A Rare Sighting, Almost Extinct: The Large Family

Just came across this article about large families today... and wanted to share a portion of it with you.
In 1976, census data show, 59 percent of women ages 40 to 44 had three or more children, 20 percent had five or more and 6 percent had seven or more.
By 2006, four decades after the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to use birth control (and the last year available from census studies), 28 percent of women ages 40 to 44 had three or more children, 4 percent had five or more and just 0.5 percent had seven or more.
Quite a massive decline. I don't think I've ever seen these statistics.
“Three is still O.K.,” said Michelle Lehmann, the founder of lotsofkids.com and a mother of eight children who lives outside Chicago. “When you have four, people start raising eyebrows. When you go to five, people are like, ‘No way.’ ”
Beyond 10? “They think you are lying,” said Mrs. Gunnip, who also writes two blogs for so-called mega-families, those with eight or more children.

It's sad to me that what has been normal for centuries is now seen as freakish... regardless, the numbers are interesting.

44 comments:

Megan at My Heart, My Home said...

Aww Jess, you will be my favorite "freak." :) Hope you and the fam are doing well and staying healthy.

The McCains said...

That was really interesting. I don't suggest reading the comments however- makes me sad that there are so many that see larger families as such a bad thing and believe that that's the epitome of selfishness. It's so turned around and twisted with a secular worldview.

Jnette said...

I am only saved 2 years and before then did not any family larger than 4 children with parents around my age. When I started going to church I immediately met 3 families with more than 4, and since then met more. Initially I wondered how they were able to support that many children. I never thought others seen them as freaky.

After getting to know these families, I've noticed those kids are socially more mature. Having only 2 children, both of my girls lack this maturity. We absolutely love being around those familes, both of my girls always wanted more siblings. For a long time I didn't want to have any more children, I think differently now, but I am too old.

Amy said...

Hi Jess. I read this article just yesterday and it lingered in my mind. I agree w/ the above commenter about not reading the comments to the article. So sad.
I noticed when I was pregnant w/ my 3rd and then she was brand new that I got lots of 'you've got your hands full' kind of comments. Some snotty looks too, but also lots of compliments on my well behaved children. Since having my 4th, hubby and I do most of our errands together as a family, or just one of us w/ 1 or 2 of the children will run in. I just started thinking that I've never had a rude comment whilst out w/ hubby and all 4...but I did notice a LOT of snarling faces when we were in Whole Foods one time. Maybe his size intimidates people from the would be rude comments. We did run into an old friend of his the other night at Walmart...he said, 'man are these all yours?! wow! are you sure you didn't pick some up along the way?!'

Anyway, bless you all.

Amy B.

Bethany Hudson said...

I saw that article, as well, Jess. I think it would be interesting to see the birth statistics from the 1930s as opposed to the 1970s, as well, since many mainstream Protestant denominations started allowing contraceptives in the late '30s and early '40s.

~Bethany

SarahF said...

Hi Jess,

My grandmother (my mum's mum) had 8 children, from the late 1940s to the late 1960s. People would ask if she and granddad were Catholic (they weren't) and she'd also get disparaging comments from neighbours and even relatives, sadly, who thought it was disgusting to keep 'breeding'. My mum and aunt recall a neighbour turning her nose up in the air at them (little girls!) when she found out nan was pregnant again. How offensive that people thought they had the right to air such views.

I do find it surprising that people thought like this 'back then' but perhaps in post-war Britain people were beginning to enjoy ease after the harsh war years, with standard-of-living increasing against the backdrop of a permissive culture (ie readily available contraception) taking hold.

When she was in hospital fighting cancer (sadly she died) a few years back, the nurse was agog when nan told her she had 8 children: "eight??". Nan looked at her and simply answered, 'I enjoyed myself'. It was very hard work, no doubt, particularly for a working-class family but they managed. She particularly reaped the blessings of having a large family in old age. My grandad died a number of years ago and she had 8 children who loved and doted on her and ensured she lived very comfortably.

