file..heck maybe my own shelf…I just laugh and brush it off….who cares I am keeping them in business anyway LOL 🙂

  48. Oh, Kelly, dear friend, you read my thoughts and wrote down my words right here! I wonder ALL the time why it is so socially acceptable to be rude and ask such private and personal questions of mothers who are allowing their bodies to function as designed and welcoming and delighting in the blessing of children while it is considered rude to comment on those who go against this beautiful design. Okay, maybe not wonder, as I am well aware of the many byproducts of feminism. But it is frustrating, particuarily when my children are by my side and have to hear these rude comments and questions. I have often thought about turning the tables on them and saying something along the lines of what you wrote here. 🙂 Like you, I won’t (sigh), but it sure is a breath of fresh air to read these well-articulated thoughts here.

  49. I hate the fact that as a mom of four, I often get the feeling that when i am struggling, and would love to ask for help, I feel like people think, “well you HAD all those kids, now YOU can deal with them all!” If the Lord should ever allow me to live to be an old lady, I’d like to spend my mature years ministering to young mothers who are struggling to keep up (big or small family), for no cost….I know it’s these years when a cleaning lady could be a big help, but it’s also these years when the $ for one isn’t there! And when I look around, even at my church sometimes, there seems to be a lack of women who are free to serve in this capacity…young and active enough to be busy and help out others, but old enough to be past the child raising years…seems like so many still work full time!!

  50. This post was like reading my own thoughts! I definitely agree that I feel we always have to be on our best behavior. I remember one time at the grocery store when we had four children under 6. My six year old was helping push the cart while I was taking our newborn out of the stroller. He bumped into a lady and she snapped at him. She looked at me and said “you just have too many children”.

    I am going to link your article to my blog because I never want to forget this! Blessings to you!!!!

  51. I love this! Thank you for being so honest… wish we could all just be this bold. Then maybe people would quit asking us if we “know what causes that”… lol I’ve actually thought of saying, “yes, and we like it!” and trying to make them feel as uncomfortable as possible for even asking such an inappropriate question. People can be so hypocritical.. it’s silly.

    1. We often used the “Yes, and we like it!” Unfortunately, in the late stages of one of my pregnancies I also added, “And maybe if you had more of it you wouldn’t be so sour.” I regretted the comment, but….not really:-)

        1. Not single at all:-) Wouldn’t have said that to a single person. May have said, “Yes…and one day, you, too may enjoy as much as I do:-)” It was a rare, hormone-induced, ankle-swollen, crazy-humid-hot day. I’d just had enough;-)

  52. Wow, lots of commentary on this post since I first saw it last night 😉 These are some random musings of mine…and you can see how long this is before I can 😉 This is dedicated especially to those of you who have received the silent treatment after announcing pregnancies/delivering babies beyond a certain “acceptable” number.

    First (and this will probably sound naive), it has been amazing to me that a subject like this, about a normal and natural, God-given design for His creation, is a hot-button topic! So many have gotten SO FAR from understanding and embracing what God calls good, that those who embrace God’s design are ostracized, questioned, criticized, insulted, you name it. But I guess that is the way of the world (and, unfortunately, for too many Christians, too).

    I am sorry for those of you who have received rude comments. I must say I have been blessed that no one has said things to me like “Do you know what causes that?”. I’ll confess to thinking of a very snarky answer to give if anyone ever asks me that, but it wouldn’t provide a good Christian witness, so I won’t share it. (I actually typed part of a comment for this post last night that included the snarky response, then erased it. The temptation to share it was strong, and it was only by the grace of God that I came to the conclusion that I should just go to bed and not respond until that urge to give an example of returning insult for insult was gone. Hope that doesn’t sound self-righteous. I get sharp-tongued sometimes, and when I don’t it’s due to His power alone.)

    Although, as I said, I haven’t received any comments that I would consider rude or mean-spirited, I have been on the receiving end of complete silence by a relative who was glad for us when we announced our first four pregnancies, but not with the subsequent pregnancies, and I’ll admit that her silence hurt.

    I had a miscarriage in my fifth pregnancy, and when we were at an extended-family gathering and I told my relatives that I had miscarried, all of the women who were there (except this one) expressed their condolences. I thought it was odd that she didn’t say anything, but I figured maybe she didn’t know what to say, having never had a miscarriage herself, although I think she understands that simply saying “I’m sorry” when someone is experiencing grief of a sort which you’ve never gone through is a helpful thing for most grieving people to hear.

    Anyway, I just sort of dismissed her silence, thinking it odd, but not dwelling on it. It was what happened when I got pregnant the next time that was so hurtful. She just flat out did not acknowledge my pregnancy at all. No congratulations on the announcement (which didn’t surprise me anymore), no “How’s your pregnancy going? How are you feeling?” etc., even though she’d experienced full-term pregnancy herself. And so on throughout my whole pregnancy, which I carried to term. Complete silence.

    The hardest, though, was after my son was born. She would not look at him, talk to him, hold him, nothing. She would not even speak to my husband or me or our chldren about our new baby. This went on for years. My son turns nine next month, and there have only been a couple of instances where she has spoken to my husband and me about him, and only ONE time that she spoke directly to him. She has never shown any affection toward this son of ours, never so much as even held him on her lap.

    She seems a little warmer in her response toward my youngest child (born 3 1/2 years after my son), but also has never held her and did not acknowledge my pregnancy with her, or express sympathy at my second miscarriage, which occurred between the youngest two children I have now.

    I bring ALL this up because, for all of you who have gotten the silent treatment, I just want to show you where I’m coming from when I say I feel your pain. I know it hurts. But thinking through these things, I think I know at least one reason why it happens, and I want to offer you some hope that will maybe help diminish the pain of being ostracized by others when God blesses us with children.

    I have come to believe that a fundamental reason people may not say anything to us when we share the good news of another blessing from the Lord is because their worldview is askew in such a way that they literally *cannot* Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. (Romans 12:15) They have become so flawed in their thinking, they can’t rejoice when a new baby is on the way, or has been born; neither are they able to mourn with those who mourn when pregnancy loss occurs.

    As sad as it is to have our children (whether already-born or pre-born) treated as if they are nothing or worse, the saddest thing about this subject, IMO, is the spiritual condition of those who treat us and our children this way.

    As hard as it is (I’m talking to myself here), we must pray for these people. And even if they never come to love and embrace our children as the blessings from the Lord that they are, our children will always have the love of their Heavenly Father to count on now and forever.

    Getting opposition from people can be just the thing that draws us closer to our Lord, and makes us want to show our love to our children even more, to counter the unloving attitudes they receive from others. When our children know the deep love their parents, and especially their Lord, have for them, I think there is much blessing and security that children derive from that knowledge. Good can come in a lot of ways that we would never expect. That is my hope.

    And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    1. Wow, that was longer than even *I* expected it to be 😉 I guess I needed to get that off my chest. The thing that’s always bothered me the most about this relative’s acting as if my youngest two children were basically “nothings” is that the other children that have been born or adopted into the extended family since then she welcomes with open arms: holds them, talks to them, takes a lot of pleasure in their existence. Which is good, but it saddens my husband and me some to see how she treats (or doesn’t treat) our youngest two children. It’s hard 🙁

  53. When asked the question of, “Do you know what causes that?!”, we have occasionally given a big smile with a slightly impish look and just said, “Yuuup”. That usually shuts them up and keeps any further rude questions at bay. 🙂

    Seriously, though, I do have to agree with the one commentor who stated that we can’t expect the same attitude toward children from someone who doesn’t profess Christ. Their priorities will be different from mine and while I would appreciate the same respect that I give to them, I do try to let their comments roll off my back. Rudeness from those who are Christians should elicit a gentle, yet firm response from us. Quoting Scripture is often a good defense.

    And really, the proof is in the pudding. Before finally giving this area of our lives over to the Lord my husband and I really carefully looked at several large families that we respect. I find it unnecessary to argue back with many people because as my children grow they will see the goodness of our choices. Then without saying a word, I will have sufficiently said, “So there!”

