Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thoughts from a Mother of Many

Me with MacKenna at her birth (She's baby #8, my first water-birth)

I just want to share part of a comment I wrote in response to a GREAT blog post on pregnancy I read today.
I think when people hear the number of kids I have, they imagine eleven 2 or 3-year-olds running around causing craziness. They forget about all the helpers, cleaners, chefs, diaper-changers, and assistants we have in all the older children we took the care to train.
The same could be said of pregnancy! It's not all the pregnancy sickness, heartburn, aches, bone creaks and swollen ankles all in one big "OUCH." Each pregnancy come one at a time, each with its own aches, miracles, and cravings.
I think that we in the modern age are just used to ease and convenience-- but being pregnant is neither of those things! However, pregnancy is a sanctifying sacrifice that brings us closer to God, relying more on His power, wisdom, and help.
I am grateful for the ONE-BY-ONE refining that eighteen pregnancies have given me. (Eleven births, six miscarriages, and one baby coming in September.)
The most beautiful part about the sacrifice of pregnancy is that we get to be a HUGE part of the lives of some of Heavenly Father's most amazing children.
ANY sacrifice is worth that. :)

I truly do think that we have it easy in this day and age. We have every kind of comfort, convenience-- and even fashion-- for our pregnancies that we could wish for! Most modern women opt for pain-free births. (Been there, done that, NOT judging in the least!)

But pregnancies are neither pain free nor easy. They were never meant to be! They are HARD. Yes, even for a "baby-making machine" like me. (Ha!)

But how many women work their tails off to get beautiful, fit bodies? Is that easy and fun? NO WAY! I submit that there would be a LOT more beautiful, fit, trim people around if it were!

It's a matter of what we value. Is pregnancy easy on anyone's body? Uh... no! (My stretchmarks alone can attest to that!) But I happen to think that bringing another baby into the world is more important than having a lovely body. (Obviously!)

Each couple needs to keep the decision of how many babies and how often they come, between them and the Lord. But DO WE INCLUDE THE LORD? Really?

I've dictated my personal wishes and ideals to the Lord countless times, only to be blessed when I finally submit to HIS plan instead of my own. I am amazed at His patience with my selfish, "well-ordered"plans. It's so wonderful that He wants to continue to teach me and humble me! All the times that He leaves me to my own own ideas because I cut Him out of the decision-making process have been pretty disastrous. (And I'm talking about more than just having babies.)

Not every family can or should look the same. But I hope that I am always willing to allow myself to be molded and formed by the Master's hands.

I pray we all allow His assistance in the forming of our families, as well. (And then rely on Him in raising them, as well!)

May the Lord bless each one of you!


  1. It has truly proven to be a blessing in our family as we've let the Lord plan each child. It isn't easy for sure, but the blessings out way all the pain in a heart beat. Great post by the way.

  2. I totally agree! Sadly, I think most of us aren't taught how exactly to include the Lord in our decision making. I have only figured that out as an adult, and still struggle with it. After fretting and fussing over when I'd ever get pregnant and when to have kids, etc. I finally learned after my 3rd to trust my Heavenly Father. What a relief that has been!
    I appreciate that you weren't all judgemental about epidurals. I personally haven't had one yet, but I really despise the way it's a big area for pride and comparison for some women. As someone who has experienced what could probably be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder from the pain of one of my births I will NOT judge anyone who chooses an epidural. You can still trust the Lord, have a spiritual and safe experience and still get an epidural. (Sorry, just can't help but add my two bits on that one!)

  3. I am so thankful for all the voices today in praise and support of motherhood and homemaking. I graduated from HS in 1975 and felt like an aberration or an anachronism because all I wanted to be and do was marry and have a family. Wouldn't you know it though, that the Lord had other plans for me and I didn't marry until 1988. Having said that I believe that being pregnant and giving birth is the most empowering thing a woman can do. It is AWESOME to partner with a husband and God to miraculously grow a baby and bring it into the world. I wish I had had faith to have more children when I could. But God knows my heart and my reasons and I have repented of my faithlessness. I loved my babies, toddlers, children, youths, teens and now adult children. Each age has joys and trials. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and love.

