YOUR family size

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SnowFallsSoftly
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YOUR family size

Postby SnowFallsSoftly » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:42 pm

Lately I have been thinking and praying a lot about birth control, openness to pregnancy, and what God's plan is for my (currently) small and new family.

DH and I did not really talk about specific numbers of children or theology regarding them before we got married (we are both relatively flexible people, and agreed we were pretty sure we wanted them some day, probably didn't want a dozen, but mostly wanted to honor God and we would just see what happened when there was less to worry about)

Currently we use condoms (i'm sort of trying to track my fertility, a bit half-heartedly), but we've agreed that if we happen to get pregnant we would see it as God's will and be joyous.
However, I see some contradictions in the "if God really wants us to have kids right now he'll go around the barriers we're using and do it anyway"; I wouldn't say "if God really wanted me to do X he would take away all other options so that I could follow his will", or "if God wants me to have Y he will just give it to me and there will be no work or trial involved".
So it's something that I'm praying and reading about; asking people I know what their thoughts are (my mom just said, "eh, we had two, and it just felt a little empty, so then we got you...and that was enough" haha)

I know there's a lot of similar debate in the population thread (which got me thinking about it even more) but I really just want your honest story regarding your fertility choices and family size. Where do you see God in it? What scriptures did you consult? Would you recommend any reading? What motivated or influenced your choices, and how do you feel about them now?


(again, I realize this is a hot topic, but I just want to know what your family actually did and why)

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby Leah » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:57 pm

We have one child. More would have been welcome and there is no medical reason why they never came.
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Re: YOUR family size

Postby thisbejoe7 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:09 pm

DW was on the pill for the first year or two we were married. After that we switched to condoms during "risky" days in her cycle. Some years ago I had a vasectomy after we had 3 children. For us, 3 is all we can reasonably manage right now given a number of factors. I'm a big fan of the concept of stewardship, so applying those principles to children - we decided to take permanent BC measures when I had the vas. Vasectomy babies happen and if it happened to us, great. But we are not going to try to have more at this point.

If we ever have the resources and ability to care for more children we will consider adoption. I could get a vas reversal if we were to have more children together - but given the additional risks (on behalf of both men and women) involved with pregnancy into the late 30's and 40s (and beyond) - I doubt that we'd ever intentionally choose that option.

I completely agree with you that some people throw around "Christianese" type phrases about God's will in relation to reproduction. The facts are that God said to reproduce (check), but some people don't connect stewardship with reproduction, but as Christians we are to be good stewards of our bodies, resources and environment. So is it good if we have more children than we can manage? I don't think so. Is it good to sacrifice family and children on the altar of career and worldly success? Nope. Given our circumstances in life, resources and so on - 3 children is manageable for us. We could probably get away with 4, but it would not be ideal. I feel that for us, we've been good stewards of our reproduction, having as many children as we could reasonably care for and manage well.

I think ultimately each couple will need to make decisions for themselves as to what they can manage. And for those who use the "God's will" lines - if God wants us to have more, then He'll make a way. :-) But for now, we've used the mind that God gave us to think and reason with, reflecting His image, obedient in reproduction, careful and wise in planning and open to anything additional He may have in mind for us.

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby HisLadybug » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:15 pm

Here's what we did -

We married in 2006. Decided to wait to have kids due to a combination of factors. In 2009 our marriage was struggling. I wanted to start a family but didn't want to add to our marital angst. I asked the Lord if it was time to start conceiving and He very clearly said, "not yet." I was a bit sad.

We both individually received a green light from God in 2011. Our marriage was in much better shape. It took us 7 months to conceive due to an unknown medical condition (mine) that was discovered during my pregnancy.

We are the parents of a healthy 8 month old boy. It would not be good stewardship for me to get pregnant again until my medical condition is under control (I am aggressively working on it).

I have always felt in my heart of hearts that I would have 3 children. DH has been attached to the number "4" but now that our son is here in the flesh, seems to be wavering on it and feeling good about 3.

If we have 3 kids I believe we will then pray earnestly before we take any permanent birth control action and wait for God to give us peace on the matter.
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Re: YOUR family size

Postby beautyfromashes » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:52 pm

SnowFallsSoftly wrote:I know there's a lot of similar debate in the population thread (which got me thinking about it even more) but I really just want your honest story regarding your fertility choices and family size. Where do you see God in it? What scriptures did you consult? Would you recommend any reading? What motivated or influenced your choices, and how do you feel about them now?


