When to Say When

I’m in the mood for a thoughtful discussion. Let’s do that, shall we?

The last few Why didn’t anyone tell me? posts have pretty much been questions.  Questions that, quite frankly, are impossible to answer correctly, because the correct answer is different for everyone!

Weighty matters, there, and we’re not quite done yet.  Let’s hash out one more big one.

Should I have another baby (or two)?

No, we’re not answering this for me. We’re answering this for you.  For the young mom overwhelmed with her two under two.  For the exasperated mom who sent her 7 and 5 year old boys to their rooms for the umpteenth time today.  For the mom who is worried about how they’ll provide for the one they already have.  For the mom who likes the idea of a large family, but is getting through the days with a six-month-old on a wing and a prayer.

For the mom who is perfectly content (right now) with the ease and portability and independence of two or three out of diapers.

For the mom who longs to inhale the scent of a freshly bathed newborn, but isn’t sure she’s up for more sleepless nights.

Once again, there are no right answers.  I can only speak for my own family.

Are we finished having children? Two girls, two boys.  Four healthy children after three years of infertility.  The tears come when I count those blessings!  We are beyond blessed with our little family.  Yes, I said little.  You remember how desperately we prayed for our fourth.

Four doesn’t seem like a large number to me.  Loud, obnoxious, tiring.  Yes. All that.  But large?  Not really.  (My mom is third of 10.  My dad is fifth of five.  Lance and I are both first of four.)  I hold fast to my theory that the greatest gift we give our children, aside from our strong marriage, is their siblings!

So, will we have more? I don’t know. Right at this very moment I would say probably not.  We are “old.”  We are tired.  Our lives are full.  We have four amazing, healthy children.  We’d like to take those four amazing, healthy children on a vacation or two before they turn 18.  In my world, vacations and babies don’t mix.  There are all sorts of (trivial) reasons to be done.

But, are we really done? I don’t know. I do know that after crying out to God for three solid years, after begging his mercy and receiving his miracles four times over, we refuse to say “Thanks, God.  We’re done now.  And just in case your divine will is different, we’ll go ahead and take control of the situation.  Because we know better.  Have a nice day!  Oh, and please send rain.”  Yeah, that doesn’t work for us.

So, what’s the ideal family size? I don’t know. (Impressing you with my wisdom today, I know. ;) )  I do believe that those of you on the fence about having another will never ever regret that child if you are so blessed.  Will you regret not trying for another?  I don’t know.

As far as small families go, I do have one story to share.  A friend of mine was out and about with her two sweet girls, probably about ages 3 and 1 at the time.  A nice elderly gentleman approached her, complimented her on the girls, and said something to the effect of “Your girls are beautiful.  They grow up so fast.  I know you’re busy now and your life is full, but your dinner table will someday seem awfully quiet with just two.  You should have more.”

No, she was not offended in any way.  When she told me the story I nearly cried picturing that little old man at a quiet dinner table.  I want the crazy.  Bring on the chaos!  But, I know, the chaos isn’t for everyone.  And as we’ve gently reminded ourselves in the other posts, the control isn’t always ours.  “Why don’t you have more children?” can be just as rude as “Are they all yours?!” Compassion, friends.  We know not all the why’s.

Knowing there are no hard and fast answers, chime in, will you?  Have you achieved the perfect (for you) family size?  If you are 100% finished, no way no how going to have more children, how did you know?  And oh, I would be delighted if some of my more mature readers who have raised or nearly raised their families would chime in.  Do you have any regrets?  Wish you would have had more?  Do tell!

 

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Comments

  1. Love this article! Right now I have two boys ages 5 and 2 years old. My husband has been saying from the get go that two was his amount (we both has 1 sibling). I’ll tell you that our lives are full now! Not sure if I would want another or not, but I do get sad with the thought of them growing older and wondering how many years I have left of cuddling? I’m thinking boys will still cuddle until 7? So I have 5 years left? Doesn’t seem long enough to me. And the chaos is exhausting, but I’ll miss it. Any older mother I’ve talked to has said that you’ll never regret having another child, but you may regret not having more. So torn, I sometimes feel so blessed that I don’t want to push my luck :) But as I’ve said, my husband is set at two, so I’ve been thinking that a compromise could be possibly being foster parents in the future. Who knows what life will bring us? Enough of me rambling on :)

    • “Any older mother I’ve talked to has said that you’ll never regret having another child, but you may regret not having more.” Yes, I hear that one often! But I’m with you, too. I don’t want to “push my luck.” :)

  2. Jennifer says:

    We have 4 boys and also feel we have a small family. However we are done, not so much because we don’t want anymore, but our littlest was 11 wks early and fought hard to stay with us. His birth literally almost was the death of me. So while we had talked about maybe having my tubes tied, when my water broke at 25 wks and then spent the next 5 wks in the hospital we decided that was going to be it.
    We do talk about wanting a fifth and with my littlest baby just turned 3, I am having what my husband calls “baby fever”. (I get my “fix” in our church nursery) Adding another sweetie would have to be a miracle from God now. My husband has simply said he doesn’t want to lose me to child birth.
    We love our boys and consider ourselves so very blessed!

    I love this question, and your answer. :)

  3. Let me preface this by saying I have nothing of value to add to this conversation, but I am SO happy you brought it up. Me? I’m so jealous of those who simply “know” their families are complete, whether that be after one child or eight children. Never in a bazillion years did I think I would have three children and not feel 100%, totally, completely “done.” But, alas…

    • Yes. The “knowing.” I *think* I know, but I’m certainly not 100%. Maybe I know too many people who have changed their mind later… ;)

  4. We have one, so far. He’s 4. I just turned 39 so I was over 35 when we had our first. I was a Geriatric Prime Imp, lovely term that is still in use in the medical world. Knowing all the dangers and risks with “older” moms and dads, My husband and I decided to take them as they’d come and not try to prevent once the first was 4 months old. We both want more. After 2 1/2 years of trying, it was determined I wasn’t ovulating and my Dr thought it had to do with my being obese.

    I had been putting off having gastric bypass surgery in the hopes of having another baby. At my heaviest I was 279. You aren’t supposed to get pregnant for at least a year after surgery. One, you aren’t eating enough to get enough nutrition to support a pregnancy, and two, the first year is when you loose the weight. If you get pregnant, I’ve read of a woman who had an oops pregnancy 6 weeks after surgery, you loose that first year rush of weight loss. You never get that back and you might as well not gone through the surgery to begin with. It’s not a lifetime fix, you can learn to eat around it, and you have to if your pregnant, and wind up right back where you started. It’s a tool.

    Since we weren’t ovulating, so we weren’t going to get pregnant, I went ahead with the surgery. I’m 7 months post- op and down 116 pounds. I’m firmly in a medium and have started regular exercise. I feel better than I have in many years. I’m currently on Depo shots to prevent pregnancy, on my way to get one this morning as a matter of fact. This will be the last one. The next one will be due the end of September, I will be 11 months post-op and we will see if the weightloss has helped with the no ovulation. It could still take up to another 3-6 months for all the depo to work out of my system. I will be over 40 when and if we have more children.

