It’s Weird That Having Lots of Kids is Weird (And That’s Bad)

Mollie Hemingway summed it up best in her piece, “Fecundophobia: The Growing Fear of Children and Fertile Women“, when she said,

“The media remind us regularly that the most important cultural value relative to family life is what’s euphemistically called “choice.” The choice of whether to have kids or not is held so sacrosanct that our laws permit the decision to be made many months after a new human life begins. Some even advocate extending the choice to a period of time after birth. So why the weird reaction to people receiving children as a blessing instead of fighting them tooth and nail with hormones, chemicals, surgery and scissors? Do we need some remedial courses in how babies are made? It’s entirely natural, of course, for babies to be conceived when men and women have sex. Treating the entirely expected procreation of children as something to be avoided at all costs — and an unspeakable atrocity if one has, say, three children already — would be weird even if our culture weren’t obsessed with sex at all times, in all places, in every context, at every moment.”

We are a freak show everywhere we go. It’s just a fact. My kids know. They hear it. They feel it. One of the things they ask me from time to time, after a stranger in public has reacted to the “yes, they’re all ours”, is, “Mom, why do people not like kids?

Because the number of my children is irrelevant to each of their unique feelings. When someone makes a snide remark about the fact I have more than the average number of children, what they never do is volunteer to tell me which one I should exterminate.However, they are willing to insinuate he should never have been born.

This, I tell you, is why a Christian who claims to be pro-life in one breath but calls a woman crazy for having more than 3 children in the next, is an oxymoron. (I have had not one, but TWO pastors ask the question, “Are you crazy?! upon learning of my large family.)

And this reaction, over time, shapes a culture’s beliefs about children.

Why are we a freak show? Just because the majority of the population decided to stop having children?

Think for a minute:

If everyone shaved his head tomorrow, everyone except just a few people, would those chide the ones who still had hair? Because that’s weird. But the truth is, hair would become the oddity and yes, people with hair would then have to defend their position.

The one with hair doesn’t even say to the bald one, “how odd you look“, yet he will still  have to defend his naturally-growing-hair position.

We create weird beliefs.

It’s even worse because we are conservative Christians. In addition to being weird just because we let reproduction do its thing, we also have ridiculous myths projected on us:

“Her husband makes her have all those babies because they believe in biblical submission and so you know he must be an ogre.”


“They are so smug trying to see how many babies they can have. They believe that more babies makes you more godly.”

Nonsense. All of it.

Why can’t I just have babies because that’s normal? Oh, wait, because that would make NOT having babies not normal. See, like shaving heads.

Weird, I tell you.

But the more important point in this post is not that I don’t want to be weird anymore. The stigma of having too many children will have serious implications for all of us. We are about to suffer a serious demographic implosion (and that doesn’t even include spiritual repercussions for Christians) as an aging population who thought children were too much of a burden becomes a heavier burden on their now-grown children staggering under the depleted workforce too small to keep up with caring for them.

The truth is, God knows a little bit about His Creation. And when we stray too far from the way He ordered it, we pay.

My whole point? It shouldn’t be weird to have children, even if you choose otherwise. And the fact that it is will cost us dearly.

God doesn’t think having kids is weird, and neither should we.


97 Responses to “It’s Weird That Having Lots of Kids is Weird (And That’s Bad)”

  1. Candace says:

    I once heard a pastor tell the story of when his wife had her tubes tied after a C-section with their third child. He asked the doctor if he could watch the surgery. When the doc asked why, he replied, “to make sure you do it right!” The whole congregation laughed robustly. I was sad. What message does that send to his sheep about children.

    After we had our sixth child, the Minister of Education at our former church was looking at our new son. Another couple, who was standing right next to us explained why they stopped after two kids (wife didn’t want more). The Education Minister’s response was, “That’s right! You have your two good kids, then you quit!!!” Right. In. Front. Of. Us!!!!! It’s a good thing we’re not easily offended.

    We’ll just be weird together, Kelly! ; )

    • Oh wow. Yes, it’s the pulpit that breaks my heart the most. I long for the day when pastors (and Christians) speak the way Scripture speaks of children. They don’t have to get into the “rights or wrongs” just having the heart of God, repeating what He said and confirming what He gave us about them.

    • Jamie Garcia says:

      I LOVINGLY confronted my pastor about a few comments/jokes he had made about Christians/people having lots of children during a couple sermons during a meeting I set up with him to ask a what the Bible says about controlling fertility. I was lead to explain my thoughts on the subject regarding his negative (in a joking way) comments lead me to think about how he thought (among others and possibly the leadership of the church) about children in general (whoa confusing sentence sorry). He was completely taken aback and really took my comments to heart, he also explained that a couple of times he didn’t mean how I took it, which made me understand my own heart a bit better. The next month my husband would nudge me b/c our beloved Pastor made a point of affirming God’s design for marriage and having children every sermon after that. He went back and looked up all the passages that spoke about the purpose of the family and made a entire sermon series out of it called “Bless this Home” b/c God really spoke to him about the decline of Christian families today. At this point we really fell in love with our church and really began appreciate our Pastor’s love of Christ and the Bible.

      It’s easy to make fun of us who have large families (or want to let the Lord lead on family size in general), American pop culture makes fun of people who are different and I guess Christians are following along, but I’ve been SO ENCOURAGED by the response I’ve had at our new church when people have asked and I’ve explained our decision about family size,etc. Our extremely contemporary but Biblical church, another mind blowing discovery for our family honestly :). Thank you for this post!

  2. Bev says:

    Sadly, I get the same thing and I only have 2 children! When my baby was born about a year ago, the comments I got during pregnancy were so cruel. I’ve thought to myself – WHY do people, namely Christians, think that desiring (and having) children is such a terrible thing!? I’ve had people tell me that I would “hinder” my husband’s ministry by having children. They are a hindrance to the work of God – they get in the way and you could so much more for God without them. I still can’t seem to find that in the bible.

    I feel such belonging here and you are an inspiration to my life because we suffer the same reproach by choosing the life of a mother. I spent many years being unable to conceive and told I could not have anymore, and then God opened my womb yet again and I had number 2 last year!

    Isn’t it strange that barrenness was a curse in the Bible but now it is much sought after to the point of using devices to cause it!? THAT is weird!! I tend to side with God that children are a blessing! 😉

    • Sheri says:

      @Bev, right on!

      “Isn’t it strange that barrenness was a curse in the Bible but now it is much sought after to the point of using devices to cause it!? THAT is weird!! I tend to side with God that children are a blessing! ;-)”

      • Amy says:

        Actually, I find my barrenness very much a curse, and I don’t know many infertile women who would say otherwise. You might not always know which women you meet struggle with infertility, and most women prefer not to advertise it.

        • Jamie Garcia says:

          This has been something that God has really opened my eyes and heart to this year honestly. I have really worked at taking the log out of my own eye to love my sisters in Christ who struggle specifically with this. Personally my own testimony involves 2+ years of infertility, which we believe God used/brought to bring me into submission and love of His will. But I remember the amount of pain I had before I was able to lay it at His feet the # of children we would have (which I thought would be 0 biological at that point). I want to pour love not hurt on other women that are experiencing this, but like you said do not want to advertise it. (I got tired of explaining it all the time too)

  3. I have 4 kids and would love to have more. No one understands that. Not my parents, not my relatives, not my friends. I already have 4 , why do I need more? I try to explain that it’s like an apple tree not producing any apples. How natural is that? Or if God said he would give you $1 million dollars every 2 years would you tell Him no? Children are the fruit of our lives and assets entrusted to us by God. But how dare we want to be fruitful and millionaires!!!

    I know people who don’t want more children and the reason: selfishness! “oh, they are too much trouble.” “They cost too much money.” “They take a lot of work.” But really what doesn’t in life??

    What we really are saying is that we rather spend our time, work and money on something more superfluous like stuff than people God bless us with.

