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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How Do You Know When To Stop Having Children?


My husband and I think we are done having biological children...but we're just not 100% sure...

We are praying about what to do, but I can't seem to get all "the voices" out of my head. Are we being disobedient to God if we don't have more bio children? Is it a decision that God has given us the authority to make (I tend to lean toward this)? That darn quiver full movement won't leave my head! Grrrr...Voddie...

Don't get me wrong, I know I don't want 20 kids.

I think the hard part is just taking the leap to actually have surgery to pretty much guarantee no more little babes. What if we change our minds?

This decision is so much more difficult than I anticipated! I have always wanted a large family, but I want a large adopted family! Pregnancy is just too stinkin' hard for me, especially the sickness. I want to be intentional about raising my kiddos in the Lord, but barfing makes it really difficult to focus...especially when you want to homeschool!

Anyone else struggle with this decision?

56 comments:

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

Considering I am in a family where this sibling has the least amount of kids at "just five," yes, I have struggled with this decision. We have decided not to do anything permanent, but I just had to comment when the "urr, Voddie" comment came through my reader. LOL. He spoke at our home school conference last year, so I totally know what you were referring to. I think you can take a deep breath and wait til your sweet baby is much older and letting you get lots of sleep at night before you have to decide anything. I thought the same thing as you, but now regret that we didn't have another one a few years ago. But, I have hit 40 and my hubby almost 44. :) Who knows. LOL

Lisa said...

In our case, I deferred to my husband. He said early on that he only wanted two. He knew he could financially support two. We haven't done anything permanent, but we both strongly sense that God has blessed our decision to stop at two for many reasons.

I truly think that, if you're not getting a strong sense that your family is complete, and both you and your husband feel that adoption is in the future for you, then God will honor that. Keep praying for clarity, and it will absolutely come your way. Blessings to you, Sarah Mae!

Sarah said...

We are tossing around the decision that we are done having biological children but we will be adopting to add to our family in the future. I really do not have lovely pregnancies. (Sick, exhausted, terrible). God laid adoption on my heart long ago and now we are waiting on His timing.

L Harris said...

DH won't let a doctor or anyone go near him (iykwim) with any sort of blade. So our family is size is kinda in his hands and God's and I'm okay with that.

L Harris said...

Oh, and I lean toward God totally controlling our family size. But it's been a long road to that decision.

Misty M. said...

Boy, when I saw the title of this post I couldn't wait to read it. You know how you could flip through a magazine and see lots of articles on things that other people find important, but none are really what interests you? Well, an article on this subject would enthrall me over and over!

We have two children now and though everyone I know stops there. (only one couple in our church has more than 2 children by choice) and we go to a fairly large church by my standards. Despite this and the fact that we aren't what most people would call comfortable financially, my husband and prayed and prayed about it and finally decided recently that we would love for God to bless us with a third child. Our littlest turns 1 this week. That was sort of our goal for waiting. I have been looking at the Quiverful movement also. I don't know about anyone else, but I do know that two things are true- First: We should trust that God knows how many and when we should have them, and Second: I am too chicken to commit to this long-term like the Duggars (bless them).

It is the only thing that I can say. We have decided to take it one step at a time. All we know is that we can and will welcome one more at this time...Should God choose to bless us....and as for a fourth? or fifth? We will see how we feel led at that time.

I do know one other thing: Every time I see a family not afraid to welcome more blessings I want to CHEER!! and every time I see a family stop automatically after two children, I almost want to cry. I am not sure these reactions have any solid logic behind them, but that is how my heart feels.
If anyone out there wants another child but is afraid of the cost or the worry... remember- God rewards Faith.. Faith pleases God.... and it is a rock solid truth that having a child takes Faith!!!!
Thank you for sharing.

Jenni said...

Well, thinking I would have 7 or so and after 3 (very trying) pregnancies finding that it may be difficult to every carry another past 16 weeks or so... God is in control! As C.S. Lewis says, "People are a very bad judge of what will happen to them next." I guess what I am trying to say is there is no way we can know what God has planned for our lives so I don't think anyone of us can say we are done, that is God's call. Telling him otherwise by surgery or chemicals well that seems presumtious to me. I will pray that God will bless you as you answer His call.

Joye @ The Joyeful Journey said...

Oh, wow--exactly what I've been talking to God about lately! I caught myself telling God this in the car the other day, "But, God, I don't know if I can trust you with this..." Umm...that was an EYE OPENER for me! In my situation, God showed me It is really all about trusting HIM and resisting the sinful desire in me to be in control. (Not every woman in the Bible had a bazillion kids--in fact many of the great women of the faith had only one or two--so God is not going to give us more than we can handle!) Thanks for posting and I pray God brings your answer!

