I have a fascination with big families. Probably because I am an only child and have almost no first-hand experience with large families, yet I am probably (hopefully) going to have many children of my own, I have a million questions for moms with lots of kids.
Since I know that there are other people out there who share my desire to know more about the day-to-day operations of families with a house full of kids, I decided to start doing email interviews with some of these “megamoms” who are commentors and fellow bloggers.
And who better to kick it off than Milehimama, who has seven children under the age of nine. I asked:
Q: A lot of people in our culture would probably look at how many children you’ve had in such a short time and wonder what compelled you to sign up for that. Why not, after you had two or three great kids close in age, decide to take a break for a few years to give yourself some time before the next one?
I think what it boils down to, is control. I didn’t sign up to have as many kids in as short of a time as I could; but I did decide to turn the matter over to God, trusting in Him fully.
This didn’t happen right away – when I got married, I had turned my back on the Church (I told people I had survived Catholicism and was never going back). I married a “backslid” Baptist, meaning that he had, at one point, gone to church and been “saved” but now was living as a heathen, so to speak. […]
Our first two children were born 13 months apart (and our firstborn came along 3 days after our 1st anniversary). When baby #2 was 4 months old, I started working at a pro-life pregnancy center one morning a week, and I got pregnant again. (I wasn’t Catholic, but I was pro-life). My husband and I hadn’t really discussed birth control (believe it or not!), but working as a counselor at the pregnancy center I decided that I would never go on artificial hormonal birth control.
We had a miscarriage, and people were so cruel! The doctor told me I “already had enough children”. I think those two events really changed my heart towards God. I remember during the miscarriage begging God for our baby, but in a very conscious way also submitting – “Thy will be done.” I also realized that I really had no control over when babies would, or wouldn’t come. I could use birth control to ask God not to bless us with a child, but that’s no guarantee.
I could also beg and plead and pray and fast asking for a baby – still no guarantee. So I let it go completely and surrendered myself – “Do with me what thou wilt”, as the prayer says.
He can always draw good from bad! That was one of two events that brought me back to the Church. […]
And so, we surrendered control of our fertility to God. My husband is not Catholic (yet!), and he will usually talk jokingly about getting a vasectomy when I’m pregnant but as soon as the baby’s actually here, he doesn’t mention it again. I think he’s a sucker for the babies too!
Fully surrendering means accepting God’s will for our family, whether that means many children, no children, or only a few. In our case, God has blessed us abundantly – but there is another end to marriage, which is sanctification of the spouses. God also uses our children, and situation, to refine us and, if we cooperate, become holier.
We have never used NFP to conceive or delay pregnancy. We don’t use anything at all, which is ironic because I know people think of us as proof that NFP doesn’t work!
I guess the answer to the question, why not wait and space them further apart, is that God does our family planning. He is infinitely wiser than we are, and loves me, my husband, and our children more than we could ever imagine. I fully trust the He knows what is best for our family. I’ve given control to Him.
May you be filled with His peace,
[NOTE ON COMMENTS: Milehimama was so kind to take the time to answer my question and so openly share her story for me and my readers, please make sure that any comments or questions are courteous and respectful.]