    It’s weird. It’s really weird. But you know what? We live in a day and age that weird is normal. Go figure. 🙁

    • liz says:

      I totally agree with you. We have 4 children 8yrs and under. We are updating things to try and adopt baby #5. People say things all the time. You think that the fact we are adopting would take a bit of the edge off…but it doesn’t. Like other poster have stated it can be very cruel to make these comments in front of the children. I mean my children will always have to be reminded that they WERE wanted..they WERE ALWAYS LOVED by somebody…but then to be with their family who loves them dearly and to have others make comments is totally uncalled for.

      The other day the 4 kids and I were taking a walk, This lady and her friend and dogs were taking up the whole path. We moved the double BOB stroller and the 2 kids to the grass. One woman about 60 looked at us and said with a look of disgust ” That is ALOT of kids!!!!”…I mean really? I am not complaining your dog is jumping into my stroller or that you have 3 of them,,but I digress.

      I am getting less and less tolerant when people say things like “better you than me”…That is so hurtful for a child to hear.I started to say things like “yes..I am glad God laid it on our hearts to grow a large family”(I want to say.. yeah, I am sorry…too bad it wasn’t you) Mean I know.

      I think with our “me me me me me” culture children tend to now be seen as a burden. I know this isn’t a news flash.

      My DH and I were talking about when people ask about babies how they are asking questions referring to how much that baby is inconveniencing you as opposed to if they are thriving. Questions include ” are they sleeping through the night yet”(nope..not at 20 months even) ..” are they off the breast/bottle?” ” are they walking yet” ” are they eating solids”.” can they feed/dress themselves?” ” Have they slowed down with growth spurts?””clothes are expensive”

      With adoption people know in our multi ethnic family there were no “surprises”. we obviously had to go through a very long process and spend alot of $$$ to have more. People can’t wrap their heads around this at all.

      A bit off subject, but people seem to be alot less sympathetic/empathetic when you have alot of children. Like you “brought this all on yourself…this is your bed now lay in it” type of mentality. I felt I could vent about things like babies who were waking up 10 times a night when I had 2 kids. Now with #4 they look at me like “really?” It is reminiscent of when my DH was doing his residency. I didn’t dare say I missed him as I got responses like ” well you knew this before you married him”

      Some of it is insecurities in others. Alot of it is “I have 2 kids and barely am making it…look at her and her 4 kids..”

      • Laura(yet another) says:

        I am on #5. I know the feeling of how to respond to people who make comments. I haven’t received any for awhile (negative ones anyway), but one thing I try to be aware of when out in public especially is to spend time hugging on my kids. If I’ve got my baby (who’s 3) in the cart seat, I push the cart in such a way so that he can snuggle his head on my shoulder. If we are waiting in line at the deli counter, I take turns hugging and snuggling each kid somehow (even the big ones!) while we wait. Too often, I think people think of people with lots of kids being harrassed and really not liking it much. And you should see the looks I get from other ladies… Often, the (holy cow that’s a lot of kids) look leaves their face, and a softer, sweeter look comes in its place. Grandmothers often react this way. Someone actually being with and ENJOYING their kids… I also try to make it a point to not be in a hurry at the store. ALWAYS. So that we can always be patient with someone finding that penny in the purse, help someone who dropped something etc… To create a small bit of blessing surrounding peoples’ image of what a large family is…

        • Savannah says:

          Fantastic points! A great vision and reminder for this often hurried and harassed mother of five who hates projecting a “lots of kids are hard” image to a biblically ignorant culture. Thank you.

    • katie says:

      I just want to say that this is awesome! I worked as a server for a long time. I cannot tell you how exciting it was for me to wait on large families! This is what brought joy to my days! I’m not kidding, I was fascinated by how families with like 5+ kids were so close! I would watch as older siblings would help guide the younger siblings and most of the kids were very well behaved. Even the ones that weren’t ‘well-behaved’ were an absolute joy! They were just curious little people full of life and energy! I would interact with the kids and ask questions because the idea of a large family is foreign to me; I come from a very small family. Everyone (literally everyone) would talk about how great it is and how I should have more kids. No one ever said ‘ugh, it’s terrible,’ quite the opposite. What I remember the most is how absolutely happy the large families were! I think it’s great when people are able to add to their family! I think that people from large families are typically better all around. They are usually more well adjusted, happier, have a stronger sense of community, etc… When a husband and wife decide they have added enough, then we have to trust that decision, but until they decide what ‘enough’ is we should rejoice with every beautiful blessing that is brought their way! If they end up needing help then we pitch in and help! We offer emotional support, we offer to babysit if the parents need a date night, we offer to help with cleaning or cooking and we offer financial support if we need to! That’s our job in the Christian community! My pastor always says ‘if there ain’t babies crying then the Church is dying.’ It’s true! Keep encouraging the efforts of growing families they need it! (Hopefully I will get my husband to agree with me on this one day 🙂

  4. Annie D says:

    I think this is all “narrow path” thinking. You know, broad is the road that leads to destruction and many find it, but small is the gate and narrow the path that leads to life and VERY FEW find it. Even people who call themselves Christians. People on the broad road will always think you’re strange for walking the narrow one.

    And whatever happened to MYOB, anyway? Did I ask you for your opinion about my life and my choices? No. So knock it off. (Which of course you can’t say…)

  5. Amber says:

    I’m already weird in so many ways, why not this way, too ;)?

  6. Carey says:

    Because having kids is hard. And you have to face yourself with each child. Your weaknesses, selfishness, fear, etc., and then make a choice.
    I think it makes people very uncomfortable that they may have made the wrong choice. They point fingers because if a large family is a good thing, then they might have chosen what isn’t good.

  7. Amy says:

    So, what do you say to the naysayers? Especially when they just put down your child? We are expecting #4 and we shop at Costco. I worry what I’m going to hear each time we go out into town. In my mind I can think of snarky remarks but those don’t show the love of Jesus or my sanity. So, what should we say?

    The other day I actually had someone scold my child and tell her to be quiet because she was getting her sisters riled up. Really?! I just looked at her and looked away because I wasn’t sure WHAT to say. My DH felt that was incredibly inappropriate for her (she was a stranger). My children are 5 and under and are still learning right and wrong (aren’t we all). I find it incredible that this lady expects a 5yo to act perfectly acceptable at all times and that it’s ok for her to reprimand them! Geesh!

    • Amy,

      Wow, I’m sorry about that.

      Here’s what I’ve found….

      Answer them with a smile (if you feel like it) and say something unexpected, demonstrating that you place a high value on your job as a mother and on your children.

      Sometimes I might say, “Yes, it is a lot of work but I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.” Don’t lie, but honestly show them the “radical” idea that you like your children.

      • Steph says:

        I usually get the old, “Wow you have your hands full!” to which I smile big and reply back, “I would rather be full than empty!” It took a while for me to learn the difference between reacting and responding. My husband is better at it than I am so when we go out together, it helps when he leaves them speechless.(Then we giggle about it later) Because I have to admit, even though I’m still surprised when others “react” to my family size, I need to “respond.”

        • Thankful for God's Grace says:

          To the “You’ve got your hands full” statement, I always respond “full of blessings” with a smile for the person and my children. We also purposely go shopping during the day so that people will see that children can be well behaved and a blessing to their parents. It gives us many opportunities to share God’s Word that children are a Blessing!

  8. Amy says:

    I have been blessed with one child, and she will most likely be our only, unless God miraculously intervenes! I just want to assure you that not every small family looks down on your large families. I am always sad when my friends tell me that they hear negative comments about the number of children they have. It isn’t right, and it certainly isn’t kind.

    On the other side of the coin, I have heard some pretty hurtful things about having only one child, as well. It really is amazing what people will say, whether they know you or not! At one point, my husband had to ask a friend at church to stop asking us when we were going to give our daughter a sibling. It was like a knife to my heart each Sunday to hear that question.