MomE said...

In my case the Dr. said something about "not having more if you want to be around for the two you have.." and that scared my dh so badly that he went to the Dr. and made sure I'd be safe! Of course, it's not that cut and dried for most. We still plan to adopt someday...because my dh is himself adopted. God can continue the family well past actual physical pregnancy!

The Real Me! said...

I loved the honesty in this post my friend.
We hang out with families that have no less then 5 children and go up to as many as 10 so it's funny because we have a tendency to apologize for only having 3 LOL. I mean that in all jest. I had 3 miscarriages in between my oldest 15 and my middle 6. My last was over 11 lbs at birth and just about physically crippled me. We decided to stop for my health as I feel like I need to be physically healthy to take care and homeschool the 3 that I have. I have large babies and that's not going to change. I know the Lord could pull me through whatever having more kids might have entailed but it's a decision we made. Plus I'm getting up there in age and I would like to be a young grandma! LOL. If we would have had the 3 that we miscarried we would proudly be parents of 6 and love it but that didn't happen and we are very happy with what we have. I would definitely adopt if the Lord led in that direction but for now we are truly blessed as we are.
Big hugs to you my friend.
Kim

Lynne said...

Great post. It's a great question! I'm 8 mo pregnant w/ #2 and I'm DONE - I don't like being pregnant either! But I'm not sure we're exactly done with our family. I have a 4 yr old boy and baby #2 is also a boy. I'd still like to have a little girl. But there's NO WAY I'm chancing #3 ... my luck another boy! We've talked about adoption and are considering it for the future. We're going to see how we handle 2 boys and where we're at in a few years. Good luck!

Happyhome said...

Absolutely! You are not alone in how you're feeling. I (we) struggled for several years, going back and forth with the idea of God controlling our family size. The whole "quiver full" thing kept getting to me too. What does it mean for our family? I would have been a bit more open to "let's see where this takes us" sort of thinking, but hubby wanted to be sure that he was able to give his all to the kids we have and felt each one we added detracted from that. That and the fact that he is the one setting up mutual funds for their college education! I had to respect his feelings and come to a point of acceptance.

We have four amazing kids and after each one we would pray and try to figure out what we felt led to do. Not sure when/how it happened, but finally after number 4 we just knew....this was our family...it felt complete.

All this to say, every family is different and I've come to realize every family's quiver is a different size...and that's OK!

ServinGsus said...

I totally believe that God opens and closes the womb if we let Him! I have 2 great kids ... and both were born "against the odds" ... birth control babies, as it were. Then, after #2 we TRIED to have more, and nothing. The going joke is, "Hey, are you going back on birth control yet so you can have more??" I was so dead set on having kids early in our marriage that I took the pill, hubby did his part, and I kept a calendar with my ovulation schedule (and didn't go to bed if there were any eggs!). And with Princess, the story gets more fantastical, but that's not for here =) So my personal story, to me, shows that God is ultimately in control because when we got married we prayed and admitted to God that He knew better and if we were out of His plan with ours, please take over.

This is one of those really tough questions, though, and I don't think it needs to be. Back in the day, things were different than they are now. There wasn't a wealth of children in need of parents just sitting in a county home or getting tossed from one place to the next because no one wants them or can afford the adoption fees. There were also clearly defined roles and less financial burdens, and women definitely minded the home (or tent, as it were). Anyhow, I believe the Lord tells us where He wants our family to stop. Thanks for covering a "tough" one!

christinnjon said...

ooh ooh I do I do! I am in the same boat!! I want more kids, but the pregnancy is too hard on me. I have "morning" sickness for like 5 months! That really puts a strain on me and the family, ya know?

I think having your husband give input can really help solidify the confirmation. Both of you pray about it separately.

Whenever I have the urge for another baby, I always pray about it and ask God to line up mine and my husbands heart with whatever HE (GOD) wants. And He always does.

I don't know why people are teaching on "quiver full" being for every family because that is not what the Bible says. This issue is not a salvation issue and is more of an obedience issue. If the couple is in obedience to God, that's right where you're supposed to be--whether it's one child or 18. If it is God's will, it is perfect.

My husband nor I in particular are not comfortable with doing anything permanent to prevent pregnancy. We have been taking it one child at a time.

We have a couple of reasons we could stop here. 1) all the uncertainty this world is in and where it's going to end up in the next few+ years. 2)my hormones get out of control and I have postpartum depression pretty moderately. It's enough to disrupt my quality of life.

I also have to add, though, that God has literally spoken to me about exercising regularly (this stems off PPD a lot). So I would HAVE to exercise while pregnant.

I really think this decision is a family by family case, lead by the Lord alone.