  54. Thank you for this post, Kelly.
    My husband & I have six children, but we hardly ever get comments now, since our youngest is 10. We’ve obviously come to our senses, and put an end to our foolishness, lol. Actually, we chose for my husband to be sterilized 9 years ago, because it seemed at the time to be the responsible thing to do. I cringe even now that we actually bought into that! I have grieved over the knowledge that we most likely have deprived not only ourselves of the blessing of additional children, but have deprived our children of the joy of siblings they might have had. Two months ago, my husband had a “reversal” and I am prayerfully hopeful that God might bless us with additional children before it’s too late for me (I’m 40!). I am not looking forward to dealing with relatives (professing believers)who do not understand why anyone would want more than 2-3 children, and will think we have lost our minds for choosing to restore my husband’s body to the state it was naturally in. Already, one close relative has said to his wife, “I wish you wouldn’t have told me!” (about our reversal)…I didn’t know he had a vasectomy. I would’ve thought they just had an ‘accident’ and then it wouldn’t have bothered me!”
    REALLY??? It’s beyond me why it should “bother” anyone for us to have another child, but it’s another example of the pervasive attitude that you’ve pointed out.

  55. Children become very expensive if you have to travel with them far away. My whole family lives at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Flight tickets to Europe have increased in price due to higher gas prices. I could never afford to visit my family if I had many children. And visiting my family once in a while (every 2 years probably) is important for me, specially since my mother is a widow and one of my sisters has a progresive case of M.S. In the Bible times family members lived closer to one another.
    I have also realized that many large families in the USA live in rural areas with houses big enough for them, with back yards where the children can play and a big family van that can be parked in a big parking lot.
    That is not the case in some areas of the world where the density of population is high. This past summer I visited my cousin, who rents a small 2 bdr. appartment in a central part of Madrid and who has to small girls. That is what she can afford. Another cousin who has 2 children so far owns a tiny 3 bdr. appartment also in Madrid. Madrid is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. Germany is another country I know well and houses and appartments are even smallers as the country is very densly populated. Parking spots are a problem too.
    Circumstances are not the same every where. The reality of life in big European cities is very different than that in rural areas of USA or Canada.

    1. That is an interesting perspective. And I noticed none of the anti-birth control people had anything to say about it- which actually speaking volumes. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Carolina,
      I was born and raised in Madrid. Both sets of grandparents lived too far away for us to visit often, and we got very few visits from our relatives. The point of having to travel to visit grandparents is a very good one.

      The last time we traveled to the US as a family to visit my mother’s relatives was when child #5 was nearly one. After that, trips to the US were out of the question, and the trip before that was 9 years earlier. That was also before computers and cheap telephone calls, so we didn’t communicate with our grandparents all that much either. We lived in a 4 bedroom apartment (under 90 sq/m), and I’m the second of 10.

      Living in a different country is hard. My parents live in Madrid and I live in Germany, so we don’t see each other very much, but my mother has been to visit us several times.

      Thank you for addressing this issue, Carolina. Not every large family lives in a large house, drives a big car, and has space! We lived in cramped conditions and couldn’t afford anything larger. Of course, I’m sure my parents could have made different choices, put us first rather than their small home-church (the main reason we stayed in Madrid).

      I don’t look back on my childhood with bitterness, but it has helped me be less critical of people who make choices I wouldn’t make and who do things (in good faith) that I don’t understand.

      Also, silence or a raised eyebrow may be a sign of concern, not necessarily coldness. I know my mother struggled a lot having so many children in our living conditions. I know my father worked too much and very hard, all so we could just barely scrape through. There were relatives who made negative comments, which my father (especially) resented, but I can understand their concern (to an extent), because from what they could see, my mother’s life was not that great.

      Thanks for posting this and sorry for all the parentheses!

      1. Hi Ruth,

        are your parents missionaries to Madrid? Do they still have a homechurch there? I became a Christian in Germany!

        1. Carolina,
          My parents did work for a mission society (OMS intl.) for several years, but by the time I was in 2nd grade, my father was painting and decorating houses. The home church was a home group sponsored by the mission society.
          What brought you to Germany? Where are you from? Are your relatives missionaries to Madrid?

          I don’t usually post on here, just occasionally read, but I felt compelled to write a reply to your (Carolina) comment because of your connection with Madrid.

          1. I come from spain, and that is where my whole family live, most of them in madrid. My husband is from the USA and that is why I live here. I went to Germany when I was 23 because I did not have a job in Spain at that time. I ended up living there for 11 yrs, wonderful years. I became a Christian through the church-planting work of a couple from California. I wonder if your parents knew them, because before going to Germany they were missionaries in Madrid. They are Daniel and Claudia Aanderud.
            I do follow Kelly’s blog. There are many good things here.
            I have some Christian poems in spanish here:

          2. Carolina,
            I’ve never heard of that missionary couple, but I’ll ask my mom the next time we talk if the name sounds familiar.
            I also came to Germany when I was 23, to go to Bible school. That’s where I met my husband. The rest ist history, as they say!
            I’ll check out the blog. Thanks for sharing!

  56. Totally “get” this post, Kelly. It really encouraged me, so thank you. We have had such rude comments as well as rumors about our family. It hurts–because *I* let it. But…it bothers me less and less as my older children grow up. Speaking of older children…my 17 yr old was recently asked about our (us, her parent’s) birth control and “when we were going to stop”. I wasn’t around. Don’t know what I would have said.

  57. I agree and appreciate your post. It’s as if I had written it myself. We have 4 children and get these same, tired questions frequently as well. God’s story of my life gave me a little perspective back when I only had 2 children. My husband and I suffered from secondary infertility. To look at my “perfect” little family of one girl and one boy sitting on the pew at church, you would never have known that I was weeping inside (and out) during so many Mother’s Days year after year. Knowing God’s call was for us to pursue in vitro fertilization, it was as if a part of us died when our first transfer was negative. After I received this news, a very, very close homeschool friend of mine stood up at our monthly gathering and announced that they were expecting baby #6. I had to rush out of the room because I burst into tears. It’s strange how grief can overtake your actions at times. I couldn’t congratulate her for a few months because I had so much of my own grief to work through. Every time I tried to speak, tears involuntarily filled my eyes. No one would think to ask why I was sad because I had two children with me at all times.
    We transferred our last two babies and they both survived. When I was very pregnant with these two miracles I got the stupid “Do you know what causes this?” question. I wanted to explain that surgeries, doctors, needles, medicines, heartache, and tens of thousands of dollars is what “caused” this, but all I could reply was “Prayer. Lots and lots of prayer”.
    Children are indeed a blessing. Oh, how I rejoice in that. Others who may be silent may be or may have suffered from secondary infertility and may not be able to deal with their grief in appropriate ways.

    1. Thank you so much for this perspective! It’s hard to explain how infertility clouds your thinking and emotions, and I appreciate you sharing your story. I think many women dealing with infertility are left feeling guilty because they can’t rejoice properly with one who is rejoicing. So many don’t know or understand that they are mourning in silence and all alone. Praise God that He saw fit to increase your family!!

  58. Thank you for sharing what it’s like for you. I am in an opposite situation. I am thirty-six and single without children and am told that I should “never have anything to be stressed about.” I do not feel it’s anyone’s place to decide who should/shouldn’t have stress. We all have our own struggles and decisions we must make.

    Your family is beautiful!

  59. I have 3 boys ages 7, 3, and 5 months. It’s a very strange place to be sometimes. On one hand I have the people telling me that I have my hands full and some of my friends ‘joke’ that I’m pregnant all the time. Some people seem to think that my family is way to large.

    On the other hand I get people asking me when we are trying for a girl lol. Some people seem almost disappointed for me when I say that we think we are done having kids. We live in a very tiny 2 bedroom house and while we have made it work with our three kids, I don’t think we could make it work with anymore.

