4 Moms Q&A

4 Moms, 35 Kids It’s time for the monthly Q&A.  You’ve got questions, and we’re all wondering if I have answers.  Let’s give it a try, shall we?

Q: We just had our first child and are so excited to start our family! We have recently been convicted not to have so much control over the number of children the Lord might want to send, but I’m concerned about my health, and the health of our next baby, if we were to get pregnant again in the next few months. How much time was there between your children since you were able to breast feed? How do you help your body recover between babies?

A: I have always gotten pregnant when my baby is:

a.) taking more food than breastmilk

b.) consistently sleeping through the night

This varies from one woman to the next, but my fertility doesn’t return until both of the above are true.  With the first 6, this gave us natural spacing of almost exactly 19 months.  Since then our spacing has stretched to about 2 years. I don’t do anything special to help my body recover between babies, but I do try to maintain a generally active lifestyle and healthy diet whether I’m pregnant or not, and I take prenatal vitamins whenever I remember.  I’ve been nursing and/or pregnant non-stop since 2 months after my wedding, nearly 20 years ago, so prenatal vitamins are always appropriate!

Q. When you really want another baby how do you keep from pining away for another one and accept what God has for you at that moment? (Seems to me that is almost harder to trust God then than when you aren’t interested in having more.) Also, how do you survive the first trimester blahs?

A. That’s not really something I’ve had to face.  I always seem to have another baby before the pining kicks in.  I guess I’ve occasionally found myself on the flip side of the coin: learning that I’m pregnant before I feel ready for another baby, especially back when all the kids were little and I  already felt overwhelmed with day-to-day life. I quickly learned that my attitude was closely linked to my husband’s: when he was excited, I was.  When he felt hesitant, I felt the same way.  I think that when we both realized how much his attitude impacted mine, we also realized that we are able and responsible to rule our emotions rather than being led by them.  When we resolved to welcome each new addition with unmitigated joy, it just seemed to happen naturally. I know this doesn’t necessarily answer your question, but I do think the key is to rest content in God’s will and His timing.  We should bend our heart toward His will, rather than following our heart wherever it leads us. How do I survive the first trimester blahs?  Mainly by reminding myself that it only lasts a season.  This too shall pass.  🙂

Q. I need discipline help!!! I already have read your posts and the posts at Raising Olives on the subject. I have also studied the scriptures. I need to make changes in my home, but I would like a concrete example of HOW you USE discipline.

Q. I’ve got baby #5 on the way and trying to deal w/a very defiant 3.5 yr old is leaving me exhausted/flustered. He’s always been more on the energetic, spirited side – so I’m wondering if any of your littles gave you a hard way to go and the way you handled it biblically. 🙂

A. I’ll borrow advice from the Headmistress over at the the Common Room, and tell you that offering specific discipline advice online is dangerous business.  It’s too easy to misunderstand and be misunderstood.  Instead, I would suggest you seek out a Christian family with happy, well-behaved children in your church or other circles.  Choose somebody you trust and admire, invite them into your home so they can get to know your family, and ask them. I will tell you this much: we have our share of spirited and strong-willed children, and it’s more important than ever to train them while they are young.  A little one who is accustomed to getting his way will become a defiant teen someday, one who towers over his mom (and possibly his dad) and is unwilling to be led by anything but his own desires, determined to learn every lesson the hard way – or not at all.  That is not what we want for our children.  We’re not in this for ourselves, and the path of least resistance now can lead to hardship and grief for everyone involved in years to come.

Q. How do you teach holiness and purity to your pre-teens/teenagers. What resources do you use other than the Bible (if any). And at what age have you taught the “facts of life”.

A. In a society where nearly every teen has a never-ending chain of boyfriends/girlfriends, it’s not hard to address this topic.  It’s all around us, and we have talked about it freely since they were little. We have several books that have proven helpful:

The Princess and the Kiss BookThe Princess and the Kiss – A loving king and queen present their daughter with a gift from God — her first kiss — to keep or to give away. Amidst a culture that mocks purity and virtue, give your daughters a storybook that beautifully portrays the value of purity and the rewards of waiting on God’s timing. By Jennie Bishop. Hardback. 30 pgs.

Before You Meet Prince CharmingBefore You Meet Prince Charming – How can young people be committed to purity and to God’s best? This guide to radiant purity combines the story of a young princess with solid, clear teaching of biblical convictions that young ladies today need to grasp. Through a captivating fairy tale, modern day examples, practical instruction, and abundant humor, Sarah Mally challenges young ladies to turn to the Lord for fulfillment, to guard their hearts and minds, to identify and avoid the world’s thinking, and to shine brightly in this generation. Beall Phillips writes, “Every young lady desiring to be married one day must read this book! It will challenge you; it will stir you; it will delight you! Most importantly, it will help you practically prepare for one of the most important decisions of your life.” Suggested for young ladies ages 12 and up.