Hallie said...

I am going through the same thing right now. I have 3 boys. My oldest is 7. Our second boy is 18 months and was born 3 years after we started trying for him. I had given up. I thought our 7 year old would be it. I had accepted and come to terms with having an only child. It was after this that I found out #2 was coming. Our third is 4 months old. He was our surprise. We were that 1% that the birth control didn't prevent. Life can be difficult with 2 little ones only 14 months apart, but I can't imagine my life without them. But I am almost 100% positive we are done. I don't feel the need to have a girl in my family. What would I do with one? I don't know how to raise a daughter. But at this point, I don't know if it's because the youngest are so close in age or not, so when I'm asked I tell people, "I don't know, ask me in a few years." But I'm really feeling that we are finished and I am comfortable with it. I just feel done and I know it has nothing to do with the gestational diabetes I ended up with the last pregnancy, because I would do it again if I had to. I just feel deep down that we are finished and my husband feels the same way.

Kasey Hunt said...

Great post. I've had this question now for over a year. I'm back and forth. I have two, boy and girl. They are so much fun. But I can't help but think how #3 would be like or different from them. Everyday they ask for a brother or sister. A lot of my girlfriends are prego now too. I just don't know.

Kat said...

Like Jen, I regret not having another a few years back. And in a few months I'll be 40, and I'm just t-i-r-e-d. Homeschooling, running a business, taking care of aging parents, taking care of your husband, taking care of your children, serving the Lord.....whew! My husband also refuses to go near the knife. We are natural family planners, and while we do what we know to "prevent pregnancy", I know that we have a lot of open windows (so to speak) for the Lord to make a baby if He sees fit. I will be honest and say that many, many times I just get tired of keeping up with my cycle and the NFP, but this is where the Lord has us.

Oh! And this weekend we are going to a Voddie conference. Woo Hoo :)

Debbie said...

Like all the other ladies said - Prayer is a big key. I believe this is like any other calling in our Life - God will not call us to more than we can handle, and He will give us grace to handle what He gives us. My hubby & I have 2 girls - ages 3 and 21 months. We have "tried" to get pregnant, and have never attempted to prevent pregnancy. God has given us 2 girls. Maybe there will be more children - but like some others - I'm almost 40, pregnancy brings on horrible morning sickness for months, and I too have postpartum depression. I don't enjoy pregnancy so much - but I also believe, deep in my soul, that God will give us the children He wants us to have. I can't IMAGINE having 18 children - okay, when I do imagine it, I want to cry my eyes out - but look at what a blessing the Duggar's have turned out to be. And then the folks who don't have any children can be used in other ways. I do believe this is something - like a job or moving or anything else - that should be prayed over by you & your husband - but can be left in the Lord's hands fully.

Amydeanne said...

I know so many women who have struggled with this and still do, even after making adjustments.. I sort of had mine solved for me b/c I had mine so close together and were all C/S's (4 in 4 years) the doctor said it wasn't safe and quite honestly I agree b/c each baby came earlier and earlier and I got sicker and sicker... and I know I need to use my brain and be a good mom for my kids that I already have (I lost 3 as well...) I still struggle with wanting more, but know that we did the right thing... and I was someone who struggled with fertility for almost 10 years... so that was huge for me..
I think some of us never really loose the desire, we just need to channel it in new directions. I think someday we'd like to adopt, but probalby not til my own babies are much older...
I don't know if that helps, and I read lots of good comments here. I'll pray that God will give you direction on how you and your family should progress.
hugs & prayers

Conny said...

Wow, this question has my head reeling! We have 2 children after years of infertility, after begging God to answer (Hannah in the Bible is my hero). He answered - and then He threw in a surprise: we got pregnant on our own with #3! And then I miscarried. That baby would almost be 6 years old now (in May). Since that happened, I've had a nagging feeling that our family is NOT complete - I want that third child so much!! BUT I am scared to death that God has said our family is complete since I haven't conceived again since - despite "trying" and infertility treatments. What if GOD says we are done - and I haven't heard the message??! I am 38 years old - and I haven't given up hope yet. I don't want to go by "feelings" too much, I want God to have His way. He knows best. Yet I still long for ONE MORE...I can't imagine getting old and still wondering about that 3rd child...but then again, if it was God's will, then I must just accept it. It's a tough one for me!

Muthering Heights said...

Oh yes! Personally, I am completely ready to throw in the towel (as I am pregnant with our third in three years...I'm a little tired), but I'm afraid that taking permanent measures (I'm not comfortable with chemical birth control) would be disobedient of me. It's a tough decision, requiring lots of prayer!

Carisa said...