  4. I've heard water births are 1/2 the pain of the out of water births. Is that true? I've never been pregnant and am reaching 40 and single, so how knows if I ever will in this life. I'm just curious.

  5. Hi Becky,

    That's how my waterbirths have been for me! It's amazing.

    Of course, labor is still painful-- especially the end-- but the water makes it all much more manageable.

    It's my favorite way to labor. :)

    Welcome to the OFM blog! I'm happy to have you here. :)

  6. I suspect water births are partly personal taste, though. I tried it during labor and instantly hated it--I wanted out! Guess I'm just weird. :)

    We have tried to let the Lord into our decision-making. The result is that although I wanted several children, I got two, and I was blessed to be at peace with that, which I certainly would not have been otherwise.

  7. Thank you for being one who is seeking to plan with Heavenly Father and willing to sacrifice, endure, put-up-with all those beautiful blessings that bring joy to the world and to you. It takes courage to have children today and to have many children, takes great courage. You are a good example and I am grateful for your defense of family.

    Learning to respect and accept God's plan for each of us takes work, effort and submission. Then we have to remember that we don't all get the same opportunities or instructions. I personally love to see big families. I know there are those who would but can't. Truly I fear that there are many more that can and simply won't.

  8. I loved these thoughts and I'm not sure why they haven't occured to me before, at least not in a cohesive, thought out way. I'm living it, and I believe and relate to it, but I loved what you and Christina (and others) had to say in these posts. I especially appreciate the comparison to beautiful bodies. SO good.

  9. Great post! I'm getting induced in one week so I especially loved it :) I also really appreciate the comment from HOLLY - as a woman who gets epidurals, I often get a vibe from women who don't that I'm weaker than they are or that my birthing experience isn't as wonderful as theirs because I'm all "drugged up" - so I really appreciate you and other women who don't look down on those of us who opt for an epidural.

  10. I've really been struggling with the pain of my current pregnancy and how difficult it is physically. I've never even thought of it as a worthy sacrifice, just a test of endurance! ;) Thanks for giving me something to aspire to and give me hope. Love you!

  11. Love it! Thanks for the reminder- I having the after baby blues and needed to be reminded that what I am doing is right.

  12. Thank you for all your great comments, ladies! I feel such love for you all, and appreciation for the beautiful work you are performing in your homes and families.

    (Hang in there, Mandy! Love you, too, sis!)


  13. "I know there are those who would but can't. Truly I fear that there are many more that can and simply won't."

    I liked how you put this, Rebecca.

    I would have baby after baby after baby, but it's not a possibility for me (right now). I am afraid of being judged as one who "can and simply won't" where as I am really one who "would but can't." And sometimes I feel like I am less righteous become I can't have more children right now. I guess since I know that physically I could have more children. I am 100% willing... but it's not just up to me.

    I enjoyed Elder Anderson's talk about this at General Conference.

    I have enjoyed everyone's thoughts and comments as well as the original post.

  14. Oh, this is a lovely encouragement. I am a blessed and joyful mama of 8. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Thanks for the encouragement! I always feel this way when I'm not pregnant, but once the morning-aldd aday-sickness sets in, I often forget in the moment to be appreciative of *this* moment. I think I'm gonna cry...(could be those pregnancy hormones, lol).

  16. I really enjoyed this post I guess because I relate to it so much. We have 8 and people are shocked when they actually meet us or see us in action, that life is not pure chaos all the time. Like you said, they are not all the same age running around. I have gone through the pains and sacrifices when they were young to teach them to clean, to sit reverently where ever we go, to help out, etc etc.

  17. Right On!!!!! MY feelings exactly and I totally agree, we need to swap notes!


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