As part of my series of interviews with mothers of large families, I’m excited to have Hope share some of her thoughts as a mother of eight. She has her own blog called Mothers of Many Saints, which I highly recommend you add to your regular reading list.
The first question I wanted to ask her is the same one I posed to Milehimama a few weeks ago. I asked:
To paraphrase what so many people in our society would think about having so many children: “Why?” It would have been so much less expensive and less work and less strain to limit (or at least try to limit) your family to just two or three children.
I definitely get the attitude, if not the out-right question, sometimes posed kindly and sometimes rudely — “Why do we have so many children?” I am never sure how to answer this question because we never set out to have “so many children.”
As a newly married woman, I was shocked to see families with four or five young children, and I thought the same thing, “Why?” We never made a direct decision to have a big family, but the big family has come because of some other decisions we made. Most importantly, we decided to take our faith seriously, to live a chaste marriage, and to prayerfully allow God to lead us in all things. Now these choices could have meant we would have only a few children, or even no children, but instead, God has blessed us with eight children. With each new family member God has given us the resources and the love we have needed. Simply put, as God has increased our family, he has increased our graces.
Sure, having a baby every other year is work, real work. It’s time, money, worry, stress and some heart ache too. It’s lots of meals and tons of laundry. It’s clutter. But it’s also eternal. What I do on a day to day basis has consequences I can rejoice in a thousand years from now, ten thousand years from now, even. I can’t think of a better thing to spend my time, energy and money on then these eternal souls who will be my friends forever in heaven.
Something else that is relevant is a mentality we have adopted. We try not to take our cues about the type of lifestyle we lead from our culture, or make decisions to do things or forfeit things because “that’s just how it’s done.” We really try to live consciously and make decisions about our lifestyle based upon God’s leading and a careful examination of our options. We don’t always get it right, but we fully embrace life and are willing to bear the consequences for our choices. It’s not always easy, but neither is the path to holiness. However, there is much excitement and many blessings to be had when you recognize the Giver of All is in control after all.
Thanks to Hope for these beautiful thoughts!