Let’s talk about the ins and outs of having a large family — Did you catch that pun? The ins and outs?? No friend, we are not going to talk about the mechanics of how we conceived a large family; rather ,I am going to share the heart behind us raising a big family.
First, what is defined as a big family in today’s culture? The 2019 census states that Oklahoma had an average household size of three. Generously rolling that number to having two parents and the proverbial two children, one-boy-and-one-girl-sized family means that anything beyond two children might be considered a large family. However, there are a few exceptions to this equation.
- Often if the first two children are the same sex, people will understand if you want to ‘try just once more’ for the other gender.
- If this is a second marriage where each spouse brings a child or two with them, people will usually nod in understanding that they want to ‘have their own child together’.
- If you have birthed your allotted two children and now choose to grow your family by fostering or adoption, everyone understands that as being a huge need in the lives of children.
But what if none of those apply to you? What if you have three kids in six years and the world tells you it is time to ‘be done now’?
Many years ago, we decided to go the route of a vasectomy. We weren’t very comfortable with how permanent it was, but we felt very pressured everywhere we went to limit our family size. We wondered if maybe people were right, and we should just be done having children. We reluctantly scheduled the appointment and followed through with that decision.
I really mourned the loss of our fertility. I loved the children we had, but I did not feel our family was complete yet. I often felt someone was missing. I began praying about my husband having a vasectomy reversal. Sadly, the surgery was expensive and things ((um…hmm… male parts!)) were much easier to chop the first time than to put back together later on. After praying silently for at least two years, I waited. I had not shared my desire with my husband, only trusting that God alone would open his mind to the possibility. At the 5-year post vasectomy mark, he approached me saying he was feeling convicted to have it reversed. We agreed that our family was not complete—finally! We sought a doctor to fix what we had broken.
So many people were excited for us when I became pregnant just a few months later. We delivered our fourth baby almost a year to the day of the reversal surgery. These same people also expected our family would now be complete, wondering what we would do to prevent more babies.
-WHY do we spend so much time worrying about other people’s decisions? –
What they didn’t know is that when we decided to have a reversal, we also decided to let God plan our family. What exactly does that mean? Does it mean we are now trying to have as many children as we possibly can? People often think so. There are well-known large families that get a lot of mean things said about them, but did anyone take the time to ask, “Why do they have such a large family?” They are often called names, even labeled ‘Quiverfull’ like it is a religious cult you join to birth as many babies you can, as fast as you can.
Being “quiverfull” just simply means you are telling God, “If you, Father, give me one child, I will be content with that. If you give me 20, I will still be content. I will let you be in control”. There is no measure or race to stretch your family size to the maximum. There is simply trusting that God can handle our fertility without our help.
That’s not the norm.
That is sure not what people expect or are comfortable with.
But what if that’s okay?
What if how I chose to walk out my faith, how I chose to live my life, looks different than yours?
We don’t all need cookie cutter families. Instead, we need to feel called to be passionate about life and live it to the fullest.
So, you might wonder how it turned out for our family? Did we end up with a bazillion kids??
No, we ended up with nine: three wonderful sons, and six extraordinary daughters. Each one has a very important place in our family. They are a mixed group of talents, strengths, and weaknesses. They are world-changers, whether it be in their own little corner or in a much bigger way. There is not one child that I can look back at and say I wish we hadn’t had. God knew the pieces that belonged in our family and how they fit together.
Now you know the ins and outs of having a big family. I will leave the rest to your imagination (blush!).