    After dealing with comments during my husband’s life threatening illness, infertility, and adoption, I have come to realize that many people lack tact in a big way. I know many of you see it as much bigger than that, as an indicator of people’s disregard for children, and I can see where you’re coming from. People dont value children as they should. Just remember that you’re not the only ones getting thoughtless comments.

    I always assumed that I would be a mom of many. God had other plans for me, and He knows what He’s doing! He knows what He’s doing in your lives, too!

    But may I leave you with a question that I ask in all sincerity? What do you want people to say to you? I mean, it isnt a surprise that you attract a bit of attention. Would you rather people just not say anything about your family? I could write a book on things to say and not say to an infertile woman, but the large family thing is not in my realm of experience!

    • Hey Amy,

      I am the first one to be guilty of putting my foot in my mouth when talking to a friend who had one child and was trying for another one and it just wasn’t happening. I am sorry for my tactlessness and others too.

      As for comments to big families, I have had good experiences where older people who have children and grandchildren will shower my kids with attention, smiles and conversation. I have heard people comment how well my kids behave and how smart they are. And have had questions about homeschooling.

      Mostly I enjoy when people celebrate my kids’ lives with me. To me, it’s a reminder and encouragement when I am having a hard day.

      • Amy says:

        I appreciate your honesty. Most people deny that they ever say or do hurtful things to infertile women. Thanks for your thoughts. I hope that people see my daughter as a blessing, too. And I hope they notice that she is generally polite and well behaved. Despite what people may think, it actually takes a lot of work to raise an only child!

    • I am so sorry for the comments you get. It is really evident of the fact that we have “taken control” of the reproduction process to the extent that people can’t wrap their brains around anything outside of “normal” (i.e. 2).

      As for what to say to large families, I’ve been blessed when people respond in surprise (that part is expected) and then say, “Wow, you are blessed.” It’s just the simple recognition of the truth of what life is.

      • Amy says:

        Thank you, Kelly. I appreciate your answer.

        I hesitate to write more for fear of saying the wrong thing, but I also want to be honest about my experiences and thoughts as someone who is on the outside looking in on this issue. It’s really hard for me to tell a woman with a large family that she is blessed without shedding a few tears. I know it’s a bit of my jealousy speaking there…I’m working on it! But do moms of many look at me and recognize that I am blessed? Do they realize that the path to my blessing was more than they know? Do they comment in how well behaved my daughter is? Am I always the “inexperienced” mom because I only have one? Do they realize that when I meet them in an aisle at the grocery store that I turn around and go the other direction because I don’t want them to see the tears in my eyes as I think about what I wish I had?

        I’ve probably said enough, and I hope anyone reading this can understand my heart. I think large families are wonderful. I have many friends with large families, and as I said, I assumed I would have a large family myself, but God did not deem it to be. I realize I’m probably in the minority as that goes, but I want people to know that women like me do exist!

        • Hannah says:

          I have five children. However, four of them are in heaven already. I miscarried them. It was super hard and we she’d many tears over the loss and frustration of why we couldn’t carry to term. I’m currently expecting number 5. I’m 23 weeks and the due date is 5/1. We are so thrilled to be having one. We’ve been married 3 years and wanted a baby for so long. My sister can’t convince. My other sister has miscarried twice and has one precious son. She hasn’t been able to conceive since ( he’s 4). So people without a family or with a small family are not always looking down. I am so blessed. I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to have a baby. I pray for my sisters that The Lord would open te Barron womb. We are from a large family and loved every bit of it. We all thought we’d have nice size families. But God knows best. Thank goodness He does too! Small families are a huge blessing. Sometimes people make jokes about not having kids to cover for pain of not being able to have more. There are medical reasons for not having a passle of kids. Sometimes it’s necessary for medical intervention to prevent further pregnancies. Whether you have 0 or 19 your quiver is full when God says it is. Enjoy the blessings HE gives you, no matter what they are.

    • Kris says:

      I think that Amy’s post and this blog post both speak to the same point 2 points: (1) people (especially women) are really good at putting other women down (i.e. mommy wars), and (2) the decisions and situations surrounding the number of children a couple has is deeply personal and should be treated with respect.

      Built into the fabric of a women (atleast most all women) is the desire to mother and nurture. The passion surrounding this desire is insurmountable. It is no wonder we are filled with rage and anger and sadness when we are criticized for something that is either out of our control, or based on the deepest passions and convictions we could ever embody.

      While I have no experience with the criticism described in this blog post, I have certainly been made fun of and criticized for decisions made due to my own personal convictions. And while the comments or criticism do hurt, I don’t let them get me down. You are the only person that knows your convictions and your life situation. And unfortunately, those that criticize are either hurting themselves (“hurt people hurt people”), or they just don’t understand. And either way, they shouldn’t be allowed to steal your joy.

    • Jackie says:

      I have to agree with Amy, that comments are often inappropriate no matter what the family size! I have 3 boys aged 3-7 we lost a precious daughter last Feb who was very ill and lived for 54 days. Now we often get the wow, “3 boys – are you going to try for a girl?” one time it was even “oh 3 boys – where’s your sister?” The boys looked at me and then they looked at her and said “in heaven”. And she was like “good answer!” (I was like,YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!!!) And the truth is, she didn’t, and it’s not her fault. Although our family size is not too “weird” as homeschoolers, etc we are weird in (many) other areas. I’m starting to value these weird things – they are usually a fantastic opening into sharing a bit of my faith, especially for someone like me who generally struggles with evangelism. I think that a large family enjoying each other and loving each other speaks volumes!!

      • Jackie,

        How painful. I’m so sorry.

        • Jackie says:

          Thanks Kelly – Our daughter was a tremendous gift to us and if I may say so, I’d like to proclaim from the rooftops as loud as a I can that God has healed our hearts and JESUS IS ENOUGH! No christian counseling. No books by well meaning people. No 5 step grieving process. Just crying out to God and being in His Word. We have learned that if you give your burden to him (all of it) He does indeed carry it for you…..
          Thanks for your blog, it really blesses me 🙂

    • Jamie Garcia says:

      We just received #3 daughter and so the comments are just starting, but I actually welcome comments as a way to witness to others. Nothing moves someones heart (or feet) faster than speaking God’s word to them in response to their hate :). My eldest daughter is 4, she hasn’t tuned into adult conversation so much yet, but the questions are starting like “what did that lady mean by…” I just tell her that not everyone loves Jesus and/or children like we do, but we still love them and so does God.

      That being said, my personality and life experience gives me the confidence to speak back to people without trying to kill them. I know many women struggle with insecurity and fear, it’s an ongoing process. I guess the gist here is that it’s hysterically (not) funny that naturally having children without hindering God’s plan is weird, but paying someone for drugs, etc to render yourself infertile is not. Kind of a reality check I guess, not a specific comment on individuals. IMO 🙂

  9. shannon says:

    love your blog and so glad I found it. I like the way you argue it rationally and biblically. It’s hard to argue with the hair analogy! Also, I’ve said it before but say it again, I enjoy reading the comments as well too. Many smart moms whose brains haven’t atrophied from staying home 😉

  10. laura says:

    fecundophobia is an interesting term. I hope I remember it when people ask what I am up to these days and get a little too nosey.

    I’m not the most perfect housewife mother as I have a messy home and sometimes my children seem to want to watch to much “babar”……but the abortion industry is a nasty plague on woman and family life.

  11. Ann says:

    I have 7 children and I think because the number seven has 2 syllables and can be pronounced emphatically that people love to do this. In fact most people repeat it, always with emphasis and it sometimes followed by the ‘Are you crazy?’ question and it is usually in church that I hear the number said back to me (often) to which I sometimes reply ‘Yes, God’s number’!
    I’m still trying to fathom why I get more positive responses from people outside of the church – that doesn’t make sense. A lady on a market stall ( assuming she was not a Christian as she had some new age books on her ‘bric a brac’ stall) – counted up my children last week, I had just 4 with me and she said wow 4 children, when I told her I had 7 and waited for the condemnation she just said ‘You are so blessed’. I thanked her and said ‘I know’. I am so encouraged by these positive encounters, they are the ones I choose to remember – every ‘you are blessed’ or ‘I love large families’ from a stranger makes up for all those sarcastic and stupid remarks from Christians!