Interestingly, the 6 children that have gone on to have families have small ones (2, 1, 3, 2, 3 and 2 children respectively). The vast majority of families I know now with 4 plus children are church ones!

mandi said...

I am currently pregnant with my 3rd. My other two are 2 and 1. We plan on having more so I knew eventually I would get the "comments" but I didn't expect it already. I'm already getting the shocked looks and questions about whether I believe in b.c. or know what causes babies. Incredible!
Unfortunately, our society has family and children way too far down on the priority list.

Lana said...

Just seconds ago my coworker was talking about her preacher's daught who found how she's pregnant with her fourth, and she's praying God will take the baby.

Yes, they think I'm weird for mentioning staying home after my baby is born. *shrug*

Linda said...

Those quotes are so true. I have 5 children and am currently pregnant with our sixth. When people see us at the restaurant or the store, and comment to us about our family, they normally let it be known they think I'm some kind of supermom. The funny thing is that many have expressed how lovely a family it is and almost show regret that they didn't have more.
There's a lot of sacrifice that goes into having a large family, but you don't have anything worth having without sacrifice.

It is getting kind of uncomfortable though going places. Sometimes, you get strange looks as they count the children's heads. I guess people don't see a family of 5+ one on the way, have lunch at McDonalds much any more.

But I have a beautiful family and I love that thought.

Sincerely,
Linda

Monica said...

This is a sad, sad commentary on our culture. We don't value children that God calls blessings. And unfortunately, it's not a problem that is localized to the secular world.

LLMajer said...

Wow, those stats are amazing and so sad. I only have one kiddo right now and want 3 or 4 more, Lord willing. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Mrs Adept said...

Yay~!! Praise God - I'm finally out of mediocrity and moving into the .5% of the population. I'm pregnant with number 7. Can't wait.

Deborah

Dawn said...

As a mom of 10, if I had a nickel for every rude comment I've heard, I'd be a VERY wealthy woman.
I have noticed, especially lately, that I am getting a few more positive ones too though. It is hilarious to go to a store and watch people trying to count the kids as we walk by. I just tell the kids, "Don't stop. Keep walkin." LOL!
Off to read the article...I will certainly avoid the comments though. Thanks for the heads up ladies.
Dawn

Hannah. said...

Ok, off-topic. Sorry! Anyway...I said 'hi' for you and the Suels were touched and happy.

Anonymous said...

In most countries the average number of children per woman goes down as the average education level of women goes up. I think you are overstating the importance of the Supreme Court decision on birth control, and understating other societal trends, such as more women going to college since the 1960s.

Also, I think you are missing a big part of the picture by not mentioning the fact that real wages in the U.S. (that is, wages adjusted for inflation) peaked in the early 1970s. Since then the purchasing power of the average wage has stagnated or declined.

That is a big reason that more women are working outside the home rather than staying home with kids. I do know one mom who worked full-time outside the home and had seven kids, but most "mega-families" have a stay-at-home mom.

If religious conservatives want more women to stay home and have lots of children, they should be supporting policies that increase the average wage so that one salary could support more families.

(Yes, I know that many families live simply and get by on one salary even now.)

Laurie B

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention that sometime more than 10 years ago, the Atlantic Monthly magazine (I think) published an essay called "Fourteen," by a man who grew up as one of fourteen children in Queens. I remember photocopying the article and sending it to an old high school teacher who was one of fourteen children raised on an Iowa farm.

The essay covered a lot of the pros and cons of growing up in such a large family. The author was pretty critical of his parents (deeply religious Catholics). He felt like they had so much love for each other but didn't have time to devote to their children as individuals. The author mentioned that several of his siblings had never married, and most who did marry had divorced. The ones who had kids all had small families.