    Our son last night, as I read Mercer Meyers Little Critter, Just me and my little brother, to him said that he wanted a little brother. I told him we’d have to see what God gave us. His reply, “God will give us 2, one boy and one girl, then there will be three kids.” Out of the mouth of babes. We’ll see.

  5. charity crawford says:

    I have 4 children ages 2 months, 1yr, 2 yr and 6 yrs and im already wanting another when my youngest is only 2mths old…I desire lot’s of children and I believe God places that desire in you when you view children as he does “They are a blessing”. God has used my children in my own life to mold and conform me into the person I am today and the person he wants me to be for tomorrow. Each new day brings me understanding of who and what God wants me to be for my family. It is hard yes but we have to look past the hardness of what being a mother is and truly cherish the special moments with them while they are young because time passes so quickly..Family size should not be about number but about contentment and what God wants you to have.

    • “God has used my children in my own life to mold and conform me into the person I am today and the person he wants me to be for tomorrow. ” Love that.

  6. Don’t have too much to share (we have 1 now, and God-willing we hope to have 2-4 more) since our family is just starting out, but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your post! I have 2 great brothers, and I hope to give our daughter several siblings, but the most important thing to remember, always, is ‘Thy will be done’! And to trust that that will is 100% right for you. You have such a wonderful way of putting the really important messages out there! Many blessings to you Amy!

  7. We have two girls, two boys, also! And…like you…I am 37 and t.i.r.e.d! We also have crazy ideas like vacationing (without babies!) and perhaps enjoying the next stage of this journey. But.

    Babies. (Sigh)

    So lovely, aren’t they? And now that my littlest one is two, I’m having those same old pangs.

    Like Mother, Like Daughter (do you read that blog?) recently had a post mentioning living on roots/berries, and welcoming more children. :) I do think I’ll look back and WISH we would have had a few more kids. I know these years are long and exhausting, but many people these days also have years *alone* with their husband in later life. I’m not sure if those lonely years sound so great. :(

    My parents, who were only blessed with two kids in 20! years of trying, encourage us to have as many as possible.

    And, having KNOWN each of my children, I tend to be sentimental about the children I will MISS KNOWING if we stop now.

    Hard questions, yes, and you handled this so very gracefully.

    • I haven’t read that, but it sounds like a great blog and great post! “the children I will MISS KNOWING if we stop now.” Yes! That plagues me, also!

    • Joellen says:

      I’m facing this same struggle–I’m only 33, but my husband is 10 years older. We have three kids, ages 5, 3, and 1. The oldest has a rare genetic disorder, which has made the last few years very, very difficult. Still, I’ve always wanted a large family. My husband says he is DONE and is making plans to convert the baby’s room into his personal study…and I grieve. I ache for the child or children I have not yet met. I’m a horrid housekeeper, though I’m working to improve that (Flylady is my friend, when I’m keeping up), and he feels like we’re struggling to keep up with the three we have. It will get better as the kids get older, but right now he just sees the chaos, the crying kids, the weariness, and is done with babies and diapers…and I see the blessings of three beautiful daughters. I am content with our small family most of the time, but it still feels like someone is missing. :-(

  8. I have some serious health issues and getting pregnant at this point would risk my life and the life of the baby. We practice NFP. If I am able to get better and we are blessed with a large family, that would be wonderful. If not, we are both very open to fostering and adoption. There are so many children that need families:)

  9. I have 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, and I am done. D*O*N*E. I dream of no diapers and no pacifiers. No high chairs or car seats. Woo-hoo! Hubby was done at 2 kids but I wasn’t. We had # three and after she came I realized I was done but the Lord is in charge and said, “Surprise!” So we had our baby boy. I adore him and I’m so grateful for God’s blessing but I am done. I still love babies and it is my great hope my siblings (I’m also one of four) will start cranking out some sweet cheeks to kiss soon. But I am done.

    I have made a promise to myself. When I start thinking about how wonderful new babies are or when I am older and start longing for the good ol’days , I will remember that it is not always easy,fun or even good. There’s poo, screaming, crying, biting, hitting, back-talk. craziness, depression, pain etc. I write down the good, the bad, and the ugly. I work to cherish each moment now and truly live it. As I grow older with my children, I want to enjoy each stage of this life that God has given me. I am truly blessed!!

  10. I say the perfect size is the size God gives you. We have seven and we are done having biological children. We’ve always felt blessed with what God gave us, but after almost losing our last child and me during childbirth, we felt it was time to stop having our own children.
    If God chooses to bless us with children through adoption we’re open to that, but right now I feel complete with our loud, crazy, never a boring moment at dinner family of nine. :)

    PS- Amy we have been going on vacation with babies for 17 years. It can be done.

    • LOL — I totally thought of you when I tossed in the vacation bit. Knew that if you read this you’d call me out on it!

  11. I will turn 39 next week, and we have three children–9, 6, and 2. And life is very busy and loud and wonderful with three! And knowing my husband’s and my personalities, I KNOW that three is a good fit for us. (Not that we wouldn’t be open if God had different plans–but we would have to adjust).

    I will say that when we were having our second, I wasn’t preparing myself to be done. And so a few years later, I knew I wanted to again feel a baby kick inside of me, and again nurse, and again snuggle with a newborn. So with my third little one, I savored every single second of it–preparing myself to move into a different life stage. This worked for me. I am enjoying the summer with a two year old and my grade school kids–not longing for anything different.

    • Ah, yes. I’m trying to savor every little bit of my clingy baby’s chubby thighs, middle of the night feedings, and all that good stuff. Preparing myself that this is IT. But we’ll see… ;)

  12. Here is my story and every word is true! I married young and got pregnant after 5 months of marriage. I expected to have 3 or 4 children. I am the youngest in a family of 10, so, like you, considered 3 or 4 a small family. However, more babies didn’t happen for us. I did about 2 1/2 years of fertilty treatments, mostly Clomid, back in the day before things were as advanced as they are today. I suffered thru several miscarriages, the last one at age 38, 12 weeks into the pregnancy. We pretty much gave up and decided to wait for grandchildren. Our son and his wife gave us 2 beautiful babies to love!
    Then, at age 49, things just didn’t feel right, so I went to see my GYN. I was worried about a tumor. Well, turns out my “tumor” was a 22 week fetus! Yes, I found out on my lunch break from work, on a quick trip to the dr., that I was 22 weeks pregnant with a BOY! Talk about a shock! I was extremely worried, given my age, history and no prenatal care to that point. I also knew that regardless of the outcome, I would see this pregnancy thru and accept whatever God had in store for me. On Father’s Day, one day before my due date and the day I was scheduled to go to the hospital for induced labor, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, perfect son. I was 50 years old. I am now 55 and this coming Sat he will turn five, still healthy, smart, handsome and a hand full! I was widowed when he was 5 months old. NEVER, in my widest imagination, did I think I’d be a single mother at this age. The challenges are many, the blessings far more.
    The moral of my story: We don’t always know if we are “done” or not. Sometimes God has other plans, plans we couldn’t have imagined and would never have thought to ask for. He knows best and gave me what was best for me, even when I didn’t ask for it. Am I tired? Yes. Do I worry about seeing this child to adulthood? Yes. Are same days exceedingly difficult? Yes. Am I blessed? Beyond measure. I give thanks every day for this “miracle” of mine.
    I recently started a blog about my adventures. Nothing heavy (yet), just everyday stuff. Stop by at hereonhartland.blogspot.com!