  12. Constitutionchic says:

    I think what we’re seeing is the worldview that has crept into the church. I thought that way when I was younger and one day, in my thirties and pregnant with my fourth child, woke up and realized I was thinking like the world. I would have loved to have more if I hadn’t married and started having kids when I was older. The Bible says that children are a blessing from God–not the way the world looks at it. As far as the rude comments–people have lost their manners. Whether it’s commenting on how many kids you have, how much money you make, or how you look, people don’t seem to stop and think about what they are saying. So sad. I do admire people who know their limitations, so if someone doesn’t want any children or just one, then it’s best they don’t have more (not fair to the kid or society.) We have a very sinful, warped society that is trying to change social and morals norms (Hollywood announces that two men just had a baby?–biologically impossible, but they are trying to make it sound normal.) The dark does not want the light shinning on the sin that is taking place. I only have four kids, but over the years we’ve had foster kids and when I would go out with six kids and people would say, “are you nuts?,” I’d just smile and tell them that God loved them as much as each of the little ones in my care.

  13. Jen P says:

    Kelly: I’m really sorry your children have to grow up hearing this hatred. People, no matter their spiritual state, can be so thoughtless.

  14. I always get these remarks also only having 4 children. I always make sure my children hear me tell the people what a blessing my children are and how I’m so thankful for them. The naysayers seem surprised many times that I don’t agree with their statements that I have my hands “too” full. Great post!

  15. Keri says:

    I so remember those days and comments with my six. It doesn’t happen as often now because we are not all out at the same time like the grocery store etc. When we are..It’s really funny because with the exception of my oldest daughter, they are all taller then me. I have actually had people stop, look at me and ask Me how old I am! It cracks me up!!

    I agree with Kelly. Just smile!! If you can avoid the stupid questions just do so but if you can’t..A sweet answer usually quiets them fast.

  16. Sarah says:

    Thank you, Kelly, for your commitment to speaking the truth no matter how “weird” it is. It is always refreshing to read your blog posts. The first time I heard a negative comment was when my firstborn was 8 months old. A complete stranger sitting next to us at an airport terminal decided to tell me that he pitied me for “wasting my youth on raising a child”. Wow. I was speechless. If I had time to respond before he walked away I would’ve boasted that I had just found out I was pregnant with #2 and was elated (I’m stubborn like that 😉 ). I’ve heard many comments since. Comments like “you have your hands full” don’t really bother me. But comments like, “your marriage won’t make it with all the stress of those kids” disturb me deeply. The comments that sting the most though, are those that come from Christians. I expect negative comments from the unregenerate. They need Jesus to transform their heart and mind. But to hear from pastors and missionaries their “disappointment” that my husband and I are no longer involved to the degree they would like because we’re in the trenches raising 3 under 3 right now hurts. I was once lauded as a great example to the other young women at my church for proclaiming the gospel abroad, but now I am a disappointment for proclaiming the gospel to my children here at home daily. I am ashamed to say I once thought similarly. I remember thinking wrong thoughts about a mother who rarely went out on the street witnessing with us when I was on the foreign field. She “just” stayed home and took care of her children. I thought she was lazy and used her children as an excuse to not do the “more important” thing of proclaiming the gospel with us “evangelists”. It makes me sick to my stomach to remember those thoughts. How wrong I was. Just as Christ has humbled me and changed my thinking, I pray the same for other dear brothers and sisters. As the Church, our witness as a whole is greatly lacking in this area.

    • Sarah,

      I loved this. It’s good pondering as I prepare for a session entitled, “The Mission Field of Motherhood (Psst….it’s enough)” at a Washington Homeschool Conference next year. I think this is something so many moms struggle with.

    • Jamie Garcia says:

      Ah this hit me deep, I’ve been lamenting about what I CAN’T do right now with 3 daughters 4, 18mo, and 5 weeks recently; dreaming with my husband what we’ll be able to do when “they are older”. It’s so easy to blow off playing with the kids or reading one more Bible historical account as not ‘big things’. My husband keeps reminding me from time to time that we’re doing the most important job from God right now, we get to fulfill the Great Commission AND love these 3 gifts no matter what they throw at us!

  17. Sarah D says:

    Love this post, Kelly. We have 3 children and are expecting our 4th. Since our daughter was born after 2 sons, people keep saying, “You finally got your girl!” I feel like asking, “Does that mean my 2nd son was a mistake?!” Can’t wait to hear what those people say with the 4th child. =) Like many of the commenters, it seems that you get most of the “strange” comments from church. Sad.

  18. Natalie says:

    Amen Kelly!
    When I was feeling convicted about preventing pregnancy, I spoke with the pastor of our very conservative Bible teaching church. He advised me that not using birth control is the same as refusing medicine when we are ill. At the time I believed him, I have now learned that this is not a good argument.
    I later found out from his wife that after she was surprised with a later in life pregnancy, she told him she would not be with him again until he got a surgery. Though she now regrets making this stand, it revealed something to me about why he might have given me the advice that he did.
    Though we no longer use artificial prevention (praise God for this miracle!). My husband is still not wanting anymore children. I am waiting on God to intervene, until them I am carefully charting my cycles.

    One more thing, how do you deal with all the chaos that young children cause? We have 4 sons. Sometimes I feel like I am going to crack. I have one child grab all of the onions and crackers and throw them under his bed. Two children fighting over sitting in a certain seat. I am running to intervene, now I have a child playing in the bathroom (never good), yogurt spilled all over the floor I FINALLY mopped, now another fight going on!!! I know to run to the throne of grace, but I don’t know how to practically deal with meeting all of the needs of so many little souls.
    I really struggle with things falling apart all of the time!! However, I know it is the Lord’s will for us to be willing to have more children. I just want to be able to better cope. (I might mention that I am very hormonal at this time :)).
    I love and appreciate the fellowship we have here, thank you ladies!

    • Natalie,

      Several things come to mind as you ask about “all the chaos.” First, I’m not qualified to answer because I’ve heard about the boy thing, but since I don’t have two close together (well my youngest two but one is still a baby) I haven’t experienced this boy thing they talk about. I heard it’s something else 😉

      But I do know that many of my friends whose children are older constantly remind me, “Just get through it, enjoy it, look over the messes, savor every moment” because it is short and time is fleeting and they’ll be gone soon. That helps me so much.

      And I think a balance has to be established (not saying you don’t have it, but thought I’d throw it out there) with boundaries, making sure authority is in place, “inside and outside play”, etc. Sometimes it helps to take a close look and see if there are things that could be worked on in that area. Make sense?

      Just remember, it’s good stuff, chaos and all, work at what you can change, and don’t fret what you can’t, and remember the importance behind what you’re doing.

      • Tiffany says:

        This answer was a comfort to me. I have 2 boys 22 months apart (and a girl 21 months younger than them). When the boys get chaotic as Natalie described I beat myself up and think “I bet it’s not like this at Kelly’s house…how does she do it?!?!” But I never really thought about the boy thing and how close they are and how “rough” they can be. And yes, we do need to set more limits for them, but maybe I won’t be so hard on myself! And I like the keep on plugging along advice!

    • Kristen says:

      Natalie, I have 5 kids and my two oldest are boys. They’re 10 & 9 years old, then we have a 7 year old girl and a 4 year old girl and a 3 year old girl. And I hate chaos. I really do. How do I deal with it? Well, a lot of the time I just shoo them outside. Sometimes I hide in my closet and pray. Or watch videos on my iPad. Sometimes I split everyone up for a half hour quiet time. And sometimes I go out to the garage and put my head on the hood of the mini-van and cry. It’s hard. And it’s not that my kids are really bad. They are just loud and active and they fuss with each other a lot and I’m an introvert. And we homeschool, so they’re home all day. And I know this was mentioned before, but it does not help me when people tell me to “enjoy this time, they grow up so fast!” I’m sorry, I do not enjoy it at times and I don’t need more “Mommy guilt” for not enjoying every minute and “making every minute count”.

