The rule states that a mother of many children, in any case where any circumstances related to bearing or raising children are less than the picture of textbook perfection and bliss, must remain silent. Such a mother may never utter so much as a syllable indicating the less-than-Utopian condition of her health, her family dynamics or her discipline struggles in auditory range of another individual save her husband. A sigh from such a mother is also universally understood to be an invitation for others to dispense prescriptions of ancient wisdom gleaned from years of watching Oprah and Dr. Phil. Said advice typically begins with the same sage statement.
"You should have thought about that before you ______."
The blank is left open for the advisor to customize the counsel to the specific situation in which the unsuspecting mother has left herself vulnerable. Before you got pregnant, before you had so many children, before you decided to homeschool, etc., are all the usual fillers of the blank. Although the assumption is that one could not have made such decisions with forethought, it does not appear that the advisors know how self-righteous and condescending these assumptions are.
Could it possibly be that I have somehow come through thirty-five years of worldly American culture (to include thirteen years in public school)
I cannot speak for everyone who has a large family, but ours... I know. Let the record show that I did think about it before I did it. I counted the cost of pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, homeschooling, raising these blessings of ours, and every detail involved. What I found is that it is hard. It involves excruciating pain... backbreaking, toilsome labor day in and day out, often giving what I did not know I had to more people than I knew I could love.
Our culture is so selfish that it often surprises us to know that people still decide, even today, that just because something is hard does not mean it isn't worth doing. Let's not assume too much. The mothers of many children that I know are making this decision over and over again, even in the face of persecution from the ones who should be supportive. Most of us have to suffer in silence. Alone. It adds to the difficulty, but by YHWH's grace, it cannot detract from the joy.
The textbooks couldn't do that justice anyway.