    I love my boys fiercely and while I was disappointed to not have a girl for a little while I wouldn’t trade my boys for anything in the world. They are my whole world. I’m perfectly fine with never having a girl but some people seem to have a hard time understanding that lol.

  60. God bless you Kelly! I only pray that one day, God willing, the Lord will help me to be a SAHM, homeschooling mother and entrepreneur like you. I greatly enjoy your posts, teaching and encouragement here at Generation Cedar and absolutely adore each and every one of your children. You are truly investing in the the lives of not only your children, but the next generation as well. I look up to women like you Kelly. Thank you for posting your heart here at Generation Cedar.
    God bless!

    1. Thank you, Gretchen, for your kind words. But please never forget that I am just a woman, human to the core and sinful as the next person…I am grateful the Lord has given me a platform through which to speak what He lays on my heart and I do hope it encourages!

  61. Thank you for writing this. I am a young mother of a 5 month old trying to figure out what God really says about children instead of using my preconditioned cultural lens. I am the oldest of 6, and I remember when my mother would get the same comments you describe. It breaks my heart that fellow Christians are sometimes the first to point fingers in the area of family size and career choice. Hopefully you will influence other women to look at their perspective through God’s eyes, and the criticism will go away sometime in the future. God bless you.

  62. 🙂 Took the thoughts right out of my head and made them actually sound coherent.

    I had a family member say on Christmas Day, ” It’s Tuesday! Are you pregnant?”

  63. When we had a bunch of littles, my father in law got so tired of people asking him if my husband and I were Catholic or Mormons that he came up with this reply, ” No, they are just horney Christians”. Not what I would have chosen to say, but he said it stopped any further questioning.

    We have 6 children, ages 21-10, and just married our oldest daughter. Dh had a vasectomy reversal about 9 months ago and we are about 10 wks pg. Praise the Lord!!

  64. I appreciate your voice of truth in this post, and the voice of those of you who have commented. I am the mother of many, 5 by adoption and 5 by birth, and strangely some of our family approves more of adopting at least they do not treat me with contempt. While nearly all of these comments above we have heard, my current struggle is how to respond to people who comment. ( We just welcomed our son into our lives last month)”You finally got a boy” or “now you can be done since you got yourself a boy”. Well the truth is he is not mine, and we would have been just as blessed with a girl, I love this little guy, but dread how it makes my girls feel when they constantly hear comments that would leave them to deduce something wasn’t good enough about them.

  65. I really like this post, thanks!
    I sometimes stew over this. I hear people of all ages (even a child recently!) judging people who have children they ‘can’t afford.’ Why is it the babies that are the problem? If someone can’t afford their lifestyle, it needs to change. It’s not about the babies it is about everything else! Vacations, packaged food, eating out, keeping up with the Jones… stuff that can all go. It makes me so sad that the world cares more about these things than children and chooses them first.

  66. Why don’t you have this post printed up on cards? Then when someone asks you can just smile and hand them the card!

  67. Love the post! I have 8 children, plus 5 in heaven through m/c, and I have been there…. I once was told by another mom of many that the worst comments come when you are having babies #4-6 (that was my experience as well) and then, the comments often turn positive (though a few may still be negative here and there….) beyond #7, and that has also been my experience!!! I started hearing negative comments when I was pregnant for #3 and it wasn’t until I had #7 that I finally heard mostly positive. Now that we have 8, people practically think I am a saint and are disappointed that we are likely not to have more (I’m nearly 47yo now…. last pregnancy was an early m/c.) I am blessed that I learned how to “educate” those who would make negative comments. I do not give snarky comments back… I laugh and make a joke often, but then, I will speak very seriously about how God has shown us the value of children through loss… nobody says anything negative after that… usually they don’t know what to say…. when we had our 7th child, we took a family portrait to the hospital and staff were coming from all over the unit to see the big family… LOL! Their tone changes when they can see the actual, beautiful children, instead of the unruly picture in their mind. I was practically a celebrity. I actually miss the rude comments now, as I am so good at deflecting them, but never need to. 🙂

  68. Wow there are a lot of comments on this post. I just wanted to say a couple of things, and I really don’t have time to come back and banter with those who feel the need to nitpick or argue, so know that in advance if you (reader) “disagree” with me.

    1) I have TWO children plus one on the way and I get this post…that makes me laugh and want to cry at the same time.

    2) I can-not believe how nitpicky people are! Not Kelly, but some of the commenters I scanned through. Goodness gracious, she’s speaking of people coming toward her ie. in grocery stores etc. and making flippant remarks. Stop putting words in her mouth and judgments in her heart!

    Enough said.

    1. I don’t see that. I see people having a respectful discussion. I’m afraid I don’t see the “Nazis” people are talking about.

      I do sometimes wonder. . . are we too thin-skinned?

      1. Hi Blessedalways,

        I agree with you and also think that this conversation has been a respectful one thus far, which is nice since these types of discussions have generated some nasty commentary in the past.

        As far as your comment “are we too thin-skinned?”, I think that’s a good question for self-examination. However (and I’m not saying you meant it this way), I don’t think any of us can really understand how difficult someone else’s situation is until we’ve walked in those shoes.

        I think, to a certain extent, facing adversity can help develop a thick skin. If we rarely experience trials, they can be difficult to deal with when they come. However, repeated challenges from people year after year after year, and for some, in almost every place that they go, just wears a person down. I don’t know that I would call that being thin-skinned. I think it’s more like being battle-weary.

        Many of the ladies here have faced opposition for so long, and it helps ease the journey to share these very real feelings that we have.

    2. Hi MelissaJoy,

      I’m not certain who you are referring to when you say, “I can-not believe how nitpicky people are! Not Kelly, but some of the commenters I scanned through… Stop putting words in her mouth and judgments in her heart!”

      It would be helpful, for me, personally, anyway, if you would reply directly to these commenters to whom you refer. If there is something I have said that offends you, then I would want to know that, so I can clarify or apologize as needed. Otherwise, I (and everyone else here) are left to wonder who you’re talking about.

  69. Kelly- because of our birth control driven society, so many women don’t know anything about healthy fertility. Women are marrying late, and then trying to have kids and they are shocked and surprised they can’t get pregnant ( I have read this many time lately from and midwives, also Dr. Oz did a show about it)

    Maybe you could write a post linking some information about how to protect your fertility, and how to get pregnant if you are having trouble. I would love to send you some info and links if you were to decide to post about it.

    I know many women who are having trouble getting pregnant, and we struggled getting pregnant with our 3rd after I had so many health problems. I found out a lot of helpful information. I think talking about our fertility and being completely aware of our bodies can help combat this whole mentality of mutilating our reproductive systems.

  70. I can so relate! And I really enjoyed reading that 🙂 I have 7 children. Two years ago we moved from a smaller city with a great home-ed support network with lots of larger families, to a larger city where it seems that the “norm” is working mums of two and every second one of them is a teacher or married to a teacher. After two years I feel lonely and sooooo tired of feeling like a weirdo! It was sort of funny for a while when strangers would count us when we walked by by nodding their head at each child but now it’s just annoying. I fervently want to say something… but nothing would change it anyway, as you said it is that “faulty logic that permeates society” and they feel safe in that. It is nice to hear someone else endures the same things and thinks like you have written above. I recently wrote out a “response” to the annoying questions people ask my children about home schooling (but never ask in front of me), similar in the tongue-in-cheek way you have done… it made me feel lots better just getting it out, even if I never actually say it to someone.
    Yay for people like you!! 🙂

  71. Having a sense of humor goes a long ways…..I have an ornery streak a mile wide in me. I know that this isn’t the same as what you have expressed, but when I was a very young momma and was a stay at home mom, I got so tired of others making the comment, oh you’re just a housewife.

    Do you work outside the home? Supposedly a nicer way to ask do you work (employed)? I had a come back….yes, I occasionally do yard work.

    They’d hesitate. Not sure what I meant or was thinking.

    What if you went straight faced with those that are asking are you going to have anymore children and comment that you just don’t know what causes a pregnancy….do you know?