I am right here with you. I am about a week away from delivering our 3rd child, our first girl! We were *certain* we were done after our 2nd because of my horrible pregnancy with him. Thankfully we didn't do anything drastic and here we are today awaiting our newest blessing.

This pregnancy however, has been (and is) the worst by far and my physical body is not handling it well (I have several other physical complications). We have made the tough decision to have my tubes tied during my c-sec (all of my babies are breech). We have went back and forth with this and finally come to peace with it.

I need to be the best I can be for my 3 kids and my husband, and open to how God wants to work through me in the future. God CAN break through my tubes being tied if He desires :) and I will trust him if that happens. However we plan to follow His lead in the area of adoption in the future.

I am completely fine with the 3 we have or with many more if that's how God leads.

:) Carisa

Heather said...

I don't think that the issue of family size is the same for everyone. I believe that most married couples should be open to having children at some point in their marriage, but perhaps not for the 20+ years that a woman can have children. My husband and I are currently quiver full, but after being married for 7 years and only 1 living child, it's easy for us to be so. The NT commands us to take care of widows and orphans. I think that you can be quiver full and acquire your children via adoption.

Gina said...

That is such a tough issue and such a personal one as well! I agree with the others, just pray and wait. God wants you walking in his will more than you even do-he'll make it clear. Until then enjoy your family as it is! (and use great birth control!) They grow so fast anyway!

For us-we were conviced two was great and then the third shocked us. After that we were more than sure our family was complete, but then pregnancy was tough on our marriage so we didn't really want to go through that again. We may just grow our family through adoption later, but we'll wait for a clear word on that.

Oh, and I've always believed God is much bigger than any procedure-I know plenty who have been surprised to have more kids after those procedures have been declared successful by doctors! I'm just saying, if he wants you to birth more then you will!

Janel said...

Either direction you take is covered and governed by the sovereignty of God. Period. Outside of a complete hysterectomy, abstinence is the only “fail proof” method for preventing pregnancy - and even it didn’t work for Jesus’ mom... God had other plans.

I know 4 couples (2 personally & 2 who are friends of friends) that went for permanent sterilization and still got pregnant long after it was supposed to be “safe.” One of those “accidental” pregnancies saved his brother’s life because he was the only bone marrow match they could find.

I have another friend who felt horribly convicted after a tubal. They spent the money to get it reversed and made sure everything was working again. They’ve only had one miscarriage in 8 years. I know quiver full minded folks who have been married for years and only have 4 or 5 children and others that have none. We never know.

No matter your choice, God still gets the final say.

ladyofvirtue said...

I guess I should weigh in here...

I am the mother of 14, soon to be 15 children.

I know Voddie has the right words, and very convicting ones, but they are only words--sometimes you need a visual aid.

I guess I'm that aid. I have traveled the road of surrender now for many years--and I almost turned back when carrying no. 5. I had been hospitalized with morning sickness, homeschooling my other children, the oldest 7 years old. It just seemed as though I was at my max.

But I just couldn't go through with it--and I am so glad.

No, it's not a "salvation issue"--if you don't surrender in this area you will not be damned or anything else, but it is a blessing issue.

I choose Romans 12--offering my body up as a living sacrifice. The morning sickness, trusting God for provision (we are not financially set--never have been), etc. are all part of the picture.

But this morning the little girls (babies no. 12, 13, and 14) crawled in bed with their 50+ year old papa and they all sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "Twinkle Star" with lots of giggles while he tickled them. Little bits of heaven on earth we would not be experiencing if we had stopped with five children.

It's also a holiness issue. Am I more holy than you or anyone else?--doubtful. But am I more holy than I would have been otherwise--definitely.

We can't see the future--we can't tell how God will move in our physical well-being or our finances. He doesn't ever tell us we have to have the whole picture laid out--that is His business. I am not speaking theory here, I am living it. Between babies 13 and 14 I experienced 2 life-threatening miscarriages, and the old questions surfaced again. But we decided to surrender once more, and now I am just a few months away from delivering no. 15.

Just ask my kids--would they be happier if they hadn't been born? Do they resent having to have shared their lives with their siblings--not at all.

Looking back, we know there was always enough--always enough love and provision, and even the hard times were a blessing--because we were laying the groundwork for character in their lives that is blessing them today--especially in the ones we have launched into life.

This is a hard struggle, sort of like taking a step into nothingness, but since I have gone ahead, I will call back to you and say "Yes, it was worth it all".

Sherry

Exceedingly Abundantly said...

I respect your bravery in putting the question out there. And I can completely relate to the Voddie GRRR. From the varied perspectives of your commentors, it is obvious there is not an EASY answer. Everyone you ask will have a different reason, justification, experience, feeling, perspective based on their situation, view of God, adherence to the Bible, etc.