I grew up around a lot of Quiverfull families. My parents leaned that way themselves. I always knew I wanted a larger-than-average family. DH and I discussed our thoughts on this quite a bit before we married.

The Bible doesn't say "Thou shalt not use birth control" or "Thou shalt have xx number of children and then stop", so I believe this is a decision that has to be made by each couple. I don't judge other people who choose differently.

Here's what Hubby and I came to -

We believe children are a good thing. :) The Bible calls them "a heritage from the Lord" and a blessing. We knew we wanted more than usual, but we didn't really have a concrete number. I always said I'd like to have at least 4, but also said (mostly joking) that I didn't want so many I had to drive a shuttle or a 15 passenger van.

We believe that life begins at conception, so we don't use any form of birth control that might prevent implantation, only those that prevent the sperm and egg from meeting.

We believe that permanent sterilization is not an option for us, unless it's because of a serious medical risk.

We currently use charting with condoms or spermicide. We've had 4 kids in the last 5 years, and I'm tired, honestly. I feel like we've had enough at this point, but I may change my mind some time. Right now I don't think I could emotionally or physically handle another baby, at least not for a few years. For us, this falls under the stewardship thing that some of the other posters have mentioned. Hubby has also recently started testosterone replacement. A very common side effect of T replacement is a drastically low, like zero, sperm count. So that may have decided whether or not we have any more.
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Re: YOUR family size

Postby Leah » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:54 pm

There were a lot of cool only children in the Bible, by the way. Isaac, John the Baptist, and the best one of all: Jesus.

If God intended that everyone have the same number of children, he would have made it be so.
Leah

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby mamame » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:40 pm

We approached family size like we do most things (God is not a fan of our plans and we learned that were futile)
So we decided to try to get pregnant and would make future decisions after that.
We fell pregnant with twins. Then 2 more surprise pregnancies. I never thought there would be a time when I didn't want another baby, but after #4 dh and I both knew that we were done, done, done.
Same way I knew DH was the one I would build a family with and that I knew 3 wasn't the end I knew 4 was.

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby The Twit » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:43 pm

I am an only child. My wife is from a family if four children. When we were preparing for our life as a family my wife and I were lead to have at least 2 children but no more tan four. Mainly on my experience as an only child we felt called dot have more. We also looked at time and financial stewardship. Thus we were led to 4 being the maximum.

We waited at least a couple of years using that time for us to explore and become more as a couple. We used condoms, spermicide, and planning sex around DW's cycle to prevent. We bought a home and then we got pregnant. We then planned each one every two years between births to get my wife back to normal health and to stop breast feeding. DS 1 was 14 in Oct, DD will be 12 in a couple days, and DS 2 turned 9 in Sept. We stopped at that point due to DW's health issues during the pregnancy with DS2 and she started getting ovarian cysts. We did not want to risk a pregnancy at that time. As the years proceeded we are now more worried about her age and health issues. Now we just use abstinence, condoms, and DW is on HBC pills to control her hormones.

This was gained through prayer and council of many older friends and family including our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other elders in our church. We have many friends who are quiver full theology and as the result of our discussions with these friends we agree to disagree on the theology. DW and I believe that it is a decision to be made by the couple and God. Our friends who are quiver full do believe that all couples should believe the same as they do and look at any use of BC is sin. I know that is not normal but it has been our experience.

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby SnowFallsSoftly » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:55 pm

Thank you to those who have replied thus far :)

I have a follow-up question I suppose--when did you make your decisions (as in, early in life, before marriage, while you were married, after an "oops", etc); and if you children were planned, when did you begin having them? (when you were 'settled', had good jobs, finished school, etc)
sorry for being such a nosey nancy, IRL people aren't quite as open about all these things, and most of my close friends aren't even married-let alone thinking about the theology of children to come.

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby Arogen » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:01 pm

We started having kids right away by choice. We both wanted a big family as we both came from big families. We wanted to space them out a bit (condoms, diaphragm) but it seemed DW would get pregnant again very soon after she stopped nursing, so our first 5 kids are 1.5-2 years apart. After #5 she went on the pill and for several years we didn't have any more. We got to the point where there were no kids in diapers any longer, and they were all in school, and it was looking like DW would be able to finish her degree and perhaps join the workforce since money has always been very tight. I was looking forward to this new season of life and thought we were done with having kids, but she found the side effects of the pill unpleasant and so we went back to barrier methods and she wound up expecting again.

