Day #9- Enlarge your heart for parenting!
WHAT does THIS have to do with marriage you ask???
Did you know that the #1 predictor of marriage success (as learned from my family and human development classes in college) is DESIRE FOR CHILDREN?
Out of any other aspect of marriage studied or researched, rated, or relied upon to predict the future success of a marriage, it is a couple’s desire for children that is the best indicator that the marriage will be strong and lasting.
I just wrote my oldest child, my son, off on his mission, a letter. I also just tucked my twin Babies into bed for a nap. This morning tender tears dropped down my cheeks as I finished both tasks. NOT tears of sadness. Tears of JOY. The full kind of joy a heart can’t contain, it bursts out in urgent prayers of thanks from the heart, in choking tears of overcoming gratitude.
Time and experience has taught my heart how to treasure my children.
“I am a dying ‘race’, a distinct ‘breed’, a small and disappearing ‘category’,” this is a paraphrased conversation from my friend who has twelve children. She referred to herself as this when she had mentioned nursing her last baby while her oldest daughter was nursing her first. Some people actually think that is not normal.
As for me, myself, and I, I don’t really ‘fit in’ all that well anymore in most groups of mothers. The young ones think I’m a little older and the older ones find me a little too busy with my many young ones! I feel a little ‘not normal‘. Though three of my closest friends have but one child and I know that is all it takes (along with being an adoptive mother, an involved aunt, even just desiring children) to completely connect mother’s hearts, it is refreshing for me now and then to talk with other mother’s of many children.
I can count on one hand the amount of mother’s my age that I know who have more than 5 children. But MOST of their mothers and grandmothers tell me of their mother or grandmother who had 10,12,15! MOST of the records I have looked at from more than 50 years ago cite families with far more than 7 children. Several of my great-grandmother’s had more than 10.
Yes, it is a wondrous blessing that we can decide now, due to health and circumstance, when, for the most part, to let a baby come. But I have realized more than ever this year, after bravely forging forward with a pregnancy when many frowned upon it, just how much mothers, fathers, and FAMILIES, are missing out on!! Everyday that I’m hugging, holding, laughing with and watching as my husband and older children are also CHERISHING these Babies I see what I would have missed.
If I had listened to ‘cultural wisdom’, in other words, ‘It’s weird to have a big family’, I could have missed out on more than I ever could have even imagined when it comes to JOY!!!!
I used to tell everyone they should have whatever they want: 1,0,3,5 children. But then I had my 7th Baby (after a severe round with post partum depression that had taken a year to get through after my 6th!). I had one of the very greatest birth experiences of my life. So great that I suddenly felt to sing to the world that EVERYONE should have SEVEN CHILDREN!!!
That is silly of course. Everyone should very carefully, with great consideration and inspiration, but erring on the side of too many vs too few, welcome their own, meant-for-them children into their lives. Mom’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being is of utmost importance and probably should be the biggest, if not the only, factor used in determining whether or not to welcome more children into the home.
That being said, our little Zoie Grace, meaning LIFE that God in His grace and mercy gave us, was a surprise! Perhaps I would have turned her down because of my struggle the year before her conception with PPD, but I am ever and ever sooo glad she came for she brought life back to me again! I have been very, very sick through most of my pregnancies, a great thing to consider and requiring the sacrifice of myself, my husband and the whole family to welcome another little one to the world. I am glad today we leaned toward ‘letting the children come’ despite these difficult challenges. As one of my friend’s so bluntly put it, “Who is ever sorry for a child once they’ve had them?!?!?!!!” Not me, at least.
I felt even stronger after my 8th baby a joy, love, and satisfaction so great that now I would always advocate having a family, a BIG family!! 🙂 And then, of course, after nine and ten have done my heart in, I would tell ANYONE to welcome AS MANY CHILDREN from heaven to your home as you possibly can!
Because truly it IS what is normal and natural. It has been the plan for all of creation – to create, to continue, to replenish, to carry on in our children.
It is NORMAL to love and want to sacrifice for your children, those little ones you would give ANYTHING for!!
It IS the MOST fulfilling, rewarding, everlasting endeavor of ANY we can choose in this world.
I can say it because I’m living it and experiencing that right now. Even amidst the sacrifices and hardship of interrupted sleep and postponed tasks, the physical burden of getting babies and children around and taking care of their needs, the energy, concern and work for older children as we do all we can to help them navigate through dangers, giving some direction and lots of encouragement to chart a great course for life now. It has all paid back in more love and joy from the beginning, but I have found through my experience and tempering and more children that love has ONLY GROWN.
Don’t look back and regret, every mother and father DOES have their own mission in parenting! Do NOT look at those with more or less than you with the least disrespect! Just like you, they are following their ‘calling’ to parenthood in the path they feel best.
But DO be grateful for, champion, and EMBRACE Parenthood!!!! It will bless your marriage and bring you both JOY!!!
Celebrate PARENTING in your family today!!!!!
As Always, C
Sometimes I’ve been made to feel weird or not normal because I wanted to have babies. Have you felt societal pressure has encouraged you or discouraged you to have children??
Again we realize welcoming children to ones family is a very personal, private decision between the couple and God. But we feel society has too strong a say against it right now.
#1 arguments against having a child:
– We are too poor. Would you be here today if your parents had waited for more money to have you??
– We need to get our education first. My husband did better than most his classmates who were single or put off children as he spent 13 years getting his education while we raised our family from one child to 7 when he finished fellowship. We wouldn’t trade it for the world!!
– I’m just not cut out for parenting. Parenting will definitely mold you!! The more work and effort you out into it the greater the reward! Start learning!!
– I want to see the world first. That’s fine but the joy you will have contributing your own offspring to the world, watching them grow will far outweigh any other adventure I promise! It’s the biggest ride you could take!!
– I need to lose weight first. I have heard many women say this and it breaks my heart. Society has set up a stringent standard of bodily perfection most of us cannot keep up with- we were not cut that way to begin with and it is not our full-time job like models and actresses. My twin daughters age 17 are saddened to hear that MOST of their classmates who are girls don’t want kids cuz it will make their body less desirable. Too bad they don’t realize they grow old and saggy no matter what!! Nothing greater in all the world than having a child that loves you unconditionally, no matter what you look like!! (See Stephanie Nielson’s blog)
– Society’s sayings against having children today are endless. It is too bad that those who want children often feel they must apologize. I hope each of us look around and realize what we are doing.
If you are waiting for the perfect time to have children you’ll die waiting! (Quote adapted from Elder Arnold’s last night!)
And the saddest part of all is that when we die without children we’ve lost our own future.
We firmly believe the family is ordained of God . (Proclamation on the Family). While having children in this life is not possible for everyone, ‘children are an heritage from the Lord’. If we do our best in this life, strive for the ideal family, God will make it all right in the next.
Much Love and CELEBRATE, even welcome children!!!!
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