We have struggled, battled, pleaded, cried out to the Lord here over the same thing. For years. I battle with severe PPD and the pregnancies get harder every time as I'm older and more stretched with each one. But God's word does not promise an EASY road for obedience. He promises to be with us and to take us through. To never leave us or forsake us. Even when I'm throwing up, and when I can't roll out of bed because my muscles ache and my tummy's huge, and when I hit the depths while holding His precious gift in my arms.

We have begged the Lord to give us an 'out' and to show us we can be DONE. He has not. And we've finally stopped begging.

Our experience is that He has shown us His will. We are the ones who make it complicated when we continue to question or look for loopholes or reason it away. The Bible clearly says that children are a blessing. Blessed is the man whose quiver is FULL of them. But you already know this.

It is obvious by reading your blog that you desire to do God's will. That you know Him in a unique way. That you desire to serve and please Him. That you hear His voice. And He will be faithful in guiding you as you seek Him in this as well.

Blessings to you, dear one, as you seek His face. May He show Himself and His will to you clearly.

Anonymous said...

A quiver full of arrows, in biblical times, was only 3-8...seriously. i got tired of the voices of guilt beating my brain with that one...so I looked it up and was relieved.

Veronica said...

It's such a tough thing to decide. It's something that my Hubby and I talk about a lot, actually. When I was pregnant with my 2nd one, I was convinced that after that pregnancy, I was done. Now that my baby is already one, I find myself feeling like I'm not quite done yet. Like I heard someone say just a few months ago, when I look around the dinner table, I'm not quite sure everyone is there yet. I keep praying that the Lord will tell us when we are done. Until then we are just waiting on Him.

Stephanie said...

I have been reading your blog for almost a month now, but this is the first time that I have decided to comment (I usually just enjoy reading and studying with you). I have been married for almost 7 wonderful months after dating my now husband for 2 years (he turns 30 this year and I turn 25 in August). We both strongly desire to follow God's plan for our lives and not the world's plan, but sometimes struggle with interpreting his word. I trust my husband and desire to let him lead me.

We haven't even started our family and we are already struggling with this very question. We have chosen to use NFP at this time, but we are both very open to children. At this time I am turning to my husband for guidance (bc/ I would love to start "trying" now) and he advises me that he wants to wait until our 1 year anniversary to stop NFP (in order to pay off my loans from getting my pricey master's degree- I am hoping that degree will help my home schooling abilities :). My husband often says that he debates whether we should stop the NFP and simply trust in God. We are financially blessed and are not hurting by any means. Once we have children, we have decided that I will stay at home and home school, so he is simply trying to ensure we don't have any school debt when our children are born. My husband is a steady man and he always takes my opinion into account regarding decisions, but I am finding it difficult to give an opinion because I am not sure what is right in God's eyes. We are both praying and seeking God's guidance.

Thank you for encouraging me!

MamaHen Em said...

I actually wrote a post about this awhile back after seeing Octamom writing about it. The link is:
http://raisingchickies.blogspot.com/2008/09/why-two-is-enough-for-me_7586.html
Really I think it comes down to what you, your husband and God decide. I think you will know and again, God totally knows what he has planned for your family. Also, I heard (read!) you say biological children and God may have many additional adoptive babies for your family :)

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

After having 2 babies only 15 mo. apart and being ill enough to warrant extremely strong meds and hospital visits in both pregnancies, plus health problems after (exacerbated by the stress on my body w/2 pregnancies), we decided that my husband would have a vasectomy. Do I regret this? No. Everyone we talked to also agreed, due to my health reasons. We are open to God's leading in the future if He wants adoption for us. I believe that God knows who our children are/will be, no matter how we get them! My advice to you is that if you have any hesitations AT ALL, do not do anything permanent!!! It is not always reversible! And about the quiver full thing -- who are we as humans to say what is "full"? Only God knows when He wants a family to be "full", right? Regardless if that is 1 child or 15. I think the quiver is full because it's full with God's blessings! If we pray for His will and His leading, then He will let us know!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

For various medical reasons I have only two bio children. But I am blessed with a multitude of other children that I mentor in various ways. Until you're absolutely sure I would hold off on the surgery.
If I could add 2 cents more. Consider fostering a child. In my upcoming Friday post I will be talking a wee bit about my experience as a former foster child. Good parents are needed.

