4 Moms: How to handle it when you want more children, but hubby doesn’t

4moms35kids 4 Moms Q& A We have not been in exactly this situation, because I was much less clear on what I wanted, but I can sympathize with the question.  Rather than answer the question directly, I’d like to just tell a story from our past.  There are some bits of advice to take away from it, and maybe God will use our experience to help others through those early years of Short People Overload.

When Perry and I were first married, neither of us had put a lot of thought into family planning.  We both came from large families and wanted a larger-than-average number of children.  Maybe 5 or 6?  We didn’t have a problem with birth control, but we didn’t feel it was necessary to plan ahead right then.  We were newlyweds and had better things to think about!

Children began arriving quickly, and we were thrilled.  Our first was just a few weeks old on our first anniversary.  Our second was born 21 months later, and our third 19 months after that.  Then the in-laws moved 1,000 miles away, our church dissolved in a nasty mess, and our fourth was born.  Our oldest was 4, and we suddenly felt in over our heads.  How much longer could we keep this up?  We were 25yo, with lots of child-bearing years ahead.

We began to talk about family planning.   We knew that hormonal methods are known to cause early abortions, but we weren’t talking about those methods.  We talked more about the reasoning and philosophy behind birth control, and found that we disagreed.

He felt that we had been fruitful.  We had 4 children already, and it would be nice to have an empty nest when we hit our 50’s.  We could travel, work as a team driving an 18 wheeler, enjoy the grandchildren, enjoy some freedom in our peak earning years.  Besides, pregnancy was hard on me and he knew I was having a hard time just handling every day life.  Nearly everyone we knew would back us in the decision.

I had already become convinced that it would be wrong, but I was overwhelmed.  I was not looking forward to 10 more years of morning sickness, 5 or 6 months at a time.  I was exhausted, stressed, and appreciated his desire to lighten my load.  And being familiar with Ephesians 6, I knew that it was his job to lead and mine to follow when it came to making decisions.  He wasn’t asking or requiring me to sin, although I believed that what he was contemplating would be sin for himself.  I had done my bit and warned him of what my conscience told me.  Now the decision was his, and I thought I really wouldn’t mind if he made the “wrong” choice.

Did I pray for God to change his mind?  Probably not.  I don’t remember, so if I did it must have been without any fervor.

Did I make multiple appeals to my husband?  Only enough to assuage my own conscience.  I made sure to state my convictions any time the subject came up, but I was determined not to nag about it.  I didn’t even bring it up at all.  If only I had such determination to avoid nagging in other cases!

I wasn’t entirely convinced that I was right and he was wrong.  Maybe I was hoping it was the other way around.  But I do remember praying that God would make the answer clear to both of us, and that is what He did.

After the decision was made and seemed a forgone conclusion, Perry just changed his mind.  He decided that he couldn’t do it in clear conscience after all.  We were intimidated by what the future might hold for us, but we were both willing to trust God and take one day at a time. I thank God every day for directing us down this path.  I can’t imagine walking it without our 11 children! How would you answer this question?  How did the other 3 Moms answer?

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  1. i absolutely love and appreciate your honesty here. i feel like a lot of people don’t want to admit struggle with wanting God’s complete control over fertility and i love reading your story here! keep inspiring us!

  2. I am only 3 very young children along thus far, but I have noticed, it seems, that deciding on number of children based on your circumstances at the time you would be having them is not a very good barometer of what your situation will be like when the family is really starting to build to a good size. If a man is diligent in his work, the ordinary course of things will bring him greater promotion in his work, higher income, and more flexibility. (Of course this is not universal, but a general pattern.)

    At the same time, the older children will be becoming more useful in terms of actual work accomplished, so long as they are given the opportunity to achieve as soon as they are able and not relegated to the status of “just a kid”.

    Development of the man’s career and income, the woman’s expertise and competence in childrearing, and the children’s own ability to care for themselves should be concurrent, and not sequential.

    We as humans have a hard time moving our thoughts away from the bias that things as they are now are as they will always be into the future. God has a way of changing our preferences as we age, and of course He only gives 4 baby grace when we have 4 babies, 5 baby grace when we have 5, and so on.

  3. Serenity says:

    My husband had a vasectomy when I was pregnant with our fifth and last baby. I was not in favor of it, but truthfully, I did not devote serious time to praying that he would change his mind. When our fifth baby was two days old it hit me what I had done and I GRIEVED, hard. For the next two years it was a sore spot in our otherwise happy marriage. I didn’t really pray about it, I just made snide comments to my husband and grieved everyday. When we finally “hashed it all out” so to speak we decided to listen to the Baby Conference, hoping it would give up some answers. Until, a few years ago we had NEVER even heard that planning your family size might be wrong. This is completely foreign territory for us. We listened to the Baby Conference and my husband was convicted and will be flying to Texas for a reversal in a few months. Truthfully, it does not feel like a victory because I know I failed to submit and pray for my husband who was truly trying to make the best choice for our family. He is an amazing man of God (especially considering where he comes from) and I failed to submit and pray and instead I was angry and inwardly I felt pretty self righteous. I hope other women learn from my mistake…. I wish with all my heart that I had simply followed and prayed like crazy.

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