faith · family · parenting · pregnancy

Do We Have Another?

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Physical Economic Psychological Social Work Load
Severe morning sickness Extra eating out expense Guilt from neglect of kiddos Family will be very stressed by the news Older children will take on a lot
Weight gain and stress on bladder due to very large babies. Maternity clothes Frustration at not being able to accomplish all that I need to. Older children experience social neglect and being bored Daily chores and responsibilities become very hard to get done
Lack of sleep and severe back pain Buying new things for baby and doctor visits Fear about approaching c-section. Family very stressed at watching me at the end of pregnancy Not able to garden or work outside much.
Possible diabetic and swelling episodes…5 c-sections and scar tissue Paying for hospital and doctor Unable to be intimate and feeling very fearful and disconnected Decisions are made solely around the preg. outings, play dates, trips, etc.

I found this journal entry that I made over a year ago, and it only reflects my pregnancy experiences.  Missing from this chart are the countless additions that could be added as a child grows.  But, I guess on this day I was just thinking of pregnancy and all that comes with it.  When I look at this chart I am really blown away by the things that I worry about and struggle with when I am pregnant.  Father Sergius, in a wonderful homily, commented that whatever vocation or situation a person finds themselves in, it can be a great opportunity for holiness.  I have to admit that each of the struggles listed above have not always been met with holiness.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Like when I am severely sick and throwing up twelve times a day.  Things get ugly.  Suffering in the body has always been a very difficult struggle for me.  The chart is a record of the areas where my trust in God is challenged and stretched, but I think it is also a record of just how very human I am.    

I have always wanted more babies, but getting them here is hard on me and my family.  I have been accused of being idealistic and not truly evaluating my situation.  Those who love me test me.  I think this spreadsheet was an examination of my conscience and me trying to get real about the facts of my pregnancies.  It is not hard for me to see the positives of having a baby, but apparently I overlook some of the facts.  I would not necessarily call these concerns negatives, just struggles.

In the end, the positives outweighed the struggles.  However, for us, the concerns are important, and the process of discernment is taken seriously.  Were any of the reasons enough to keep from becoming pregnant a sixth time?  Obviously not.

Only God truly knows the motives of our hearts, and it takes courage to be honest with ourselves and with others.  To be humble and obedient no matter what we face as a married couple has been and will continue to be a hard work.  Saying, “We are done,” is a frightful statement, and one that has been impossible in the past.  As we discern and make important family decisions I pray for mercy and wisdom.  I also pray for courage and a willingness to be honest.  If the decision to stop is made, it will be out of our weakness, and it will not be something that we shout from the rooftops.  Children are such a blessing, and to not be open to another is a sad thing for us.  It is difficult to be honest about where we truly are in this decision.  It is difficult to balance obedience with common sense.  It is difficult to admit that things are not always black and white.  It is difficult to let others judge while following our conscience.  These are our true struggles.

Everybody wants to know, and it is almost the first question they ask me when I tell them the good news of our first son, “Is this your last one?”  It’s sad really, like we only had this many to have a boy.   Is it ever right to limit the number of children we have?  Searching for the answer to that question over the years has uncovered so many unanswered questions and revealed so many weaknesses.  It has also made me confront my unbelief and challenged my hypocrisy.  How then shall we live…with this knowledge….with this faith…now how do we live.  To walk out the faith is a fearful thing.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling… 
Philippians 2:12       

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