    • Oh my goodness, Kathy! Thank you so much for telling your story. “We don’t always know if we are “done” or not. ” So true. God has his reasons!

      • OH,MY! Bless your heart. I had 5 children and thoroughly declared myself done (with my cheating husband as well as having babies.) At 40 years old, I met Mr. Right, and at 43 gave birth to the greatest surprise I ever received. Yes, we don’t know the wonderful things God has in store for us. I see the hand of God in my beautiful, smart, healthy son every single day. I am sorry for the loss of your husband, and at 52 now with an 8 year old son, I know about the tired. I am going to stop by your site. Take care.

  13. We love our two boys (ages almost-5 and just over 1), but we know for sure that our family is not quite complete. I can’t really explain it well to Jason either, but I can “just feel” that there are another two babies in my heart. He knows that he would like another one, so we’re going to try for another in the near future and then see how it goes with three kids before working for a fourth.

    This is such a personal subject and like you said there is no right answer for everyone. I think it all comes down to how small/large a family you were raised with and whether you enjoyed that size or not. Both Jason and I only have one sibling each. I wished I had more, but at least I had lots of cousins close by. We all went to the same schools and were together a lot. Jason has lots of cousins too, but didn’t get to see them as often. When we got together we knew we wanted to have lots of kids, but to us 4 kids to 2 adults is a big family. Add a dog or two (and we’re large dog people, we love great danes and mastiffs) on top of that and it’ll be a crowded house in the future!

  14. My children are ages 5, 3 1/2, and 2. I’m a lucky mom with amazing kids but each pregnancy was more and more difficult. I’m still young (I think…) at 31 but I feel like my family is complete. Part of this is financial, after my husband’s unemployment around the time #3 was born, we figure we’ve been set back 7 years. Part of my feeling that we’re done is that I am, in many ways, a single mom. My husband lives with his parents a state away during the week because of his current job. Most weekends, he’s home but some he’s not. The thought of going through another (most likely difficult) pregnancy alone while raising my 3 little ones terrifies me. The financial and “alone” thing are parts of my reasoning, but ultimately I just feel like we’re done. I’m done. My husband is done. My sanity and patience… they’re hanging on by a thread.

    Will I miss babies? Do I get that little pang when I hold one? Yes. And hopefully one of my close relatives will join the Mommy Team soon so I can enjoy being Aunt Emily in addition to “Mom”.

  15. Jayme C says:

    I am 40 and mom to 7 (ages 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 2, and1). Hubby and I were “done” after our first 3 – but God had other plans. :) And as we all know, his plans are MUCH greater than ours. :) Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I’d love to travel. Yes, we are always broke. But He has always, always provided for our every need. I would have another in a heartbeat.

  16. What a great topic of discussion!! I will try to not write a book but a long essay might be likely LOL

    Long story short…we have three biological children, 12, 9, and 5. After the first child, I as thinking that was enough. That wore off and we had two more. Those pregnancies came with miscarriages in between and at least a year of trying to conceive. I had been diagnosed with Endometriosis and the pain grew rapidly. We were trying desperately for another child when the doctor told me that my tubes were blocked and the eggs were not able to drop. I cried out to the Lord asking for my body to work properly. I felt as if the Lord spoke to me and said, “If you had another one biologically then you would not foster and/or adopt which is my plan for your family.” Two weeks later, a friend called and asked if we would accept a 2mo old baby into our home as a voluntary CPS placement. The parents had no family to take her and she would be put in foster care 4 hours away. We said yes! She turned 3 last Sat and her adoption was finalized March 30th. The story does not end there….

    After H came into our family, we still did not think our family was complete and knew the Lord would bring another if He so desired. When H was 18mos., a friend of mine called and said that her half sister was pregnant and considering putting the baby up for adoption would we be interested. I said sure and sent the half sister a letter and pictures of us. She chose our family and 4 months later, I was at the birth of our 3rd little girl. E is now 16mos old!! We are blessed!!

    My husband and I feel like five is a great number and our house is often chaotic. WE would like to be done! Neither of us feel the Lord is done with our family. We are both hoping it is a long time down the road when the littles are bigger!!! Yet we are both 38 and not getting younger!

    So, E’s birth mother has had some major tragedy as her first child was murdered in March by the father. She found out in May that she was pregnant again with his child. E’s bio grandmother called and asked if we would consider adopting E’s brother. YIKES!!! I cried that night, not sure if the tears were from the situation or the idea of a 6th child fairly close together! Well, the birth mother wants to keep the child at this point but she is still very unstable and CPS may not allow her to do so. We are on “stand by” for this little guy who is due to be born in Nov-Dec.

    I was talking to a friend about the situation and how tentative I was to have another child and how overwhelmed I felt. (She wants more children and is trying to conceive right now with no luck) That night while I lay in bed, I thought about how children are a blessing from God and deserve a loving family. I had to apologize for my negativity. Because I know that a child is safe in my home and will be raised in a family of love and faith, we have decided that we will receive any child that he chooses to bless us with! We just wish that E’s biological sister could have been saved and would have had a chance at life in our family! Maybe her brother will :)

  17. We have 3 (boy, girl, boy) and when our youngest was 3ish I craved another child, but we had already taken measures against having more. I was really sad about it and wanted to have my husband’s procedure switched. After this last school year however I know that three was the right number for us. All three children are in school full time now and I think I feel more stretched and crazed than I did when they were toddlers and preschoolers. If we had a fourth I wouldn’t know any different, but I think I would literally be going crazy! Sometimes it takes a little time to see the big picture and know that this is where God wants us.

    • There is so much wisdom packed into your comment! Wouldn’t know any different. Yes. Takes time to see the big picture. Yes. Life doesn’t get easier as they grow older. Yes. ;)

  18. I had 2 girls and 2 boys in 5 years. They are now 8, 6, 5 and 3. I am 37 and also tired. But even in this season of terrifically long days and painfully short years I see young mothers at church welcome new babies and long for that time of new life again in our home. My complicated and close pregnancies and 4 c-sections in 5 years have put me at significant risk in the future even if I do bot have more pregnancies. I have always felt that 4 was the number and did not feel complete until that last baby was born. A merciful Heavenly Father saw us through 2 years of infertiliy, blessed us with 4 amazing, children and helped me feel peace with our decision to stop having more. As much as I would love to hold a new baby, the ones I have need their mom to be here for them. I know that a mother’s heart always has a place special place for a newborn but I will need to wait for grandchildren.

    • “As much as I would love to hold a new baby, the ones I have need their mom to be here for them.” Yes! We can’t let our quest for more babies override our responsibility to those we’ve been blessed with now.

  19. Marlene says:

    I’m 45 with 11 kids on earth and 2 in heaven. DH and I just let this decision to God…he knows whats best for us. Our oldest is 26 and youngest is 2. They’ve always been fed, clothed and a roof over their heads. We don’t know if God’s done with our family yet.

