Ask Amy – What Do I Do When My Family Isn’t Happy About a New Baby?

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When Your Family Isn't Happy About a New BabyTotal strangers stop and stare.  Some even offer their rather rude $.02.  But when the harsh remarks are coming from your own family, they sting all the more.

A reader emailed recently asking what to do when family members are very vocal about their disapproval of your family size. She asked for Bible verses to lean on as well as advice about whether or not to distance yourself from family members who do not support you.

First of all, you must be certain of your own feelings toward having more children. Do you see your children as a blessing? (Psalm 127) Are you happy to be welcoming a new baby into the family? Do your children know you cherish them?  If you say no to any of these, it might be rather difficult to expect others in your extended family to be thrilled with your new addition.

Once you are certain of your own feelings, the best thing to do is live out your conviction.  What I mean by this is if you are fully convinced this child is a blessing from God, then live that way!  Enjoy your pregnancy!  Relish the time you spend growing this new life!  Be happy and don’t let anyone rain on your happiness!

It breaks my heart when I see women living in the shadow of what others think.  Children are never mistakes or accidents.  Be radiant!  Be happy!  Your refusal to fall into the trap of believing children are a hassle and a burden will outshine any negativity you may encounter.  And the best part of this is that your other children will see grace under pressure and will ultimately realize Mommy is thankful for all her babies.  What a blessed testimony!

As for Bible verses, Psalm 127 is my favorite because it speaks of children as blessings and rewards. Psalm 139 is another with its mention of babies being knit together in the womb with care by our Heavenly Father.

A little caution here: It is the Holy Spirit that pierces the hearts of others and not your aptitude for spouting Scripture in the hopes of convicting and condemning. Before you go quoiting Scripture to your skeptical family members, be certain of your motives. Be convinced of what Scripture says and wield it out of a conviction of its truth.

To answer the question of severing relationships with the negative influences of those family members who do not support you, I must admit I am not an advocate of breaking relationships with extended family members when your children are not in physical danger. You should guard them as much as possible, but you will not be able to protect your children from all disparaging remarks (the minute you think you have, the waitress at the restaurant will ask your kids if they ever get tired of having a new baby in the house…and hopefully, your children will do what mine did and look at her like she’s crazy!) It is much more beneficial to show your children how much you love and cherish them while teaching them to give a loving and honest answer to those who are less than charitable with their remarks.

My children know they are loved and I have no need to fall into the trap of arguing and stirring up strife with others.  Besides, in the end, who can resist this…

Creed 2 weeks

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75 Comments on Ask Amy – What Do I Do When My Family Isn’t Happy About a New Baby?

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75 thoughts on “Ask Amy – What Do I Do When My Family Isn’t Happy About a New Baby?

  1. When my MIL found out I was pregnant with my fourth, she asked me if that was a good thing. I replied, of course! As I thought about it later, I wondered what she would have had me do if I didn’t think it was a good thing to be pregnant again. I feel sad for people who don’t think that children are a blessing.

  2. Thank you so much for this post! It’s things like this that moms of many know in their hearts but often just need to see or hear as a reminder. Your encouragement is very timely! I think often the frustration comes when family members are Christians. They might not have the same convictions about giving God control of family size, but it’s easy to assume that they’ll understand and accept our own convictions. When negativity and criticism start instead, the hurt can be so great.

  3. I am sure I have a different point of view than most on this post…while I only had 2 children & wished for more after things were made permanet…it was too expensive to change, I can see both sides of the aisle. I think it is wrong to make children the “mom” in the household. They are not the mom & to shrug those responsibilites because mom is so burned out from having so many children (it is a TON of work) is wrong wrong wrong. I am all about chores & kids learning to be responsible & we never gave our kids “allowances”, but the mother is to be the keeper of the home, not the kids….I see this a lot in larger families, I don’t mean just the chores I mean the discipling, all the way down to whatever else there is (schooling etc). The other pet peeve I have is to have all these kids, then lay the hints around about how much they “cost” as to guilt others into chipping in on your choice! Wrong! Then how about thinking you are more “holy” because you are having so many kids, why you are sacrificing so much & these that have only 1-2 kids well they are just materialistic & greedy…Wrong! You have no idea why they had the # of kids they had, for us it was a deeply thought out sprititual decision. I see some mothers that like this idea & want to be one of these families but clearly cannot handle it & their homes are a disaster, they emotionally are a disaster & they haven’t even got to the schooling part yet! It is not fair in my mind to the kids, it short changes them & to me it will be interesting to see how kids that have had to grow up like this will do it in their own families, we tend to want to improve what we preceive the mistakes our parents made, we will see.