My teacher who was in a family of fourteen kids had three children himself (he now has nine grandchildren). He is by no means against large families, but he told me that he identified with a lot of things the author mentioned. He also brought the essay to a family reunion, and several of his siblings enjoyed reading it too.

Might be worth looking that article up for some tips on things to avoid doing if you plan to have a very large family.

Laurie B (not against large families!)

Jess said...

My husband and I both come from small families, I'm an only child and he has an older sister. We both would like to have a larger family. We don't have a number in mind, God will have to lead us in that, But I know I'll really have to learn gentleness in my response to the common comments about large families. I can tend to me snarky, but am trying to train myself to simply say "Children are a Blessing at every stage and age."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, one last point: you people should stop worrying so much about other people's rude comments regarding your family size. Who cares what other people think if you are doing what's right for your family?

I belong to a religious minority that is less than 1 percent of the population of my city, state and the U.S. as a whole. If I got bent out of shape every time someone made a comment that seemed to denigrate my beliefs, I'd never have time to be anything but resentful.

Learn to be confident about your choices and laugh off criticism.

You might even think of a joke response you can use in these situations. This can be helpful when encountering other criticism of your parenting choices. (For instance, "How long do you plan to nurse that child?" can be answered with, "Oh, I'm sure he'll wean by the time he's in college." "You don't have to pick him up every time he cries, you know" can be answered with, "My personal trainer says I should lift a 15-pound weight 150 times a day.")

Life is more enjoyable if you aren't continually upset by every obnoxious comment from someone who doesn't share your values.

Laurie B

Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm French and maybe it's because we have a catholic heritage but large families are encouraged (NB by large families I mean around 4/5) They get substantial government help with each new child, which helps the mother stay at home, and of course the coveted "carte de famille nombreuse" which is a card that gives you automatic reductions in price for transport, museums etc. Of course most people have fewer children, but I'd say that since university and school is free, it's easier to care for large numbers. I think if the US government implemented these measures there would be more big families.

Janet

Serena said...

If I may share my thoughts on a particular paragraph from the article:

"Still, for many mega-families, existence is hard." [I'm sorry, do small families, single people,or couples never have a hard time making ends meet?]

Their homes are usually cramped; [we all know that if a child has to share a room that child is cramped and deprived]

"college often means community college." [interesting--I know plenty of people from non-mega families who have to go to or choose to go to community college--what's wrong with community college anyway?]

"Parents work long hours on top of the demands of raising so many children." [because non-mega parents have loads of leisure time]

"And while the census does not break out income statistics for larger families, women without a high school diploma have about one more child on average than women with graduate or professional degrees." [Do you think, perhaps, that this just shows where a woman's priorities are?]

Sorry. That paragraph got me all riled up. Of course, I'm one of five, and my mom is one of 12, so I might be biased.

Lauramamadoula said...

people are easily conditioned. for instance: homeschooling didn't even used to have a name. well it did actually - it was called "raising a family" but now? public schooling is the norm and if you don't do it... you must put some kinda proper name to it. so we call it "homeschooling". and really that is just BARELY on the edge of acceptable to the larger majority.

and that is why we must think for ourselves... not just look around and become the average of all that is around us. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add...

"college often means community college."

My husband is one of 8 and the first 6 of the 8 attended a $80,000 private Christian University. They received many academic scholarships and grants due to good grades in HS. I came from a white-collar family and left with the same amount of loans as my husband. The other two are still in HS, but don't have plans to attend a community college. Less money growing up than the average family doesn't mean large families can't achieve their dreams, too.


"Parents work long hours on top of the demands of raising so many children."

My husband and I are pregnant with our 5th and live on a teacher's salary and have a teacher's schedule. My husband is probably home more than most husbands, large family or not. We can EASILY raise our family of 6 right now under $40,000. It just means good choices and budgeting. I do not feel we are lacking for anything.

"And while the census does not break out income statistics for larger families, women without a high school diploma have about one more child on average than women with graduate or professional degrees."

I totally agree...a priority difference.