      • Natalie says:

        Thank you for the responses to my question. I can be uptight about certain things. Like this morning when I was trying to grind wheat and the kids were all around me… grabbing handfuls of grain, messing with the kitchen scale, and asking to help all at the same time. I don’t do well with chaos!
        They were not doing anything wrong, they are just children wanting to help. By the grace of God, I have to deny myself and cling to Christ. I am weak in many ways, but I pray that His strength would be shown in my weakness! I pray this for all of the mommies represented here :-).

        • Debbie says:

          Good news, Natalie–you’re normal…and your boys are normal! God has given us 7 boys (that’s a lot of onion skins on the floor, mud, pee around the toilet, and broken towel bars) and 2 girls. I’d love to encourage you as you press on in the important work of raising your sons and to help you figure out ways to rein in the chaos. Feel free to e-mail me: (((hugs)))

    • Candace says:

      I hope you don’t mind my posting this here, but as one who recently came through some pretty tough hormonal issues, I thought this may help Natalie. Blessings!

  19. Hannah says:

    I’m one of twelve, raised in a conservative Christian household. While I think it’s a personal decision whether or not you’ll choose to have a large family, there are several serious downfalls to being in a large family. As an adult, my parents simply do not have the time or energy to devote to me or my adult siblings. They are so consumed with the raising and care of my teenaged and younger siblings (and rightfully so, as they are still developing character), there is very little guidance they can give to those of us who are graduated from the nest. This isn’t because they are bad people. It’s because they willingly chose to have a large family and spread themselves too thin emotionally – it’s impossible to be present for that many people, period. Your children do need you beyond childhood. As for grandchildren? They are sort of lost in the shuffle. This isn’t unique to my parents, who truly mean well and love us. Of the multiple ‘quiverful’ friends I have, each has privately expressed frustration with these issues. Because of these and other factors, I have chosen to have only a few children of my own. It’s not pressure by society. It’s the result of being the product of a large family and desiring to be emotionally and physically available to my children in every chapter of their lives. And you are right. Being ridiculed by people in public was a regular part of our lives as children. That’s tantamount to making fun of a disabled child to their face, it really is humiliating and unnecessary, even if it’s outside of what’s deemed ‘normal’.

    • Cathy says:

      I have ten mostly grown children…the youngest two, a son, who is 20, attends college, works a job, and still lives @ home, as does my 17-year-old daughter. I also have 13, going on 14 grandkids. I hope to have many more, if the Lord wills.

      To paint with such a broad-based brush makes for a sloppy paint job. The idea that “it’s impossible to be present for that many people period,” is purely subjective. Based on that argument, I would submit that to be present for “only a few children,” is just as difficult. Children are work, but it’s like no other work, because of the dividends it yields.

      Was it you who decided that you would “only have a few children?” Because, as you may have noticed, there are several comments from those who’ve wanted lots of kids, but have been unable to conceive, or carry a child to term. God is the one who gives life. The 12 kids in your family were/are gifts from the Lord. Even if I “decided” at the onset of my life that I wanted 10 kids (I didn’t), there were no guarantees that I would have that many.

      And, can you stipulate that you’ll be “present” for your kids throughout their lives? What if you can’t physically do it due to illness or some other unforeseen circumstance? Or, what if one of your kids develops special needs, and your attention is drawn away from the others? Further, at what point do kids become mature adults who don’t need the assistance or support (as much) of their parents?

      Finally, this isn’t to show how great I am (trust me–I’m not!), but yesterday, I made dinner for an adult daughter, a mom of six, for another daughter, who recently had her first, for another daughter who is a new bride, and whose husband is training out-of-state for his new job, and for a daughter who is newly pregnant with her second. Oh, yes, I also made sure to be “present” for my man, AKA, my sexy husband, and for the two kids left @ home, who are becoming less dependent on my husband and me (which Is how it should be) with each day.

      By God’s grace, I’m still a productive mom, and happy to be!

      • You’re an awesome example of being present (even if you are flawed–imagine that) for your children. I woke this morning, thinking of some things I wanted to point out to Hannah too, some of what you’ve mentioned.

    • Word Warrior says:


      I don’t want to discredit your feelings, because I know they are real, and I have no idea what your family was like, but several things come to mind as I consider your conclusions.

      As a mother of a large family myself, I know the challenges of meeting all the needs of my children, or attempting to. It’s certainly not easy, but I believe easier than what the typical, busy/distracted American family has with only one or two.

      For example, most children already lose the majority of the day in school, and then come home and still have homework OR extra-curricular obligations. Add to that tv watching or other things that take up what little time is left, and the “typical” time, statistically, parents spend conversing with their one or two children is staggering and tragic.

      In our family, we spend lots and lots of time together, talking, playing, studying, and just being. Sometimes it’s with one or two, sometimes as a group. We make an effort to keep our schedules as loose as possible, and practically speaking, with a large family, there are things we simply can’t do that I think, in the end, benefits us as we have more time to spend together with less busyness.

      I agree with Cathy, too, about the real subject here–that God gives life.

      As I pondered your comment, I tried to think imagine what we really are saying to God. “God, I know you created me to bear children, you gave me only one day a month I can even conceive, you designed a stopping place, but I don’t think you did it right. If I go with your plan, I might have too many and I don’t think you thought about that. So thank you, but I think I’ll disrupt the whole thing.”

      I’m really not trying to be snarky with that analogy, just thinking through it myself, as you do raise a common, legitimate question.

      In my mind though, especially with the nature of life, what God gives, He provides for. I guess when I try to imagine Mary, Jesus’s mother, who had at least 7 children that we know of, possibly more, probably living in very poor conditions, in a hard time in history, I can’t imagine her saying this or even thinking of limiting the heritage of God just because she thinks she can’t pay each child enough attention.

      I’ll reiterate that I don’t think it’s a sin to ever limit the timing/spacing for certain reasons, just that to severely cut off the progeny God would give us for reasons we can only project, seems a little presumptuous to me.

    • QuietlycharmingK says:

      I know this post is old, but I thought it important to respond to you. I m confident that there is no experience in life that is outside of God’s ability to use as a tool for forming and shaping us as His children. Who knows but that God used your experiences as a child to nudge you toward Him in your decisions about Parenthood and mothering? Just as I would not condemn those whom God has blessed to parent a ‘quiverful’, I would no more condemn those whom God leads to parent fewer. Making thoughtful decisions is not inherently selfish, sinful, or displeasing to God.
      Unfortunately, what should be weird to us is the part where we feel so free to speak into other people’s marriages and over other people’s children as commentators. It’s one thing to present one’s ideas, based on Scripture, for others to consider. It is another thing entirely for someone to state a universal truth for life that is not found in God’s Word as a premise on which Moms should be making their decisions. ❤️ God is a faithful searcher and knower of hearts, able to divide to the core and help us see his direction. I always take heart when I hear women are truly seeking God’s wisdom above that of any person.

  20. SG says:

    I”d encourage you not to worry so much about whether others are thinking you weird.

    • SG,

      I appreciate that, but really, that’s not the issue that bothers me. I’m more concerned with what I expressed in the latter part of the post–the implications for the church and society because of our attitude toward children.

  21. Amy says:

    I have 2 children (9 years & 2 months)and I receive negative comments as well. The large gap in our children’s ages was God’s plan, not ours(7 pregnancies, 2 living children). I get all kinds of questions like “Do they have the same father?” (oh yes, someone really asked this in front of my children) Was she (2 month old)a mistake/accident?” “Why would you have another baby after 40?” “You aren’t going to have anymore are you?” I can’t believe that people ask these questions in front of my children!! We are constantly telling our children that they are a gift from God and very much loved by us. We also tell them that they will have a very special sibling relationship because of the age difference.

