Determining family size or the number of children to have is such a personal topic. And there are so many factors involved.
But I want to share a few things on my heart about this subject of family size.
Hubby and I have always said that we wanted lots of kids. My number was 9 and Hubby’s was 7. Crazy, huh? And now after having 2 kids, I’m wondering if my family size idea was unreasonable and possibly unattainable.
Hubby and I have been very blessed to be able to have children without absolutely any complications. We’ve conceived within a couple tries. I’ve had no pregnancy problems. And both babies’ deliveries were un-medicated vaginal births.
I read this EXCELLENT BLOG POST about determining family size that prompted my writing this post.
1. To whom much is given, much is required.
This Bible verse comes to mind when I think about my fertility. I’ve been given the coveted (by some) and wonderful gift of being able to produce children with no difficulty. I would say that I have been given much! Good health, strong body, willing eggs, balanced hormones, etc.
And I feel a responsibility to God, myself, my family and the world to take advantage of that. As stated before this topic is such a personal one with many factors. And there’s a fine line between desire and responsibility in this area.
If I were entrusted with a sizable income, I would be responsible for how I used it. Well, I’ve been entrusted with a body that is easily able to have children. And I am responsible with what I do with body.
Part of being responsible with my body involves honoring God with the gift that is my body and everything that comes with it. How many children does He want me to have? What amazing things might my children do for God and the world if given the chance at life? Will God’s plans for one of my potential children’s future be thwarted because I chose not to have any more children?
I cannot say how many children is right for you. I cannot say how many children is right for me to have. But the point is that I should be open, and listening for when I feel peace about having another child. To close myself up totally to the idea because I’m too busy, too overwhelmed at the moment, pleased with my body size right now, etc. is just selfish.
2. Selfishness affects the world.
Hubby and I have a boy and a girl. Isn’t that every parents dream? One of each? I’ve had quite a few people tell me that “you can stop now that you have one of each.”
And if I were honest, I would like to be done having kids. The possible pregnancy unpleasantness, the actual act of giving birth, the expense of having a baby and caring for it, working hard to lose the baby weight – all of those things are hard! And when something is hard, we usually try to avoid it. (The thing with kids though, is that the return is so worth it!)
But let’s just say that Hubby and I did stop having kids. What amazing thing might kid #3 have done for the world if given the chance of life?
I have no idea what the future holds for my kids, but I do know that the expectations will be high. Hubby and I are intentional in the way that we are raising our kids. We have goals and expectations for them that we will not allow to slide, because we want them to be successful, helpful and Christ-like citizens. And hopefully our efforts will make the world a better place!
3. The “world” doesn’t have the advantages Christians have.
Hubby and I are Christians. We attend church every week, and pray and read our Bibles at home to be reminded of how we should live – like Christ would.
The principles that we live by are found in the Bible (as well as many other places in literature and thought). Here are just a few that make a big difference in our life:
- Be ye kind one to another.
- Prefer others over yourself.
- Forgive one another.
- Think on things that are positive: pure, true, honest, lovely, of a good report, just, virtuous, praiseworthy
- The 10 commandments:
- Don’t put other gods before God.
- Do not make idols of other gods.
- Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. (curse)
- Keep the Sabbath Day holy
- Honor your father and mother.
- Do not murder.
- Do not commit adultry.
- Do not steal.
- Do not testify false witness against your neighbor.
- Do not covet.
By simply intentionally reminding ourselves (church attendance, Bible reading) of the way that we should live (in accordance with how Christ would), we can improve our quality of life so much!
Hubby and I are committed to living as Christ would. We tolerate less disrespect, anger, unkindness, bad language, etc. in our home from each other and our kids. Because of that our kids have and will continue to learn to operate on a higher plane or level in the world. Their threshold for respect, work ethic, love, etc. will ultimately be much higher than those who have not been taught.
But can non-Christians or the “world” say this? Can they produce kids that are just as kind, responsible, respectful, etc?
I know for a fact that there are incredibly moral people in the world that do not associate themselves with Christ. And I’m not here to debate whether I’m better or more “spiritual”. I’m simply saying that Hubby and I have a model to follow with “instructions” on how to do that (the Bible). And it makes our task of being and producing responsible, Christ-like citizens easier.
If the “world” doesn’t have that, it may be harder for them to attain the same goal as we.
With all of that in mind, having dedicated Christians raise kids may just produce the kind of responsible people we want to fill our country.
4. Each childhood stage passes.
Sometimes I think that I won’t be able to continue for another day with _____ (potty training, sleepless nights, disciplining, messy diapers, etc.) And then in the next days or weeks, that childhood stage passes. And the frustration I was feeling is no more. Thank goodness that things don’t stay the same forever!
It can be daunting to look out upon your life and see no change in sight. But the wonderful thing about childhood is that they learn quickly and are often in a new stage before you can blink!
So before you write off having another kid because you’re too tired, remember that each stage will pass!
5. The birthing window is short.
In the grand scheme of life, the time that a woman has to birth children is quite small. Especially with the way our western society waits to get married til 30 these days.
Hubby and I had our two kids 20 months apart. We wanted them close in age so they could enjoy playing together. And as we contemplate future kids, we’ve decided that we would like them also close in age – at least 2 years apart but no more than 3 years. (We are blessed with fertility and are able to plan accordingly.)
So if we do the math I would be able to have 3 more kids by the time I’m 40. I don’t know how menopause will work out. I suppose if I’m blessed with fertility longer, we will have more kids! Who knows how it will all work out! But my keeping an open mind is rather helpful!
6. Children are a blessing!
While being a parent isn’t always easy, serene, or each moment filled with happiness, children are a blessing! And I would rather have them than not.
God has blessed me with 2 healthy pregnancies and children! And I want as many as He blesses me with in the future. There are so many things to consider when it comes to having more children – finances, timing, etc. – but ultimately I believe that I should make my decision based on what God would have for my life. If He wants me to have 9 children, He will provide exactly what we need for that!
7. God gives peace.
When Hubby and I have decided to have our two kids (they were surprises, but planned), we both had a peace about it. We both felt it was the right time. We both felt an itch to have a child.
That does not mean to say that we were “financially set” for a child or okay with the fact that having our lives “upset” from our normal routine. Having peace about having a child is personal. And with us, that peace comes from God. I think if we waited on ourselves and our situation in life, we would’ve waited til things were more stable. (For example: We had Baby #1 while living in a 3rd story apartment.)
For us, at the end of the day, we don’t base our “child-making” decision on our circumstances (although that does play a small part). We base it on whether we feel as if God would want us to add another child to our family via the peace we feel about that decision.