Having #7 would mean we would need to have a second vehicle and a larger house and I just couldn't see how that would happen for us, plus it was a lot harder on DW to have kids, and it wouldn't be that long before I'd have to start paying for college and weddings for the kids we already have and it just seemed financially irresponsible to me to have any more kids. Also, I didn't want to get to the point where I was retirement aged and still had teenaged kids in the house, I didn't like the huge age difference between my dad and I when I was a teen and I think it was a barrier to his understanding me. DW wanted to ignore all consequences and keep going until menopause, she loved being pregnant and loves little kids. When we were engaged she asked me how many kids I wanted to have and my reply was 'one at a time until done'. By 'done' she thought until menopause, but what I meant was that I didn't really know and would make the decision 'on the fly' so she wasn't happy when I wanted to stop.

I wasn't going to force my will on her by going out and getting a vasectomy against her will, so we talked about it and I told her how I felt and said that I wanted to close the door on having more kids but with her agreement. I wanted her to get her tubes tied and for it to be her choice so she could own the decision wouldn't put blame on me and feel resentment. I didn't pressure her, stated my case and asked her to consider it and left her free to make up her own mind. She reluctantly agreed it was the right thing and went ahead with it. It was a good thing we did it, not long after we had a number of serious family crisis points that would have been overwhelming if on top of all that we were also having more children.

We will probably have our first grandchild in the next 5 or 10 years, and I really look forward to DW having that joy in her life.

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby thisbejoe7 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:04 pm

For us it was an evolving thing mostly after we were already married. Our live circumstances kept changing for the better and that allowed us the capacity to manage having more children. Initially I was satisfied at one child, but then all of my wife's friends got pregnant and she caught the "bug". We had number 2 and decided we wouldn't try intentionally for more than that. Then our circumstances changed again and at a time of major transition in our lives - we found out that we would be having #3. Our mindset at that time was that we weren't intentionally trying, but we weren't going to take overly serious steps to prevent pregnancy. We were still using condoms on risky days and got a little sloppy one night.

DW and I met at 16, married at 18, first child by 20, last (3rd child) at 25. We intentionally planned and tried for the first two. DW stopped working after DD #1 was born. We're big fans of early marriage and enjoy deflating ridiculous arguments that encourage people to wait, wait, wait for marriage and children.

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby Ballad » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:04 pm

We have no children. The pill is what we have always used for BC (except for condoms in the case of missed doses). This scenario wasn't our plan in the first place, but I have the firmest of convictions that now would not be a good time for us to become parents.

God would actually have to use something like a burning bush--or a baby--to convince me that I was "feeling" incorrectly about this.
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Re: YOUR family size

Postby jokerman » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:07 pm

We got married young-ish (age 22 and 23) and intentionally waited 7 years before having kids. We had two, and then when the kids were 10 and 7 we had a third one in our early 40s.

We waited until a few educational goals were achieved, so that was a factor.

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby The Twit » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:07 pm

SnowFallsSoftly wrote:Thank you to those who have replied thus far :)

I have a follow-up question I suppose--when did you make your decisions (as in, early in life, before marriage, while you were married, after an "oops", etc); and if you children were planned, when did you begin having them? (when you were 'settled', had good jobs, finished school, etc)
sorry for being such a nosey nancy, IRL people aren't quite as open about all these things, and most of my close friends aren't even married-let alone thinking about the theology of children to come.

We made the decision on the numbers and the spacing before we got married. We also knew that it would take about 3-4 years of marriage before we start having little Twits. So a lot of our plans were clearly discussed and laid out before we said I DO!

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby Mr. Dev » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:43 pm

When we got married, we wanted to wait a few years. DW used the pill. We got wrapped up in our jobs. About 10 years went by. DW become stuck in a salary exempt job where she typically worked 60-80 hours a week. It took a serious toll on our marriage. Through a series of God-ordained life circumstances (mentioned in other TMB posts), DW left behind the stressful job, moved to a job that closed its US office soon after she started, took a year and half of unemployment, and then became a stay at home wife. It was what we had always wanted but not known how to achieve. There is nothing too difficult for God though I have learned that He uses process. We decided to try for kids. DW had issues conceived due to PCOS symptoms. With the help of Clomed (a single dosage), DW conceived our daughter. DD was born in July of 2011. We decided to try again in May or June of 2012. To our surprise, we got pregnant with our son early in 2012--no Clomed. DS was born in October of 2012.