    God bless you. You truly are a unique Lady and are an individual with a custom design life to live. The so called comments will not carry the weight they do the older you get.

    May you have a terrific 2013!

  72. LOVE this!! I have heard so many over the years! After my first I was pregnant with my second when he was one month so there was a lot of talk from that. When #2 was born I had a boy and a girl and people asked if I was done since I had one of each. I said no I’m still young! 🙂 When #3 came and I was out with all of them peoples first question was are you the baby sitter, then are they ALL yours, and then all the same father? Who asks that?!?! I finally head to just brush these off because they were getting to me, but we wanted a full quiver! 🙂 #4 is now 17 months old, I don’t think the comments will ever stop so I decided to change my attitude, trying to use it as a witnessing tool! My oldest two since they are so close in age people ask if they are twins, they think its hilarious for two months they are the same age and they let everyone know and then I get left explaining things 🙂 I also get the you know shays causing that right? What makes ituncomfortable is its coming from my father in law. The thing I have trouble with is the minute someone finds out we homeschool all the comments that come from that 🙁 Hopefully the world will understand the role we play and the reason we do it, but until then God give me grace!!!!

  73. What a great post!
    We have eight children: five living, and three in heaven (one was still born and two miscarried.) Our youngest is three and came with a “bonus” – he has Down Syndrome.
    It was after our fourth child was still born that people (good, Christian people) became tentative in their congratulations about our subsequent pregnancies. I will never forget the incredulity on the face of a pastor’s wife as she responded “Really?!” when I shared with her about the impending arrival of our fifth; as though we were complete fools. Though our form of Down Syndrome is not genetic (meaning that any of our future babies or grandbabies have no higher ‘risk’ of DS than anyone else), we’ve encountered those who seem to think we ‘deserve what we got for not stopping at a reasonable number’; as though DS were some sort of punishment. (Just to clarify, it’s NOT! :-D)
    Turns out God actually knew what he was doing (gasp!) – we’ve learned to trust him more and more and have NEVER been disappointed in his plans for us.
    I couldn’t have planned a better life for our family. Easier? Sure! And cleaner, quieter, more relaxed, more lucrative (instead we have more ludicrous – haha)- but not BETTER!

  74. I have observed – with all subjects, not just child rearing – that people want affirmation of their own decisions. They like people who made the same choices they did because that affirms their decisions were correct. So if someone made a completely different decision, their immediate reaction is rejection, which manifests as sarcastic and rude comments.

    This seems to be true in politics, what car you just bought, and family size.

    Jesus said we would be persecuted for following Him, and that we shouldn’t be alarmed by it, so soldier on, Word Warrior!

    1. Of course, as you know, funny looks and rude remarks aren’t persecution anyway. My gosh, there are Christians in other countries who would think we live in paradise!

      I think people want affirmation about their decisions about childbirth because it is such a huge, life-altering subject. It’s always nice to feel you are right.

      Great post, and a wonderful discussion.

  75. I wonder why some woman can concieve so many times and others like me are denied a single pregnancy. Are they more spiritual, more blessed? I know and believe God’s way is best but reading things like this can make the infertile feel second rate. The ache is incredible and there is very little sympathy for the pain we endure.

    1. I have Always felt sympathy for those who have such a hard time conceiving children. I have known so many women who have spent years trying for a child. I just wanted to let you know that the sympathy is there its just always so difficult to put into words. I will be praying for you. Sometimes I think people feel better saying nothing than risking bringing up such a touchy subject. So while you may not hear the sympathy, be assured that there are so many who are silently praying for you.

    2. JoAnna,

      I don’t know why, except that it lies in the mysterious sovereignty of God. And I assure you, I weep with you. I can’t imagine the depth of heartache that you and other women feel. But you can be sure He doesn’t “curse” you with infertility, though you may feel that way. Continue to trust Him; you may be able to see, one day, what His plan was all about.

    3. And then there are us who get pregnant while on the pill and feel incredible sorrow for having to tell those friends who have been trying for years to have a baby that we accidentally got pregnant (after already having three)…..the hurt and sadness I feel for them is immense and I have no idea how to share the news with them. 🙁

    4. This will possibly get lost in the many comments here, but I really need to reply even if no one reads what I write! First, JoAnna, I know how alone you feel in the infertility struggle. It’s hard and lonely, and it sometimes feels like our Christian friends are the least understanding. I appreciate that several ladies have expressed their sympathy here, and I hope you won’t mind me offering a few suggestions that I would love to give to my “fertile Myrtle” friends! Maybe not all infertile ladies will agree with me, but these things would show me that you really do care about me.

      If you are planning to announce your pregnancy at a social gathering, please, please, please tell me privately in advance. Surprise announcements are brutal.

      I really am happy for you that you are expecting. I don’t always know how to show it, because it hurts so much to know what I am missing out on.

      If you got pregnant while on birth control, just leave that detail out when you tell me.

      Don’t say things like, “We get pregnant just by looking at each other!” Not funny.

      Don’t not tell me your good news for fear of hurting me. I might be sad, but it’s not your fault, and it’s worse to hear the news through the grapevine.

      Don’t give me unsolicited advice. There’s probably nothing you can tell me that I haven’t already tried. Relaxing, vacations, forgetting about it are not actually going to help me get pregnant. Even if your second cousin’ s friend’s sister finally got pregnant by standing on her head while wearing mittens in Jamaica.

      When we are together with a group of ladies, try not to let the entire conversation be all about your pregnancy woes, the length and torture of your labor, etc. I have nothing to add to the conversation, and I feel left out, uncomfortable, and sad.

      Don’t say I can take one of your kids….unless you mean it!

      I know that your kids are a huge part of your life, but I want to talk about other things with you, too.

      Listen to me, let me cry, pray with me, pray for me, and treat me as a friend. I’m not trying to shut you out of my life, but sometimes I have to protect my heart.

      Motherhood is so esteemed in most Christian circles (as it should be). I think that’s part of the reason that it hurts so much when one is not part of the mommy club. If anyone has read this, I hope it helps even a little bit when showing your support to your infertile friends.

  76. I completely understand this; though I know it must be worse on those who have more. I only have 3 kids and I already hear the comments. My family and our church family are supportive; but my husband has already said he won’t tell his family when we get pregnant again. They will just have to wait and find out for themselves. They are the ones who tell us we shouldn’t have more than 2 and try to convince my husband to have a vasectomy when I’m not around. It’s already ridiculous, I can’t even imagine the comments we will be getting when they find out we are having more. I need to come up with a nice comment to let them know that even though we love them, we don’t want their opinion on our children. This is a great and unfortunately true post. Thanks for always putting it all out there for us to read and learn from.

  77. “Wow, your must be busy”, says the lady at the checkout counter with a sarcastic tone. I reply cheerfully, “Yes, I am so busy with all these wonderful blessings.”

  78. After the last time someone asked me “Don’t you know what causes that?, I decided that the NEXT time someone asked me that question I was going to reply “Yes, why? Do you need instruction?” So far, no one else has asked me. And the last time was before child number 5- three or four years ago. Go figure.

