Oh, the questions I've been asked. The remarks I've heard about our family. I'm sure every family has something they've "heard it" about.
For someone who might not know exactly, we were married just over one year when I got pregnant with our first child. That child was then one year old when we decided to start trying for a second bambino. I got pregnant in month two with a double blessing. So, my first 3 kids are less than 2 years apart. Was it crazy? Um, yes, at times. But, it was my normal. I had not controlled any of it!
You see, we were trying to control it. I was on the pill when we got pregnant with Rylee. We had had an 'oops' moment, but nonetheless were on the pill. (I apparently got pregnant and didn't know it and then proceeded to take my next month of pills for 3 weeks until we discovered I was pregnant.)
When we decided to try for #2, we figured it might take a few months. Again, we had no control over this. And, we certainly had no control over the fact that God created two babies in my womb.
For a long time, I felt guilty any time I would feel overwhelmed as a mom of young kids. I felt ashamed that I didn't have it all figured out and didn't just "know" how to do this mom thing.
Time passed. When the twins were about 2 1/2 years old, I told Joel I wanted to have one more baby. He wasn't ready. After some discussion, we tabled the issue and decided to talk about it after the first of the next year. At that point, Joel felt firmly that the answer to that question was "not now". That sort of dealt with it for me and I didn't give it much thought again for almost the rest of the year. Then, in the fall I was dealing with some physical things and really wanted to just be done taking pills. One day, in a very random moment, Joel declared that we could handle one more child. He even said that if it was a double it would be hard but we could do it. [That, my friends, was his BIGGEST fear!]
We ended up trying for 6 months! This timing was so strange to me. I had gotten pregnant so easily before. During that time a friend said to me, "Doesn't this just show you all the more how this is God's doing, not yours?"
Yes, why, yes it does! God creates life. I believe that firmly.
So, we have four children. And, oh my. As if the first three didn't cause enough comments, questions, and statements. Having four makes you either a saint or a serious nut.
That's why this person's blog post entitled "Some Subtle Effects of Birth Control" really struck a chord with me when I read it today. It challenged me--on how I perceive things and what judgements I make and how much I like controlling things.
In case you don't want to click and read the whole article, here's a little brief synopsis:
1. We think young couple who get pregnant right away are irresponsible.
2. "Was it planned?" is an acceptable question because we think we should be in control.
3. Children are often seen and referred to as an "accident".
4. Large families are seen as incredible (and wrongly put on a pedestal) or insane (and sneered at).
5. Anyone who hasn't bought into the birth control culture is seen as fair game for criticism, jokes, or invasive questions because it is assumed they "chose" something different.
6. By extension, it is expected that larger sized families (because they "chose" to have that many kids) should never struggle with a lack, with discipline, never be tired, etc.
7. Young professionals are "throwing away their career" if they stop to stay home with their baby.
8. Couples are often shocked and dismayed if they struggle with infertility. [because we're supposed to be in control]
9. Other effects: rise in sexual immorality, adultery, abortions...
Her explanations for each point drive them home so well. And, sadly, they are too true!
If I had a dollar for every time I heard "don't you know what causes that?" or "wow, you have your hands full" I would never lack for funds for our family!!!
My favorite part of her article, though, was her admonition to those reading. Christians should seek God's face and become that peculiar people--a people set apart and different from the world around us. We should be people who see children differently--as a blessing rather than a liability--and who discipline our children in a godly way so we aren't bowled over by the idea of having more.
Before you think I'm bashing people who use birth control, please realize I was on the pill for almost 10 years and we have taken measures to be done growing our family through our physical bodies. We are, however, open to adopting children in future years and will continue to seek the Lord for His plans for our family as we walk with Him. I believe it's all about seeking the Lord. But, this article really spoke to me about how we judge one another. And, I had never made the connection between these ideas and birth control!