      • Yup I read every word…but like I said my view is probably a little diff than most here…(like yours maybe?) :) Maybe you think any use of birth control is wrong, how about when the mother has nearly died? I think God gave us a brain & common sense too. But it is each family’s decision, one is not more holy than the other for that decision. I personally know of children that fell away from God & turned totally away from Him that were homeschooled, & raised in a large family. It is not the end all….or perfect guarantee. I personally know of a mom that had a large family that left that family & fell off the deep end left God & her dad was a preacher of the Gospel & to this day rejects God & she was raised in it her whole life. All but 2 of her 6 children are unfaithful. It is really no ones business how many kids a family has just as it is neither to their glory, God should have all the glory.

        • What does any of that first comment or your second one (or your or my personal position on birth control) have to do with Amy’s post? Do you do this at every blog you read? Just read it and then go completely off-topic in the comments no matter how irrelevant your opinion is to the discussion at hand? Rude, rude, rude.

          • Rude? It seems to me rude to legislate what someone writes on a blog, I thought it was for an opinion or your take on a given subject…& rude to conclude that surely I didn’t read it in the first place well DUH what in the world…maybe you just have so many kids you can’t think straight hahahahahha

          • @ Cindy, How is Anne being rude? What she said is true, and it doesn’t just happen in big families, it is parents who are lazy, and they have an army of slaves at their fingertips. They then use that one verse from the bible to act holier then thou, they are full of more sin then most atheists I know. Pride, sloth, envy, wrath and yet they judge and condemn others for things that aren’t even sins… But you also have big families that have great parents who do the majority but give the kids a few jobs to help out and learn from. Just because someone has a bunch of kids doesn’t mean they are great Christian parents doing the right thing. If you think Anne was rude keep judging and over reacting, she’s got nothing on me sweetheart!

        • Well, I’m glad that you were able to vent and get some things off your chest but for the rest of us posts like this are a breath of fresh air. You condemn large families because one or two don’t turn out right; one or two out of hundreds (or maybe thousands). What about the HUNDREDS of small families that don’t turn out right. Wives leave their husbands and husbands leave their wives all the time in small families.
          If posts like this get you all riled up, I recommend not reading them anymore because you are preaching to the wrong group of women!

          • Surely you misunderstood what I was saying…I have a lot of friends that have 8-10 children & not at all am I condemning this choice, in fact I think I said it was really no one else’s business how many kids you have, what I condemn is for a family to think they are more “holy” somehow in this choice because this is the drift from comments I have heard & just b/c my experiances may be diff than yours doesn’t make you better than me, just diff. My point is God is who deserves the glory not us as man, maybe I chased too many rabbits off through the woods. But in any case it’s made for some lively discussion & the old saying holds true, you never really see a person’s true self until in a controversy…..

    • Anne…you must not get the large family dynamic! My kids automatically want to help, clean, discipline, mentor their siblings. My 9ds sees the trash is full and tells me he is taking it out. Last week I asked for a volunteer and turned to see the 19 month old dragging the bag to the door. Perhaps looking in you think that many things are forced but they are just a natural occurrence of a large family. And I am here 24/7/365 educating, raising and molding these little souls whether I do the physical stuff or others do.

      • Or maybe my “large family” dynamic experiances are just too limited & I base what I think on things I have witnessed myself….kudos to you! I have seen quite the opposite & am watching to see what the kids of these families will do in regards to how many they will have, I find it an interesting experiment to watch.

    • I feel like married parents having more than two children are very uncommon to the point that most people have perceptions of large families that have been developed based on previous discussions on the topic and not knowing families in particular. I want a large family. I have a set of six cousins whose home was more organized and tight knit than my other cousins with only two kids per family. Oh, and the six cousins were home schooled, and they are great as adults (better adjusted socially than most people and they eat together as a family every week and have multiple visits with each other each week even so). There is this idea that is always talked about, “Kids raising kids,” and I don’t know where this comes from. First of all, many families with two kids will leave home a younger child with a 12+ child or babysitter. Many mothers (and let’s not forget DADS) with only two or fewer kids often do not teach their children any kind of responsibility. With only two children to manage, it’s easier for the mother to do the cooking and cleaning while the kids entertain themselves with toys or watch t.v., which have no benefit for the child. In comparison, it is not harmful for a child to clean or care for a younger child. This prepares them to be good parents in the future. To assume that it is wrong for a child to have adult responsibilities is like saying it is wrong for a little girl not to have a Barbie or pretend makeup or that it is wrong for a little boy not to have a matchbox cars. There are certain activities that my children will and won’t engage in because I don’t believe it is to their benefit and it has nothing to do with family size. There are parents who choose not to create a fantasy world for their children so that their lives aren’t more difficult later on or so that we aren’t raising children who don’t want to get married until their 40 because they want plenty of time to “travel” “find themselves” or “party” (although, they’ll be mature enough not to couch it as a desire to keep partying). I completely disagree that it is “wrong” to place expectations on a child that are likened to an adults’. Every family is different and that is a good thing.

