Thursday, June 14, 2012

Big Families

Our Family, December 2010

Probably because I am 24 weeks along with baby #12, and also because it's my baby's 2nd birthday today (Happy Birthday, sweet Eryn Mildred!), I've been thinking a lot lately about big families-- and why I've chosen to have one. It's not a choice that many make-- and in this day and age of rising infertility, it's a choice that some can't make. 

There are many women I love dearly who have wanted children, who would have welcomed big families, and yet the expected babies never come. This breaks my heart! I don't understand why I have been blessed with so many, while other's arms ache for more children. But I do know that God has a plan for each and every one of us. And He will let us know His will in all things. 

Which brings me to reason #1 of why I have a large family...

1. Each child was sent to my home because the Lord inspired me to have another baby.

Even though many might think that I am just ignorant ("Don't you know what causes that?!") or careless, I can assure you that I did not get married with the idea that I wanted, or would have, a dozen children. I have always had the conviction, however, that God's plans are flawless-- that He can see and understand things I cannot comprehend right now. And so when He prompts me that something would be best for me, I try and do it.

I am NOT perfect at this! As any of my long-time readers can attest, there have been times when I have been less than excited about having another baby. There have been tears and rebellious moments. But, luckily, the Lord is merciful and patient. He has dried my tears and given me the strength to face the unknown, the unusual.

Each one of my pregnancies and children has taught me, challenged me, and shaped who I am. The Lord really DOES know what He is doing. Trusting His plan for my life has been the best thing I've ever done.

2. I love and adore people!

I get excited just thinking about how unique and individual each one of my kids are. They are such amazing people to know! I am so humbled and awed that I get to be their mother. I love everything about them-- the way they look, their personalities, their hopes and dreams for life. 

Each one is so different and yet similar. I see bits of myself, my husband, his parents, my parents, grandparents, ancestors and forebears in them! I get goosebumps thinking how much one daughter is like several of her grandmothers, and I laugh when I mix my son's and brother's names up every now and then-- they are not the same, but one has the echo of another. And the list goes on and on.

I am happiest when I am surrounded by a crowd of people. And my Heavenly Father knows that! Every day, I am enveloped by people I love and who love me back. And they teach me, and challenge me, make me laugh, make me cry, get me angry, and fill my heart with joy. I LOVE BEING A MOTHER OF MANY. It's not easy-- of course not! But the payback is AMAZING.

3. My spiritual convictions tell me that one of my most important purposes is to bring children into the world.

For me, there is nothing as humbling and satisfying as being a partner with God in bringing His children to earth. I believe that we all lived with God before we were born; that we chose to come to earth and gain a body, so that we could grow and learn and be tested. Eventually returning back to God to report what we did and what we learned.

This personal conviction has been a driving force for everything I do in my life. I cannot remember a moment when I did not believe this to be true! I know there is a bigger plan than just the here and now. I believe that God doesn't change, and that His commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."

Long ago, I decided that I would NEVER, EVER want to be approached by a child in the next life who tearfully asks me, "Why didn't you let me come to your family?" 

I could not bear to have one babe think that they are unwanted! I want all who want the chance to come to be welcomed and loved.

4. Being pregnant and having babies brings me joy.

I am in awe of what a woman's body can do! I love the thrill of feeling a baby kick and squirm inside of me. I love watching my belly grow round and full with life.

I love that it takes me nine months to prepare for the eventuality of giving birth-- the biggest test and challenge I have ever experienced in life! 

I love that I have to lean on God and my husband and my children so fully, that I must look outside myself for strength and courage. And yet, in the end, it's just the Lord, the baby, and me. (Though I also could never do it without my sweetheart holding my hand, speaking comforting, calming words in my ear!) We are all partners in the biggest, everyday miracle that can happen in this life. There is nothing else like it! 

I love the rush of joy at the moment of birth and the thrill of meeting a new little stranger, one who trusts me implicitly and needs me absolutely. How beautiful is God's plan of bringing life into the world!

Babies grow up and children move on. 
But they will always be my children and we will always be a family! How cool is that?! 

When everything else in life fades in importance, when hobbies and possessions settle into their correct places, tall and strong stands a loving, unified family. 

No vacations I could take, no material desires could ever own, no career I could ever have would bring me the happiness and satisfaction I have from devoting time, money and resources to inviting children into my home and family. 

And having children brings my husband and I closer together, strengthening our marriage. We get to be co-creators with God-- what could be more rewarding?

I love my large family. I see each child as the individual they are-- they are not merely a lump of clay for me to mold and form. They come with their own vibrant personalities, with strength and vision for their lives. I am grateful to know them, to guide them, to love them.

I cherish being their mother. And I would never have it any other way.



  1. As one of those mothers who was blessed with children but know her family is unfinished, I feel your conviction for large families.

    I think the hardest part for me is to see the Lords timing. Having had my ability to actually bear children taken away from me, we know we are to adopt those children that are in foster care. The hardest part has been the wait.

    The Lord knows us. He knows what path we are on. He knows what is best for us. Sometimes that is hard to remember but it is so very true.

    Your points are beautiful Rachel. I love the photo above as well. You all look so happy and loving. What a blessing.

  2. Great post- I love the way you write. I always hesitate to write posts because I'm such a poor writer.
    I have to be patient with each child that joins our family and sometimes wait a long time. But every time a child has come I have looked back and realized it was perfect timing! Hey, the Lord actually does know what He's doing for my family! It's been a good lesson to learn.