What He Must Be...If He Wants to Marry My DaughterWhat He Must Be…If He Wants to Marry My Daughter – What will you say when that certain young man sits down in your living room, sweaty-palmed and tongue-tied, and asks permission to marry your daughter? What criteria should he meet before the two of them join together for life?

Gratefully, God has given us a clear picture of the role of the husband/father in the home, and in What He Must Be…If He Wants to Marry My Daughter, Dr. Voddie Baucham breaks this picture down into ten desirable qualities. Not only should parents of young women seek these qualities in a son in law, but parents of young men should strive to cultivate these qualities in their sons.

Dr. Baucham, one of the architects of the Family Integrated Church movement, follows up his popular book Family Driven Faith with this compelling, down-to-earth apologetic of biblical manhood.

It’s Not That ComplicatedIt’s Not That Complicated (we don’t have this yet, but I’m sure it’s great!) – Have you ever been confused about your friendships with boys, or how to handle crushes? How friendly is too friendly? How close is too close? What do you do when a guy is paying you way too much attention? What does it means to be a “sister, in all purity”? And what do guys think about all this?

Guy-girl relationships have always been complicated, but perhaps never more so than they are today. So, what’s a girl to do about boys?

Download Sample Chapter

Enter It’s (Not That) Complicated: How to Relate to Guys in a Healthy, Sane and Biblical Way — a new book by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin.

In this engaging work, these sisters take a humorous, hopeful, and deeply thought-provoking new look at guy-girl relationships in our times. Dealing practically with real-life complications such as online interaction, Hollywood expectations, undefined relationships, and unrequited love, the Botkins share important biblical principles that will help young ladies be sisterly, confident, and edifying as they interact with young men.

What Our Father Taught Us about BoysWhat Our Father Taught Us about Boys – How can young ladies keep their hearts pure? What responsibilities do they have toward young men? Is it possible to be “just friends?” Listen to practical advice on navigating the tricky waters of relationships with boys, and how these relationships—properly conducted—can be edifying and strengthening to a civilization that honors marriage and family life.

To answer your other question, the 4 Moms posted about how we teach the facts of life last May.  I, for one, was very amused by the wildly different approaches among our 4 families, since we all seem to agree so often on so many topics.

Q. tell me about your children going out an getting jobs now that they are coming to that age

A. Perry is blessed to work at a truly family-friendly place of business, where the children have been able to go to work with him regularly for years.  When they are younger, they do it for fun and toys, but as they get older they are added to the payroll and earn a very fair hourly wage. They love working with their dad and relish their time in “the real world.”  They have learned a wide variety of skills, made more friends than they can count, and earned more money than any teen needs, giving them the opportunity to invest, build up savings accounts and learn about money management. Now that some of the older girls have learner’s permits, working with dad an hour from home also gives them time to practice driving.  This makes me happy, since it means less time for me in the passenger seat with brand-new drivers.  😉
The other moms are taking questions today, too.
  • Smockity Frocks
  • Common Room
  • Raising Olives

  • Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

    • March 1 – Teaching writing (composition)
    • March 8 – (food related topic)
    • March 15 – How to save memories without being overrun

    Recent topics:

    About 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics


    1. Kim,

      I just had to tell you that I love how real you are about trusting God for children. A lot of people can have the wrong idea about the whole thing; that we are having children because we expect to have a sort of utopia on earth, or how wonderful we feel to be pregnant, or that we can “handle” it because everything always turns out so perfect for us. If it were about my “heart” or emotions, I suppose there were a number of my children that would not have been born! It is about obedience, about stepping out in faith and letting God do the “perfecting”. With all of my 15 babies, He has never disappointed me, and I always fall so in love with each one that He rewards my obedience 100-fold!

    2. After all these serious comments, I feel silly posting this menial one – but is there any chance you could link directly to the other 4Moms related POST each Thursday, instead of just to their homepage? Sometimes I don’t get a chance to read your posts “on time”, or I follow a link to an older post on a topic that interests me, but when I try to see what the other moms had to say, I’m directed to their homepage and often can’t find the post I’m looking for. Just a thought. Congrats on the new little one on the way 🙂

      • Justine, I totally understand! We all intend to link to each other’s specific post every week, but we can’t do it until all 4 posts are live, then we often forget.
        I’ll try hard to do better, because I know how hard it can be to find one particular post especially when you might not even know the title.

    3. Great post. I’m always glad when good resources are shared, and I thought all of your answers were very well thought out. I’m going to share this with some of my fertile friends. 🙂

      Unfortunately my husband and I are on the other end of this subject where we are having to trust God with our fertility because we have not been given the blessing of children yet. We know we are called to parent this country’s orphans in the foster care system, especially special needs infants, but there is still a longing there that just won’t go away.