  20. I am 21 and have a daughter who’s almost 2. I am not done. My hubby is hesitant to have more than two but I strongly believe that I’d like to have more than 2. I was the oldest of four, my dad was the middle child of 8, my mom was the oldest of 5, and my hubby the youngest of 4 (his parents have two autism children and if his parents’ genetics were different they would have had a whole lot more children). I pray for God’s wisdom in family planning everyday. TTC is an emotionally draining process and I’ve only been doing it for 1 1/2 months. We will see what God’s plans are but I’ll be a bit sad when I know we are done done. My mom just knew, though she miscarried a year after having my twin brother and sister, that 4 was the ideal family size for her.

    • I think part of the reason for my “I don’t know” is that I don’t want to know! If I knew for sure, I think I’d be sad, too. :(

  21. Cheryl Rector says:

    We have 4 children, aged 24-14. 2 boys, 2 girls. The last two were a big surprise to me, but not to God. After the last one (which ended in a pretty difficult, scary delivery) the doctor suggested I not have anymore. That was fine with me, as I was younger and somewhat overwhelmed in our situation then, so I convinced my husband to permanently take care of the situation. He did.
    For about the last 10 years I have been longing for more babies, children. I have looked into being a foster parent, adoption, fostering teen moms, ect. My husband keeps insisting that he is done, but I know my heart is full of children.
    I know (too well) that in the middle of the chaos, when the thought of any more is too much, it is easy to decide that you will never want any more. How I wish I could have seen the future then!
    We also took our little kids on vacation, even if vacation was going 2 states away to visit family members. It does not have to be expensive! There really is not a whole lot more important in this lifetime than family, and raising children to love and honor God, and to make a difference in this lifetime for His kingdom.
    I choose to believe that if He has put this “mothering gene” so strongly in my heart, that it is for a reason, and that His plans will ultimately be fulfilled, and I trust Him. I just wanted to give my story and to say that permanent solutions are not always a good idea, even though it may seem like it at the time. Bless you.

    • “I know (too well) that in the middle of the chaos, when the thought of any more is too much, it is easy to decide that you will never want any more. How I wish I could have seen the future then!” I hear this often!

      The vacation I have in mind involves me, my husband, and a cruise ship to Alaska. :)

    • This is totally not trying to get you to do something your husband doesn’t want. But I wanted to tell you about a wonderful lady I met who has done foster care for infants for about 14 years. In that time she has fostered over FIFTY babies!! They pick up the infants from the hospital, pray over what to name them (with always at least one Bible name), and then they pray for and care for them until they’re adopted at 9-12 months.

      She and her husband are both involved; they feel it is part of their ministry. They say God has always provided for them and these babies, financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Oh yeah, she’s about 50 years old, has several adult children and one 8 year old whom they adopted.

      If my husband and I don’t start producing live babies pretty soon (lots of miscarriages, 4 years of marriage) I’d love to get involved in foster care for infants. It sounds like a dream come true–an endless supply of babies, without going through pregnancy and labor! Blessings to you as discern God’s will for your family.

  22. Oh, you just HAD to bring this up. ;-) I’m second of 5 (raised in America, around Mormons, so USED to big families) and my husband is 1 of 2 (raised in Hong Kong, around TINY families). This question comes up over and over for us. We have a daughter turning 5 this summer, and a BUSY boy that is 2 1/2. Every time I think I’m ready for more, one of the kids will break something or dent a wall, and my stressed out hubs will declare himself done! forever! and ever!

    When I think about the kids grown, and coming home for holidays, and only TWO of them….with their kids…it seems sad. I want another. I don’t know when it will be time, or if my husband will ever agree. I’m realizing (remembering?) that the addition of children is a three-way agreement, at LEAST. (Not to mention talking it over with the other kids we already have!)

    So…there’s my two cents. :-p

  23. I love reading all these stories!

    We have 8 children and I know the T.I.R.E.D. I feel it every day at age 44. I think to myself, “I’m too old for this,” but then I meet a 14yo girl at church who is pregnant and lives in a troubled family and talk of adoption comes up, and I think, “We could handle one more…”

    • This is why I love you. (Well this, and your slapstick comedy routines.) Even in the midst of huge trials, you’re looking out for others. Superwoman!

  24. Great thoughtful post on such a tricky topic!

    We have four girls (9,6,4, 8 months). I know in my heart we are not “done”. I almost dread the next pregnancy though, because I know it will be “Are you trying for a boy?” constantly and I got enough of that with Baby #4. (sigh)

    My husband and I are still sorting out what we believe about BC (what the Bible says) and what that means for us and our family. Not easy subjects by any means. Having another child or two means committing, just by the necessity of a vehicle larger than a mini van, to a Large Family Lifestyle and we’re both hesitant on that.

    And have I mentioned that we still live in a tiny two bedroom house right now? I’m not complaining – we have a roof over our heads, we live better than most folks in the world – but space is definitely becoming an issue for us. ;)

  25. Just turned 40, kiddos are 18, 16 and 14. I know that you cannot have babies forever, but boy am I a weepy, whiny mess at this stage. Oldest is leaving for college in a few weeks, youngest can get her permit in November. The days pass s-l-o-w-l-y but the years go soo fast. Oldest was only three when we had the third and I remember being soo tired and overwhelmed, but now that all just seems like a blur and I wish I would have slowed down and savored it more. I think sometimes we focus too much on the “magic” number rather than enjoying every precious moment we have with the ones God gives us. Hold on to those chubby little hands and precious little hearts, time is going at warp speed……….and you won’t realize it until you see it in the rear view mirror.

  26. I would love to have more. I think of how much love my kids could bring to siblings.

  27. I just turned 37 this month and have a 19 and 17 year old. My husband and I know we will have more children…what that looks like for us I leave in God’s hands…natural birth, adoption, being Foster Parents, etc. We just know that our home is calling more babies and are looking forward to the story unfolding. And no we are not having baby fever as our children leave us…we have made many changes the last 2 years (one HUGE one is me leaving corporate America to become a full time stay at home mom) knowing that our home was being prepared for another chapter in our lives. :)

  28. I hope we are not done… We have three boys 13, 10, and 9, but I really hope we will be blessed a few more times. People around us think we’re nuts for wanting more. They don’t get that we really like our kids and enjoy being with them!

    After my miscarriage last year I was heartbroken, but still hopeful. I have no idea what God has planned for us, not much fun for this control freak. I just have to let go and know that there is a plan for us.

    • There’s something about a miscarriage that brings on the sacredness of life, I think. “I just have to let go and know that there is a plan for us.” Yes.

  29. It broke my heart to read the last few posts in this series, but I did not want to comment. Some of the anti-Catholic themes that ran through really struck me. It made me think of my series that I’ve been writing for my blog. The first and the two most recent posts discuss this issue.

    Only God decides what our family size should be. If we are deciding not to have children for anything other than grave reasons, and without praying to Him first, we are playing God – deciding that we can choose when life should be born. And that is immoral. I am sorry if I offend anyone with the Truth, but I felt it important enough to share.

    • Hmmm, honestly? I don’t think it’s a Catholic issue, but more of a heart issue. I’m happy to talk through it with folks, and hope that this is a safe place for women who have only known “one way” of doing things to maybe open up to the possibility of life based on others’ positive stories and experiences.

