Hope, a mother of eight, has once again been kind enough to answer questions about life with lots of children. Be sure to check out her blog Mothers of Many Saints for more insights, and you can see the rest of the MegaMom Interviews here.
Q: What would you say to women who look at how many children you have and think, “I could never do that, it would be too (physically / mentally / financially) hard”?
I hear this all the time. I hear this from people who say that they couldn’t do the mothering that a large family demands, and generally I just give an encouraging, “Sure you could!” Some just say it, because it’s something to say, with no real consideration or care about inviting a new life into their family. Sometimes, though, I hear it from ladies at Church, who perhaps are truly struggling with the question of adding another soul to their family.
Recently, a woman who is an acquaintance, approached me at a church function, and the first thing she said was, “Are there going to be any more?” I looked at her quizzically, wondering at first if she was referring to the on-stage music or the festival itself, as if she was asking if there would be more music or another festival, but I quickly realized she was asking if there would be anymore children. I said, “Sure, maybe, only God knows.” This about knocked the socks off this mother of three. I guess because I don’t have it all planned out. As we talked I could tell that mothering and the question of following Church teaching regarding marriage was a struggle for her.
The state of being open to life in your marriage does not mean that you start off with having it all together. I mean, we had two children before we even had an income. When we started our family we were young, poor, and still had a lot of learning to do. At the beginning we hardly would have thought we would be where we are today — with eight kids, and we certainly were not “ready” by the world’s standards. But God has blessed us with each baby. The babies come just one at time, and with each we have grown and learned in many ways. If we had stopped at two or three, I would still think I couldn’t do eight. Just like I hear about families with twelve plus children and I think, “Wow, there is no way I could do that!”
A question I would ask myself and anyone else who thinks they couldn’t do it is, “Why not?” Is it impatience? Pray for patience and find practical ways to learn patience. Is it finances? Maybe a better job can be found or better budgeting can be practiced. Is it health? Learn how to be healthy and develop good habits. Is it disorganization? Learn how to instill order in your life. Is it a struggling marriage or unruly children? Learn how to fortify these relationships. If you do these things, you will see blessings in your life, blessings that prepare you to open your heart and home to just one more.
The point would be to learn to be content in every circumstance, trust in God, and keep striving for holiness.
A big thanks to Hope for taking the time to put together such a beautiful response!