Although I am not looking forward to the stares (my husband and I are 28 and 27, but look younger), I am proud of my family. I still am looking for a good comeback to "Wow, your hands are full!" =)

Addie said...

This is such a complex issue. There are of course a lot of people who have been mislead to believe that population is the cause of our environmental problems, which causes some prejudice. And there are always social habits we get into. For many years mostly those in lower socio-economic status had more children, so people are conditioned to associate large families with ignorance and poverty. It is unfortunate that we are still so quick to judge people without knowing them.
While my husband and I have chosen not to use birth control, I feel that that is a priveledge. My mother met a 34 year old woman in Brazil who had given birth to 17 children and couldn't tell you where half of them were. When an artist started passing out condoms in this womans community the Catholic church put out a contract on her life. I believe in a persons right to birth control. After reading true stories like Angela's Ashes, and knowing this is a common tale: women who have child after child just to see them die from poor nutrition and curable diseases, I cannot deny them. It is a blessing to have faith that God will provide for as many children as he gives us.

svr said...

this is an interesting article and interesting thoughts. i continue to be amazed however how we as christian women are so judgmental of each woman's (couples) choices regarding having children. i don't think it is true that i should be judged as not trusting god or wanting his blessing or valuing life if my husband and i feel like god is leading us to have only 2 children.
i do not judge women who have more than 4 children, i value their gifts and learn much from them. but that does not mean that i am gifted to have more than 4.
also, i do think it is important to realize that times do change and things evolve. families used to have to have many children because many children died in infancy, they were needed to help with the family farm or business, and to take care of the parents in their old age. not many of those things apply any more.

Andrea said...

Wow, these statistics are staggering!!
I feel proud to say I am in the 4 percent of the population with five children (pregnant with the fifth.)
I have to say I was a little wary of letting others know about our fifth. It's not that people criticize, it's mainly because they are sarcastic or smarky. I cringe at that.
On the whole the response has been very encouraging, which I am thankful for.

Laura said...

svr, you said: "times do change and things evolve. families used to have to have many children because many children died in infancy, they were needed to help with the family farm or business, and to take care of the parents in their old age. not many of those things apply any more"

I don't think this is a valid reason NOT to have lots of children! Just because things in this area are different now than they used to be (as is just about everything in our lives), doesn't make having a large family a worse option than it used to be.

Jess, was it you who quoted Douglas Wilson on having a big family? It was such a great quote. He basically said a couple should have as many children as they are able to, but that "able" means much more than mere biological ability.

Carmen said...

Jess,
I think you and I could be sisters...oh yea, we already are! We have some similarities in music/preaching.

I ran across your blog as I'm writing 'SIN SUCKS (the LIFE right out of you)'...and was doing some research on Driscoll's famous quote that ended up in my man Lecrae's song Rebel...and your blog came up!

Shalom aleichem b'Shem Yeshua Adoneinu!

Growing Daily said...

Growing up in a family that had 5 kids, including me, was wonderful. I wouldn't want a thing to change. What an incredible blessing to be surrounded by so many people that love you. Although I just have one infant now, I hope and pray that God will bless me with more. I want my children to grow up surrounded by family like I was.

Also, I came across an article on MSN today entitled "Some women driven to 'baby addiction'" Thought you might be interested to know what else is being said about big families.

Anonymous said...

It's true that people used to have more children in the 19th century. However, I read the statistics on medieval Europe and they said that the average amount of children a woman would have was 2. Actually it was 1-2 for town dwellers and 2-3 for those living in the country. In Victorian times they got a baby boom because of the progress in medical care. More children lived to adulthood.

I think big familes are great but I don't think it's up to me to tell people how many kids they should have. I know families struggling to feed their children on one income. I'm not in position to judge them. To each his own. After all, Bible doesn't tell us an exact number of children a couple should have.

L.

David McKay said...

Anecdotal evidence and a very poor sample.