      • Hello, Amy… I guess it’s about time to “out” myself as one (and hopefully one of many other) male readers. I have a huge tendency to believe that blogs such as yours, based on faith and family, would have helped stem some of the downward trajectory we have seen in our culture, if the darn Internet was just a bit more earlier in coming about! Hopefully, your contributions, and that of others, can help move us to stop, and dare I say, repair, some of the damage we have seen inflicted upon the family unit, for not only ourselves, but our children as well.

        I usually do not comment on posts, but Laura’s point kind of struck at me (btw, Laura, I’ve seen your blog and really do appreciate what you write and teach about…). I think it is important to remember that the Catholic Church uses words like “grave reason” for the exact reason that they do not put out a list why one should stop having children, it is different for every man and woman joined in marriage.

        What stops a family with one child from having any more children today, may not be considered a grave reason for another family that has five. And, I think, in the context of these comments so far, at least in my opinion, many women have kept their comments light and funny, and it is very difficult to see what reasoning they have behind their decisions, how much time they spent praying about it or what they and their spouse discussed in the privacy of their own confines. In public, my wife and I may joke about our three running us ragged and greying our heads too early in our life, but our discussions about other children have always centered on God’s will and what we think is right for all of us moving forward. I get the sense that it is the same for a lot of the commentators here as well.

        I am so happy that blogs such as this, as well as yours Laura, exist for me to become more enlightened as a father and husband. Please continue to speak the Truth and help move the conversation forward for all of us.

        Just my two cents :)

        • Thank you! Yes. “Grave reason.” I know what that means… for MY family. I’d like to think I know the rules, and even try to follow most of them ;) , but as you seem to fully realize, this blog is not a place of judgement. I truly do want to be pro family in everything I write. Thanks for chiming in!

  30. Well Amy you know my kids are 13, 7 & 3..and things are fixed where we should not have any more kids…With that being said would I have another if I could…YES…but I do enjoy being able to do things and not drag around that diaper bag these days…Whats another wild boy in our house..

  31. Melanie Brownsberger says:

    My hub and I have been trying for almost 7 years. when I wa 28 I told him that if i did not have a baby by the time I was 30 I would have a melt down. lol. We looked into adoption and could not afford it. We turned to our local children and youth agency. We got our first son when he was 5 months old. Adopted him when he was 14 months old. We got our second son when he was 16 months old and adopted him last Sept. The crazy thing is that the boys r 1 day apart! They are now 3 1/2. I so want another child. I feel selfish for wanting a biological child or a new born. We have children and youth that we want another one and we have been waiting for over 2 years. I ache for another child and so want to hold another baby. even though we have said we would take up to 4 years old. I just have to wait for God and have to learn to b patient.
    I cried when reading most of these stories. If you can have more and want to! HAVE MORE! because there are people out there who can not have any and would love to trade places! I am one of those people. I always wanted 6! we will see what God has instore for us!

  32. I have commented several times on this series but would like to throw my two cents in again. When we got married we planned a large family. We got pregnant after 4 months and had our first. Than nothing for 11 years. Our first never slept for the first 2 years and had a lot of challenges. We did do foster care. None of that ever filled the emptiness in our home. Our first is 11 now and can do a lot for himself, yes I do love that!!!! But that emptiness echoing in our home for years was so painful. I hit 30 weeks pregnant today. They say never ask a third trimester woman if she wants more :) I feel to tired to even think about it, but I know in reality there will never be a limit in our home. I crave that “done” feeling and will trust God to get me there.

  33. My husband is the second of nine. I’m an only child. (Talk about growing up in totally different worlds!). We have an almost 28 m/o and an almost 6 m/o. Unless my health became a major issue, we have no plans to stop having babies until the Lord closes my womb. (I’m 21, so it will probably be a while ;)

    Thoughts of a large family really do thrill my heart, and did before we were married. After spending the last three years on a tight budget, there are times when I think, “Are we crazy?” But, despite a limited income, God has always provided for our needs, and I believe Scripture teaches that He will continue to do that. We don’t live a life of luxury, by any means, but I don’t need (or want–most of the time!) luxury. I’m pretty much OK with living a simple, frugal life with Ben and our babies.

    When I sit around the dinner table on Sundays with my husband’s whole family (minus one sister who lives out of state with her husband and kiddos and one brother who lives a few hours away), I really have no doubts about our plan to not really plan ;) All of his brothers and sisters (ranging from 28 to 13) are really amazing individuals and the best of friends. They are all so unique and add something so special to the family…I’m so glad my in-laws never “decided” to stop! :)

    • See? THAT is why “I don’t know.” That big puffy heart feeling around the dinner table with a big family. My mom’s sister has seven children, and their family is so very close and so much fun. They really are more siblings to me than cousins.

      This is also where I think the “if only’s.” If only we were younger when we got married. If only we didn’t have the years of infertility. If only I wasn’t 28 with our FIRST. If only… but I could “if only” myself into a very dark place. A place where God doesn’t want me to be. So we choose to accept his gifts and remain in the “I don’t know.” :)

  34. I am the mother of seven beautiful children ranging from 19 to 2. I have also lost 7 children in the womb. Even though I just turned 40, I still desire children. I am not Catholic but I too believe that God is the giver of life. However, I am not critical of those choosing otherwise. I only encourage others to look at motivation. We live in such a materialistic culture, the argument of not being able to afford another child is often exaggerated. I would like to add that although it does take planning, having more children is not actually any more difficult, especially when training our children to be helpful. Honestly, my older kids, both boys and girls, are better prepared to raise a family and run a household than I was at 20.

    I’m so glad that you opened this topic up because many never think through these issues, and really pray about them. We often just adopt the cultural norms of the day. If we can talk about things, having grace for one another, we can all continue the process of learning and growing.

    • “I only encourage others to look at motivation. We live in such a materialistic culture, the argument of not being able to afford another child is often exaggerated.” Ahhh, that is key! This culture of ours. Alluring. Materialistic. And so incredibly temporary!

  35. I’m 31 and just had my 6th child, ages range from 8, 6, 5, 3, 22months, and 1 month. My husband and I started our family right after we got married. With an even number 3 girls and 3 boys, people ask me “if we’re done”. I smile and say, “ask me in about 18 months because right now I don’t want to think about that.” God has taught me many things through having children and I can’t think of anything more wonderful than the blessings I recieve daily from each child.

  36. Oh I love this. I am the youngest of 2 and my husband is the youngest of 3. We always knew we wanted kids and said we would be happy with 2-3 kids and have discussed adopting when our kids are older because there are just so many wonderful children who deserve homes. Right now we have an awesome 4 year old boy and I’m pregnant with number 2. Unfortunately, I have health risks being pregnant. After having blood clots 6 years ago we knew that all pregnancies would be high risk. With our son I was given the lovely high risk label and had to be monitored closely and give myself injections daily to make sure no blood clots developed. He arrived at 38 weeks tiny but healthy. This pregnancy is the same. High risk again with blood thinner injections and I will have a scheduled c-section at 39 weeks unless complications develop like with little man. For us this will have to be it. I’m still young, 27, but the risks go up the older I get. So for safety this is it. I wish I could have more of our own but I think it would just be too much for my body and we have been lucky so far that complications have simply been blood pressure and not clotting related.