      • I would agree about the tight knitedness & all the above comments but to conclude it was due to #’s rather than say the fact they homeschooled or it could be 100’s of other factors….in any case I can say I have personally known both situations on both sides of the aisle. The Scriptures give the instructions to teach the children to the Fathers & mothers, I can’t recall any instructions anyway where siblings are given that responsibility, I am sure children can & do learn many good things being in this situation & this can be good but I am saying it should not be their responsibility, it is the parent that chose to have all these kids, they should step up to the plate & do what it takes. It reminds me of a overworked person at a job that doesn’t know how to say no to people pushing their work off on them, they are overworked, underpaid so to speak & drained all the time…well who’s fault would this be? Theirs for not knowing how to say NO! In our senario, really the children don’t have a choice, it is forced upon them when the parents choose to keep bearing all these kids & then they have to do all the work, like it or not! I have seen some of these poor dads have to work 7 day weeks, overtime like no tomorrow, just to make ends meet, are they really wanting this or just afraid to say NO MORE? It is just interesting to me & I am waiting to see what the kids of these huge families will do in their families….back when my grandfather was born, he was one of 13, they had to have that many just to keep the family farm going, I think it was a necessity…but he only had 4, none of his siblings had over that I think. It is just interesting to me.

    • Wow! These are some pretty unkind and uncharitable remarks, as well as negative assumptions about large families. I think you are expressing your guilt and regret about choosing to cut off your own fertility as a sort of justification on why you chose not to be open to life. Large family dynamics are definitely different than small family dynamics, but please do not make rash judgements on mothers and fathers who are open to God’s plan for their life, and are lovingly raising their children to be good, hard-working, and upstanding citizens who love and serve the Lord. I pray for you to have a little more understanding and compassion to families who are working very hard and are doing the best they can to meet the needs of the children given to them by God. Families who say “yes” to God’s call to be open to life ought to be looked upon in admiration for following the will of God rather than be scorned and mocked.

  4. Howdy Amy,

    I know you have a big family, and I think that is totally fantastic. My husband and I had hoped for a large family ourselves. I have been struggling lately though as it seems so many people with large families assume (or at least it feels that way) that families with two or fewer children don’t value children in the same way. This is heartbreaking for me. As I said before, my husband and I wanted a large family, but I suffer with Hyperemesis Gravadarim. I had it with my first, but this time around it has been debilitating. My husband has missed a lot of work and I have been unable to care for my son. It is quite likely that this would happen with every pregnancy, increasing in intensity each time. I cannot sacrifice the little blessings Gpd has already given me. As such, we have decided that this will be my last pregnancy. We are still very open to adoption and eager to see where the LORD leads, but I do feel a great sense of loss as well. (All of this is following years of fertility struggles as well.)

    I guess ultimatley it’s easy to feel like less o a mom or to get the vibes that those of us with smaller families don’t appreciate the blessing of children as much. Do you have any words of encouragement to offer to the mom with a big family heart, but not quite the “quiver full” we long for?

    • An older woman that I go to church with only had one son, and she told me since she knows I want more, but due to medical reasons I could possibly not have anymore (all up to God :) ) that her and her husband wanted more children, but the Lord closed that door. She said she thought about it this way she was blessed either way! Blessed to have a healthy son, and if she had more they were blessings to. Nothing to fret over!

    • I’m currently pregnant with my fifth baby I’ve had hypermises with each pregnancy & with each it’s been different. I also have no outside help from family. My kids are currently 7(on the 11th of Feb) 5 (on the 6th of Feb), 3 (in April), & 1 nursling (who will have her first birthday on Feb17th). I don’t know if you’ve gotten any medication but they can give you zofran to help, even a zofran I,v or sometimes in extreme cases a zofran pump that’s attacked to you. Sure it’s not always as helpful as one may like but you don’t have to suffer as much as you have with out help. It’s just so hard sometimes to get a dr to give you the time of day to treat you. I’d complain that I have a small child who needs taking care of and no help to please give you medics ASAP. With my fist my dr let me lose 20lbs in nine days even vomit blood before she paid me any mind and H,G runs in my family my mother had it with all four of my siblings and I. Luckily by #2 all I had to say was H.G & I got my script. With my third the same but with my fourth I had a dr be more cautious and I had to beg for it. With this baby I was at the E.R at seven weeks and three days getting an I,V because in 24 hrs I hadn’t kept even water down and I was having stomach cramping hat was making the nausea worst. Even now with the zofran I still have to eat every two hrs or I feel awful. I’m up now to eat.

      Hugs don’t suffer in silence so often ppl treat us like its normal morning sickens & tell us to suck it up or give us “remedies” that helped them, even drs are a little dense about it. It’s not the same as morning sickness, it’s a very big deal, complain, complain, call, call, harass, harass your dr until you get the help & results you need. If you’re on zofran ask for your dr to think about giving you the zofran pump. Look it up first and make sure it’s something you can handle though because it may not be something you want done but if you’re debilitating sick it’s better to have the pump then not be able to function.

      God bless.