  22. MichelleB says:

    It astounds me that we as a culture have become so backward in our thinking. I must confess at one time I did not always feel as I do now. As a youngster I had a friend who came from a family of seven and her mom used to pray that we would all find good husbands and have as many babies as God wanted us to. I would think to myself “well I certainly don’t want seven!” Now I have three amazing, crazy little blessings of my own. In my particular case God showed me without a doubt that each and every one of them are here on this earth because He wanted them to be. Multiple medical issues on my part, and a total surrender of what I wanted in a family. I was anxious and getting increasingly upset that a baby wasn’t happening when I wanted it. So I had my son. Then two years later a daughter. And then the comments started. “You have the perfect family!” Which doesn’t sound bad, until’ you notice the nspoken question “so you’re done, right?” It always annoyed me because I thought, so if I have more then it’s no longer perfect? And honestly I thought I might be finished, though the thought made me sad. Then we got our awesome little surprise who arrived a week after Thanksgiving last year. Now with three, I can’t imagine my life without any of them. If I have more I will be thrilled, but if not, I will always thank God for the three He did give me. Sorry for the long post

  23. Hannah says:

    There’s a quote that I’ve seen around that goes something like this:

    “God’s Word calls children a blessing and debt a curse … in our society, we reject the blessing and apply for the curse.”

    I am so thankful that my parents made the decision not to limit the blessing that the Heavenly Father wanted to give them. If they had, I wouldn’t be here! I was conceived on their honeymoon. My next brother is 22 months younger than me. We have seven (actually eight, one was a stillborn) and whenever someone makes negative comments, it makes me want to reply, “So which one of us did you think should not be here?” I haven’t actually said it yet, mainly because the comments have never been directed toward me! But I often think about what our family would look like if my parents had “waited” before having children and then “waited” between children and “only had two” … what a difference it would be! And it’s sad that people think this is normal and right!

  24. Bonnie says:

    So good! Thanks, Kelly.

  25. D says:

    I’ve heard a godly man that I really respect say recently that he is not like one of those people who believe in “going crazy” about children. He was advising me and my steady beau not to have too many children once we get married but to make wise decisions about our family size. He and his young wife have a 20 month old daughter, and they’re done. My heart sank at his words because I desire with all my heart to be fertile and to raise in godliness as many children as God will give. Now I am afraid of looking like a weirdo or a fool in the eyes of these people that I genuinely love, admire and look up to.

    I have a friend that is an only child, born to an only child father and a mother who cut herself off completely from her family. Her parents are the only family she knows, and they are distant. As one that comes from a large network of aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings, and who knows the emotional grounding that a supportive family gives, my heart breaks for her. I am aware that not all one-child families are planned that way, but what a sad thing it must be to not have the experience of a loving network of related, caring people.

  26. […] @ Genreation Cedar thinks that It’s Weird That Having Lots of Kid is Weird (And That’s Bad) – and I […]

  27. Albany says:

    A friend posted this on my FB page and I am delighted! I am 22, and my husband will be 22 shortly. We are expecting our 3rd child next year. We became pregnant at 19, gave birth at 20, then had another at 21, now another at 22.

    Too many are surprised by this, and not just by the number we are having or how many we want, but by our age. That somehow, even in our 20’s when we own our own house, own car, and pay for everything ourselves, we are “too young.” Too young, although we are in our natural prime to have and raise children.

    This article is beautiful to me, and I am so grateful to have read it. Oh, another thing. My husband is Roman Catholic, and I am not religious. I am the one always telling HIM how I want more children. 😉 Such an overbearing ogre wife.

  28. You'd think I'm Insane says:

    Well, I know that I want AT LEAST two children. Does that make me crazy? I don’t care. Children are a blessing that you can cherish for a lifetime. Not many other things can be.

  29. Julia says:

    I hate when people look at kids like commodities. my parents could only have one. They tried to give me siblings but that was not in God’s plan. people would always ask them when they were having children or when they were having more. It hurt my mother deeply and it wasn’t fair to her. My mother in law recently said that you aren’t really a parent until you have your second child. I know she didn’t mean it to be insulting so I just bit my tongue but it really hurt my feelings. I was a bit of a handful on my own and my mother was a wonderful mother and still is a wonderful mother. She help guide me even as an adult when I need help and advice. When I’m frustrated at the world she helps point me back to God.

    Chldren are a blessing no matter the size of family. I would love to have lots of children. As an only child I know that I’m going to need lots of help and advice from others who have lots of children. I’m going to need guidance on how to deal with sibling rivalry and how to homeschool more than one. I’m going to need guidance and help for dealing with scheduling and time management. I love big families. I love small families. I love everything in between. Every size of family comes with a different set of problems and a different set of joys. Each is a blessing. Unfortunately, until society starts viewing children and families as a blessing instead of a curse or a commodity people will get nasty comments.

    I really enjoyed your blog. I love reading things like this and I look forward to starting my family with my husband. I want to trust God with my fertility. Each child He entrusts me with I will know is a blessing. I greatly admire men, women, families who trust God completely with their fertility. I feel like that is one of the most amazing things in the world. Because trusting God with your fertility means trusting him with your finances, with your housing situation, with your food, with your work, with everything! Because every child changes your family dynamic. Every child brought into this world changes everything! So to trust God so completely is amazing. I admire you. I hope to have that trust and that relationship with God.

  30. Shelly says:

    Thank you! I have eleven children, and it is so uncomfortable to take them all away at once. Since we have so many kids, people will unabashedly watch as in public places. It makes it so hard for my kids to just be kids because every time I go away, I have to give them the same speech that all eyes will probably be on us, so they must absolutely be on their absolutely best behavior at all times. It’s hard to even enjoy ourselves because I feel like I spend the entire time making sure nothing happens which will make us more noticeable. Five kids fidgeting in a large family will be noticed more than an only child throwing a temper tantrum. Don’t get me wrong- most people have been very kind and encouraging, but others see nothing wrong with asking the most personal questions:
    ”Don’t you believe in birth control?”
    ”Don’t you have cable?”
    ”You know what causes that, don’t you?”
    ”Are they ALL yours? You had ALL of them?”
    ”Do they all have the same father?”
    ”Are you religious or something?”
    ”You WANTED this many? WHY??”
    I could go on and on. The most sad part is that they have no problem making these remarks right in front of my children.

  31. Tani Newton says:

    What a lot of amazing stories! I am very keenly aware of people’s (weird)assumption that family size is a matter of personal choice, and how untrue that is in reality for so many people, even with all the interventions we try to use. It’s incredible that we can take such a serious matter so lightly at all. After all, mothers risk their lives in every pregnancy, even in the developed world. So many people suffer from infertility and unspeakably worse things – how can we so lightly risk piercing one another’s hearts? My approach is to assume that everyone would have had a large, healthy family unless something had gone wrong, and wait until people tell me about their own heartaches. Thanks for this interesting discussion!

  32. Lindsay says:

    Such a great article. We are pregnant with our 4th and the most common questions are, “Were you planning this one?” and “Are you done?”
    Both are such intimate questions, so most of the time I just shrug and say, “We love our big family!”
    But when my husband is with me, he turns it into a joke saying, “She can’t keep her hands off me.” Which is just intimate enough that people back off a little 🙂
    But seriously, I don’t ask about your fertility, why do you care about mine? It’s not like my kids are ruining your life in some way.

  33. Kathy Wilson says:

    After having two beautiful children and getting health ready to have a third pregnancy i I got sick a had to have hysterectomy… but the Lord didn’t stop us from having a large family. We adopted 10 no matter where the children came from people have so much to say and did I ask them if I could have my family? No! Are they doing the work or loving them NO!? I love my children and wish I had more♥

  34. Dewayne says:

    This kept coming up. I think it is in the Bible: [Genesis 1:28a NKJV] 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply;

    Having even two children is not multiplying, it is remaining constant if everyone has a good long life. It appears to me you have to get to three to even begin to multiply fractionally. May the Creator bless everyone through their children in proportion to how many they have.