    I feel so blessed that I did have the clots when I did so that nothing happened when I was pregnant and I didin’t suffer the loss of a baby. So I guess for us the magic number is 2. If the circumstances were different and there were no health risks then I would love to continue.

  37. A few months after our son (now a year old) was born, i had a dream. In this dream was a beautiful little girl, and I just knew that she was waiting for us to bring her to earth. I love that little girl as much as I love my other daughter. I told my husband recently that we are at least having another girl. Whether or not there are boys in between is irrelevant. I’ll know we are done when I have my Ella.

  38. Amy, I love the thoughtful way you’ve approached this topic. As the mother of one, I often feel like a weirdo or even a lesser mom because I don’t have more kids. But my friends who assume that my life is easier than theirs because they have two or three or more kiddos don’t know the debate and fear and concerns and worries that have paved the path to being the mother of one.

    I hope we have another, but the thought is honestly scary for several reasons. That’s why I love – and am so encouraged by – hearing honest, considerate discussions from moms like you and your readers about what it’s really like to struggle with this issue and come out with answers as different as we are.

    • See, THIS is the kind of comment that stops people in their judgmental tracks. ;) THIS is what we all need to remember when we’re curious or wondering or ready to spout off something inconsiderate about anyone’s situation. The decisions, they are hard! And there is no way to know the “right” thing from the outside looking in. Thank you, Mary!

  39. My husband is an only child (I grew up the oldest of 5). His father is an only child. His mother has 1 brother and 1 sister and neither of them have any children. We live near his family (500 miles away from mine!). We are so lonely. His parents don’t celebrate holidays (I grew up in a family where we had so many traditions). We are always alone. Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July – birthdays, anniversaries, etc. There is no one to come over when a new baby is born. No one to laugh with or cry with. We don’t have any friends to do things with due to living 40 minutes from our church in a very large town and with 4 little ones of our own it’s hard to get out and meet new people. There are so many times when my husband has said – if only I had a brother or a sister. Or even some cousins would be nice. We never have gone away for the weekend because there is no family to help. It’s only and I sometimes find myself very upset with his parents for robbing us of family.

    We have 4 of our own. We’ve given the Lord complete control. Life is crazy. At first my husband had a hard time with the noise 1 child could make. But now with 4 he hardly notices. When we first got married he was so self focused having never had anyone else to yield to. He is a completely different man now.

    I never want my children to be lonely.

  40. I have two kids…a boy and a girl (ages 8 and 4). For a while i thought i was done. Two kids seemed just about right for us. But lately i’ve been feeling the desire to have another baby. It could be because my daughter is going to turn five soon and i cannot bear the idea of not having a little one in the house. I guess it’s simple. I really want another baby. So i’m not done yet…

  41. For the examples you gave: harried with 2 under 2; can’t provide for the one they already have; wing and a prayer with a 6 month old…I’d say there’s no rule that you must have them so close together. 2 under 2 may seem super overwhelming, but 4&6 and newborn may be much more manageable. As you gain new life experiences your perspective may change. We are a family who paid $5000 out of pocket to reverse a vasectomy (i would so rather that be in my expect the expected account) and 8 months later are still not pregnant…I say permanent choices are a bad idea especially when both parties are not 100% on board!
    I too do not relish vacations with infants (so much stuff!) so am looking forward to the older ages when we can do really fun vacations, but the thought of not having any more babies made me cry in the shower every day. So we’re trying for a 3rd and waiting to plan good vacations in about 5 years! I’m old and high risk to boot, so I think fear will outweigh my desire for 4.
    Anna’s comment “ask me in about 18 months because right now I don’t want to think about that” is perfect. At that point the excitement over the next life chapter may take permanent hold, or you may find yourself back in the unending longing for a baby stage.

  42. Oh how timely for us as we went a few weeks ago for a consultation to discuss the big V. We both left in agreement about one thing. We are not ready for it.

    We have 3 and think we are done. My husband is an only child and I am one of 2. We both wanted bigger families. And we both feel like our family is not complete.

    We have felt called to adopt since before we even had children. And we still feel that calling very strongly. So I honestly feel as though we are not done adding to our family but that I will outsource the rest of the births :)

    But we send out kids to private Christian school so the financial realities of a big family are very much on our mind. We just keep praying and know that God will lead us where he wants us.

    ps. my kids each have had a passport before they were 6 mos and we travel all the time. Granted I have family help, but I love how well traveled my kids are and how it doesn’t phase them. I also love how they know very well that mommy and daddy sometimes go away without them. I know that also isn’t a financial reality for everyone, but if you can make it happen, I’m with Toni. Go for it!!

    • Having never felt that calling, even in the midst of infertility when we *wanted* to feel that calling, I am so excited for what your future holds!!!! And after my fourth labor and delivery, I’d say outsourcing sounds like a reasonable plan. ;)

      PS — You and Toni can rock the traveling. Me? I’ll pass. For now. #stressful ;)

  43. Linda from Georgia says:

    We celebrated our first anniversary with our first, the second came two years later. A medical problem was SUPPOSED to end our hopes of a large family. I gave away maternity and baby clothes, hubby quit his job to go back to school — yep, the third was on his way! We had decided to finish our education then adopt more. Father had other plans. The fourth is enjoying heaven and health issues ended hopes for more.

    However, I became a grandmother at 38. While we were missionaries in Haiti, we fostered two. Remembered quickly why it is good to be young with toddlers. I was blessed with such good health at 54 I actually thought of more kids. Reality sank in so I talked to God about eternity.

    We live forever. I put in my dibs for perpetual motherhood. I love the childrearing years. Who knows what is in eternal future. It would be great to know that with new bodies more babies might be possible.

  44. I am a mom of one. Yep, just one. She’s 8 and awesome.

    My husband and I both have one sibling each and we were both raised by single moms. Going into marriage, we knew we didn’t have a strong foundation of how the whole mommy, daddy, kids thing was supposed to work so we worked hard to find role models and search God’s Word for guidance. I don’t know many couples that talked through marriage and family as much as we did before we got married. We were and still are VERY intentional about our marriage and any stresses that might affect us.

    We were both ready to have our Princess and were VERY excited when she was on the way. However, my body was not. I have Crohn’s disease and pregnancy with it’s swinging hormones was extremely hard on my body. Add to that gestational diabetes and my last trimester got pretty tricky. Once everything with my health balanced out after the Princess’s birth, we enjoyed two years of family bliss before we had to make a decision about future kiddos.

    My Crohn’s had reached a point where I needed to move to the next level of drugs. If I was going to do the whole pregnancy thing again, I needed to do it before I put those drugs in my system. It was crunch time. MUCH prayer (like MUCH) and soul searching and wise counsel and did I mention the prayer later, we came to a decision. We weren’t going to risk my health and do it again.

    We continued to pray and realized that we were done. We truly only felt led to have one child. Now, this TOTALLY contradicted my “plan” that I made when I was twenty. And all of the sudden I was at peace with that. One thing the Lord did keep whispering to me though was the fact that I might be done having children, but I wasn’t done raising them. Huh? I didn’t know what it meant. We truly weren’t feeling led to adopt, but that whisper was still there.