    • I hear your heart here. Honestly, no matter your family size, it should be clear to your children and everyone who comes in contact with you that you love your children, you like your children, and you cherish them greatly as the blessings they are. That is more the issue than how many children any given family has. And this probably should be a blog post, huh? 😉

    • I suffered from the same condition with my first child. I was so horribly sick I couldn’t imagine going through it again. My second was bad but not quite as bad as the first. Five more children later I can say that each pregnancy has been completely different but I have not suffered as much as I did for the first two for any of the others. I of course could not promise you that the story would be the same for you but, for the short period of time I suffered. I have been abundantly blessed in the long run. I will pray for you. Peace.

    • Actually people are very rude about lots of kids but among my large family friends we always say WE would never go up to a mom and turn the tables: Don’t you know what causes it? You ONLY have two! Your hands sure are empty!

      I am always open to sharing the joy of lots of kids if asked but never assume I know why someone has only a few. Seeing me out in the world you might see me as a mom of 8 and do not know that I have my Sofija and Gabriel’s in Heaven waiting for me. I know of infertility, a spouse that is done, tragedy and just never assume I know someone’s heart.

  5. I love this! No one on either side of our family has more than the average 2 kids. No one in our family homeschools, and most of them aren’t Christians. My husband and I have a “different” kind of family and it’s not easy. The news of our 4th child was not met with happiness. I’m tired of hearing that I need to “get fixed”. “You’re life would be easier if you didn’t have so many kids.” “Your house would be cleaner if you just sent them to school during the day.” BUT, I love my children! I love homeschooling! I love that fact that my kids are home all day with me messing up my house. Yes, my life could be easier, my house could be cleaner, and we could have more money if we had fewer kids…but my heart would be emptier.

  6. He IS pretty irresistable!
    We’ve really not received negative comments from family, thankfully. In fact, they often wonder when the next one’s coming. :)

  7. Thank you so much for this post! We have always wanted a big family, but have struggled to bring this to reality, at least in the time frame most people would think of as being right. During our 17 years of marriage, we have miscarried 4 babies. The Lord has blessed us with 3 children, ages 14, 9, and 6. My last miscarriage was last summer. When my MIL found out I was pregnant that time, she was not supportive at all. She’d been telling us for years that my husband should get “fixed”, that we’re too old (I’m now 39, my husband 51), and that I’m making it harder on my husband to support us by continuing to try to have children. (I stay home and homeschool our children, my husband is a pastor…not the most lucrative job in the world.) When my 6 yr old was born, my OB even tried to get me to tie my tubes, but I wouldn’t let them do it. I felt in my heart – and still do – that the Lord wanted me to remain open to more babies.

    I am now 10 weeks pregnant, praying for the Lord to allow this precious child to come into the world safe and healthy. We haven’t told anyone, wanting to wait until I get into the 2nd trimester to make sure all is well. I struggle with replaying all the negative comments in my mind…I’m too old, my husband’s too old, we’re too poor…but then I look at the ultrasound picture, and my heart swells with love. I feel so blessed that God would allow me the privilege of bringing a new life into our family. Yes, my kids are older, they’re not the “stair-step” kids most people associate with bigger families, but we love them and they are excited about the prospect of having more brothers or sisters. (They don’t know I’m pregnant, just that we’re trying.) In a perfect world I would have had 6 or 8 kids, all 2 years apart…but that wasn’t what God had in mind for us. I wish my MIL could see that, and just be happy for us. And I’m sure my husband and I will get some questions and rude comments if this child comes into the world. “Is this your grandchild?” But I won’t really care.

    • Oh dear sister. I’m so sorry for your loss last summer but rejoice with you in this new blessing & will be praying for a healthy baby & safe delivery. Lots not forget how old Sarah and Abraham were 😉 God bless.

    • Amy – What a blessing! My family does not look the way I envisioned it either, but I remind myself that this is the quiver the Lord has given us and the years when the babies didn’t come and the years when they came back to back were all in His timing and all part of His plan. Praying for you!

  8. When I was pregnant with my twins (#7 & 8) and someone ask me about the pregnancy or how many I had etc…I would say, “Isn’t is GREAT?! I can’t believe how blessed I am!” It seemed that when I was obviously very happy, no one had the nerve to make a negative comment :) So, I think you are right on about how the mother’s attitude makes all the difference in how others respond. I usually get negative comments about how horrible it must be to have all boys. So, I used the same technique when we found out the twins were boys. “God decided to continue the boy streak! I’m so excited to meet my newest sons!” Who could argue with that??

