Wednesday, April 16, 2014

And Then there were FIVE: Why We Decided to Have Another Baby (After Almost Deciding Not to).

In our initial announcement I said "We're crazy! We're going to have another baby!"  Well I wanted to follow up to that "crazy" party.  What I meant was, we’re crazy enough to think:
Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from Him. Psalms 127:3
                                                                             
Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warriors hand; How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! Psalms 127:4,5

May He equip you with all you need for doing his will... Hebrews 13:21 (I mean he said be fruitful and multiply right?!)

It's not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own; our qualification comes from God... II Corinthians 3:5

Can I first say, I know individuals who have a hard time conceiving and friends of friends who can't conceive at all.  My heart goes out to them. I can't imagine the pain of wanting a baby and not being able to have one or the mental and emotional strain of trying month after month with no results.  So I don't flippantly write about the decision to have a baby nor do I believe it's even totally up to me. God is the giver of life and ultimately in control of these things. I felt the need to say that before talking about "my" decision...

On qualification:
The decision to have another baby was not an easy one.  Having no kids (for those who don't want them) is easy.  Having one kid is easier than having two, and so on and so forth.  Most often I feel in over my head (as I've written about here).  I have to constantly recite scripture to myself in order to feel "good enough" to be a mom at all and especially a SAHM.  If I look at it from my own ability and natural gifts I always say "I don't have what it takes!" I often feel inept.  Unqualified. And like I'm screwing up.  Pretty regularly.  Keep reading. It gets less depressing.

On money:
I also know people with multiple children (4+) who don't mind not having any cash.  (I'm keeping things real here).  Some are on public assistance, some are doing ok but know their future might not include a beautiful home or nice things.  I'm not one of those people.  (I discussed that here. ).  Over time God has been and will continue to change my heart when it comes to "stuff," but again, in the natural, I like being surrounded by pretty things.  To put it in perspective we drive completely average cars (but they are paid for. Woot! Woot!) and live in a modest home.  So clearly I've made decisions to value other things (staying home with my kids, being debt free, etc) over money.  But I'm just getting the point across that in my perfect world I would have a spacious, pretty home, designed by this interior designer.  I would be able to wear designer duds. We'd have fully stashed 529 plans for all of our kids' college educations. They'd go to private school. We'd drive nicer cars. Genevieve would have Ugg boots.  Just sayin.  Don't judge me.  When I told my brother we were having another kid he joked "Where is all the money going to come from?" I quickly informed him that he was supposed to be the wealthy one in the family and asked what was taking so long.

On control and order (or lack thereof):
My personality is not easy and laid back.  I like to feel in control.  And I like sleep.  I like knowing what's going to happen next.  Two kids is tough.  It would be so easy to stop since I can't even "control" them.  Control is in quotes because I know controlling them isn't quite the point.  But really, why add to the chaos?!  Why add to my plate when it is already so full?!  I'm not the type of mom who just wants 5 kids.  (I know moms like that. I envy them!).  I don't want five kids.  I'm a bit scared of having 3. Of being outnumbered.  Of not having the ability to grow extra arms, hands, brain cells, and patience to handle them all.  I am not the best homemaker.  I am happy to be home and I feel called to be here (like I talked about here). But I'm not the structure/routine/crafts/childhood education/perfect disciplinarian/spotless house type of mom.  (does she even exist?!).  Cramming another kid into my tiny space and the same 8 hours will not help that.  

So because of all of that...because I feel inadequate. Because we are not particularly wealthy.  Because more kids is more of a challenge in so many ways.  Because two is more comfortable, easier, and cheaper than three. Because life is JUST starting to get easy again. Because we get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.  Because I have my pre-baby body back.  Ha! Got ya! I wish!  Because. Because. Because.  We almost stopped.  

But...

But we didn't feel peace about stopping.  It didn't feel right. Our family didn't feel complete.  Yes, it's a leap of faith.  It’s a faith leap for physical strength.  It’s a faith leap for God’s guidance and direction. It’s a faith leap for finances.  It’s a walk of faith.  But it’s one we’re absolutely thrilled to embark upon! My best friend’s dad says “Let God determine the size of your family.”  Joe points out that he has 6 kids.  Touché.  (and I need to insert a note here--that statement isn't about birth control.  I'm a big believer in that!  But bringing God into our decisions about when to start and stop birth control is more what I'm getting at).  Anyway, I have to say, he makes a good point.  As believers we often arbitrarily decide things- where to live, when to buy a house, when to have kids, how many kids to have, without so much as consulting the maker of life and the “knower” of the human heart. I'm not trying to overspiritualize things.  We also wanted to have more children.  But there's a scripture I love that asks why we try to finish in the flesh (our human effort) what began in the spirit. (I'm paraphrasing).  That verse relates to so much in life.  So much of life isn't just what we see and feel.  In my own strength I don't know that I could successfully raise and stay home with 3 kiddos.  But with God all things are possible.  So with all that said, we went for it!


