It’s an interesting sisterhood, this band of moms.
Walk into a grocery store, park or fast-food place with more than one child per arm and you’re bound to hear the questions, whether they’re stated or not. Sometimes, of course, people just have to ask …
Are they all yours?
And then there’s the way nosy but thankfully rare follow-up … Are they all both of yours?
I got an email a few days ago from a friend who’s recently found out she’s expecting again. She knew to call me because I’d have the appropriate response — which is “Woohoo! Congratulations! I’m so happy for you!” by the way, in case you’re ever wondering. This wonderfully sweet mama has been hoping for two pink lines for awhile, but when they appeared the other day, she found herself *unexpectedly* slipping into panic mode.
Hey, it can happen to the best of us, all right?
The thing is, it’s not so much her own little self she’s worried about; the problem is the stress she feels when she thinks about *other people* hearing the news.
That’s a sad statement, people.
So she knew, since I’ve been through this situation a time or two (or six) that she could ask me her questions. And has been gracious enough to let me respond to her here, in this forum, so you could share my great wisdom.
Here they are; her questions and my answers. Feel free to apply as you like, if any of it’s worth applying!
“What have we gotten ourselves into?”
Well, not sure there’s much of an answer to this one. Basically you’ve gotten yourself into another eighteen years of serious work, and then of course you’ve given yourself a new person to love and worry about and advise and pray for, for the rest of your life. But the good news, of course, is that you certainly didn’t get into it by yourself. Well, you already knew your husband was involved, but there’s someone (Someone) else to consider here. Most of the church world tends to forget this verse, I think, after about two children–and certainly after three …
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3
Now, note that this verse doesn’t say, “The first two children are a gift of the LORD.” Neither does it say “Like burdens in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” And I don’t know anyone who would consider a quiver full with only one or two arrows in it. If we considered our wallets full the way we consider our quivers full, we’d be in pretty big trouble. READ THIS SCRIPTURE AS TRUTH, okay? Don’t let anyone mamby-pamby it up to you. If God sends you the gift of more children, receive them as all gifts should be received — with great joy!
And of course if you want the detailed answer to “What have we gotten ourselves into,” you can read this post: What’s One More?
“Now that we’ll have (more), how does life change?”
Oh dear, how much room and time do I have? I think I might have answered most of that question in the above link (What’s One More?) Those are the practical ways your life changes when you add another blessing to your home. You know, for us, two felt like an accomplishment when we learned to handle them, and then three was pretty easy (“Okay, we’re outnumbered, but we can do this.”) There was something about four that was pretty seriously different. It was sortof, “Wow, there are twice as many of them as us; can we do this thing?” And it took a while to feel like we could! And then I think after that, we knew we were so outnumbered that it wasn’t about the numbers anymore. At that point it became more about systems and organization and managing the inevitable busy-ness.
Life changes most of all, though, because your heart expands. I remember when I was pregnant with Zach. I kept worrying; how on earth will I ever love a second the way I love the first? I was pretty gaga over that first baby, after all. And then he arrived, and my heart burst one more time. It’s worked that way *every* time, thank goodness! I read something once that really helped me with that worry about having enough love for many children … “Love doesn’t divide, it multiplies.” Absolutely, powerfully true! Get ready! I had a dear friend of mine that got me one of the best pails for cloth diapers and I couldn’t be more thankful for this gift.
“Do you ever take your kids on an out-of-state road trip? How does that work?”
Yes, we do! And honestly, the younger they are, the easier it is, I think. We did it by traveling overnight most of the time. After trying to nap in the afternoon, we’d load everyone into the car in their jammies sometime after dinner, and then we’d hit a coffee shop for some serious caffeine and snacks for ourselves, and take turns driving and talking overnight while the kids slept. We’d try to take turns napping again the next day after we arrived. Of course, that’s how we once ended up at a camp site with the boys gleefully making mud pies from dirt and strawberry Suave, but that’s another story. Truth is, having some alone talking time is actually good for your marriage. Like I said, it’s harder when they get older!
“And how on earth am I going to convince my family members who already think that we have too many kids that one more is a blessing, just as the first ones were?”
Now this one is hard to answer. On second thought, no it isn’t. Here’s the deal: you’re going to have to drop that expectation. It’s honestly not your responsibility to convince your family members of any such thing, any more than it would be your job to convince them that you should move across the country, or change careers, or buy a purple tablecloth, for heaven’s sake. Even less, actually. Because while those things might all be dependent upon you, I’m pretty sure that the last thing I checked, God was the only One truly capable of creating eternal, human souls. He lets us play a part, of course. But the thing is, He didn’t start wringing His hands when you saw those two pink lines, thinking, “Oh my Self, those crazy kids have done it again … now I have to come up with a whole plan for this new soul’s life … whatever should I do???” No, He had a plan for this being, from before the foundations of the earth, and He chose way back then to send this little one to your family, because you are just the people He needs to give this new soul the personality and background and life he/she needs to grow into God’s instrument, to be used by Him to impact *this* generation for the Kingdom of God.
Tell your grumpy family members to put that in their pipe and smoke it.
Seriously, we all need someone to have our backs on this one. You know I’m kidding with that. Sort of.
Honestly, remember they’re probably mostly just worrying about you. They want the best for you, and they don’t have your revelation of the truth about God’s design for families and children. Pray for them. I think the more you convey your own joy and lack of worry, the faster they’ll get comfortable with the idea.
And you can always pass along some of these Scriptures …
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10
“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.” Psalm 112:1-3
“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!” Psalm 128
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
Congratulations, sweet friend. And woot to the hoo! Someone thinks you can do this thing. And so do I.
Here are the other 31 Days of Encouragement!