  9. Oh, I have those extended family members that can’t fathom my family of 7. I’m also the first generation on that side to have this many children. As the first born granddaughter and great granddaughter to a couple of very career oriented ladies, their dreams for me were to go to college, become career successful and gross a large income with much recognition. Well, I became the complete opposite ;). No collage degree, I earn $0, and outside my immediate family I get little to no recognition for my accomplishments. But, as a stay at home mom I can laugh at the way that sounds 😉 When I get negative comments from my Grands, I just remember where it is they are coming from. They had to work very, very hard for the the 1-2 kids that they had because they both had husbands that flew the nest, forcing them to fend for themselves. And woman did not have nearly the opportunities to sore in a career that woman do today so its hard for them to imagine why a bright, fun loving woman wouldn’t seize the opportunity! I just have to continually reassure them that I love what I do, I have the most loving husband you can imagine, and that I am HAPPY! Because, living 4 hours away that’s not what they imagine. They imagine what “they” would feel like if they were in my shoes, and that would not be a pretty picture. But, to me, to my husband, to my family, to God, it is beautiful! Because it is what HE had in mind for us :)

  10. This is wonderful. I only have two children through adoption although my husband and I are open to more.

    However, when reading this I was inserting homeschool for large family. That has been one of my concerns about homeschooling is what will everyone else think. And after reading this I would say it has to be the same thing – if you are 100 % sure you want to homeschool then you do it with love and show others how great it is.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • I’m amazed with homeschooling even when I’m so sick with hypermises that I misses school days. They learn so much, kids are amazing. My kids beg to “do school” everyday. ????

      Back in September my 2yr old asked for three cookies, I was making dinner & so I handed him a cookie so he would let me finish. He said, “No mama not one cookie, three. Two more please!” I gave him one more thinking he wouldn’t know any better. He said to me “Mama this is two. I need one more please. I said the cookies.” I gave him one more to see if he’d know any better. He said “Yay mama, you did it. This is three cookies. Look, one two, three!” I was blown away I had never taken the time to teach him how to count but his 6&4 yr old siblings had. He counted to 12 for me.

      The little ones also teach the older ones about being compassionate & loving.

      My brother an atheist hates that we homeschool even he sees how much more my two yr old knows the other two yr olds who go to daycare all day. My six yr old builds these amazing things out of Legos & loves math. My four yr old loves to read. I’ve honestly not done that much with them because of having hypermises, postpartum depression, etc…

      God is amazing how he works things out.

      Be comforted in Him, where He wills things He makes a way.

      • We’re having problems with family and homeschooling, too. We moved twice between September and Christmas, living with my in-laws for 2 months before getting possession of our current home. With 7 children, ages 1 – 10, that’s a LOT of people added to someone’s home. It was very stressful on everyone, and my MIL has never liked the fact that we homeschool. Only now she feels more free to comment, and we’ve had 3 of our children approach us about comments she’s making to them when they’re in her care. I mentioned this to her in love (I honestly was not angry, just wanted to let her know to come to us with concerns not our children). Well, she blasted me for 20 minutes. Yeah, it’s a struggle. I’m 12 weeks pregnant with our 8th and I’m exhausted, and my house is not clean, and my children are not perfect, and neither am I, and they aren’t enjoying school this year…it’s been a difficult year. I just keep reminding them that we just need to lean on God and press forward despite our feelings and we will get through this.

  11. Great post Amy!

    My Mom and Dad were generally supportive of us having more children; although, my Mom often worried about my health. However, my husband’s Mom was very against it. She had a “heart attack” every time we announced a new pregnancy from #3 onward! However, the ironic thing is what a BLESSING those children were to her in her later years!! The older children served her every day in vaious ways, while the little ones brought her joy and shared simple pleasures with her. It brings tears to my eyes even now to think about how precious they became to her in her final days! I share all about that in one of my blog’s most popular posts: Children: Blessing or Burden. As I think about that post, and they way my children became an unexpected source of joy to my MIL, I’d encourage mothers to not get upset about the negative response they get over “another pregnancy,” but to allow that response to just make them more determined to do everything in their power to mold and make their children into unparalleled BLESSINGS to everyone in their lives!!


  12. Thank you for your timely post. This is exactly what we are dealing with in our family right now as we are expecting number 11. We just found out our oldest and his wife are expecting and I am struggling with the fact that everyone is happy for them(which we are too) but are angry with us for expecting as well.

  13. Great post i feel like I need to take your advice and show people through godly actions how we feel about homeschooling and children. Ever since I had my 1st child which is four years old I have said I want to homeschool and lots of people said I am going to smother and be over protective, she won’t have social skills…..and so on. Now I am expecting my 3rd child which most family haven’t said anything negative yet, but I am sure it will come if we have more babies. I grew up in a family of five children and we didn’t have a lot of money. My grandma actually told me that my mother should have never had 5 children because she couldn’t afford it, but my uncle who only had 1 child should have had more because they are better off financially. Sure children cost money, but most people think that children need cell phones and expensive clothes/toys and they don’t. They need love and a stable safe home.