For the period between DD and DS, we used NFP (obviously not particularly well :wink: ). We did not go back to using the pill. I had read Does the Pill Cause Abortions by Randy Alcorn ($1 for Kindle copy). I will never be able to agree to the pill again. Since DS has arrived, we have used diaphragm and continued keeping track of NFP figures.

We expect to have at least one more child. We would good with more, but we believe that God has showed that we will have one more son, probably in about 3 years.
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YOUR family size

Postby padsnd » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:50 pm

Leah wrote:There were a lot of cool only children in the Bible, by the way. Isaac, John the Baptist, and the best one of all: Jesus.

If God intended that everyone have the same number of children, he would have made it be so.

Whether Jesus was an only child to His mother is the subject of centuries of debate, but your point bears repeating. Children are a blessing. The Bible clearly teaches that. However, too often in the zeal to proclaim that truth people overlook that God worked mightily through the barren and childless. When we look at some of the women the Bible highlights, we find Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, and even Esther as ones who either have no mention of children or only had one child in their "older age".

Children are a blessing, but clearly God does not work only through large families.
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Re: YOUR family size

Postby InGodsGrace » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:00 pm

We have 4 children. We never used any bc and still don't. God is in control over this area, will there be more, I don't know. I do have issues w/fibroids, and had one removed after our last birth, but before being sewn up (C-section).

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Re: YOUR family size

Postby Mr. Dev » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:56 pm

thisbejoe7 wrote:DW and I met at 16, married at 18, first child by 20, last (3rd child) at 25. We intentionally planned and tried for the first two. DW stopped working after DD #1 was born. We're big fans of early marriage and enjoy deflating ridiculous arguments that encourage people to wait, wait, wait for marriage and children.


DW and I would agree with you. We waited longer than we meant to or even really wanted to have kids, but we are all on board for not waiting and waiting for marriage. We married when we were 20. I really wanted to marry. At the time, my boss and his wife who were believers, encouraged us to just get married. There were a middle-aged couple. At least one of them or maybe both had been married and then lost their spouse. I am not sure that every young man is ready to get married at 20. I have known a couple of guys that seriously lacked maturity. Maybe, they would obtain it by fire if they got married. I do not know. At 20, I was ready to settle down and commit. I was different though than most of my peers. By the time that I was in my early teens, I started reading every Christian book on dating and marriage that I could get my hands on. I am glad that I got the advice that I did about getting married sooner than later. While we did wait to have kids, God used it in our case. We have gotten some much needed emotional healing and will be better parents for it.
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Re: YOUR family size

Postby sexwithinmarriage » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:57 pm

BIG DISCLAIMER: MY POINT OF VIEW and I don't look down, disparage, feel sad for, or have any other negative feelings against others who don't share it. I say this, because this tends to be a touchy subject and has gotten me in arguments in the past unwittingly. That said...you asked.

God told us to be fruitful and multiply. My wife + Me = 2 therefore multiplying must be at least 3 (2 would be replacement, 1 would be division/subtraction). Now, of course, if you can't (medical reasons, known or unknown), the opportunity doesn't present itself, your couldn't provide for another child (provide, not live in luxury, and most of us live in luxury) and other such reasons, of course, I don't believe there is any issue there.

But I don't understand the "we just want 1" or "well any more than 2 would be hard" and I certainly don't understand my 6 siblings and siblings-in-laws who don't want kids (my brother and I each have 4, I'm 31 and he just turned 30).

Kids are such a blessing. Granted, it's hard, but I would not trade any of them for all the easier living and/or time-to-myself in the world. And now I have to go, because #4 just woke up again after a 5 minute nap (she won't sleep tonight) and I'm home with the 4 kids (6 and under).

Again, my opinion.
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Re: YOUR family size

Postby Proverbs169 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:42 pm

We have 5. We've been married for 12 years and had our first a few years after getting married. Our oldest is 9. I was never one of those women who wanted to get married and have a bunch of kids... My how things change!
I love having a large family. We both come from large families and are close to our siblings so it's really no surprise that we've got ourselves a basketball team, lol.

We are currently in the "to have a vas or not have a vas" debate. We know we're done, but I'm having a hard time with the whole thing so we're waiting a bit till I can be sure. Which, considering how very fertile we are, is brave.


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