Composing Hallelujahs said...

there are many sides to EVERY issue that isn't a core salvation issue (vaccinating, homeschooling, drinking, bearing children, etc...). as far as i'm concerned, you're either redeemed by the blood of the lamb or your not. everything else is striving to be more like Christ. how will your decision allow you to be more like Christ?
whatever you do, don't be anxious or worried or feel condemned for not following the crowd (whichever crowd that may be).
seek and ask for God's leading and He will direct your path. He will grant you wisdom and most importantly he will continue to love and cherish you no matter what decision you make. his name will be glorified and your life will be a testimony to His love and grace towards His children.

Pajama Mama said...

i'm just hoping I'll know when we're done, and right now, I know we're not...i hope you find your peace...
-kristen

Eärwen said...

Please don't do this!
There's a 50% chance you might not have more kids. But there's also a 50% chance that you might!
And if you chose not to, then those kids would never be able to do the things God intended!
He will give you the amount of kids he wants you to have, no more, no less! PLEASE don't!

Traci said...

It's funny because we waited a few years to be blessed with a child. Then we were surprised when #2 showed up in my belly quite easily...

And now I live in wonder at whether or not we'll have more, where we'll keep them if we do, how on earth I'll stretch my time to accomodate, etc. We've never even considered surgery because we're willing to have a big biological family if we're so blessed. We came to that decision because we can't imagine that we'll regret having a baby. So we're just trusting God.

That said, that's US. I know that a full quiver is something that many consider God's plan. But we must remember that if God's plan were the same for every family.. well it would be an awfully boring world.

Big hugs to you while you prayerfully consider this.

Reborn said...

Wow, Sarah Mae, you never cease to amaze me... I was JUST thinking about this topic, although from a different perspective (just blogged about it, matter of fact!).

I'm a few years behind you, and wondering if it's ok to control when I START having kids... are financial concerns enough? Should I just trust that God will provide? Or is that like blindly stepping out into traffic and hoping God will keep the cars from hitting you? lol...

I don't have any answers yet. My mom told me (she had 6 kids) that she's decided that for her, the will of God is the will of her husband (in this area). Like Christin said, if you pray separately that God will align your hearts with his will, maybe God can guide you by your husband's direction.

The Neppers said...

Sarah Mae,

Thank you for being willing to be so honest and share about a sensitive issue. Its one, judging by the many comments, that has weighed heavily on many hearts.

We are in a similar boat. My husband's "consult" appt. is in a few weeks. The procedure about a month after that. Our youngest is just about 4 months. And it seems soon, but in some ways, the longer we wait the likelihood of a third child increases. That definitely would not be the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination.

I do know all of the "family planning options" available to me. But, for us, for now, the permanent route seems like the right choice. I think all too often I allow my life to be ruled by the "what ifs." What if I could use this one day (hence the junk!)? What if I change my mind? What if my children turn out horribly? What if I want to have more children?

Well, honestly, what if? I think the reality is that you deal with it when you get there. Perhaps we may regret this decision in 5 years, but for now, for today, it seems like the right one. And if that day comes when we do look back and regret it, well, I believe that God can work in that situation too.

I know that there are thousands of children out there who will never have a permanent home. And this is to place judgment on no one, but for us, we see those statistics and feel that we could do something about that. God has blessed us with the ability to create two beautiful, amazing, wonderful children, but I believe he has also given us the capacity to love those little ones that did not come from our bodies and long for a forever home.

So when we think of this "procedure" we think of those children. Those ones that we have not yet met, not yet loved, but have a burden on our heart for. No, they will not come from our physical bodies, but I believe that God will give us the ability and desire to love them just as much as if they did.

As you and your husband make this decision, I hope and pray that you can find peace in it, regardless of the choice you make.

Blessings,
Holly

Buildeth Her House said...

If you've seen my blog then you know we have a full house..lol But now that my baby is one, I find myself wanting more. We are thinking of adopting and we totally had to pray about that one. My health won't allow me to carry another so soon and there are so many children that need a good home, so we went to God for the final say so. God will never put more on you than you can bare. Two might be enough for one family while seven may not be enough for another. Only God knows your limits and He will give you an answer if you ask Him. FYI we have nine in all, yours mine and ours!

christinnjon said...

Thank you for the links to the Secret Keeper Girl. I have actually been looking at it!!! I think I will be buying a few things from there when we get some extra money. :)

I talked with my husband and told him I think it'd be worth getting some resources on this and he agrees. So I'll put a bug in his ear about these materials. THanks again for your input and encouragement. I appreciate it! :)

Amanda said...

My heart goes out to you, as I've traveled this journey the past four years, and haven't come to a conclusion yet....

One basic question that seems to be a common difference in the comments - how does a Christian determine "the will of God"? Is it a mysterious force that we "feel"? Is it limited to the revealed will of God (His Word)? Is it a combination of the above? How one answers that question will determine greatly how you answer such questions as the one you've posed.

