Monday, June 21, 2010

to multiply or not?

Sorry no cute pics of the kids today. Just some ramblings from their mama.

Chad and I have made it quite clear that we are done having children. I've fluttered from wanting 6 kids (before I got married), 4 (after I got married), 3 (right after Brooklyn) to 2 (after paying for 4 years of Brooklyn's daycare). We decided when I got pregnant again that this would be our last child, whether or not it was a boy or girl. For me, it was a win-win. If #2 was a girl- GREAT- we have all the stuff and clothes, we know what to do with a girl, and Brooklyn will have a little sister to boss around. If #2 was a boy- GREAT- we have some gender neutral stuff, I get to buy NEW clothes, and Brooklyn will have a little brother to boss around.

When we found out we were having a boy...WHAM! Out went all the girly stuff. When I gave birth to Jake....BAM! Out went the maternity clothes. Now, as he grows out of clothes, we can't get rid of them fast enough to all his baby boy friends. And we are beginning to purge all the "newborn" essentials, too. Chad loves when a preggo friend comes over because usually it means a tub of something or a bag of another is leaving the house. Don't get me wrong, I am happy, too. I am not a glowing pregnant woman. I am actually quite miserable for 34 weeks. We're also "pick up and go" people. Life with a baby is more slow, more well-thought-out, and you have sooooo much more stuff to bring along with you (and thus more stuff to forget!). Chad and I pretty much knew our family was complete before Jake even entered this world.

But lately, I have felt guilty.


Why guilty? Well, Chad and I have been soooooo blessed to have gotten pregnant VERY easily with both children. With Brooklyn it was a matter of "what do you think? sure, let's try. Ok. done." and with Jake "now would be a good time. ok. you free tonight? alright. done." I have never ever had to feel the heartache of not being able to get pregnant. But unfortunately, I am hearing more and more of couples- friends- who are having trouble or who have learned they are unable to get pregnant.

So, this is where the guilt lies. Why, when God has obviously chosen us to easily conceive and carry children, would we choose to just stop "nature's course" and end our multiplication? Are we being selfish? Are we being ungrateful?

Obviously, I only have these conversations with myself....and you all. And I probably wouldn't even be thinking this way if it wasn't for this sweet, albeit unconventional, family on television.

The Duggars have 19 kids (and counting). They have chosen to just continue to have children as God continues to bless them. Though their last baby was born quite early and is facing months of challenges, the prognosis is good...and so they have succesfully given birth to 19 pretty much healthy children.

Are they really crazy? Extreme- yes. Crazy? Hmmmmm. I have watched their show the past year as it has become quite a fascination with Brooklyn. Thank goodness for them so that I could stop watching horrid re-runs of this family. They truly are pretty normal parents and have raised pretty normal kids.

But, can you see my struggle here?

Why stop having healthy children? Just so I can pick up and fly to Vegas when I want? So I won't pay for daycare for 20 years? So I can afford a new car for myself in 5 years? Obviously, Chad and I are not fulfilled by having money (we wouldn't have picked education and non-profit for careers if we were). We don't care about having the newest of everything, the best and biggest of it all, etc. But we do care about giving our children 100% of ourselves. We do lead a busy life, and we enjoy taking family vacations. We are a great team, and we have chosen to devote ourselves to raising TWO strong, healthy, Christian children. We love these babies with all our heart and find great joy in watching their every moves, listening to every sound, and feeling every hug and kiss.

So, I guess what I am saying is...maybe it's OK for us to choose to end our family at 4. Just like some couples choose not to have any children, and some couples choose to have them by the dozen. It's a personal choice, and we are not ones to judge.

However, if God would choose to "surprise" us one of these days with another, we would be OK with that...but friends, I will need my stuff back. :-)


Chris Leun said...

Just let God decide what's best for the Johnson'll be wonderful! Plus, you two have the cutest kids! :)

Angela said...

God's chosen how each family develops, whether it is through terrible heart-ache or easy breezy (or sometimes both). Just listen to what He is telling you about your family. The stories of the heartaches come toward you more often but so do the bigger stories of ending the heartache in joy (no matter how that joy comes) and being able to support those new families! And know that your stuff really does find its way back around (even after 5 years).

Kate said...

Wow, it is so refreshing to hear you say this! I often feel very selfish for choosing not to have children (Of course, now I'll get pregnant this week). I think 2 kids are plenty, no needs to have the kids out number the parents! :)

Elizabeth LeConey said...

:) You must have forgotten pregnancy. JUST KIDDING! Even through the sleep deprevation right now, I am sad this is it for us. But we've always said 2 kids and for many of the same reasons you listed. And we, too, got pg VERY easy. I have many friends who have struggled. Guilt always set in. I'm a firm believer that if something should happen, it will.

McKenzie said...

haHA! love the last sentence. and believe me if you were surprised with a girl (barring any synchronizing pregnancy ;), you could have all that and then some right back!

but in all seriousness, i totally relate to and sympathize with this viewpoint. we say we'd love to have more kids (should God bless us with them obviously), and 3's the number. but i can totally see myself sitting there if we end up with those 3 (albeit slovenly and impoverished) thinking "should i really prevent more? maybe it's not supposed to be up to me."

btw, aren't you going on vacation this week? ;)
excellent post. :)


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