I think my friend Rebecca said it best: “People are weird about (more than two kids), like three is the octomom or something!”
We discovered our Christmas surprise the first week of December. And though we were a bit shocked, we were happy. How could we not be happy about another child?
But, oh, three children in today’s culture? In today’s shaky economy? After making the announcement to family and friends on New Year’s Eve, I think we heard it all:
- “Erin, I feel so sorry for you.”
- “You should try (this form of birth control). It works great.”
- “If I got pregnant when my youngest was only a year old, I think I’d pass out.”
- “Maybe y’all should get something permanent done after this.”
- “Well, maybe it will finally be a boy this time.”
- “Your house is too small for three kids.”
- “Well, I personally can’t afford more than two kids.”
Now, I know many of these people were–at least partly–joking. But, who knew three kids was the end of the world? What happened to children being a blessing? But today, it seems many people view them as a burden.
I’m sure glad my parents didn’t view me that way. Although she had a college degree, my mom invested her 30s and 40s in her three children. She was there to defend me when my first grade teacher said the word “luscious” (which I had spelled right and used correctly in a sentence) wasn’t a word. She marched up to the school with a dictionary in hand to prove her wrong. She was there to chaperone children’s camp when my diabetic sister couldn’t have attended without her. And she sat on the sidelines of every one of my younger brother’s basketball games.
Now, I’m not saying it’s every woman’s calling to give up a career to raise children. What would that mean to my single friends or to my friends who have been unable to conceive?
But in a time in a country that touts itself on being all about women’s rights, why is it looked down upon when an educated woman–perhaps one who could have a career in journalism–chooses, instead, to stay at home and take care of her children?
And since when is three children too many? Why should another child not be welcomed as much as his or her older siblings were?
And as to whether or not we can afford another child: I am thankful that in my pre-kid days, God gave me the opportunity to visit an orphanage in China, mud huts in Africa, tin shanties in Peru and small concrete houses in Costa Rica and Argentina.
If I’m ever tempted to wonder how we will be able to afford three children, I pray God will take me back to what I saw in those places.
Although I didn’t say it out loud, my response to the statements above are:
- “Well, I don’t feel sorry for myself. Children are blessings.”
- “My choice of ‘birth control’ is between me and my husband, and no one else needs to know about it.”
- “I’m happy my children will be close in age. In fact, my toddler and this baby will be the same age difference as me and my younger sister.”
- “Any surgical procedures to alter our fertility is again between me and my husband.”
- “We would have been thrilled if we had had a boy, but we are equally excited to have another girl. Besides, we won’t have to buy a thing for our third girl.”
- “Though modest for our culture, our house is gigantic compared to the homes of much of the rest of the world. And it suits our family just fine.”
- “God will provide for all our needs. We may not be able to drive the nicest cars, wear designer clothes or take elaborate vacations, but, really, do those things really matter?”
Do you feel like children are a burden or a blessing? Has anyone ever made you feel like you have too many children?
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” ~Psalm 127:3 (NASB)
*This post first appeared as one of my “Motherhood” columns in the Mooresville Weekly newspaper.
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