  79. I’m so glad I read this today 🙂 I am a mother of 8, 7 here and 1 passed when she was 3 months old. My oldest is 20 and my youngest is 17 months. I’ve heard the “Don’t you know what causes that” “You’re getting your tubes tied after this one, right?” and so on. One family member even told my oldest daughter to tell me to get my tubes tied…she said she didn’t know what to say. I promptly went and let this person know that I didn’t appreciate them telling my child to do anything and that my reproductive habits were none of her business or my childrens.
    I had a girl first and then a boy and everyone assumed I was done. While pregnant with my 4th, I finally told anyone that asked if I was finally done after this one that when they start taking care of me and them, they could have an input but until then, don’t worry about it.
    I didn’t really get any comments with the last 2. I think with my 4 year old, because she was the one I was pregnant with after losing my baby to SIDS, nobody was bold enough to say anything. Sometimes, I’ll be out somewhere with the majority of my kids and I’ll see the stares but nobody says anything. Maybe I just look mean, though I try not to.
    I’ve hated for years that when I would want to announce a pregnancy, I couldn’t. With my last one I did get one weird comment. A relative said “I need to know if someone is pregnant so I can be prepared” Since she has only watched my kids a few times over a span of years, I’m not sure what she needs to prepare for.
    I am no longer married now but if I should remarry, I would not prevent a pregnancy and I am now 40. Honestly, I would love to have another baby. I told a couple people that and they both asked if I had lost my mind, that I had enough.
    I guess people just have a comment about everything. I would go back to being a SAHM, I homeschool 2 of my daughters and planning to with the rest, I attend church and force my kids to go with me and I would gladly welcome a new baby. In my family’s eyes, that equals me being clinically insane (yes, someone actually said this)
    I’d like to print this off and have it ready to give to people who feel the need to instruct me on how to live. I do tell anyhone that while I might have alot going on and not alot of material wealth, God has always given us what we need, always.

  80. Oh goodness! I want to memorize your entire speech so I can spout it out in Walmart thrice weekly. At the very least I’d like to print it out in pocket-size form to be dispersed to all the gawkers (and I only have 6 kids!) Ah, I feel so validated. Thanks for a great post. 😉

  81. You know I can see it from both sides. I would desperately, with every fiber of my being enjoy, love and just simply be estatic to be a stay at home mom.

    But, the fact of the matter is out of my husband and I, I have the higher earning potential. I will always be working whereas my husband will likely work part time and be Mr. Mom (which he has no problem with and is quite excited about.)

    We can’t afford to have a child right now. We both work (full time) but we have a tiny box of an apartment that it simply wouldn’t be fair to cram a child into. Is it so wrong for us to want a house (or at least a 2 br apartment) and to make a little more money BEFORE we have children?

    I get it that SAHM feel discriminated against but I think it is equally true that SAHM discriminate against working moms for not making the decisions they did.

    As far as people making snide comments, IGNORE them. They dont raise your children or pay your bills so you shouldnt care what they have to say. The person making the snide comments might wish they could be in their shoes.

    And, to be fair, often people have children that have no business having children.

    1. Tonya,

      I’m sorry if you feel judged by stay-at-home moms. Most SAHM have made great sacrifices to be able to be home, including less earning potential, crammed space, no cable, no going out to eat, etc. So when hearing a women say “I can’t because of XYZ” it can get our feathers ruffled a little. We have made the decision regardless of XYZ and see it as no excuse. Sorry.

  82. I appreciate your response. How do sahm deal with emergency situations if things are so tight? It would seem to reason a surprise doctor or hospital visit could upset the entire apple cart so to speak.

    1. Emergency situations can upset anyone’s applecart, single income families or double. It all depends on the size of the emergency 😉
      I would actually see a double income family living a larger lifestyle as being the bigger liability. If something happened to either parent in that situation it could be financially crushing to suddenly be down to half their income (but expenses being the same). With mom at home and something happened to dad that kept him from being able to work for a time, mom is always there as an emergency back up. If my husband was injured or very ill and unable to work, I could always go get a job. I get to be “backup” or “on the bench” if you will. If we were both in the game though, there would be no subs and an injury could really set us back.

  83. Well thankfully I only have two children so I am lucky enough to be allowed to be exhausted and some days fed up by the whole mommy job! 😛

    I jest.

    I really liked reading this post. I always like reading your posts when I get the time to do so. It’s a recurring theme. Thanks for being you and having the courage to say very unpopular things. 🙂

  84. I have four children and have heard all these before. I typically go for the blank stare because I honestly can’t see saying much to people that are unwilling to learn – “do not answer a fool according to his folly.”

    Anyway, when I was pregnant with #2, my husband told his mother that I was pregnant. Her response was a couple choice cuss words. Now my husband is older and in all his life he’d NEVER heard his mother cuss – until he told her I was pregnant. Needless to say we didn’t want to tell her about #3 – although we did end up telling her. After that response still wasn’t nice, we never told her about #4. obviously she figured it out, but not once did she say anything to us until I was in labor (and she heard from husband’s brother). It’s sad that there are generations that just frown so much on the blessings from the Lord!

  85. I’ve reached the age (52) where I don’t tolerate poor behavior in children or adults. I would pretty much say…in a nice way of course…it’s none if your business. I’m so tired of bad manners and bad behavior I figure people will never learn unless someone tells them about it.

  86. Thank you. I am 45 and just had our fifth child. I guess we are a large family, although I don’t really think of us being so (we only have 5 after all). But our last two are only two years apart (there is 8 years between 3 and 4). Yet, I have been constantly assaulted (even by our medical personnel) with “did you mean to have them at this stage of your life?” ???!!??? Way to many people have felt free to imply that I am to old to be having children and do I really think that I should have any more.

    It has been difficult for my quick-witted tongue to restrain the sarcasm that I’d like to hurl back, but know it would not be in the spirit of Christ to do so. Ignorant. That is how I describe those who feel free to voice such rude and inappropriate questions and comments. Most of these come from other women! Where is our sense of propriety? Feminism has brought to women a crudeness that should not exist in a woman. It seems to override even basic Christian decorum and thoughtfulness.

    My private answer for such people is, “God has provided the means for me to be ‘done’ with child-bearing. So long as I am able to carry a child, I must not be to old to do so.” Someday, I may just say it aloud.

    1. Mrs. B ~
      I think it is awesome that you are 45 and just had your 5th! Yours was my favorite comment! I am 46 and my youngest is 10. I have wanted another child for……about 10 years. I am learning ~ slowly~ to be content. I have three blessings already, and reading the posts by the ladies who have not yet been blessed with children made me ache for them. I have a whole new appreciation for my boys and a burden to pray for them. Thanks for sharing, Mrs. B. Claudia

  87. Thank you for this encouragement! I am not getting any of those questions now, since I’m pregnant with baby #1 so of course everyone thinks its sweet and so do we. But, baby is a honeymoon baby, so I have struggled with the ‘now-ness’ of it all. I feel like my husband and I have so little time to know each other ‘just ourselves’, and this is from someone who passionately wanted children and feared infertility. We just had our hands open to the Lord to give us children whenever He thought was best, but I’ve been discouraged by fading dreams of what I wanted to do before-children. Your post was an encouraging reminder that this is what God made me to do and is natural and beautiful, and probably way more important than those projects that I had on my dream list. I’ve known that for years, yet it is amazing how much worldliness is in my heart – rebellious and independent – rising up to object to the sacrifice of motherhood. Thank you for sharing your perspective. God bless you!

  88. We could only have one child. I have asked “how do you do it?”, but it’s never meant as a put-down. I am just in awe because I know how tiring and difficult it can sometimes be with just one. I am also the person who smiles at you and your children as you walk by because I know what a blessing you have. Yes, even if you look haggard and tired. I don’t know what’s worse being asked incredulous questions or being instructed to have more. It seems the only acceptable family these days is two kids, one dog, a cat and some fish. But it’s not what other people think that’s important anyways …

    “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5

  89. I am not a Christian, but have seven children. I too have hit my “nice” limit. I would love to say everything you just wrote out loud. I agree with you wholeheartedly. While I have worked part time outside of the home on & off for the last two years, quite honestly my “jobs” require far less energy from me than motherhood does (and one of those jobs is working as a server in a busy restaurant, which requires energy, patience, stamina, people skills and a good memory), so I sometimes chuckle to myself when I hear women speaking down to full time mothers who “don’t have to go to work as well as be mothers”. I was a full time mother for over a decade. I know what it is like. Do not patronize me, people…

    Great post. You hit the nail on the head. Thanks. 🙂

  90. We have reached the borderline apparently – four kids four and under. and I have found any mention of ‘the next one’ ‘when we have more’ is met with tongue biting. It seems everyone is staunchly against us continuing not to stop the natural process… I’ll be honest, it’s tearing me apart. The opinions dont change my opinion but this borderline season between acceptable family size and ‘too big’ is proving to be very hard.