  14. Wow! This was timely. I turned 43 last Sat and my baby will be 2 tomorrow. A few weeks ago, I was with some family and my “mom” (the woman who raised me most of my life) said, “no more, right?” Well, I’m not sure. Last week, my hubby was saying he wanted another one. There is some health concern for me, more of a pain issue that makes eating difficult, and of course, my age. It kinda surprises me because she took in her 4 year old grandson when she was in her late 40s. I am one to struggle with dismissing what others, especially parents, think, but I’m getting better. I’m not really ready to stop, we only have 2 :o)

  15. I would take as many as God would give us, but am not able due to problems in last preg. to have any more myself. The only problem I have is some people with many children don’t treat the kids as blessing, then I wonder why they want so many when they don’t even take care of what they have. Like my niece, she has only 4, but she does not take care of them, and wants more. She also wants everyone else to pay for her kids. I say, if your going to have them, then figure out a way to pay for them. We live way under the poverty level and make it just fine.
    We have 5 and two in heaven, For me it is such a miracle to have a child, I can’t understand why others don’t see it.

    • Unfortunately, this is how larger families get a bad name. As I told another reader, no matter your family size, it should be obvious to them and everyone else how much you cherish your children.

  16. What an amazing post! And the comments were interesting too, that it resonated with many mamas with smaller families.
    Just my two cents, I think it is important to know who to trust and who to show a strong face to, with any decision that is maybe not “mainstream”. Identify some like-minded mamas who u can share with when the decision is harder in that moment, or in that season. But the people who would say, “Well, u brought it on yourself”, with them u only share the joy and good stuff. Can’t speak to this regarding large families, but certainly extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, cosleeping, toddler-wearing, etc. have all been the right choice for my family. But heaven help if I would ever tell certain people that I am tired but have to do a load of diapers, or that my shoulders are sore from wearing my 2year old! So I just share this stuff with friends who also value these things and understand that just bc it is hard sometimes, it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.

    • Words of wisdom! I agree with you 100%. Sometimes we think that because someone is our mother, sister, grandmother, etc… that they won’t throw things in our faces when we’re feeling weakest & discouraged but that’s not the case. The enemy readily uses them to attack us. Don’t give them amo.

  17. Wonderful! A leader of my church recently said something to the effect of “Whether or not to have children, how many, and when, are between a husband and wife and The Lord.”

    We have 5 children, ages 8 1/2, 7, 5 1/2, 4, and 14 months. When our last was announced, my husband had just been laid off and we were living in his parent’s basement as a result. I agonized over telling my extended family. Here I was, knocked up again with 4 kids ages 6 and under… To my surprise, everyone was more than supportive.

    We fully intend to have one more child (more if I can convince husband 😉 ), because I have a testimony that families are ordained of God. I also have a testimony of the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. Our Father in Heaven needs to send as many of His Children to earth as possible before that time. I would much rather welcome them into my Christ centered, God fearing home, than see them born to anyone who wouldn’t value and cherish them.

  18. When my mom told my grandmother she was pregnant with me (#4), my grandmother was horrified! She yelled at my dad that he was killing his wife! Mom was 30 when she had me, and in perfect health. My grandmother thought 30 was just way too old (even tho her mother, my great grandmother, had children into her 40s – 9 in all). LOL. We’ve been fortunate that both sides are happy for us, even though we had #4 when I was 41. No one seems to think that 40+ is too old!

  19. How timely! I’m expecting my 4th baby. NO one in my family was happy about it in the slightest :( I received LOTS of opposition and anger and frustration at our decision to have another baby.

    My husband has Type 1 Diabetes (well controlled) and everyone says I’m ‘playing Russian roulette’ with my children’s lives. I’m ‘cursing’ one of them to having Type 1 diabetes because of my husband (I breastfeed, exclusively beyond the first year, delay solids, eat healthy, none of my kids have shown any symptoms). It hurts so much to hear them bad mouth my husband and call him a bad choice for father to my children. I realize the risk of having children with a Type 1 diabetic father, I accept these risks and give it all to God. I know God would never give me more than I could handle and I know that God will take care of my children.

  20. What a great post. Ihad a man of the cloth tell me I had enough babies. Were we Catholic was his reply we never step in that church again. I beleive babies are a blessing and I wish for more babies. But hubby was no way ; he says we have lsot 3 and could not take our boys or my self through that again. We have such hard time just staying pregnant so I am blessed to have my six boys.

  21. Wonderful post! We had two children when we felt God’s leading toward adoption. What a blessing! Cancer prevented us from our planned path of international adoption, but lead us to God’s path for us- foster care. We’ve had 7 kids placed with us in 2 years and are about to finalize adoptions on our four beautiful forever children. We have had many struggles with family trying to understand each time we took a new addition. When our adoptions are final, we will be at state maximum and won’t be able to foster anymore, but we will have 2+ years of memories and six beautiful children, ages 9 to 2. What an incredible journey it has been, God is so good and so faithful!

  22. We have 6 beautiful children and there isn’t a day goes by that we don’t get asked by family or strangers if “we are done” or “are you getting fixed”. I usually just smile and don’t even bother to answer, if they are not smart enough to figure out that those questions are inappropriate then they would never be able to understand the answer. I am sure it is well meaning by family, but really it does get old after awhile! People just don’t understand that I would rather not have a huge house and all the elctronics in the world I just enjoy my family and find that to be enough. I agree that the size of your family is between a husband, wife and the Lord, too bad that isn’t understood by all the “commenters” in our lives!

