I remember sitting on the edge of the bed in the hotel room after our first night as man and wife. It was time to finally get up and get on with our first day together. For the past few months, my morning routine included taking a birth control pill. For some reason I paused and we prayed about what to do with the rest of those pills. We felt complete peace with leaving them there in that wastebasket. I can still see them laying there in their pastel case, still open and alone. It was one of the top three decisions we ever made.
Little did we know (a lot of stories from newlywed days start with that phrase) that we would be expecting a baby so soon. By September, this June bride was queasy and green and pregnant. I was only 18, just out of high school. All I had ever wanted to be was a mom. I never even thought about being a teacher or a nurse or even a rock star. Well, maybe for a few months when I was little, I wanted to be one of Barker’s Beauties – dodged a bullet there. Other than that, when adults asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say “pregnant”. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I had achieved my career goals ahead of all those suckers who were just starting college.
It would take many posts to cover all that happened to bring us where we are now. We are the parents of six beautiful children who make our lives better, contrary to what most people think. We all make each others lives better and that is the bonus of it all. We decided for our family that we would follow our desire to have babies, even when it went against modern thinking and even common sense. I would pretend for a while after each baby that I was done, but I knew I was lying to myself.
getting these pics is harder than you’d think
I used to tell people we were letting God decide when we would have another child. I now believe that He decides this whether you “let” Him or not. He can override your birth control method, He can heal a vasectomy, He can change a heart and He can tell you when it is time to move on to Phase II of family growth. During this time of arrogance when I believed I had “let” God do something others had not, I heard numerous stories of regret from women who had done something permanent to prevent babies in their family. I would feel sad for them or angry at their selfish husbands or fed-up with the world and its ways. Now I believe that all the babies that are supposed to be here are here. God will not be thwarted. There are no unused souls sitting around sad in heaven because someone took her pill today. This is just not what the Bible teaches us.
Now, before you start using all CAPS in the comment boxes, I do believe that the decisions to have babies or not to have babies should be taken very seriously. My point is that God leads in so many subtle and mysterious ways. Every woman should educate themselves and do whatever they do in an informed manner. For instance, I do not take birth control pills because they come with the chance that a fertilized egg will be spontaneously aborted. Once I knew this information, I could not take them in good conscience.
The best thing to ask when deciding about children is are your reasons for attempting to prevent a baby purely selfish? So many times this is the case. I believe any couple trying to make this important call does best to stay close to God, search His Word, listening for His guidance. In my experience, it will not be subtle. No blog can tell you what to do or let you off the hook from what you are called to do. You must know in the deepest way possible that you and your God are clear on this.
My heart hurts for women who want children or more children and their husbands do not. (or vice versa) However, I can’t imagine having a child with a man who had simply lost this argument. I would much rather watch for your hearts to line up on this issue, one way or the other. I have a friend who prayed earnestly for a year and watched her husband’s heart soften to the plan of a second child. This joint decision-making comes in handy in the middle of the night for feedings, puddle cleaning during potty training and when that first car insurance bill comes after they pass that driving test. Then you can happily think, no regrets. None.
Seriously now, these things are deeply personal. What happens with your family is ultimately up to an Almighty God who does not make a mistake while His head is turned. He goes ahead of you, He has your back, and He takes care of your regrets as well. The child you are imagining could just be a future, flesh-and-blood child – His child.