Thursday, January 6, 2011

why i think having another baby is prolife...

i once compiled a possible 'do' list for people who wanted to act on behalf of life.
i included things like posting a comment on the Alberta Prolife website, visit a seniors home, buy a gift for a new baby, pray for your local hospital - and it's administration...
and i included on that list the suggestion -

"Decide to have another baby..."

And i had a few people wrinkle their brows and ask me how having another baby could possibly fit on that list with writing letters to members of government and monetary donations to prolife organizations that are having an impact. Maybe it did seem out of place, but to be honest - it was my favourite suggestion. Partly because i think it cuts to the very heart of the matter; embracing life.
i have attended board meetings for various prolife groups over the years - i have read their websites and linked to their articles. i read impassioned pleas for change - that are grounded by scientific evidence; and yet watched the prolife movement in our country (and our neighbour to the south) make little if any progress.
i can't help but feel that it's because we're facing a heart issue.
We say that 'children are a blessing' - but it seems to carry no weight because most of us who are physically able and in our chilbearing years, are actively trying to avoid pregnancy.
& here i'll confess - i'm afraid to post this because i worry that you'll think i'm self righteous or proud... i'm not... i'm messed up, inadequate, and often mistaken. i'll add to that confession by telling you a secret - if i could stop believing that we should be more open to allowing God to grow our families - my life would be a lot easier... but to reject this idea would be too dishonest...
& i find i just can't.

14 comments:

Courtney said...

Love you!

Carol said...

I admire you and the ways you handle your family and your heart for God and I really enjoy your blog and writing skills!

I agree that children are a blessing from God, but I don't follow your thinking that we should just keep having children because if they are truly blessings why would you choose not to accept more blessings?

I think that God cares more about how we parent/love the children we do have, than how many we have.

God has given us intellect and the ability to make wise decisions and I believe he honours our feeble attempts to be Christ-like in our characters.

My husband and I felt our family was complete after 3 children - we chose not to take any permanent birth control measures, so the option was there if God wanted to override our decision!

I think it can be dangerous to encourage some couples to just keep having children. I have seen some mothers who, in my opinion, are barely mentally or physically able to handle the children they have. Yet they get caught up in some their friend's (who they admire) thinking that if they are following God's will, they must not control how many children they have.

I try to respect everyone opinions and I certainly admire you very much for the way you try to follow God's leading in your life and your family.

paige said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments carol - i'll try to give my thoughts in response in a post in the next week or so...

paige said...

o & courtney - love you too ;)

jessica jespersen said...

hm... Carol, Paige didn't say "that if children are truly blessings why would you choose not to accept more" neither did she say that "God cares about how many kids a person has." I once spoke at a school about how we are "God's masterpiece"...saying nothing about having lots of kids and the principal came up and the end and tried to sum up my talk by saying "Yes, you are right, children are a blessing from the Lord..." I looked at him and thought... He didn't listen to anything i said...He must have just stared at my line-up of kids the whole time! Paige *did* suggest that people who were *healthy* and able to have more were choosing to not...and that perhaps it was a heart issue. I personally am not necessarily full quiver (although i have 7) but i do find that i have more in common with infertile couples in their language regarding children "I want a child" than *some* (NOT all!) parents who like to say that if they had to spend a whole day with their child (homeschooling) they would go insane. It *can* be a heart issue... just the same as it can be a physical or mental health issue to have or not have children. I would not feel comfortable telling others go for another baby... just as i don't feel comfortable when others ask if Curt and I are going to have any more.... "Aren't we DONE yet?" But i *do* feel that children in general and their role in the world and the family should be thought about more often and in a deeper way. -j

jessica jespersen said...

hm... Carol, Paige didn't say "that if children are truly blessings why would you choose not to accept more" neither did she say that "God cares about how many kids a person has." I once spoke at a school about how we are "God's masterpiece"...saying nothing about having lots of kids and the principal came up and the end and tried to sum up my talk by saying "Yes, you are right, children are a blessing from the Lord..." I looked at him and thought... He didn't listen to anything i said...He must have just stared at my line-up of kids the whole time! Paige *did* suggest that people who were *healthy* and able to have more were choosing to not...and that perhaps it was a heart issue. I personally am not necessarily full quiver (although i have 7) but i do find that i have more in common with infertile couples in their language regarding children "I want a child" than *some* (NOT all!) parents who like to say that if they had to spend a whole day with their child (homeschooling) they would go insane. It *can* be a heart issue... just the same as it can be a physical or mental health issue to have or not have children. I would not feel comfortable telling others go for another baby... just as i don't feel comfortable when others ask if Curt and I are going to have any more.... "Aren't we DONE yet?" But i *do* feel that children in general and their role in the world and the family should be thought about more often and in a deeper way. -j

Lola said...

blah, I just wrote a big comment and lost it.

we want lots of children but I've recently been quite afraid to have more. It seems I fail everyday. It's so scary to think of my little babies that are so influenced by me and just how incredibly unworthy I am of the job.