    I mentioned that whisper to my friend, Katie, in a conversation I don’t even truly remember. I really don’t. However, Katie remembered. And, she reminded me of it when she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. And she continued to remind me of it as her health declined. She reminded me of it before she died in February. I didn’t have her babies, but I’m meant to help raise them. Of that, we are all (me, my husband, Katie’s husband) confident.

    It’s interesting having just one because people really want to (and often do) ask you why you don’t have any more. I’ve come up with a quick and succinct answer. What I don’t say is that I know God has a plan for me to raise more than my one. He was just giving me enough space and energy to be there for the others that need me.

    • I cannot even fathom, Kathy! Ok, and *chills*. God’s design, as it unfolds in his perfect timing, is truly remarkable. I’m so thankful that Katie’s family has you!

  45. I have four kids (5, 4, 2, 5 months) and we are done (unless I am already pregnant). We are anxiously waiting to see if we are going to have an “oops” baby! ;-)

    Anyway, my husband is 51 and I am 27. He has some medical issues, and while they are not currently life threatening, they can definitely shorten his life. Because of that and with some medicines available to help, we don’t think it wise to continue having more children. If we are blessed with one more, it will be wonderful! But we plan on taking more permanent measures no matter how the next few weeks pan out.

    This can definitely be a quite touchy subject. I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments as well. Thanks for the post!

  46. Wow, this entry is wonderfully written.
    I am the blessed mother of 12. All mine. I didn’t grow up thinking I would have 12, 6 was a large family to me then and it still is. It has been the most difficult and the most rewarding life path. It has taught me about charity and improving myself and has given me a deep desire to be a better me. I still have 5 at home and always say give me 10 toddlers over one young adult anyday. Just kidding….maybe. Anyway I realize of course not everyone will feel they are meant to have that many children, nor should everyone as there are so many things that need to be accomplished in this life, but I do believe we can do more than we think we can because of the Lord’s help.
    When people find out how big my family is I usually get 1 of 2 responses. One of awe and admiration …awkward and not accurate… or my ever favorite…..Ughhh, I’m sure glad that’s your life and not mine. I always quickly reply “I am so glad it’s my life too!” and I really mean it.

    We always struggled for money and we had more of our fair share of challenges to face. But now as the years go on I am so deeply thankful that I didn’t give in to the constant critizim about my life choices, that inspite of the many doubts about the sanity of what I was doing, that I moved forward with faith and brought the children in to our family that were meant to be there.
    Every person’s life journey is personal and unique, therefore we truly are not capable of judging anothers choices.
    I not only don’t regret having 12 but with each passing year I stand in awe at the richness of my life, and give sincere and heartfelt thanks for all 12 of my kids and 6 inlaw kids and 15 granbabes with another due this summer.
    I never knew I could be so happy!

    • There is so much GOOD in this comment, but here’s my very favorite: “I realize of course not everyone will feel they are meant to have that many children, nor should everyone as there are so many things that need to be accomplished in this life, but I do believe we can do more than we think we can because of the Lord’s help.” So, so true.

  47. I posted a comment earlier but i just wanted to add something. I live in India and no one and i mean no one that i know of my generation has more than two kids. A lot of them have just the one by choice…to each his own, ofcourse. But i definitely feel like an outsider with my desire for more kids. I have two and i want another two atleast. I’m new in blogland and i have to say that it is wonderful to find so many mothers who feel like i do. Thanks Amy.

    • Cultural differences like that are good to note. We must learn to respect that when looking at situations “from the outside.”

  48. We have 3 children – ages 7, just turned 5 and 2 and this is it for us. I never expected to give birth to my last child at 27 (we wanted more), but God closed that door for us upon the birth of our 3rd. I had some health issues following the birth of our 2nd child, so the doctors were very proactive and cautious during the pregnancy and following the birth of our 3rd. However, all those cautious measures turned out to not work and the health issues I had previously, happened again, but much more seriously. There was a point in all of that where my life was actually at stake. More than one doctor told us that I should never give birth again. After much prayer, consideration and counsel, we’ve chosen to take the advice of the doctors.

    But, I have to say that it has taken nearly 3 years (she’ll be 3 in September) for me to come full circle and truly appreciate God’s sovereignty. I am finally in a place where the thought of not having more biological children doesn’t break my heart.

    We truly treasure the three we have and know just how blessed we are. I don’t know if there are any adoptions in our future, but I do know that God has it all under control.

    Also, even though we know that it’s in the best interest of my health not to have any more children, we still haven’t made it permanent and we also don’t believe in hormonal birth control. Even though we think God has closed that door, it’s hard to do something so permanent. I know God can choose to open a womb that isn’t suppose to be (and heal the associated health issues), but I also know that taking permanent action against our fertility just hasn’t felt right. So, for now, we pray and prevent using conventional methods – until God gives us further direction.

    Thank you, Amy for such a thoughtful post in such an important series.

    • I think it’s comforting when you know God has closed the door. A hard thing, for sure, but at least you can be confident in your decisions. I’m so impressed with your faithfulness, even in the hard things.

  49. First off, I enjoy reading your blog. The Finer Things are what I try to remind myself of. It’s so interesting that everyone defines “family” in a different way. I always thought I wanted a larger family, coming from a large family. My husband is a 4th generation only child. We had our first son 6 years after being married. He will be 3 soon and my husband is no where near ready to have another. I respect that and while I would love to have just one more….he’s not ready. So, I am in the process of “accepting” that my nearly 3 year old may be my first, only and last.

    I realize that going on vacation with 1 is WAY different than going on vacation with 3…go on vacation. Your kids will remember it forever. Even a roadtrip can be a fun vacation. We did the JetBlue “All You Can Jet” when our son had just turned 2. We live on the west coast and went to Seattle, Florida, New England, Maryland all in one month and our little man LOVED it. It helps that he likes his carseat ;)

    • Just knowing when my own personal memories started, I’m not yet convinced that *big* (as in – expensive) family vacations are worth the money and effort quite yet. We’re just cherishing the memories we can make with the “small stuff.” Local carnivals and fairs, rodeos, and the like. For now.

      Amazing how our history shapes who we are and what we desire in family!

  50. Elisabeth says:

    First of all, I have just loved reading all the different stories on here!! It makes me realize that my decision not to make any permenant changes to my body after baby #3 was a wise one.
    My husband and I have 3 kids. Girl, boy, girl. Ages 6,4 and 9 wks. I will be 28 this fall, DH just turned 28. (I wasn’t feeling young until reading all these stories of women a lot older than me!) I was done after baby #2 for several years, hence the 4 yr age difference between him and his little sister. It also took a lot of prayer and time to convince DH that having another wouldn’t be so bad! I could think of TONS of good reasons why we should have another but could never think of any good reasons why we shouldn’t. I am third of 4 and DH is first of two. I couldn’t imagine raising an only child. I wanted her to have siblings. My siblings are so special to me. Anyway, I debated and prayed long and hard during my last pregnancy about whether I should get my tubes tied. My hubby is totally done. He’s ready to move on to the next chapter where there are no more diapers and crying babies. I was so sure I would do it but the more I thought about knowing that I’d never have more kids if I did anything permanent just killed me. I know that another baby would be a complete act of God, and I would really be ok with that. Right now I am trying to see the big picture and just love my kids to pieces (just a couple things I learned from reading all these comments). Three kids is a good number for us but if God has other plans, I’ll be happy with them! =)

  51. My DH and I wanted a large family (he wanted 11 so he had a built in soccer team). Friends when I was growing up would tell me that I was meant to be barefoot and pregnant. I wanted to be! But God had other plans. After 17 years of marriage and no known reason to be infertile (we both were tested for multiple things and just no explainable reason) we adopted two children from Vietnam. I always wanted 4 children, but I am now content with my two blessings. If we had had biological children, we would not have family in Vietnam. Our children pray for tummy mommies (their term) on a daily basis. We want to spend eternity with these special ladies that gave them life. We know that God can and will answer above what we ask or think. We’re asking for family! Just because we don’t know them, doesn’t make them any less. What is the right number? God knows. He can be trusted. His way is best. Thank you for giving us opportunity to share our stories. I’ve appreciated the ones ahead of mine. God knows each situation and when we let Him, He can do what is best for all of us–including the children we have and the ones we wish we could know.

