Saturday, March 29, 2008

You Should Have Thought About That Before…

There is an unwritten rule that mothers of large families know. The ones who do not know this rule, figure it out on their own pretty quickly, as there are no shortages of situations in which it will need to be applied. Any stranger in the grocery store, most relatives, casual acquaintances, pastors, and even close friends can be the tutors to introduce a Mom to this rule. How helpful.

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) unscathed unaware that there are ways to avoid pregnancy (i.e. "fix" what is not broken)? Unlikely. Is it possible that I could be unaware that there is a quick fix to any "accidental" pregnancy? With the world shrieking so fiercely about each persons' choices, and even the Church for the most part, accepting such an abomination, I would be hard pressed to miss it. To assume that either my choices are uneducated or my practices accidental is illogical. It couldn't happen in this culture. Not today.

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.


  1. 23 weeks pregnant and I'm exhausted.. I should have thought of that before I got pregnant at 40...... and yet.. if the Lord Blesses, I'll do it all over again at 42-43.. lol

    I have a friend who has two, in ps, and this week with Spring Break, she can't wait for them to go back.. she should have thought of that...

    It's not just mother's of large families.. it's just we get picked on!

    May God give you a good friend on whom you can lean, lament and find the joy amidst all the hard work and fatigue. The joy is always there.. it's just sometime the day to day.. just needs to be shared!!

  2. Bravo! Bravo! I heard that last week...when it was made known that I wanted to continue to homeschool my children....Well! You should have thought about that before you.......

    Comments from family, friends and strangers began with my 3rd pregnancy...when the 7th came along they were hateful and condescending...evidently two is ok and of course...they must happen in your 20's...30's was frowned upon...40's my sanity was questioned.
    In today's culture there is no room for YHWH's blessings, as is evidenced all around us.
    Stay strong girl! We love you all!

  3. Not only thought about it, but prayed for each one of our children! Each one of these dear ones has the ability to frustrate me, baffle me, at moments lead me to feel I'm a complete mothering failure and that my license to mother should be revoked. Yet, I would not trade a one of them for anything in the world. And I pray that Yahweh will bless us with any more as He sees fit.

    Don't be discouraged, Julie. They are the ones who's eyes are blinded. Blessings to you and yours. -Beth

  4. Julie,

    I just love you. I just do. You just say it.

    Thank you so much. EVERYTHING you have said here...even the things in your side bar...say the things that I have been thinking and feeling for weeks now.

    Yet...bring up the concept that it is inconsistent for Christians to believe in that abortion is're just told that you shouldn't judge. It leaves me feeling...cranky.

    In the last several weeks I have been told that I'm insensitive, harsh, dangerous...blah blah blah...all because I think we should believe the scriptures.

    So, well, thank you for being strong.

    p.s. Thanks for the update on the house.

  5. Thank you for your post! No one has said those things to my face - yet. But I do suspect they say it behind my back. And yes, the pressure to say NOTHING, put up a show, is hard! So hard!!! And in Singapore where our birth rate is a measly 1.6, worse!


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