I do know that God intends for me to be involved in the decision making process in regards to how many children we have and how closely they are spaced because He made my fertility so understandable and obvious. It's what he wants me to do with that knowledge that I'm struggling to understand.

Oh, and where does my desire to foster or adopt children play out?

haha, it's just as long as the first one now... welcome to my brain on six month old baby, Paige.

mamazee said...

When i was a newly married woman, i was so in love with Jesus. I went to extra church and i prayed for all the gifts mentioned in the Bible. It said to especially desire prophecy. I think having a large family can be a prophetic action, inspired by God. It says "people are treasure to God, and i treasure what HE treasures."
Do i think everyone has that calling? no. Do i think the world would be a better place if all Christians realized how much God loves them? And placed that same premium on all of human life including their own offspring, who are, admittedly, the easiest humans on earth to love - without a doubt.

Marcy said...

I have not read everyone's comments so I don't know if this has been addressed, but I think another fantastic way of being prolife is to adopt, whether that be through the foster system or even better, internationally. Why not grow your family through saving a life that will otherwise be lost or very very troubled? Just a thought.

Melissa said...

This is *such* a tender subject for so many, and I am not great with words.

I'm not even sure, for sure, on where I stand with it all.

I love my children. And I am pregnant with my 4th.

I tremble at the thought of taking any *permanent* measures to keep us from having more children, though Graeme was *done* after three kids (ha ha!). Something feels all wrong about it - I like what you wrote, Carol, how you and your husband felt your family was complete after three but you left the door open for God to override your decision. This is how I want to be, I guess... to leave the door open for God to do what we may not be ready for - but He knows.

(somehow it won't let me post my whole comment at once, so this will be in two parts...)

Melissa said...

(part two...)

However, I also tremble at the thought of increasing our family size even more - my pregnancies are not easy and I often fall quite ill in addition to normal pregnancy sickness, I do not have the unconditional support of family either during pregnancy or afterwards (though they live very close by), and I fear what it would do to my husband if God were to surprise us with a 5th.

It is a struggle. One I battle with daily. It's one of the biggest issues I wrestle with, because it's so personal.

On a slightly different tangent, my mother in law is incredibly opinionated on who and who should not have more children. She currently has 5 grandchildren, and a dresser in her guest room with 6 drawers. She labelled 5 drawers with the kids' names, and labelled the 6th as "miscellaneous". In permanent marker. I said to her, "What if we end up having another baby?" Her response, with a completely straight face, "Well, then I'd have to kill you." Needless to say, I am still alive, but it's those kinds of comments that cause me to choose my friends carefully and protect my heart from those who just want to tear me (and God's plan for our lives) down.

Alisdair said...

@ Melissa -- I sort of understand how you feel. My former Mother-in-Law told me that my son (who was born when I was 37) would be perfectly fine as an only child. I am glad I didn't listen and he ended up with a little sister when I was 43. Too bad your M-I-L wouldn't just be happy to have more grandchildren to love instead of expressing such a strong opinion. I assume she was "joking" but, I know from experience that sometimes those kind of jokes have a bit of underlying truth/personal feelings attached. Keep your chin up and keep well...
Paige's Cousin in Saskatchewan

paige said...

Awesome ideas all...
mel - i emailed you :)

Melissa said...

@ Alisdair -

Thank you for your words. Just a couple of weeks before that exchange, we'd had a conversation whereby I found out that my S-I-L's friend was having another baby, and my MIL proceeded to air her list of people who shouldn't have more children because they're "unfit" or "can't control their kids" or "can't handle what they do have" etc.... I ended up stopping her because I was afraid of where she'd get to with her list.

There has to be room for God's grace. God can renew. God can restore. We are not to judge others in such harsh ways (I believe), and it was heartbreaking for me to sit and listen to her tirade of "unfit parents", who, in my opinion, simply have different parenting techniques than what she had, and she simply disapproves. She has very little room for anything other than absolute perfection.

We are thankful to be in a church of "large" families - though most small in comparison to Paige's and her sisters' families. :) We have MANY 4-children families, and a couple of 5-children families. We are in great company. We feel understood and supported by those that have gone before us. We also feel supported by those that have fewer children than we do. It's quite refreshing, especially in a society that often looks at you sideways if you "deliberately" have more than two children.

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