I distributed and collected census papers for 400 houses in a secret location in Australia. Two houses needed more forms, because they had more than six people living in them.

As a child in the 1960s, we lived in a street where there were six children in our house [though three were adopted], the man next door had fathered eight children and his son next door to him had eleven children living in their little house. Our neighbours on the other side had six children.

Ours wasn't an unusual street.

CappuccinoLife said...

Lol. Three kids in an intact family is *not* OK in our area. I have been getting raised eyebrows and stupid comments since pregnant with my second. Got a comment just yesterday, in fact.

OTOH, large "families" are not uncommon in the sense that in certain neighborhoods, a man might have 10 or 12 children, from as many women. A friend of mine is the mother of one daughter ("small family"), but that daughter is the 10th child of my friend's husband. At least 5 other women involved in that "family".

I guess people figure if you have it together enough to keep your marriage intact, you should be "smart enough" to "know when to stop".

CappuccinoLife said...

OK, since it was mentioned....the argument that families only had many children because they needed farm hands and old-age insurance really bothers me. Painting all agrarian/subsistence cultures like that is just as inaccurate as saying people who have only one or two children are only doing it because they think children are "trophies" and commodities.

My husband grew up in a subsistence culture in Africa.
1. Agrarian or not, it would have been much, much easier for his parents to stop having children after one or two. Having 9 children was not a financial benefit to them--it was a serious sacrifice made out of a conviction that *Children are blessings from God*.
2. Given the state of their country, there was absolutely no guarantee, no probability even, that any one of their children would make enough money to really help them out in their old age.
3. Although infant mortality is high, they could have easily stopped at 4 or 5, since the older ones would have passed infancy by the time the 4th and 5th ones came along.
4. I am extremely annoyed at the implications of such arguments. If they're really true, why does my husband, having grown up like that, consider children blessings and want many of them? He doesn't have a farm. Doesn't need "old age insurance". But he respects his parents and agrees with them that a large family is a good thing and totally worth the sacrifice. He does not feel like he was an object or unpaid labor for them. He was born to them because they were open to God's blessings.

rant finished

Jess said...

Laurie,
You're right about us moms of many needing to get thicker skin. I think the thing you're seeing, though, is what happens when many moms of many get together and realize-- "Oh, so it's not only me? Phew! So how do you handle the comments?" etc. But I think we do need to suck it up (to a large degree) and let people say what they will.


David & Cappucino & others-- thanks for adding your thoughts!

~Jess


Laura,
I'm sure I've linked to that Doug Wilson quote before-- his has been the most balanced, thoughtful, helpful, and scriptural position I've seen on this issue.


svr,
I'm not in any way judging what you're doing by writing about what we've done, or what others have to say about one of the choices we've made.

That said (and sincerely said), we need to be very careful when we as Christians go about making decisions based on logic like, "things change and evolve". We serve an unchanging God, and his reasoning for telling people to be fruitful and multiply was never based on farming needs. It was always about spreading His glory abroad, so that the earth would teem with people made in His image worshiping Him.

I'm not saying there are never reasons to limit family size or be cautious in this area... and it's not my place to decide that for anyone else anyhow. But we need to be careful how we arrive at those decisions-- that they're based on scripturally sound conviction, rather than politically correct jargon or something that sounds good to the ears.


GrowingDaily,
Yes, that Suleman lady has really brought up a lot of these things to the forefront of people's minds-- in a negative way. It's unfortunate when some of the bad examples come forth and become a "marker" for everyone who looks similar on the surface (I'm thinking of how Andrea Yates was like that for a while too).

Anonymous said...

I guess I thought that one key reason for why people had large families in the past was because the likelihood of children dying was so much higher back then.

If they didn't have a large family, they could be wiped out with a bad season of viruses or other diseases.

Don't mean to be harsh, but isn't there something to it?

April

Leah said...

This was recently in our national press: http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article5627634.ece I read it out loud to musband and cried! Brings me to my knees again for my nation!