  35. Emily says:

    Love it! I’m the oldest of seven. I totally remember comments about our large family. My parents always responded positively, though I don’t remember what they actually said, I always remembered that they were proud of us, and grateful that we were their children.

    Now I have 7 of my own, ages 8 and under. We would gladly welcome more if we are so blessed. I haven’t actually noticed many negative comments about our family size. I have seen a few strange looks at the grocery store, etc. But nearly every time someone opens their mouth to say something to me, it is with a positive attitude and not with condescension. And I typically respond to the “your hands are full!” comment with “Yes! We are so blessed!”

  36. Glenda B Moyes says:

    I think having children is a wonderful,miraculous thing. Being blessed with a small family of 6 was a tremendous opportunity for my husband Dan and I. I look forward to the time to come when I united in heaven with all my ancestors. I miss them and yearn for that day to come

  37. Valarie says:

    I’m the grandmother of 7 (and counting) and the mother of 4 living children, with one in heaven. I never thought of 4 being a lot of children so was surprised at the comments over the years. Some stereotyping makes for great conversations! When our last was born, I had a supervisor ask me if we were Catholic. I asked him why and he said he and his wife were; they had two children and both were adopted. I just laughed and told him we weren’t Catholic, just careless Baptists! I wanted a few more, but health concerns got in the way. I recently read some “things not to say” lists about families with challenged children. I understand because I have a disabled child of my own, but sometimes ‘other’ people are just trying to communicate, albeit lamely. “Wow,that’s a LOT of kids!” Well, 12 IS a lot of kids. Some days, TWO is a lot of kids! I’m just saying, excluding those obviously judgmental knot-heads, give us a chance to comment our thought, and then a chance to enjoy your family. Sometimes, we aren’t very creative with how we address the “weird” in our lives. I personally think God can adjust you to your family size, not the other way round! God bless all you parents, no matter how many you’ve got!

  38. Renna Dickes says:

    1 last, Michele, you go girl….thank you!!!!

  39. Pastor DE says:

    Wow, I stumbled across this page, and I have to say that reading what pretty much everyone is writing makes me sad. Why is it “Biblically ignorant” to have a smaller family. How is having more children an indication that you see your kids a blessing any more than a family that prayerfully decides to only have one or two. I think what saddens me the most is how often people on this page have posted comments implying that fellow Christians who make a decision to not have more children must somehow be ignorant or not a “good Christian”. My wife and I have 3 little ones, and trust me I see them as the three greatest blessings that God has given me. I love and cherish them. I hug them, kiss them, and tell them that they are loved by both Jesus and I. I pray for them, I pray with them, and I ask that God will bless the world through them. That said, my wife and I have also prayerfully decided that we are done having biological children. That decision did not come lightly. We honestly prayed and talked and talked and prayed about it, and we both felt like God was telling us that 3 was what he had planned for us. (I know some of your may have a hard time believing that God would lead us to take steps to stop our ability to reproduce, but it is honestly what we both felt like God was leading us to). I think it would be advantages for many who have posted on this sight to realize that just because God has lead you to continue to expand doesn’t mean that he is leading others to the same conclusions. I also know that some will be responding with a statement such as “if God only wants you to have 3 children, then there is no need to do anything about it, because he wouldn’t give you more children unless it was what he willed. The problem with that way of thinking is that it doesn’t hold up if you were to turn the mirror back on yourselves. 1.) How is it any different to have a procedure done to limit our ability to have children, than to have a surgery done trying to save a newborn infants life. If any of your children was born with a life threatening heart condition, that could easily be fixed through a simple surgery, wouldn’t you jump all over getting the surgery done. But how different is that than parents believing God is telling them that they are done. By the argument being made in this article, wouldn’t a life saving surgery be just as unnatural as a fertility ending surgery. If the only acceptable answer is to leave it in God’s hands is the answer for one situation, it should be for every situation.

    It seems to me that maybe we all need to step back and be realistic about what is really happening. Aren’t we all just responding to what others say or think and instinctively trying to protect ourselves and our viewpoints. Shouldn’t we as Christians be above this petty infighting and oversensitivity to the opinions of others, and find a way to be united in Christ. God is bigger than your theology….God is bigger than my theology. And in the end shouldn’t we as Christian parents be less concerned about how someones comments or looks has made us feel, and focus instead on how we can allow the blessings we have received be a blessing to others (for my wife and I the idea that the blessings that we have received must be used to bless the world was a major factor in our understanding of where God was leading us.

    I hope that my opinion and outlook does not cause any harm or ill feelings. I am not trying to call out anyone, I am simply hoping that some of you can see that there are authentic Bible believing Christians who believe different things, but that we all are held together as the body of Christ by his love and mercy, not by having to believe all the same things. And I hope that for some who make that discover they will be able to step back and see how hurtful and vengeful many of the comments are toward those who may not agree with you on this particular issue, but that are your brothers and sister in Christ.

    • Pastor DE,

      I realize your comment may have been more directed at some of the other comments (which I haven’t read in a while since this is an older post) but I wanted to answer just a few things you mentioned. I appreciate your comment here, by the way.

      You said, “just because God has lead you to continue to expand”…this is one of the reasons I wrote this posts. There is a definite misunderstanding about life and God’s control over it. There is no “us deciding to expand.” That is the natural, default position God has already created in us. No one has to be “lead” to that position. We were born with it, and for centuries upon centuries, that’s what married couples did.

      You also asked about the difference in the life-saving surgery and the surgery to stop having babies. I’m always amazed at how easy it is for us to miss this. (I use to give this example when I was a proponent for birth control, because I take a life-saving medication.)

      Actually, the difference is night and day. One SAVES, the other PREVENTS. We know from Scripture that Jesus was pretty big on saving lives and healing them. We can surely appreciate modern medicine’s help to improve, save and heal our broken parts.

      But that has nothing to do with a misuse of such knowledge to stop the natural, biological processes. We would never uses drugs or surgery to destroy any other healthy part of our body, so it should cause us great pause to consider why we accept having our reproduction destroyed.

      You may have not seen my most recent post, where I encourage pastors to speak about children the way Scripture does…

      I certainly hope you don’t think I’m saying “smaller families mean you’re less of a Christian”, because that’s not what any of these posts are about. It’s about the church reclaiming what God has given them for His glory, to propagate the gospel.

  40. Elena says:

    I found that having kids helped me grow in wisdom and gave me a “normaler” perspective in life. (even though i only have two).
    Also, what I find WEIRD is women who refuse to have kids for a number of yrs after they get married, so they take all sorts of pills, and when they feel “their clock is ticking” they decide to have a baby but they cannot conceive, and they will go great and impossible lengths to have that baby.

  41. Kitty says:

    I don’t have children yet, I’ve been married 4 years and we want lots of children, but we aren’t yet financially ready. (Can afford one child but want to get rid of debts.) We don’t use the pill, but use non hormonal methods and keeping a calendar to prevent pregnancy. If God decides we are ready for a child and these methods don’t work someday, then ok. We will figure it out!

    I don’t think it’s weird for good people to have multiple children. I think it’s wonderful! If you can afford them, if you love them dearly, if you give them the attention and education they need, have as many as you want! I’d much prefer seeing your little blessings in the grocery store than these crazy screaming kids whose parents don’t teach them how to behave and spoil them rotten.

    Ignore the haters. You guys are amazing.

  42. Deanna says:

    We have six children and having recently had our first son I assumed that the only comments we would ever receive were the same “Are they all yours?” and “You have all of those daughters” and “I feel so bad for you” and “Don’t you think life would’ve been easier if you just would’ve stopped”

    Something happened recently though, after 11 years of disheartening and occasionally rude comments I began to encounter people who were encouraging.
    As I would mention that I didn’t have my tubal ligation procedure they didn’t condemn me but instead commended it. This was a very positive change for us and for me in particular because as a woman who has made the choice to support life in an era that is very “pro-choice” I feel as if I catch a bit more slack for not making what this world has now determined is the “better” choice.