      Trusting is a journey either way.



    4. I know this is off topic, but I have a baby who is suffering from severe diaper rash! I’m not sure what is causing it, but he is so red, with blisters! I have tried a lot of different ointments and so far desitin has worked better than anything else(it didn’t on my other babies). We use cloth diapers that I boil to sterilize them. Any other ideas? the only things that seems to help is taking off his diaper for a good half hour a couple of times a day to dry out his skin. But this is a pain, as I am not comfortable leaving him run around the house diaperless, so I have to hold him, which gets tiring, as he’s 20 mos and trying to play and get away.

      • Have you tried treating it as a yeast infection? Sometimes that’s the culprit behind a very stubborn diaper rash.
        Just use an over-the-counter cream designed for women instead of desitin. If it’s yeast based, you should see dramatic improvement in 24 hours or less.

    5. I just wanted to say to abba12 that I appreciate her long comment. Most people in our culture, Christian or not, assume that they should decide how many children to have and birth control is a given. I always encourage people to pray long and hard about preventing pregnancy. AS children of God, we should be putting every part of our lives under God’s control. How can we pray about cars and jobs but not about how many children to have? During our marriage (and we’ll be married 15 years in a few months) we used chemical birth control our first year (to my great sorrow as I know now it can be an abortifacient) and Natural Family Planning for about 5 months the year I turned 40. And there is a story there. We had 5 children in a row, with about 18 months between each set. Then I had a miscarriage, which broke our hearts, but I conceived again 6 weeks later and carried our 6th child to term. The year I turned 39, I had 3 miscarriages in a row. I got pregnant, miscarried, had a 6 week break, got pregnant…you get the picture. My husband took the lead on us being QF, and he decided after much prayer that we needed a break. I felt sad about that and wondered…couldn’t we trust God? But I really felt God saying that I just needed to let my husband lead. (I would not take chemical BC because of the abortion risk, but I felt NFP was appropriate.) So 4 or 5 months went by, and I got pregnant on NFP. And that one made it. I was 40 when she was born. She was 9 months old when I got pregnant again and I’m 6 months along with him. He will be our 8th child. I look back and wonder if we were able to carry #7 to term because my body had time to recover. In any case, I didn’t have to do a lot of agonizing becuase my husband prayed about it and made the decision, and I felt peace about following his lead.
      Things do get complicated when there are serious health issues, repeat mcs, etc. During our time of using NFP I did do additional praying that God would bring us a child at the right time if He chose, and that my body would heal. I also added some nutritional supplements to my diet that may have helped. There are lots of unknowns, but I do know I’m not quite as ardently QF as I used to be. And that makes me a little sad…it was easier when it was black and white, before the grief of several lost children darkened the whole QF thing for me. But then I think too that God did use those losses, and of course if we had done the normal cultural thing and gone for sterilization we wouldn’t have our sweet 1 year old daughter, and I wouldn’t be carrying our son.

    6. What’s your opinion about spacing and such if you have been unable to breastfeed?

      This is a really long comment but I hope this might help your first question consider her options, as it sounds, by the comment “since you were able to breast feed” that she may be formula feeding which makes the BF spacing inapplicable. There’s no easy answer, just a lot of prayer, but here is a viewpoint she may not have heard before. Not strictly ‘quiverful’, in fact probably not ‘quiverful’ at all, but not anti-children either.

      I was unable to breastfeed for multiple reasons and had my periods back in the second month after my first child, however I had a very hard first pregnancy, with HG that lasted all 9 months (I still had the symptoms of ‘normal’ morning sickness up till 3 months post partum) and cholestasis which forced us to induce, and meant that the residue bile salts could still be in my system, which would likely cause a miscarriage should I concieve. Conceiving two months post partum would have been more than my body or mind could handle.

      My husband and I don’t align ourselves with ‘quiverful’ because this is where our beliefs differ. We live in a fallen world. Have you ever been forced, by this fallen world, or the sins of another, to tell a lie so to prevent a worse happening? Many people have or can at least imagine such a situation, hiding Jews in germany for example, and some have been forced to do worse sins by nature of living in a fallen world. In an ideal, Godly world every woman would be capable of breastfeeding and thus would not concieve too early after a previous pregnancy, but because we live in a fallen world, this natural protection is not available for us all. I believe in a situation where it is genuinly dangerous physically to concieve, sometimes we are forced to use (non-abortative) birth control for a time, though as soon as it becomes safe again we must be willing to give it back up. We also know that items like condoms have a failure rate of 3-5%, which is actually rather high, so if God wanted to tell us we were wrong and we needed another baby right then, he certainly could have had us concieve. I believe the same is true for a cancer patient, it would be worse to concieve a baby to have it die in chemo, or have the mother die of cancer possibly killing the baby too without chemo, than it would be never to concieve at all. Children are a gift absolutely, but would God want us to accept a gift knowing we would have to murder someone because we accepted it? I don’t see it as a gift God offers at times and we should accept at those times, I see it as a gift that is always on offer, and as such, we need to use some discression as to when we accept it.