Lori said...

Laurie B. - 1) Some good points, but you forgot to mention how taxes have gone WAY up since the 70s (not that we can't often still be SAHMs). 2) I think it's good not to go looking for unnecessary bothersome comments. Many women visiting here get enough as it is without looking online for more. I normally enjoy reading comments. But after this article, http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article1752235.ece I was almost ill. Things like "criminally negligent" and "should be sterilized" for having more than 2 children! These people are voters, which is scary (though fortunately not all, or many, in this country).
3) You're right about using humor. I'm usually completely at a loss for words when faced with nosiness. Got any more helpful replies? I could use some. :)

Janet - Thanks for the input, but in the US we conservatives tend to want the gov't just to back off. If they are "giving" us money for having babies, that means they took it from someone (often us) first. Other problem arise too, that are to numerous to begin to go into.

Serena - great comments!

Thanks, Jess, for posting this. I've been talking about this with my family, and am glad to have some statistics.

Anonymous said...

For Lori: How to tell people to back-off.

Remember Dear Abby? or Dear Ann? My "back-off" toolbox is taken from many of their examples.

"Why do you ask?"
"So you're saying....." and then repeat what they said.
When they confirm, just say, "Interesting!"

Or you can simply draw the person out and respond with, "Really!" let her talk some more, then, "Interesting!"

(I've seen the "Really!" "Interesting" at work through a friend of mine on almost a daily basis. She is so good at it! No one ever feels offended and then the unpleasant conversation is diffused.)

Good luck!

April

Jacquelyn said...

Here are some suggestions you may (or may not!) like to say when people comment on the number of children you may happen to have with you at any given time... http://www.plomp.com/largefam/comebacks.htm

My eldest 3 are just a year apart so I have rarely gone out anywhere without receiving interesting comments! I prefer to smile or laugh (some comments really are funny) but it is really nice when people say things like 'what a lovely family you have' or 'they are a real credit to you'

My mother-in-law has 8 children and once said to a lady 'Look, I don't judge you for having 2 kids so don't judge me for having 8!'

But it goes both ways, doesn't it, it's just best not to judge!

I'm pregnant with my 6th although my tummy isn't showing yet, when this baby arrives our kids will be 6,5,4 and 18 months. Should be fun!

Thanks for your blog Jess, I love reading it.

Anonymous said...

Lori, that's a little complicated. Basic income tax rates were higher in the 1970s than they are today. In real terms, some consumption taxes were also higher. For instance, gas taxes have not been indexed to inflation, so they cost us less now in purchasing power than they did 30 years ago.

Sales taxes tend to be higher now. Politically, it's always easier to cut income tax rates and raise sales taxes. Since sales taxes are regressive (the less money you make, the higher the percentage of your income you are likely to pay in sales taxes), it's yet another problem for families trying to survive on one modest income.

State-sponsored gambling, another regressive tax, is up substantially since the 1970s.

As for responding when someone makes a negative comment about your number of kids or the fact that you are pregnant yet again, I haven't thought about this because I have only two kids. I wish I could ask my mother (who had five kids), whether she had any good ideas, but she is no longer living.

An all-purpose response I've used with any parenting criticism is, "We're doing what works for our family."

Here are some ideas off the top of my head, which may not be suitable for you, depending on your personality:

"We're trying for enough to field our own softball (football, volleyball, soccer) team."

"Could you repeat that? Maybe I didn't hear you properly. I could have sworn you just asked me an inappropriate personal question."

"Our first child was so wonderful, we decided we'd like a dozen more."

"See, there's this thing called free will. It means we all get to make our own choices in life." If the negative feedback is coming from someone in an older generation, you could add, "I bet it worked really well for you when you were raising your family."

(if the negative feedback is from someone who has no kids yet): "I'll make you a deal. When it's your turn, I promise not to judge the choices you make for your family."

