I didn’t set out to have a lot of children. I never sat down with my husband and talked about exceeding the world’s boundaries for what’s normal in the world of having a family. I never dreamed of the perfect number… but it certainly didn’t exceed societal norms of maybe three, perhaps four children. Responsibility dictates you stop when you aren’t ridiculously outnumbered, before chaos reigns, before the chances of getting in a minivan become nil.
Now, it’s funny to write that. I knew all of those things… perhaps even embraced them, before I’d given birth to even one of my children. Before I knew the joy of holding my child for the first time. Before I’d taught anyone how to hold a spoon, use a glass, pet a dog, figure out what addition and subtraction meant. Before I’d held my frightened child as they realized it was just a dream, taught them to read, taught them why Jesus had to die.
It was all before.
Then, I had my first child. Loving her more than life itself and forgetting the horrors of pregnancy and labor, I longed for another. Two sent me reeling, and I started to understand why two is plenty for many. But time passed, and again I longed to meet another child, a part of my husband and I, a blessing from God. We had a third, a fourth, a fifth. I started seeing how the world reacts to non-conformity. It’s not always pleasant. Surely these children weren’t ALL mine. Surely I didn’t CHOOSE this. Our sixth quickly followed the fifth, we officially outgrew our normal sized minivan with our normal sized gas bill, and the questions began in earnest. Are you done NOW? Are you happy now that you got two boys in the mix? (Of course, that’s why I chose this.) The lovely intrusion, don’t you know what causes that? And the most awkward, are you supermom? Or my least favorite tactic… start asking my children any of the above questions.
So now, realizing I’m thoroughly enjoying mothering these children, that I love being there to see them learn new things, that I hate pregnancy but find the babies entirely worth my agony, and we’ve completely tipped the scales into not normal anyhow, we chose to have a seventh. I’m in the bitter end of another pregnancy, counting the weeks until I get to meet this little person. I don’t know if we’ll be done after that. I do know I’m so, so thankful I didn’t stop at two or three, that I didn’t conform to some unwritten rule about what’s considered normal, that I didn’t see my children as anything but blessings. Sinful children, in need of teaching and training and of a Savior, but such blessings, every one of them.