I recently asked a question on my Facebook Page asking if any of you have ever received any negative comments about how many children you have, or how close they are in age. Many of you knew all too well about those comments!
“Don’t you know what causes that?” “How are you going to handle that many kids?” “Wow, I could never do that!” “Did you plan this pregnancy?” “How can you afford to have that many kids?” “How many are you going to have?” “Isn’t it time to stop?”
Questions like these are commonly asked of people who have multiple children. “Multiple children” in this culture could mean anything from having two kids, to having twelve. Why does our culture view having “a lot” of kids as some kind of curse? Some people think one is enough, and some think that twelve is enough. Who are we to decide how big another family should be? Just because you may feel that two children is a good amount for your family, doesn’t mean that everyone feels that way. And it doesn’t mean that God is calling every family to just consist of two children.
It is sad to me to hear friends of multiple children tell me about the comments that they’ve received when announcing a new pregnancy. It seems as though the first pregnancy there is so much excitement. The second seems like people are happy but not as interested. By the third pregnancy people begin to think you are crazy, especially if the pregnancies are all close together. Just because you may be overwhelmed at the thought, doesn’t mean you need to share your thoughts or feelings to this family that is expecting new life. A baby is conceived and being negative is not going to be beneficial at all. Instead, what if you chose to be excited for the parents? Even if it is not something you would choose; it is still a baby. It is still a life and one we can be excited about.
I find these types of negative comments in our culture surprising, but what I find it even more surprising is that these comments tend to float around even in the Christian culture. Do we view children as a chore? Do we view children as a burden? Do we just view children as an expense? What does God say about children?
Psalm 127:3-5 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
I have yet to find anywhere in Scripture that says that children are a curse or a burden. I will say however, that having two young children is a lot of work and responsibility. Some days I go to bed in tears and exhausted. This is not because I should not have had them, but rather it is because I am trying to parent them by my strength and not the Lord’s strength. I am not trying to minimize the work that is involved in being a parent. Just like the work of labor, this work can also draw you nearer to God as you rely less on yourself and more on the Creator. Scripture tells us that children are a blessing and bring joy to our heart. Children are a gift. This is not just true for small families that have two children, but it is also true for large families that have multiple children.
Our culture tends to be consumed with control. When we have a large family, it seems as though a lot of control is surrendered. When we try to micromanage exactly how many children we want to have based on what we feel comfortable with, we are missing the larger picture of what God may want for your family. There is not some magical number of children that a Christian family “should” have, but seeking God with your fertility and your family size is crucial.