    I can’t go to the store pregnant with all my kids, the stares and comments are too much for my hormonal self, if you know what I mean. And sometimes I just want to hide in my home, not answer the phone and pretend that this is normal…

    Thank you for this post. I might be printing it out and sticking it on my wall so I can read it when I just cant handle being treated with the same scorn given to dead beat dads and teenage parents. Contrary to popular belief, this is not ‘irresponsible’

  91. My husband works in an office with a bunch of female JAG’s. I stay home and homeschool our kids. I get this same attitude on steroids at every work function. Thankfully, there are a few more of us out there. More in the future as we are afterall having more children than the rest!! Chin up!

  92. Thank you for this wonderful blog post!! I know how you feel, and I have tried to come up with snappy, yet loving, comebacks, but honestly, what is the point? Sadly most people just don’t view families and children as they once did and as they should, as a blessing and a joy. I am so thrilled when I have some sweet woman or man come up to me and offer encouragement or complements about my children ( four going on five) I am so thankful for those few that stand out. I hope to be that to other parents if they have 10 kids or just 1!!!

  93. So agree! I so want to do that to! I want to start asking them question and drilling them… The Lord forgive me for being that way… They don’t know better…. One thing though, the welfare thing…. My husband is a very very hard worker he is NOT lazy at all. We have had to have health care from the state and for a long time we felt horrible about it. We compared our self to others who have big families and didn’t have any help from the state etc…It concerns me that we make other brothers and sisters who do have big families and whose husbands are NOT lazy bums feel bad when they really need that health care or help… Some of the families who haven’t needed the help wear it like some kind of badge. It is humbling to have to walk into the ss with 5 children in tow and prego again asking for health care for you and your little ones. But glory to the Lord the worker was very gracious and she her self was a mother of 5! She saw how hard my husband worked and encouraged me to not feel horrible about it. I also had another friend who reminded me that my sweet husband pays taxes. We could have made the payments to the hospital and dr and wore our badge of pride too but the Lord instead humbled us….. So for the big families that can not afford the health Ins like us and you have to get help remember this your husbands work very very hard and the Lord knows and sometimes He provides and sometimes it does come from the state…. It is still humbling and hopefully one day in the future we will not need the health Ins but until then we are grateful to God for His provision and for Him humbling us. Egypt gave to the Israelites at times… ponder that….. May the Lord bless you and your newest little :0) Congratulations!!!

    1. Jess,

      Two questions/suggestions…have you looked into Samaritans Ministries, a medical sharing program? It is EXCELLENT and it is around $285/month for a family. Also, have you talked to your church about your insurance needs or considered a type of “health savings” plan?

      1. Yes we have looked into that as well. We don’t have the extra money to get up the first months pay and the enrollment fee. Maybe one day we will be able to. Also we have VERY VERY little debt which is slowly being paid down which is a blessing! So hopefully like I said in the future we will be able to have Ins. Until then we are very grateful. I am just concerned with other brothers and sisters feeling horrible about needing the help for a season. Unfortunately right now we are between churches… We miss being around our brothers and sisters but the Lord in His timing will get us somewhere :0)We do meet with other brothers and sisters right now in our home just to hold each other accountable and for the encouragement until we all find a place to go. Also I sent this to all my friends with big families! So encouraging and true!! Also I had to go to the grocery store and I thought to myself I dislike looking like a freak because everyone else has their one little basket of food and well we have 3 :0P

  94. I live in a pretty conservative part of the country full of homeschoolers so we don’t get a lot of comments. My church is supportive as well. There are several large families. But I did finally get a rude response the other day (after 14 years of being a mom). The lady asked if they were all ours. Yes. Did they all come out of HER? I just walked away and let my husband stare blankly at the woman. Really?!!!! I honestly felt violated. I think it also stung a little because I would love to have more but my husband felt that my last two pregnancies were two hard on my body and he was ready to be done. I had them very close together was on bed rest at the end of one and the beginning of the other. I had been a very hard season on our family and he believed it was right to be finished. We would like to adopt but God hasn’t opened that door. My baby will be 3yod next week. It’s weird not having a baby. I miss it. I try not to. I am enjoying the no diaper stage. I still miss it though. Every month as i am aware of my fertility I think was fun a miracle baby would be. One can dream, can’t she? I loved having babies. I loved having all 7 of my beautiful blessings and still love. This new season is affording me opportunities that I didn’t have when I had small babies. There was something in the tone of the women didn’t attack my family. It attacked me!! My family size is also a very intimate decision that my husband and I made. Who do people think they are to question the intimacy of a husband and wife? People will not bat an eye at the promiscuity in our nation but they will question intimate decisions between my husband and I. It’s the first time I have ever been truly offended by a comments.

    This was great, Kelly.

  95. I attended my 20th year high school reunion last year while I was 8 months pregnant with our 6th baby. I was bracing myself for snarky comments (especially since, to my knowledge, none of my classmates are Christians) but there were none. I did hear a lot of wistful comments about missing the time when their own children were babies and about how cute my tummy was (??? Didn’t feel “cute” at all as I waddled around!). It was a pleasant surprise to have “career women” be so positive about my large family.

    Even now I never hear really negative comments when we are all out and about. We do, however, see people counting our kids ;-). Maybe it’s that people in this state tend to be more reserved, they just talk behind our backs! I haven’t had to deal with any negative comments except from my parents and even they have given up!

  96. I’ve never read your blog before, and don’t even know how I made my way here, but I would like to applaud you…for doing what was right and natural for you. I don’t know how we made it so far away from the way God intended us to be, but I pray that He will keep working on these people and all of their worldly wisdom. May you be blessed and encouraged in your walk!!

  97. Thank you for posting this. I have three and the rudest comment I get is when people say, “You’re done, right” as if God-forbid we might even imagine to have another one. I am 39 so I’m getting up there, but it annoys me that other people (family included) think they know better than God. We had some scares with my last baby (7 months now) but how many we have shouldn’t be anyone’s decision but God my husband and I.

  98. Hi,
    To the ladies who haven’t been able to conceive, my heart goes out to you! I have 3 first cousins who have been through just about everything trying to have a baby. So far, only one has conceived and had a baby. He turned one just a few months ago. I am thankful that she and her husband have this darling little boy. I’m also still praying for the other two. I’ve seen first hand how they suffer. They are much younger than I am, in fact, they are the same ages as my children are. It just cuts to the bone to see the look on their faces when they think they are pregnant just to have a test come back negative. I continue to pray for them just as I will for you ladies and other women with fertility problems. May God richly bless you all!

    I’ve been reading and I guess you could call it lurking for quite a while here but I did feel the need to post today. We have a relatively small family, I think, we have 4 grown children. We also basically raised a nephew and niece so that made 6. I actually, wanted to have at least 6 children of our own but after the 4th one was born, I had to have a complete hysterectomy. But, the Lord blessed me to raise the nephew and niece so we did end up with 6 children. I know how blessed we were and still are and I am not complaining at all! I also had the comments and snide remarks made, don’t you know what causes that or my personal most painful one was when my mom said to me when I was pregnant with my second child, aren’t you stopping with this one….she had three. I can tell you that was a kick in the face! But, you know it was really just my side of the family(mainly immediate family) that had the nasty remarks to make when they would find out I was pregnant. I like others, would also just refuse to tell them that I was pregnant. It was such a let down when they found out and had all those remarks to make. As long as I can remember, I wanted a large family. I am so thankful for the life our Lord and Savior gave us. I was told when I was 16 that I would never be able to have children until I had surgery done on my tubes that they were twisted not letting the egg through.(I know doesn’t make sense to me either.) Anyway, I had my first son at 18, no surgery required to conceive him, then 2 daughters, then my baby son when I was 25. God is AWESOME, man knows very little about the female body, compared to God. I just chose to trust God. May God bless all of you ladies. I’m very sorry if I have rambled.
    Hugs, Paula

  99. HI Kelly,
    Thanks for this post, I hope it helped somewhat and I can understand wanting to get it said.
    I don’t have a large family, we have 2 gorgeous boys.
    I worked part time as a paramedic until we moved from NZ to the UK and I knew God wanted me to stay home with them.
    There are a lot of people who can save lives, but there is only one woman in all the world who is the mother to my sons – my job which is God-ordained.

