Why we intentionally decided to have a large family.

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Our 5th baby Willow – I can’t imagine life without her.

Not everyone desires to have a large family. Actually it’s becoming less and less common in this century. And I also realise that some couples desire to have lots of children but, because a whole huge number of reasons, may be unable to.

It’s funny how when you have more than the average number of children (1.2) that people suddenly seem to think that it is their business to ask if the couple uses contraception.

“Haven’t you worked out what causes that yet?” Is one cringe worthy comment I’ve been receiving since I was pregnant with our third child. Most likely because when I was pregnant with our third child I also had a 2-year-old and a 6 month old baby. I try not to let these comments bother me, they are often meant well and often the person saying it just doesn’t really know what to say.

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Our first three babies are now aged 4, 5 and a half and 7.

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Like most couples do, Luke and I talked about how many children we would love to have before we were married. We thought 4, maybe 6. But as the years went on and we dove deep into research about what God’s word says about having children our thoughts and convictions began to change.

Psalm 127 v3-5

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.

The Bible is pretty clear that it is important to have children if we can. Children are a blessings and gift and they are our heritage. And the barren womb is something to weep over.

But how can you tell if your quiver is full? This is a pretty huge question.

Is it even Biblical to use contraception? How can we decide who, how many, and when children come into this world? This is why often Christian couples decide to leave their family size and spacing in the hands of our sovereign Lord. And this is what Luke and I decided to do when I was pregnant with our first baby. We soon discovered that I have been blessed with super sonic fertility! *laughs! Even while full-time breastfeeding my little baby boy I was pregnant again 5 months postpartum. Sadly this baby was found on a scan to be a “blighted ovum” and I miscarried at 7 weeks. I was pregnant again within a few months and gave birth to a big beautiful bouncy boy. A baby daughter soon followed 16 months later. I then had 3 children ages almost 3, 16 months and a newborn. We had a busy time caring for these little 3. I’m so thankful that I had a lovely mums group during this time that I went to every Friday morning and these ladies were very encouraging to me and my three little ones.

When my baby girl was around 8 months old I was pregnant again, but yet again had a heart wrenching miscarriage, this time at 12 week along. I had a scan at 8 weeks along and there was a 8 week old baby there on-screen with no heart beat. The doctor offered me another D&C operation to remove the baby but I declined this time and went home and waited an anxiety ridden 4 weeks for the baby to be delivered at home.

Life gets hard and what then? We still trusted God with all our hearts to shape our family the way He sees fit. But we were weary and wearing thin. We prayerfully decided to space our pregnancies with non abortive methods of contraception. I can’t take the pill either as my body has awful side effects from the artificial hormones. I  have never felt right about the pill because some forms are abortive, which I am very against. I am entirely pro-life. We have also decided against doing anything to permanently end our fertility.

We kept having babies, just spaced apart a little. We have been blessed with two more full term healthy pregnancies both girls. We feel so incredibly blessed to have our children. My heart keeps increasing with each new child born into our family.

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Pregnant with baby number #4 in 2014  – Holly.

It’s hard to not let fear control whether we have more children or not. For us, one of the fears we have struggled with is having the finances to care for our brood. But this is where we have exercised our faith in our God the provider.

Not long after our 5th baby Willow was born I began thinking about money and I went down that destructive thought pattern of all the “what ifs” and began having a panic about how we were going to pay for schooling and driving lessons and our daughters weddings! Sometimes swirling thoughts can overwhelm me! But instead of entertaining these thoughts for too long I prayed and gave it all over to God – I put my complete trust in him. That same afternoon He led me to read this scripture during my quiet time;

Psalm 37 v 25 – 26

“I have been young and now am old. And in all my years I have never seen the Lord forsake a man who loves him; nor have I seen the children of the Godly go hungry. Instead, the godly are able to be generous with their gifts and loans to others and their children are a blessing.”

As I look at the beautiful children of the couples of the church we are now attending I imagine what it would be like if they had decided to stop having children after they had their second baby. (One family has 5, another 8, one 10 and one couple has 11 children!) There would be no one in the choir, all their smiling faces, eternal souls, witnesses for Christ, wouldn’t be here.

I met the eldest child of the family with 11 children a few days ago. She is now grown, married and has a baby of her own. I asked her what it was like to be the eldest of eleven. She says it was busy and often noisy, but she wouldn’t change it for anything. She adores all her younger siblings.

It’s easy for us to just follow the crowd and do the norm of society but I encourage you to be prayerful and dive into the scriptures today and read and learn more of the blessings of children.

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Blessings, Peta.

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