I remember so many times when I was in my early 20s and pregnant. I always had my other two or three toddlers latched onto me at various places. So often, people would look at me with disdain and say something like, "I'm sure glad it's you and not me!" or "Don't you know what causes that?" or "What's the matter, don't you have cable TV?"
Where do people get off saying these sorts of things anyway? If you've ever been pregnant, you've more than likely heard several of those kinds of comments yourself.
I think the first few times I heard them, I took it lightly and just thought people were trying to be funny, but after a while, I caught on to the sarcasm. As much as I disagreed with their point of view, eventually they got the better of my feelings, and I started making excuses for how we ended up being "pregnant again" with our third and fourth children.
I think my husband started to feel the same way at work when his co-workers would find out we were pregnant again, and they just thought it was too many children, so he didn't always tell people right away. We had our children very close together - four in five years. We enjoyed a fun first year of having only one child, our oldest, Weston, and right after his first birthday, we found out that our little Janie was on her way!
When my daughter was 6 months old, I found out I was pregnant with my son, Thomas, our third child. When Thomas was 8 months old, we found out I was pregnant with Cody, our fourth and youngest child. So, it just kept happening for us, and I loved it, scary as it was, since I was so young. But I was always thrilled to be pregnant again and always relished the idea of inviting another child into my heart. How wonderful it is to be blessed with children!
Wouldn't you know that in the midst of these wonderful years in our lives, we were tremendously pressured by some family members to "get fixed." We were asked questions such as "How many children are you going to have, anyway?" and told things such as "You can't afford to have anymore children. Don't you know how expensive having a child is?"
All this from people who rarely babysat for us and from whom we'd never asked to borrow a dime. It got to be where every time I saw this family member, I was asked, "So have you called the doctor to schedule your husband's vasectomy yet?"
Sadly, in my early 20s, I was easily influenced and didn't really know how to think for myself. I had my sweet Cody in 2001 when I was only 24.
I've absolutely loved having my four children, but sometimes I wonder if I would've had more if I'd been able to think and speak for myself. What can I say, those were busy years for us with our tiny tots, and communication wasn't always top notch, even though we tried. We just celebrated our 10th anniversary, so it's cool!
Anyway, I've met so many other moms who've felt the same way. They had tubal-ligations or their husbands had vasectomies when they were younger, usually right after their second or third child, and now, they sometimes wish they could go back and change that decision and actually have more children! It's true that both of the procedures are reversible, but it's also unfortunately true that they will not necessarily restore fertility successfully.
My purpose in sharing all of this with you is that I would truly like to warn you younger parents out there to think very carefully before you make any permanent decisions regarding your fertility. I would strongly advise you to make temporary arrangements for birth control, instead, and thus leave yourself the option of adding to your family again sometime in the future.
I write this thinking of my wonderful friend who now has moved back to Iceland and is happily pregnant with her fifth child. I sure wish I could join her with a number five!
So make your decisions slowly and very carefully; you never know how things may change in the future. And have as many children as you want and forget about what anyone else says. I happen to think big families are fab!
"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children, a reward from Him," Psalm 127:3.
Ruthie Davidson is a mother of four children, ages 5 to 10. She lives in South Daytona and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.