  3. Jaime: I hear you on timing! It's sometimes hard to hand that over to the Lord-- okay it's almost ALWAYS hard to hand that to God! LOL! Thanks for your kind comments. :-)

    Holly: I think you are a WONDERFUL writer! Your post about your daughter yesterday touched me so deeply.

    It's true! The Lord really does know what he's doing. There is such peace in knowing that. {hugs!}

  4. My husband says he wants 100 children.

    He's not joking.

    I told him I'm okay with that as long as only about 10 of those come out of my body. ;)

    I tried to explain to my husband the other day the feelings that I have for any child. I coach my son's soccer team, and I feel like another mom to all of those 5 and 6 year olds. Even the teenage girls who babysit my kids - there is this odd burning in my heart that is really similar to the feeling I had when I held my babies for the first time. It's this overpowering feeling that these are God's children, and He wants me to love them.

    Our goal as a family is to provide a safe place to be for anyone who needs it, and to provide a loving family to anyone who needs one. Our love is not limited to those who are biologically "ours" or to those who are even legally "ours". Right now we have a family living with us with a 3 year old and a 6 month old baby. Their mom works full time and their dad is trying to finish school. Their situation is hard and they are making the best of it, and we feel blessed to be in a position where we can open up our home to them.

    Anyway, I totally hear you on all of your points above.

    I am afraid of getting to heaven and seeing the face of a child that I once saw, but didn't take the time to show him/her how much I care, and how much they are loved.

    Now I'm getting all emotional... that usually means I need to stop rambling...

  5. I've always said I wanted a large family. I'm pregnant with number three right now, due any day, but a part of me is terrified now to have more. I have struggled so much with being patient and cheerful and keeping my two little ones happy.... I don't know if I'm going to make it to a "large" family. Thank you for being encouraging and explaining so much of your feelings and impressions. I'll just keep on praying.

  6. Becca: I love hearing your perspective on this. Thank you for your comment! :-)

    Sally: When I had a few little ones, I NEVER thought I'd end up having twelve! And the only reason I have been able to manage now is because I have the help of a good husband and a LOT of older children. I simply trusted the Lord, and took it one child, one pregnancy at a time.

    Don't think you have to decide on all that now! Just trust the Lord, and get through pregnancy #3 and plod through those difficult baby years. I know it sounds trite, but they DO eventually grow up, and if trained right, they become the glue that makes inviting more children possible.

    I KNOW how hard those baby years are! I am sure I would not have the energy to run chase after my 3 littles under the age of three NOW! That really was the hardest for me, ever. But they grow, they get more helpful, we learn more parenting skills and find more patience, somehow. I had 6 kids 8 years old and younger for a time-- my #7 was born when my eldest was 10.

    It's not God's plan for EVERYONE, but it has been for ME. And luckily, the Lord has brought me to this point step by step, line upon line, precept upon precept. I could not have handled being a mother of many all in one swoop. But as I have aged and received more insight, HELP, and experience, I have found I could do things I never thought possible.

    Just remember that the Lord knows best, and whether we have three children or twelve, He will bless us and teach us, and make up for our inadequacies. Numbers are not important. The state of our hearts and our willingness to submit to His plans ARE.

    Lots of love!

  7. Hi, Rachel! I really enjoyed this post.

    Hurray for 'big families'!

    I grew up the oldest daughter in a family of 10, with 5 brothers and 2 sisters. I joke sometimes that I survived all the mayhem...I was the "Second Mother", changed a lot of diapers (cloth, pins and all)...but after becoming a wife and mom myself, those lessons learned through sometimes hard work paid off and have been a great help. It set a foundation for me to build my own family on--I didn't have to reinvent the wheel, thank goodness, as far as HOW to take care of a family goes. (Though I have reinvented some of the spokes to fit my own wheel, if you know what I mean...)

    I am learning, as well, the value of RECOGNIZING the value of the family and each person's place in it. My parents are the first ones in their families to be members of the LDS church and to have more than 4 kids, so I am grateful to them for their dedication to choose life the way they did. They weren't perfect, but they *got the job done*!

    I especially like how you said this:

    "I love my large family. I see each child as the individual they are-- they are not merely a lump of clay for me to mold and form. They come with their own vibrant personalities, with strength and vision for their lives."

    Indeed, children are not a number, each is a unique person, with unique needs and wonderful gifts! I imagine that is how God sees each and every human being, as His children. Love truly does multiply.


  8. I think your family is beautiful, and what you are doing is absolutely fantastic. I would love, love, LOVE a large family such as yours. I imagine it can be incredibly trying at times, and difficult, but oh what a blessing as well!

    Right now we just have the one who is twenty months old and -in your words - we are aching for another. But after almost a year of trying I am finally accepting that it will be on the Lord's timing, not ours!

    Love your blog. Will be back again soon!

    Take care,

  9. I loved this post. I often think, "what if I chose differently". I wanted to be a doctor and a full time working mom. It makes me shudder. I am so grateful I have my big family and chose Heavenly Father's plan for my life and not my own.

  10. AMEN! I've learned things through having a large family I never would have learned otherwise. A custom God-made life to help me learn, grow and be refined.

  11. Thanks for all your supportive, uplifting comments, ladies! I love hearing from you. :-)

    Mama Rachel


Old Fashioned Motherhood will not approve any comments that are rude, negative, or disrespectful. Thanks for being civil! :-)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...