    A lot of people still, a year later, question me as to why I am not at work yet, they are 7 and 9, when am I going back, etc.
    I like that sometimes I dont have a quick comeback, I think that is God keeping my tongue when He knows I wouldn’t.

    But I am quite forthright and tell people how it is. They’re my family and I am doing what God wants for us.
    Sometimes even other Christian mums don’t get it, as the feminism has worked it’s wily hands into so much of society to say what should be.

    Actually, I look at what God says should be, or try to. Seems you do too. Awesome!

  100. Thank you Kelly. I really resonated with this post. I am currently pregnant with number 5. Sometimes I feel so alone in my struggles, just the normal everyday of being a mom, because I feel like I can’t share those things with others and I can’t ask for help because “I brought this on myself”. I am always so thankful to at least be able to read online from you and other moms of big families that its okay and normal to have bad days and to be encouraged by your testimonies.

  101. I am the mom of 6 when we were having # 3 we were getting rude comment. We are a military family E5 income. We do in on one salary. We get are you trying for a girl or what. We are planning to adopt a girl. We have dealt with infertility and miscarriages. We are blessed to have our little ones.

  102. “And mothers of large families know, you can’t look tired, act frustrated or appear, in the least bit, stressed out with your munchkins in tow. You did, after all, “ask for this”. (You would, however, be allowed to be tired and stressed with two.)”

    In your quote above, you mentioned the “ask for this” line, which reminded me of a situation of my own. I just had my 2nd child after not being able to conceive for many years since our first child, who is now 9. I was told I probably couldn’t have any more children and was depressed. I got pregnant within 2 months after the doctor’s dismal outlook! I was overjoyed. I had a very hard pregnancy and a friend (thought was a friend) of mine asked me how I was doing. I told her the issues I was having with my pregnancy. She then returned with a nose-looking-down look and a smirk on her face and said, “But this is your dream” while waving her hands in the air like a wand. It hurt and I walked away and she was laughing.

    When my baby was born and my heart was full of joy, the thought of going up to her with my beautiful baby and saying, “this is the dream” and smirking and walking away came to mind. However, I decided to not stoop to her level and become like her. I rather decided to enjoy my ‘dream’, my children, and let her enjoy hers – material things.

  103. I know the subject has morphed a little and I’m late to the conversation…
    Word Warrior, have you ever considered that those comments could be the green-eyed monster rearing its ugly head?

  104. I as a mother of nine I have received many compliments on my children’s behavior and the way my girls dress. And those compliments are very encouraging because, indeed, our family wasn’t born this way. It has been hard work! It has been 6 years since our last baby, and when asked if I am having more babies I would say “Well, I don’t know, if GOD wills.” I would leave the authority to God, then they would just smile, and yes, some in dismay.
    Sometimes I tell people that there are so many couples out there that can’t have children at all. They suffer, they would do anything to have a baby! If asked by God if they had the chance to have 9 or not any at all, wouldn’t they just love to have the 9?

  105. I just want to say I LOVE your posts – especially this one. I am a SAHM of 5, I am struggling with wanting another one & knowing the backlash from family will be awful (it was not good when we announced #2 & by #5 it was REALLY bad). We have had more comments of “do you know what causes that” than I care to count. Kelly – are your parents/family unsupportive also? How do you deal with that? It is so heartbreaking to be so excited about a gift from God & yet know no one else will share in that joy with you – in fact you will be scorned for it…makes no sense to me 🙁
    I am thankful for all the moms out there that decide to have children & to stay home with them, it is so vitally important!
    Thanks for your posts!

    1. Michelle,

      My parents are supportive. They don’t agree completely with our philosophy, but are super encouraging. We have a few family members that simply don’t acknowledge the pregnancy. That’s hurtful, but it could be worse. I’m so sorry you deal with lack of encouragement. Thankfully we are surrounded by friends who love children and there is always a lot of rejoicing over new ones. I hope you can find friends like that too.

  106. I am the mother of 3, all whom were born via C-section. Not what I wanted, but in my situation, absolutely necessary. My husband and I want more children but we are aware that 1 more is probably going to be the end of our childbearing future. Most doctors discourage having more than 2 C-section births and I have already had 3. My family members are always questioning my “sanity” for even entertaining the thought of another pregnancy. I can’t tell you how many times we have been confronted about my husband “getting fixed”. It is frustrating to be confronted with questions that are NONE OF ANYONE ELSES BUSINESS! I pray for grace to handle it. I have actually told people it is none of their business but that doesn’t stop the interrogations from re-occurring. We also homeschool so we get labeled as being “those kind of people”. We have often been accused of trying to be the Duggar’s. The people who say that don’t realize what a compliment they are paying us when they say that. LOL We love that family. But 3 kids is a far cry from 19… is laughable. Well, I just needed to vent a little here. LOL

  107. Wow, I give a BIG thumbs up to you! My mom had six children – all via c-section – and the hurtful, probing, downright idiotic questions and comments people spat out were so uncalled for. I am inspired by mother – and now you – who chose to trust God to handle the body, the number of children, finances, etc etc etc. Blessings to you!

  108. I have only read two of your articles… and I like you! I have thirteen children. 5 are married now, one in college and 7 at home. My life is in constant ‘flux’ mode, and I love what God does for us.
    He. Is. So. Good.

  109. I just had a conversation with one of my grandmothers yesterday and right when we were ending our talk she asked, “you’re not pregnant again are you?” It hurt coming from her. We have 3 beautiful children, the oldest is 3 and a half. Because they were born close together, she’s afraid we’re not on birth control and going to have another soon. It is so tiring…most of my closest family talks just like her, so it goes deep, especially because they are all Christians. My husband and I love children, and have the desire for more of our own as well as adopting…what you wrote was encouraging to me. I just sometimes feel so alone in my beliefs, and cannot understand why! 🙁

  110. My favourite response to rude comments of this nature is from my friend’s husband – they have 8 now. The guys at work would bug him about so many, and he would put on this mock-superior smile and say, “You’re just jealous ’cause you’re not as virile as I am.”
    What could they say? He had living proof, and they didn’t. 😉
    I think these type of answers work if the ribbing is reasonably good-natured and/or with people you know.

  111. Oh yeah, there was also a comment you *older* moms could use – Q. Do you think women should have children after 35? A. Absolutely not. 35 children are enough!

  112. Anything “out of the ordinary” seems to be subject to rudeness nowadays. In my case, I was able to have only one child and my husband was not in favor of our adopting (nothing against it, he just didn’t think it was God’s plan for us). It was very painful to hear how my only child must be spoiled, how much he needed a sibling, etc. when we were doing everything we could to get pregnant for ten years with no success. I finally got to the point of looking people in the eye and saying, “I had endometriosis, fibroids, cysts, and early ovarian failure – with 2 miscarriages, and 6 operations, the last one being a total hysterectomy at 38. My son is a miracle and I am grateful to have him.” That usually put them in their place. If they were particularly obnoxious, I might tell them that in our family, God went for quality rather than quantity (no offense to big families – I wanted 4).

    Miss Manners (Judith Martin) said that just because someone asks a rudely personal question does not obligate you to answer it. She recommended putting a shocked look on your face and saying, “Why in the world would you ever want to ask me such a personal question?” I’ve never gotten up the nerve to say it, but if someone catches me in the right mood, I just might.

    God bless all our families – large or small, SAHMs or employed moms. We need to stick together.

    1. Susanne,

      Loved this. And yes, I would tell them too, just how difficult it has been to accept that God didn’t give you more children. I would share without hesitation. God uses all our circumstances to open doors for conversation.