Yes there are challenges to big families--and I find it really funny that 3 is even considered a big family.  But seriously having 3 kids in 2014 is like having 5 kids 20 years ago.  Am I right or am I right?  But there are also so many advantages.  I'm excited for future Thanksgivings which will include my kids, their spouses, and their kids.  It's an automatic party when you're talking 8 adults and let's just guess at least 6 grand kids!   I LOVE the thought of that.  I'm excited for my kids to have best friends who live with them, share their bedroom, share their toys, share their life.  I'm excited for the fullness they bring to my heart.  I'm excited to train them that they are a part of something bigger.  That the family is bigger than just the individual.  I'm excited about all the love we get to share with each one of the kids and the love they'll share with each other.  I'm excited that when I'm an empty-nester and the long nights and exhausting days are well behind me, I won't have regrets.  Or that even in a few years when things are a bit easier I won't wish I would have had one more.  I'm excited to raise at least 3 members of the next generation to know and love God in a time where so many people don't know His goodness.  And I can't even imagine the happy moments since my heart already feels like it will explode with joy when Nadia kisses me and says "You're so sweet mama"  or when I ask Genevieve if daddy played the flashlight game with her and she says "More or Less"  (What?!).  I guess at the end of the day, I'm excited to lay down my life for another (or three little "others").  Isn't that what parenthood is all about? All those sweet heart to heart moments with my kids truly are worth more than traveling (I'm pretty sure we'll do that later), eating out every weekend (I don't need the extra L-Bs), sleeping till 9 (I still get to do that every once in a while!), having a spotless home (wouldn't have that anyway), or doing what I want when I want (In our narcissistic culture, who of us can't use a little more selflessness in our lives?!).   And as for the "fear" I got great advice once and repeat it to myself often.  When it comes to things that matter, "Feel the fear and do it anyway." Amen.

PS- the joy kids bring is indescribable. These pictures are some of my absolute FAVES that show the love between my girls--one major source of joy in my life.
 

 



6 comments:

  1. Yes! As a mama who is about to welcome baby #2, this is so reassuring! You're right! Feel the fear. And go! I've been consumed with anxiety and fear these past two weeks about all kinds of baby-related things. Things I can't control. Things I don't know. This is a good reminder of why we are doing what we are doing and that I'm not in control. Thanks beautiful friend! Your family of five is going to be amazing!

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    1. Jessica I think most of these fears are shared by every mama whether going from 0 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, or more. I hope by sharing them, moms won't feel alone or couples making decisions on having more can be encouraged that the fears they have are shared by others. A friend of mine and I were talking about embracing our phase of life and family make up instead of me longingly looking at her with "just" two kids and her looking at us with a new baby. Instead maybe I can encourage people like you JUST embarking on life with TWO (and let's be honest- make you feel better about your life from time to time)! And my mom friends with 4 can be encouraging to me! Your little family will be perfect in every way! Thanks for always commenting on the posts that matter ;)

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  2. THANK YOU THANK YOU Tiffany for capturing my thoughts exactly...I just forwarded your post on to my husband! We are still in the stage of "what if" we go from 2 to 3...I look at my 3 your old little boy and think "he's definitely the baby"...but then he acts out and I think..."he needs a baby brother/sister to help him learn the world doesn't revolve around him" :) I so very much appreciate how you've captured the REAL meaning behind this thing called life...and for reminding me that there is truly a master plan and to be open to that!

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    1. thanks for your comment! I'm so glad you found value in it. I have those same thoughts about my almost-3 year year old!

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  3. Tiffany, I so enjoyed your post regarding your decision to have #3! I especially related to the part about when you get to be a grandparent and have a houseful of family members (kids, spouses, grandkids). Speaking as a Mom of 3 kids, and 11 grandkids, I like to say that having grandkids is the reward for having kids (just one of the rewards!) The joys of having a large family far outweigh the stresses in our lives - you are blessed!! Maddy

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    1. Thanks Maddie! Means so much coming from you! I honestly thing so much about life is about delayed gratification...and I love that grandchildren are one of the rewards of having kids. Is it weird to say I can't wait? ;)

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