I believe the will of God is primarily revealed through His Word. He also uses circumstances, the wisdom of older/wiser people, and the working of His Spirit in our lives...but all of those things are constantly in subjection to His revealed will.

I could write a book from here, but I'll refrain ;) I'm planning a post on this topic soon, as it's been on my mind for awhile. I pray God's blessing on you - that you might know His Spirit's mind, as revealed in His Word.

newlywedws said...

Blog hopping from Florida, and came across your site. In aspect of the topic, "How do you know when to stop having children" - the best advise I was ever given was that A couple should prayerfully consider having as many children as they can effectively raise & train for Christ.

HeathahLee said...

We have struggled with this issue over the past 3 or 4 years. Having been blessed with only one child and not really "preventing" more babies, I've come to the conclusion that God thinks I can only handle one! : )

Seriously, though, we've struggled with knowing when it's time. I think my body is pretty much telling me it's time, seeing as how I'm having LOTS of perimenopausal signs. Grrrr...

I had said when I was younger that my cut off time was 35. Then when I hadn't gotten pregnant at 35, it was 36, then 37...I'll turn 39 this year and think we've pretty much decided we don't want a surprise just when I think I'm heading into the big M. I just have to get up enough courage to make the appointment for Sound Man to go to the doctor.

Jacquelyn said...

Ha, Ha! I thought that being weeks away from having #4 I would have a little breathing room before making any drastic measures. Imagine my suprise when my husband leaned over to me in the middle of church and told me he wanted 2 more (this from a guy that originally didn't want any!!) Permanent decisions are just too much of a commitment but we've always agreed to not discuss the issue until the baby's first birthday - you have plenty of time to decide!

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

My friend - you are great at writing about the "heavy" topics! I always have to chew on it for a while before I come back and write my comment "book"! :)

I know that your family will look to the Lord for wisdom in this area and that is the best thing that you can do. Pray and trust in the Lord - He will lead you and that's all you need to worry about, not what everybody else is doing.

I would say that you need to take your time before making any decisions that could be considered permanent. I tend to lean toward the trusting in the Lord for however many children He provides, but that's easy for me to say, since He has only given us one (3+ miscarriages). I do feel that He knew that I could not mentally cope with a large family, and provided in just the right way (and of course it's still possible that I could have another). I do have friends that have 8-10 children and are not the least bit fazed by the chaos around them and love what the Lord has blessed them with!

Also, if you are looking into doing any kind of medical procedure, please research all risks very carefully! I almost hate to bring it up, but my friend's husband had the procedure done and had complications. He will suffer from life-long medical problems because of it. They completely regret their decision. There are risks associated with everything you do, whether it's a procedure for a man or a woman, or more pregnancies. The Lord can help you decide what's right for your family.

You have SO many wonderful comments on this post - such a blessing! I read them all!

Many blessings to you Sarah Mae!

Anonymous said...

The greatest commands are "Love the Lord your God" and "Love your neighbor as yourself" - and the "law" is fulfilled in these. I love your heart that you want to love God through investing in your family and making it the best one possible. I believe that no matter what you choose, if you choose to love God first, God honors that.

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing your struggle. We have gone over this so many times, and our "plan" (as if we had one!) is to just continue to seek God's face day after day on this issue. I think sometimes God keeps from giving you a clear answer because it keeps you coming back to him desperate for his presence, his answers, anything. We are due with our 4th baby in about a month, and have no firm plans to stop, go, whatever. We do have a firm plan to continue seeking God's will in this area of our lives and just see where that leads.
Melissa

Anonymous said...

God will let you know when you are done. He gave us sound judgement and prayerful discernment for a reason. I have found NFP to be a great relief to my conscience in this area, as it has allowed me to control when I did and didn't get pregnant (currently carrying #3) very effectively, while still leaving open to God the "option" of blessing us with a surprise. What I actually find alarming now that I'm telling people I'm pregnant again is how many people are shocked and even ask rude things like "Why" and when is hubby getting a vasectomy. Seriously! If we were buying a third car people would congratulate us, but have a third child and people act like your nuts! How backward is this?

Kim said...

I struggle with this also. We adopted our precious daughter from China 3 years ago. She was our "Plan A"...we never tried to get pregnant...didn't have any desire really. We adopted Hannah and were content. Then of course the wondering comes in...should we go back again, does she need a sister, are we suppose to have more and then I got pregnant. It seems like EVERYONE said "Finally, I knew that would happen, blah blah blah" I hated hearing people act as though we were finally going to have the child we always wanted..the one we didn't have that FORCED us to adopt. I had such a difficult time with this that I was really struggling with the pregnancy. I didn't want Hannah to ever feel second best or that this was the golden child...it was really awful. Well, at 3 months I lost the baby and then got to deal with guilt...wondering if I somehow made it happen with my thoughts and attitude. I promised God after it happened that I would be obedient no matter what He wanted to do.