  52. Followed a link from a friend’s blog to read this post, and the comments. Oh the experiences and personalization life involves. What’s right for you may not be right for me. With that said, my life long dream was motherhood. I got married at 20 and while I wanted to wait for a year or two to start our family, God had other plans for us. After 13 months of seemingly infertility I stare down at my precious six month old little girl and my heart just swells with an overwhelming love. I never anticipated the journey God had planned for us. Getting pregnant was supposed to be easy. n

  53. Sorry, my phone cut me off.

    I am now 25 years old, one of six but my husband is an only. I hunger for the chaos, pray for my little girl to have siblings to turn to as I do. I would love four or more if God saw fit. My husband says two, maybe three. Personally that seems lonely. As the old man said, makes for quiet dinners. I long for a houseful. Will that happen for us? I don’t know. I know one thing is true. I’m not done yet. The desire for another child is, and has been there, and she’s only six months old. I look at her gorgeous sleeping face and want to make her a big sister, to give her a sibling (or three) with which to walk trough this maze we call life. Maybe we’ve resolved our medical issues with conception. Maybe it’ll be hard to conceive a second or third or fourth… I know one thing is true, as of today, as of right now, until God tells me otherwise, I am not done. Not even close.

  54. I’m another mother of one, like Kathy and Mary. My daughter is 5 1/2, and people have been asking us for 4 1/2 years if we’re going to have more. Most of them have no idea of the feelings and issues that question raises for us.

    I had to take fertility drugs to get pregnant, then experienced serious complications during and immediately after pregnancy, and my daughter has had chronic health problems (sometimes requiring hospitalization) since birth. I’ve weathered a lot of this on my own, since my husband travels 50% of the time with his job.

    Until about 18 months ago, we felt like we were just hanging on for dear life, trying to cope with everything coming our way. We were so thankful that we had one child, and that she and I were both alive, that trying to have more wasn’t even on our radar.

    In the last 18 months, I’ve been getting a nagging feeling that our family is not complete. My husband is feeling it to a much lesser extent, but he’s still feeling it sometimes. We have no idea what it means. My health is improving (I’m still infertile without drugs, and I had some lingering health problems from the pregnancy)–God may have plans to heal me completely so we can have more biological children. But we are also finding that having just one child makes us more available to help others, so maybe it’s about fostering or adopting, or being free to serve in other ways.

  55. April C. says:

    I am a mom to three boys, 16, 14 and 10. For years I felt that our family was complete and then, about three years ago, that all changed (and I don’t know why). Unfortunately for me, dh does not feel the same. I respect and understand his reasons for not wanting anymore children (our age, 39, health (risk for baby with pregnancy at my age), financial (is there ever enough money?), age gap with siblings, etc.) but I just don’t feel the same.

    I used to pray that God would change dh’s mind. Now I pray that he would take this desire for more children out of my heart, or to use it in a different way. It is causing me to build up resentment in my heart towards dh, and that makes me sad. I trust that God has a plan, it would just be so much easier if my desires matched His plan and timing :-)

    • “I trust that God has a plan, it would just be so much easier if my desires matched His plan and timing :-)” hehe So true! And you’re right. There’s never enough money… but, there’s always enough money. ;)

  56. Heather Snyder says:

    I love this post. How true it all is. I’m 23. We have a beautiful almost 2 year old daughter. She is so full of life. After her birth I had an emergancy hysterectomy. No more birth kiddos for us. As hard as that has been I’m ok with it now. Our plan was 5 and then adoption1…maybe 3….maybe. Now we don’t see numbers any more. We don’t see goals. We see 147 million (probably more) orphans who desperately need a home. We see our huge blessing of a four bedroom home (with a 5 br possible and we are very much sharing a room with siblings type of parent). And we know that God took that away from us to give us a grander more meaningful purpose. He has layed the orphan on our hearts in a BIG way.

    I want to break down and cry when I get the question “Isn’t it time for another one?” Because I know someday that questions will be “Wow, these aren’t all yours are they?” I want to thank God for His grace and gift in that moment but I also grieve. I grieve for the person more than myself, how little they understand about my God. I also grieve for my child when I see her acting like a little or big sis. But I know God has provided a path, while not easy, it is the right one for us. She will not live “normal” but I pray she will see the face of God in each of her siblings, no matter the greatness of that number.

  57. Beautiful and so wise, thank you for sharing Heather.

  58. Angie P. says:

    I just stumbled upon this post….of course, I am a day late as usual….HA!
    I have really enjoyed reading all the comments! I had my 5th child, 2nd girl, in April of this year. She has been the greatest blessing to us. I have always felt very fertile, it has never taken very long to become pregnant, but we tried for months with no luck and I was beginning to become very sad about it. My husband is in the Army and has been deployed for the last 3 1/2 out of 5 years, so it is a miracle in our eyes that he is around long enough to even try. If there is one thing I know for sure about having 5 precious angels to keep me company, it is that 5 is not all I am supposed to have. I get very tired and pregnancy is very hard on my body and doing it all alone most of the time is rough to say the least. I have prayed continuously with the last 3 on whether or not each was the last and I have always had the overwhelming feeling that the answer was no. My husband will return from Afghanistan in a month and we are already planning the next. I honestly believe that when God has given me all the “baby blessings” he wants me to have that I will know beyond a shadow of a doubt. I will feel complete and our hearts will be filled with an overabundance of joy…..and then we plan to adopt! :)

    • “I will feel complete and our hearts will be filled with an overabundance of joy…..and then we plan to adopt! :)” Love your heart!

  59. We’re not finished, we just leave it up to God. I’m 30 and have 6 children ages ten down to 7 mos, pregnant with # 7, with 3 babies waiting in heaven. Did I ever imagine having 7 children? Yes, in the abstract. I was one of two and wanted more sibiling. However, as I became a mother I realized I had no clue what life with lots of children would be like. Every day is an adventure! I look at my children’s faces and imagine if we had taken control and prevented pregnancy 3 or 4 or 5 years ago. Then we would have missed out of 4 children that I cannot imagine life without. Children are always a blessing!

    • We do that with our 3rd and 4th, thinking “what if we had been the typical American couple and stopped at 2, with a girl and a boy?” Oh, we would have missed out on so much!

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