      Getting back to the main point, I’m certainly not advocating putting off children till the perfect time, or preventing children because you’re unemployed or anything. But in situations where it is truly dangerous or an especially bad idea to concieve at that point, or the conception would lead to death, such as while on certain medications like the one used for ectopic pregnancy, I believe it’s ok to prevent it for a time, after praying about it, and knowing that God could have you concieve anyway, and having a definite time at which you will stop preventing it.

      For us, following my pregnancy, I was still suffering ‘morning sickness’, if I had gone straight on to having another HG pregnancy, all other concerns aside, mentally I simply couldn’t have handled it, and physically, my stores of nutrients were depleted, I still couldn’t eat properly, My body had nothing to give a baby and not enough to sustain myself for 9 more months. The doctors didn’t even know what HG was and wouldn’t help me, especially not if I ‘chose’ to get pregnant again so soon. Throw in the cholestasis risks and we felt God did not want us to concieve in that situation. Women who rely on breastfeeding for birth control find it begins to stop working after 6 months, so after much prayer we used birth control until the 6th month post partum. I wasn’t sure it was long enough, but it was when I would probably start to stop having protection in an ‘ideal’ world and it was the time God was giving us in our prayers. It would also be more than enough to prevent issues with the cholestasis.

      Fast forward, we concieved the first cycle, but miscarried at 4 or 5 weeks. We then did not concieve until 12 months PP (I’m apparently NOT so fertile :P) and we are still pregnant with that baby. My body had plenty of time to build up stores of nutrients again, I feel great, and right now I only have normal MS, not HG, which is amazing and truly a blessing.

      If I don’t suffer complications but we still can’t breastfeed this baby, I don’t know whether we will prevent for 6 months again or not, I guess I’ll have to do some research on the safety of early conception and do a LOT of praying about it, there’s no easy answer, and what’s right for one family may not be for another, so PRAY.

      I hope this perspective might help your first question asker to either decide she disagrees altogether, or that she agrees and needs to assess the potential danger or lack thereof in her concieving quickly, or whatever she gets from it, I hope it helps.

    7. I never scroll that far down the page! That’s great!

    8. We have The Princess and the Kiss, it’s a wonderful book. I feel totally prepared for my girls, but I have a teenage son and I really feel lost talking to him about purity and treating not only girls with respect, but himself. We expect our men to grow up to be nourisher/protectors, and need to teach them the value of that before they’re men. Are there any good resources for that? And yes, my husband is a lost cause. He was pure when we married, but his family achieved that by shaming the idea of relationship so much that it has affected our relationship, physical and spiritual.

    9. Yay – how wonderful 🙂 Many blessings!!

    10. I love it when you do questions and answers. 🙂 Oh, and I would HIGHLY recommend “Its (Not that) Complicated”, Great book!
      And one more thing, that’s a nice little ticker down on the corner of the page, super excited for you all (One Family of 13)!!!! 😀

    11. I became pregnant 14 months after the birth of each of my first three children, so just under 2 years apart. Then the next 3 spacings were 19, 20, and this new baby will be 21 months. In June, I will have 7 children ages 10 1/2 down to newborn. I breastfeed exclusively, not starting solids until 6-8 months, often still nursing at night until at least 8 months. No pacifiers.

      My experience from knowing other young breastfeeding moms is that my spacing is wider than most young to mid 20-somethings would expect. I know a mom who had 12, 14, 16, 13, and 18 months and is now still in her 20s with a 22 month old and not pregnant. I know a mom who had 19, 12, and 14 month spacings before they decided they were done. Another had 19, 22, and 20 months in between. All of the previous used pacifiers so may not have nursed as much during the day; I don’t know about whether the following moms did. I know a recently married mom who had 14 month spacing between 1 and 2. Another who had 18 months and then 18 months.

      16-17 months seems to be the most common range in the above group of 20-something breastfeeding moms, though it’s possible it was affected by pacifier use. But, ultimately God is in control.

      • Honestly I think it’s less about biology and more about God knowing what is best for your family. 🙂 My first three were 15 and 16 months apart respectively and followed the basic rule of more solids and more sleeping at night when I conceived. #3 is a HANDFUL, however; and despite my previous “schedule” I didn’t conceive again until he was 19 months old. I think that was just God being gracious and knowing I needed a bit more of a break before #4. 😉

        • As I said, my first 3 spacings were 23 months, and then the next three were (and are going to be for the last) 19, 20, and 21 months. I really think that a lot of it was that I’d have had more difficulty handling the closer spacings early on, both in terms of coping and in terms of the opinion of others.

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