Needless to say...we only have Hannah Joy...and I'm beginning to think that she's going to be our one and only. Honestly, I think I'm okay with that.

www.tryingtopleasehim.blogspot.com

Anita said...

You have had so many interesting comments, I thought I should tell you the story of my family. My husband and I were intimate before marriage and I became pregnant with our oldest daughter who is almost 25 years old. We went on to have another daughter 4 years later followed by a son 4 years later and another son, again 4 years later. Then we decided to let God determine our family size and added another daughter 3 years later. Then we suffered through 3 miscarriages within 19 months. We decided to hold off trying to concieve for a little while to give my body a rest. Five years after our youngest daughter we had another boy...I was then 40 years old. By that time I wasn't sure if we should have more....On good days I would be all for it, but as with most homeschooling moms...we have our share of bad days and I couldn't imagine how on earth we could handle another child. Just after Christmas 2007 I came to the conclusion the WE were definitely finished having children. Our oldest had been married for a couple of years and we had our first grandchild that year. I even gave away my maternity clothes...Well, you know what happens when you give away your maternity clothes. That's right! At the ripe old age of 44, I gave birth to my seventh child, another bouncing baby boy weighing 9 pounds 11 ounces....a bit SMALLER than his older brother. WHAT A BLESSING HE HAS BEEN TO US!! I cannot imagine not having this precious little man and am wondering if we are even "finished" now! BTW, my oldest daughter just had her second baby boy 3 weeks ago, so her brother and son were born just 5 months apart! Even with our shaky start, my husband has been in the ministry for almost all of our married life. We meet older women frequently and have been so encouraged by them to continue having children. Never has even one said to us that they wished they had NOT had 2,3,4,5, or whatever number of children they had. It is always, "Oh, I wish I had had more children!" They seem to have many regrets. This is one area that I want to not have regrets about! My advice is to not do anything permantly. You are still very young and you never know how the Lord will lead and guide you as you get older.

Anita at busyhandsbusyminds.blogspto.com

Tiffany said...

I just hopped over here from another blog and have not read all the other comments, so forgive me if I'm repeating anything. I happened to notice a few things in your post that I share with you out of love--for you and for our Savior.

1) You act like the decision is yours. No decision is ours--they are God's. That said, seek His Word and pray. He will reveal to you His truth. You said you are praying; I'm certainly not denying that. But if He is putting "the voices" in your head, heed them.

2) From all appearances, you are forgetting the grace of God. Many things seem too hard for us (as you said pregnancy is for you) but "He gives more grace." We were not called to the easy road. He bore the cross for us; we should be ready and willing to do the same for Him.

3) He has reasons--for the morning sickness, the vomiting, everything. They humble us and turn us to Him--and Jesus Christ is all we need. There are more reasons, but just remember that nothing He sends us is in vain. All has a purpose.

By God's grace, with much love and prayers,
A sister in Christ

Mel said...

After we had our first, I was so afraid to get pregnant again. I'm one of those who pretty much pukes the whole pregnancy, and I get so anemic that I'm just miserable....so yes, it makes it especially difficult. So many women around me love being pregnant, but I can honestly say that I don't. After my second, the experience had been a bit better, but both my husband and I still struggle with having more. We'd like to maybe try for one more, so maybe we could have a girl, but we also have considered adoption. Personally, I think that adoption is a wonderful choice, especially for people who can't have children or even for those of us in this kind of position. What better thing than to give a child or children a home, when otherwise, they may grow up roaming from foster home to foster home, never learning what a life with Jesus could be? So, I too am torn, but the more I think about it, the more I love the idea of adoption....I guess we shall see.:)

Mel said...

Just wanted to share a friend's blog with you; she is in Ethiopia right now adopting their first child....anyway, she writes on here about her why for adoption, and it just spoke volumes to me....I'm not trying to push or anything, but it gives great insight; at least, it did for me.
http://anenglishamericanethiopianfamily.blogspot.com/2009/03/why-adopt.html

"MissMelissa" said...

Pray. God will answer you. Family building is different for every family, and I believe you and your husband will make the right decision, whatever that is. God just wants us to follow Him. Being quiverfull doesn't mean having a house full of children, if that's not the right path for you.

Adoption is a wonderful option. And it is also ordained by God.

The one who said Love the Lord your God, and your Neighbor as yourself... well, that says it all.

Peace.
Melissa

Jenny said...

What a great post and I'm so comforted in knowing my DH and I are not the only ones that struggle with this this issue....