  113. YOU are my hero! I have 5 and hear awful comments all of the time. I have thought when I have my next one I should not tell anyone until I absolutely have to. With all the rest I shouted it from the rooftops! Some where kind of mean with the last 3. 🙁 Now I feel more peaceful. Thank you!

  114. I read this before, and I absolutely love it. Just recently I was accused by someone of overpopulating and polluting the earth and was told that the only reason I had 11 kids was for attention. She said I wanted people to think I was a hero. I honestly think that people who say things like that are harboring envy. It’s just a theory, but why else would someone care about decisions I make that don’t affect them in the least?

  115. This is exactly what I would like to say sometimes! Maybe a printed card to be handed out to curious onlookers? Love you and looking forward as always to your beautiful blessing arriving! Jen

  116. so totally get your post. We have 7 children living with us and 1 in Wisconsin. I’m 43 and people still ask me if I will have anymore… They just don’t get or understand the part where we said we will let God decide our family size. Granted it it sometimes is crazy around here. Our one son I call my alphabet child (ODD< OCD< ADD< ADHD< and Autistic on top of that) we have 5 rambunctious boys that need outside time no matter the weather… I just lean on God with every part of me and I tell people this… they want to know the whys, the how comes and all that jazz…. Jesus….

  117. Thank you thank you thank you!!! I just had 5&6 and as I read this I am in tears. I needed to hear that this is ok. It is a delight to know that we aren’t alone. I have horrible pregnancies and getting to this many has been a struggle and it saddens me that we have to be done so when people ask me about my six I say, I wish I had a dozen! Thanks again!

  118. First let me say, I love your encouraging website, have been following you for a while, and also have your “When Motherhood is Too Hard” devotional. Like you, we have heard all of the negative comments out there and I still am caught off guard by them. Also like you, I am 40 and just recently had #10. In fact, she is just shy of 6 days old. But I wanted to share our experience at the hospital as it was a very positive one. We got many, many comments from nurses, doctors, photographer, and all those involved in our care. When I asked how often they see big families like ours, I was told that they did, but it usually involves someone on welfare and multiple fathers. They don’t often see positive big family examples, which is very sad. I heard “that’s awesome, just totally awesome” from one nurse after finding out it was our tenth. The pediatrician said he was “humbled to meet and care for a big family like ours.” (We just moved so everything is new to us). I was told more than once that I only look like I’m in my late 20’s and how could we have this many. I could just hug people like that! But for once, I don’t remember hearing a single negative thing. We have 8 boys and this is only our second girl, so that added to the awe factor. So just be encouraged as you welcome your number ten. Others are watching and your big family choice is not seen as strange by everyone. My desire is to point others to the God we love, who has given us our ten blessings. Thank you for your encouragement as a fellow mom of many. Many blessings!

  119. The saddest comment for me–lecture actually–came when I *only* had 2 children, 18 months apart. While enjoying a family dinner out in a restaurant, a boisterous older lady and her husband walked by to be seated. As she passed our table she dramatically stopped, whipped around, and loudly “rebuked” my husband in front of everyone that he needs to give “poor” me a break from carrying his children! She then went on to boast that she was there with her husband celebrating her 22nd wedding anniversary and did we “know their secret?” No kids! She confidently told me that had they had children, the “stress of it” would have surely led to an early divorce. Ohh it was awful. I was speechless. I’m pretty sure the whole restaurant heard her.

    On a positive note, comments over our family size has more often than not led to pleasant conversations and an opportunity to witness 🙂

    Thank you Kelly for continuing to use the time and gifts available to you to champion for truth! We live among a crooked and perverse generation-may we shine as lights.

    Blessings to you and your family!

  120. I’m 7 weeks preggo with my 9th child and have heard the opinions of those in my family. As I listen to their diet I wonder what they would say if I told them I had an abortion. Follow out the logically conclusion that people think and they are saying God is not the creator!

  121. We have four kids, so I hardly feel like I have anything to complain about or much to say on the topic of a large family!! But we do live in a world that finds child bearing and homemaking as some odd choice. The world paints a picture of what it deems as normal: two children (preferably a boy and girl); both mother and father work full-time (in order to pay off the mortgage of a lovely home that they spend little time in, among other “necessities” such as brand new vehicles, pricey vacations and name brands) and all the activities galore to keep their children busy so they don’t get into the wrong crowd.

    So….from the world’s vantage point we surely are strange when we choose to carry x number of babies; when we are confident in our call of homemaking and when making money no longer is the primary goal in life. My husband has had comments at work about how much we must enjoy snuggling in bed. I just laugh it off, wondering if perhaps the very person who commented wished for more snuggles themselves. 🙂

    I even wonder if we need to defend our choices (in regards to how many kids we feel led to have). The world won’t understand anyhow. If anything, it should give mothers an opportunity to talk about the miracle of a baby, the reward of raising children and how God is our source of strength. I’m sure it’s tempting to say something sarcastic back, even nasty, but that certainly does not endear us to an already critical world.

    Personally, we have found that people in our neck of the world think we have a large family with four kids, but we have always had positive comments. Teaching our children to be a delight to others has been an opportunity to take someone’s compliment about our kid’s behaviour and give all the glory to God. (Of course, we all know the same delightful kids in public can be absolute stinkers at home!!!).

    For those women who commented and truly DO have large families, use your being a public spectacle to share the love of Jesus and how He has transformed your life because of all your kids!!

  122. Having our fourth blessing in June ………comments include “at least you will have one surprise (since we are waiting to find out the sex of the baby) since you are done, well hopefully!” (. With a laugh) from a church member …….. Also been told it’s not fair to my other three children to have more ….. It’s not fair to ask my husband to work so hard ….. Which I don’t he believes the same way I do about stopping what God gives us ! I am reminded of who all is getting a tubal that is my age ….. Like I need to fit in with a crowd? A stranger asked me if I was married to a rich man ? And finished the conversation with something needs to be done I have been caught off guard each time as I am not used to this it’s as soon as your having number 4 it gives everyone a license to talk and be rude lol . I’m just shocked ! I have been reading this blog and a book by Nancy Campbell be fruitful and multiply ….. I have been so convicted and learned so much !!!!! We need to ask God to show us our sins of ignorance as he bible says and repent ! We have a out of site out of mind theory on birth control sterilization etc… Just like any other sin we will be judged for this whether we are doing this out of ignorance or on purpose ….. I had the attitude I have to work with my first in 2010 it lasted a year and my outlook changed I had an iud and had it removed once I actually started studying after I came across the blog !!! And learned the truth about burn control and the abortifictants !!! Thank you for sparking an interest in me!!!!! I love your posts!!!!! Prayers!!!!!

  123. I just want to say that I am not exactly a Christian and I trust evolution, AND I loved your message. I think all people, believer or non-believer can ascribe to this. My body, whether it was designed by God or by the laws of biology or physics, is natural and I feel that it’s wrong and gross to dope it up with pills and shots in order to stop my own reproductive means. I think family planning is doable, my husband and I went 4 years without being pregnant because of my own knowledge of my body and the means of counting that which had been passed down woman-to-woman since the dawn that sexual knowledge. I am a mother now, and I love my son more than ever. He has taught me more than I ever could from not having children, and it pains me to live in a childless world. Currently I live in an area where I know 1 woman my age (young adult) with a child. And yet, women who claim to be ‘powerful’ who are childless, polyamourous and bisexual (or other ultra-liberal standards people somehow think are freeing these days) are miserable and lonely. I am not them, and they are not me, but I can BET that they would be much happier with the gift of pure agape love in their arms. (Well, not all of them, but a lot of them) 🙂 Peace and love to you all! Matt 11:28 is my fave quote.

  124. I am a pastor and when we were expecting our 4th an elderly deacon (thinking he was being cute) greeted my sweet quiet wife in the hall before sunday school and asked her if we “knew what caused her condition” surprised and fed up all at the same time she sweetly leaned over to him and said “Yes, And we LIKE it!” she smiled and walked down the hall. He later told me that he liked her answer and was soo happy for us.

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