  23. We love our 3 wonderful blessings, but we also get comments not only about the number of our children, but also because I’m only 22 and my husband is 23 we met eachother and got married at a really young age too, and at our age people seem to think that you aren’t capable of raising children, but the Lord has blessed us with these children and He shows us in His word how to raise them, and hopefully He will bless us with more if that’s His will. Thankfully though we have never had any judgement from our families.

    • The younger you are when you begin having babies (within reason of course!), the easier it is to adapt to the new routines and the more energy you have to cope with all the extra work.

  24. Its true that there are families who have kids so they will get more tax benefits, or because the mom is addicted to having cute cuddly babies (which is not a bad thing unless she neglects the older ones or makes them run the whole household and discipline the other children by themselves or whatever). The majority of big families are not that way but that’s why some people stereotype all families that way. Or think they’re just plain crazy but are probably jealous of the mom who can handle and even enjoy a large family :D. But others also don’t know WHY their families are so big (or so small ) so both ends must be careful not to make assumptions:)

    Currently I am awaiting my 4th and I wouldn’t have guessed it would still be so exciting! Im not even one of those mind who can “handle it”… But I’ve got a God who can and does!

  25. I have two friends who currently have three young children and are considering a fourth. Their family and general acquaintance are trying to discourage them. Both parents, as well as most of their family and friends, have a beautiful attitude toward children and very much consider them a blessing.

    The issue most are concerned with is stretching themselves too thin. I agree that most sacrifices for your children are well worth it, time, energy, money, etc. Except when the sacrifices are too high, like the marriage or mental health of the parents. (This particular mother, though loving is damaged and not entirely stable, and the marriage though caring is volatile.)

    I believe it is important to live out your convictions, but I believe it is also important to hear and weight other’s concerns. At least when planning is concerned. The bible also teaches us to seek counsel. Even those with an unclean heart (which includes all of us) can speak truth.

    Once there is a pregnancy, by all means rejoice and lavish your children with love!

  26. I’ve a foot in both camps on this one.

    My hubby was never as kiddy minded as me, I always wanted kids but would never force or trick my way to being pregnant, like some I have seen. After 2 yrs of marriage I injured my back and was given medical advice not to have children! I was devastated and my husband (for my well being) wanted to follow medical advice. I prayed to know Gods will, I had this desire in my heart for a child but was it HIS desire for me? I prayed that if this desire was not from God for it to be removed or for my husbands heart to be changed. I now have 3 lovely boys (plus a baby with which i had a miscarriage) and following each one if asked whether there would be anymore I have replied “Maybe one more God willing”.
    No matter the size of your family the desire must be a joint one, I have witnessed spousal resentment and pressure and also sibling resentment when the family can’t seem to cope as it is.
    I know some whose aim is to be like the Boyer family when it comes to large families but not when it comes to the financial provision of them and if it were not for government benefits (in the UK) I sometimes wonder if they would still choose the same path. I believe that no matter the size of your family you should find provision required by the sweat of your brow! The Biblical example of the mother who is called blessed was a hard working woman who earned money for the family along with carrying out her other duties. Yet I see some families unable to cope with these duties, who expect others to keep watch over their children for them, for siblings to take on parental roles that they have not been given by God, complaining about cooking, feeding, dressing, cleaning after them or that they can’t go on holidays and this does not matter what size of the family I might add (2 or 10)! If you believe that a child is a blessing then be happy in it. I believe that when the Bible says children are a blessing that it means your child is the blessing not how many of them you have – you are blessed to teach that child the things of the Lord, look out at the world see how the ungodly prosper and multiply are they being blessed because of the number of them?
    If we think we are more blessed or godly because we have children (or more children) we are full of pride, what about couples who are infertile or those who choose to go into Gods service and stay single?
    As for what people say about the size of our family or the lack there off pray for God to guide you what to say or do and for the people who are passing the comment. x

  27. I just had our 3rd. Unfortunately, it will be our last. Had some weird complications and the dr. HIGHLY recommended we not have any more as this most likely would happen again. Then I hemorrhaged during recovery from my C-section and was pretty close to having to go back in surgery for a hyst. I recognize we both could have died, but it still makes me so sad to know I will never be pregnant again. I always wanted a large family and tell my children daily how they are a gift from God and how much I love them. I agree with you- no matter if you have one or 12, let them know how special they are.

    • How scary! I want to just encourage you to know that this is all part of your story. I would never have chosen to lose a child, but it is part of my story and God is using that for His glory. Who knows who He may put in your path that needs your story. :)

  28. Your last line is so true, but I have family members that forget that so easily in the meantime. I just had my ninth (and last baby), and my MIL actually said yesterday on the phone that she felt like things had “gotten better” since we decided to “stop growing (y)our family”. We were never going for a number, as much as we were following God’s leading in our hearts. She has no idea that we still intend to grow our family, only this time through possibly adopting a sibling group! Just another leading He’s placed on our hearts that we are just beginning to explore.

