I’ve read a few posts in the last few weeks in favor of large families (here’s an example by Your Modern Family) and I couldn’t help but chime in.This isn’t a post to convince others to have more kiddos, but to ask for grace for those of us who choose (and are blessed) to fill our houses.
We’ve got 4 children and are debating whether we are “done” or not. We realize we are part of a small number of people in our generation who chose to have large families on purpose. Although we haven’t been subject to too many cruel remarks like others who have large numbers of offspring, it is interesting to me that families of any size commonly get advice from complete strangers about the number of kids they should have!
Many times when we’re in public I get mad or annoyed stares from strangers- even when my children are behaving! When we do complimented, I make sure to thank the person profusely- because it just doesn’t happen that often.
I asked others who have large families if they’ve received negative comments*. They said that people in public would say anything from, “Don’t you know what causes babies?” to “You’re going to turn into a mom who goes nuts and kills her kids if you keep having more.” Um, what?
Since when are children the enemy?
When we had our first, Landon, 9 years ago, he was born with a rare liver disease. Even though it threw us into a major whirlwind, we knew we definitely wanted more. By the time he was 10 months old, our Allison was on the way. When she was born, we had what many would call a “complete” family within a 19-month span. Everyone from the older ladies at church to old friends from high school I ran into congratulated us on “the perfect family”- as if we had ANYTHING to do with their gender!
My body was definitely ready for a little break- I was pregnant and/or breastfeeding for a solid 3.5 years- throw in a baby who required lots of medical attention in the first year, 2 C-sections, making a major move, and planting a church, 2 was good for us for a time.
However, Ben and I both knew that our family wasn’t complete yet. In early 2010 I found out I was pregnant with #3. I was completely elated and so was Ben. Number four- our Canaan, came a littler earlier than we “planned” but he has been a 100% delight in our family.
Here’s where I told Ben #4 was on the way. He was just excited this time as the first! (You can read the story of how I broke the news here.)
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, are the families who choose to only have one. People seem to find it okay to tell them they need more. If they already have a boy, they “need” to try for a girl, and vice versa- as if they have any control over the gender of their children!
It really seems that two offspring is the only acceptable number to most Americans!
When I think I never would know the cute bundle of sassiness that is Evie, or the undying affection of a Mama’s boy that is Canaan, it makes me very sad. I know that large families aren’t for everyone- but please be understanding to those of us who do! In fact- if you really want to be unique, have us over for dinner! 😉
Do you have a large family? What advice do you have for other large families?
*the moms who answered my “survey” also said they received encouraging comments as well, not all negative.