(if someone says two or three kids are plenty) "No no no, I saw it on tv, EIGHT is enough." (if you're old enough to remember that show and you don't already have more than eight!)

(if someone says, "You know there is such a thing as birth control"): "Thanks for educating me. Is there any part of your intimate life I can help you manage?"

(if someone says in a negative way, "You certainly have your hands full"): "That's nothing. You should see how full my heart is!"

(if someone says you'll never have time to take care of all those kids): "I make time I don't have to do the things I love doing."

(if someone makes a negative comment about your house being loud or chaotic), try stealing this line a friend of mine uses: "If I wanted it to be quiet here, I'd be raising goldfish."

(if someone warns that you and your husband "will be outnumbered" or comments that you already are outnumbered): "What an interesting perspective. We don't view ourselves as being at war with our own children."

(if someone says having so many children would be a nightmare): "For us it's a dream come true."

As for kids not having their own rooms, my boys share a room even though we have enough space for them to be separate. They like sleeping in the same room, and I liked sharing a room with my big sister when I was a kid. To my mind this teaches kids more about sharing than anything else.

However, I do believe even kids in a large family should have some things they can call their very own.

Laurie B

Lori said...

Wow, ladies, thanks so much, those really are helpful. I'm writing them down! I'm only now becoming visibly pregnant with #3, but considering the comments I usually get while pregnant (I do get rather large), I want to be prepared. I already received one "clever" remark, when I anounced. I agree that is good for children to share rooms, and have something of their own. They're not pretty, but for older children I'm a fan of loft beds - the whole area is their personal space, the bed and the space underneath, for a small desk and shelves, or play area, whatever. For us to have a house-full really would be a dream come true. Thanks again ladies (Oh, and thanks Cap Life. You didn't speak to me personally, but I really appreciated your remarks, and forgot to mention it earlier) Have a lovely day!

Elizabeth said...

Interestingly, it is more acceptable to have lots of kids if it is a "blended" family - his kids, her kids, their kids, etc.

svr said...

i just wanted to clarify my comment. i did not in any way mean it to be taken in the negative way it apparently was. i was just putting the thought out there - that societies do change and evolve and that it is possible to look at changes in views of family within a biblical framework.

i am some times abit frustrated when people assume that in order to value life you need have as many biological children as possible. i don't see anywhere in scripture where that is stated. what about caring for children in our communities through foster care or adoption? what about valuing life by caring properly for the children you have (emotionally, financially etc.)? i know that there are many large families who do care properly for their children, but i have also seen some who don't.

to cappuccinolife - i was not making personal statements. i was talking in generalities about the changes in cultures through different times in history. i grew up in nigeria. i know how in a 3rd world culture they value family and their children. but i also know many women whose bodies were absolutely ravaged by continuous pregnancy, working to survive etc. etc. daily life in the 3rd world is about survival. anyway, a whole different discussion.

anyway, again, it amazes me how this topic gets so heated. i frequently question why we as christian women can't be more encouraging and supportive of each others choices. why is it that we assume if a family has few children they are not as valuing of life, or obeying god, instead of assuming that god may simply be leading their family differently than he is leading yours? god is creative. he made us all different. why do we assume that he wants us to all have the same kinds of families?

Rachel said...

Many of us with small families yearn for larger ones. I only have 3, and just discovered I'm pregnant for the 9th time.

My parents have 22 grandchildren and 5 children. I loved being part of a larger family. We also kept foster children, so often had 6 - 8 kids living in the house.

Anonymous said...

It's sad that people make these comments...we have only one child and would have loved more. People frequently ask me why we are so "selfish" to have only one child, how spoiled he must be, how he'll suffer for never having siblings...it goes on and on.

My son and I almost died at this birth, and we feel especially blessed by God to have our son be alive and well today. Unfortunately, the birth left me unable to have more children. We were unable to adopt because of a chronic illness I have.

To all of you with large families, bravo!

Christine