    But something as simple as this post helped to build our reserves, it is very uplifting for me. The ability to see so many other families who encounter the same “Fertility-Hostility” but continue to move forward is very reassuring for me.

    Sometimes it can be very discouraging: I think people take very lightly the words that spew from their mouths.
    And the truth is we’re very noticeable: that many little girls who are often times dressed similar if not alike (its easier) and years ago out would come the triple stroller to accommodate the twins and the smaller one… Yup we were like a moving target.
    Plus everything is larger when your family is larger: the family vehicle, the amount of groceries we have to bring into our home and people don’t miss any opportunities to provide commentary.

    What bothered me the most is how my children were being made to perceive themselves based on the bias of others.

    But here’s the one thing that hit hardest. Most of the people who recommended we abort were Christians. One woman even told me “God helps those who help themselves” when suggesting that I abort our children.

    My resolve and my motto became this one statement: “How can you trust God but also believe that he would place you in a situation where the only option was death?”

    Having my children has completely transformed me in such a great and tremendous way. I’ve never been more blessed and this has only increased over the years.

    So thank you to all for sharing this has been the pep I needed this afternoon!

    • Aw, Deanna, thanks for the comment. I like the optimism in your voice. For me too, the hardest part was as you mention: “What bothered me the most is how my children were being made to perceive themselves based on the bias of others.” I hate that my children feel self-conscious because they know what people think–at least the half that voice those thoughts.

  43. danni says:

    Hi you should buy the book supernatural childbirth! It’s amazing. And you would bless so many women by sharing it after you read it. Women don’t have to be inferile, don’t have to continue having miscarriages, don’t have to have any pain during birth! It’s amazing. I’m pregnant with my second. I got saved last year even tho I grew up baptist I didn’t truly get saved because I didn’t believe I deserved to go to hell. Well I had my child out of wedlock after I got kicked out at 18. Was bad person. My b bf (now husband) was a good heart but bad person, he was abusive … didn’t want kids. Was with him for almost 5 years and he didn’t want more kids after our daughter was born he didn’t wanna marry but after I got saved 8 months later he did 2 weeks after he got saved we got married out of the blue! We got alot of hate about it from his unsaved family but we didn’t care. Afterwards God told him to give seed! We cincieved! A baby boy I’m now 21 weeks and I will believe God is gonna give me a supernatural painless birth! GOD changed us and it’s anazing. I can’t wait to have as many kids as God let’s me have. And my husband wants them too! His family and even my family often comment on we should make sure we’re financially okay before having a huge family. I said go read Matt chapter 6 ! Says not to care or worry about any of that! It’s faith in Hod. 😀 so thank you for this article. Just wanted to share with you the amazing book written by a mom who had painless births and changed the lives of many women who had miscarriages and infertile they got kids!!! GOD IS AMAZING. There is also a book. Forget the epidural forget the pain get Jesus! 🙂 get those to books#

  44. Rachael says:

    I can remember as a small child hearing people say negative things about or two my parents, something about the Earth being overpopulated and how dare they bring so many children into the world. It really hurt my feeling then and it bothers me now to hear the same thing. Even if you believe that it is wrong for someone to have a large family and somehow you are so rude as to state it to another human being why let small kids overhear like it is their fault and they are somehow flawed?

  45. Amalthea says:

    Well written article. I really wish this whole debate would just go away. It is a deeply personal choice and people shouldn’t be judgmental about it. My best friend has 6 kids and is not finished. Good for her! She’s a great mom. No one should treat her badly for that decision. There is nothing weird about her. She has a lot of love to give and she gives her all for her kids. I do not want children. Apparently that makes me an evil, sinful bad Christian. Not true of course, but you wouldn’t know that based on how I have been treated for my decision. And Yes, I am pro-life. I am actively involved in my local crisis pregnancy center. I don’t see a problem with being pro-life and not wanting kids. I think that’s why a lot of people who don’t want kids act weird around those who have a lot of children. They get defensive because they have been told they are not natural, almonst not even real women if they don’t want to procreate. Not that that makes it ok, but our society has turned what is a personal decision into a battleground.

    • Amalthea,

      I do not think you are evil or sinful. I do take issue though, in defense of the Bible, when a Christian purposely refuses children on the basis of “personal decision.” Reason being, we are instructed to “have the mind of Christ.” The way we do that is by studying, understanding and then seeking to imitate Him through what has been revealed to us in His Word. There are several things we know about children that must become a part of our lives. First, that God is the Creator of life and secondly, He has instructed us to be fruitful, biologically, and in other ways too. Part of the gospel picture, in fact, is the way a family represents the fullness of that gospel, beginning with the marriage union, and then having children (and/or adopting), being fruitful as the church is to be fruitful, growing as the Body is to grow.

      When we choose to attempt to circumvent God’s design (the fact that life begins so miraculously from the marriage union, without the ability of us to ‘have a child’ reveals what He has written in marriage and intends for marriage) we truncate the gospel, which goes beyond our personal decision regarding family. We live for a bigger purpose.

  46. Nathan says:

    My wife and I serve as missionaries in a country, where having even two children is considered a big deal, most families having only one. God has blessed my wife and me with five children.

    Being so “weird,” we understand what being stared at, talked about, and misunderstood feels like; but it is our children whom our Lord has used the most to open doors of witness for His great name and glorious gospel.

    “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” To the best of my knowledge, a “heritage” and “reward” from the God of heaven and earth is a good thing, and we love each of the ones He has entrusted us!

    Thanks for the encouraging post. It’s good to know there are others who think like we do.

  47. Momof6 says:

    I went through a terrible pregnancy with my last one, I suffered severe lasting health issues because of it. I took that as a sign from God that 6 was all it could physically handle. We get stares and we make jokes about our family size when people stare or ask me why so many. My favorite response is : it took me 6 times to figure out how I kept getting pregnant:-D gets lots of surprised looks.

  48. […] This article originally appeared at Generation Cedar. […]

  49. Anna says:

    Awesome post. I can relate get lots of mean comments. I am pregnant with fifth and love kids, would love more but have decided to be done. This pregnancy has been extremely hard on me as well as previous ones and I just dont feel I can do it again. Is that so selfish? I homeschool and my kids have really been theough alot this year with my hard pregnancy and high risk baby so J really want to just concentrate on raising the 5 of them and invest in them as people and as my disciples.

  50. Marina says:

    Thank you for all your posts. I find them very encouraging. I have 3 children that I love dearly …. and I often struggle with the question of “should we have more?” My husband has always wanted a large family but he says he will never pressure me to have more children …. because I am the one sacrificing my body and doing 90% of the work taking care of and raising them. My question to you mamas of lots of kids is : how do you stay healthy and keep your body from getting depleated? Breastfeeding is very important to me of course, and my absolute minimum nursing goal is 2years old , so I make sure not to get pregnant until each baby is at least 2. I have 3 kids, 3years apart … each time I nursed all through pregnancy and then tandem for about s year. My kiddos wean on average from 3.5-4years old. Well my 3rd pregnancy was incredibly difficult with several pregnancy and birth and recovery complications. My youngest is already 1yo and I’m stull recovering and trying to restore my health. What do you do to restore and recooperate between children. 7 years straight of breastfeeding and 3 pregnancies has depleted me, left me with adrenal Fatigue, hormonal imbalance , vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, and low liver function. …. in a few years if I continue my strict healing protocols, God willing , I should be able to fully recover . But is it irresponsible to put my health /body through that big hit again and start over on trying to restore and heal and build my body back?? Is it fair to sacrifice quality time with the children I am already blessed with for some potential hypothetical children I don’t even have yet ( because of heal issues I face pregnant and postpartum)? Don’t get me wrong, I love babies, so so much! and I would probably be open to one more…. but how do you make these desisioms when health of the mother and baby is taken into account?? Meeting their biological need for mother milk and importance of full term self weaning andvall thar ??

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