  29. I am 41 and am contemplating having a 5th baby!! Our kids are almost 10, 7, 5, and 1. I had severe Hyperemesis with all 4 pregnancies and I know it would be the same for the 5th, if I get pregnant. I get extremely worried and concerned about having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities due to my age. I will be praying about what to do…..

  30. I was so touched by your story of your daughter Emily. I was praying for you all as I read it. We never got to see our first grandchild as my daughter had a miscarriage. Afterwards we were blessed with a grandson and a granddaughter. My husband was diagnosed with cancer when she turned 2 and was given one year to live unless he had a transplant. That year was spent battling cancer. When we returned home we were blessed by two more grandchildren, both girls. We are currently expecting our fifth grandchild, A BOY, on December 21st. I was one of those people who wasn’t really thrilled to find out my daughter was expecting again. It had nothing to do with how much we love your grandchildren, it had everything to do with our concern for her and her health as she has to have surgery each time. But I watched her pray and I know God led her heart to this little boy. I won’t question them again. I will stand and watch God be glorified in their lives and praise him for his mercy and grace. From our family to yours, Happy Holidays and God bless you richly.

  31. I had a baby when I was 39, 40 and then found out we were expecting at 41 again. My sister said, “What are you going to DO ?” I couldn’t believe it. No congratulations- but then I remembered she always wanted children and chose a husband who didn’t. What are we going to do, why, love this baby of course. My family didn’t help and wasn’t excited (my parent’s only grandchildren!) But, my mother-in-law had 8 grands and screamed in happiness every time we told her we were expecting! What a great reaction. I started to do this with my friends and family- better to be happy than question their decisions. People are so funny.

  32. Thank you! I need this. We found out we are pregnant with #5, totally unexpected as I have an iud (we’re Jewish… Not really the “let The Lord” kind). After 3 my mil said we should be done. Our 4th she hasn’t met yet (he’s 9 month). She says, “if he was your first…”. I’m so hurt that she would even hint that because he’s our 4th he’s not special. We’ve only told our friends about this pregnancy… I’m not really sure how we are going to do this with his family.

    • Ugh – I’m sorry. :( There is a book you might be interested in reading (even though it is written from a Christian worldview) called A Full Quiver. It has lots of lists of famous people who were born into large families and were NOT the first child. There’s a link to it on my Large Family Living page so you can see more about it. A really neat resource! And CONGRATULATIONS! :)

  33. I know the feeling here only with a smaller family. My wife already had a 3 year old when I met her, and we recently found out that we are expecting. – after trying, and her family (whom she is close with ) being hesitant about us trying, they started warming up and asking what the hold up was. then came the just over 1 year of marriage argument, and unfortunately her family got very involved, then it wasn’t until after / during the post blowout when we started to “mend” as husband and wife, that we found out we were expecting. Needless to say my wife was a bit shattered (expecting to be so) when all of her family denied any sign of happiness. My family on the other hand – did surprise me, as even though they are less emotional and more distantly supportive…. didn’t’ shout for joy either, – they just said eh.. glad we’re done with ours…….. (coming from my mother and father) …. so my point is I guess that my wife and I HAVE to be each others supporters as we are the only ones that seem to be excited outside of a friend or two. – Hang in there. …. It gets better as life goes on if you keep looking to God and loving your Kids. – so I’ve learned.

  34. Amy, I really love this post. I feel very strongly that family size should be between you, your husband and absolutely involving God, with complete unity throughout. In regards to negative comments from others, I believe you hit it spot on. When you are convinced of your personal conviction and your children know without a doubt they are loved, it really just doesn’t matter what others think. I happen to have a larger family, all children the same gender, which seems to put the negative comments into overdrive. It isn’t always easy, but I have learned to simply smile and walk away if need be, reminding myself that God always knows better than man and since I am certain I am inside His will, then it matters little what the stranger in Wally world thinks or my husnand’s well-meaning grandmother, for that matter!
    Children are a blessing, whether you have two or twelve. I don’t believe it’s the number that matters but what you do with the blessing God has given you.

  35. Thanks for this article, we are prego with #6 and have not told many people cause of all the negativity we have experienced in the past. In fact I don’t remember anyone ever being happy with us having a new baby except the first. My boys were at there g-ma’s staying the night when they wanted to pray b/f bed for there new baby brother or sister, they are quite excited but g-ma brought them down and called me to tell me about how I can’t afford to take care of the ones I have. Which is untrue my kids have everything they need and want, she don’t even know our finances. I was starting to feel depressed and Like maybe just taking her out of my life is the answer, which it might be for a while, i don’t know. but this article helped.

  36. Awww,this brings tears to my eyes!Thank you for writing a post like this!..I love having a large family and sometimes people say things they shouldnt but i always smile and cheer my family on because i am sooo proud of them! I cant imagine not having every single one of my guys!…Shared this on my large family living page!