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Home > Support > Mothering > I have recently been discerning whether or not to have more children...
 
 
Question: I have asked priests this question, but I don't think that they understand what I am asking. We have 8 children and have always practiced Natural Family Planning. I have recently been struggling with discerning whether or not to have any more children. 2 years ago I had to take my children out of Catholic school due to financial reasons. I had a priest tell me that it is better "to have 2 or 3 that you can educate the whole way, rather than 7 or 8 that you can only educate half-way." I am struggling with the question, how do you discern if it is God's will that you have many children, or if you are being "irresponsible"? I feel like I am sinning either way. If I disregard NFP and have another baby, how do I know if I am being irresponsible or if it is God's will? If I follow NFP I feel that I am not being open to God's will. My husband tells me not to worry, that if God wants us to have another one, that we will, but I know, short of a miracle, that it is impossible following NFP. Did you "decide" to have 10 children, or did you just leave things up to God? Any insights you have would be greatly appreciated!
Answer:

Dear Mom,

It is times like this and with wonderful and inspiring questions like yours that I long to be in the same room with the mother who has asked the question. Yours is a very important issue and one that I myself have had to struggle with at times in our marriage.

Did we plan to have 10 children? No. I knew the minute that I held my first child I was committed to being a "mommy" in every sense of the word. I look back over the years of childbearing and feel so very blest that the Lord has given us these children. I am so very grateful in the Lord's perfect wisdom that He did not give me a question form to complete before we started our journey into parenthood. I am sure the blessings I would have asked for myself would have been feeble compared to the many the Lord had in store. :)

I guess your question has made me really think about the "why" to the number of children we have. To be very honest, though we practiced NFP we may have not been as diligent as others. Perhaps my husband and myself tend to agree with your husband. We just did not worry about numbers of children as much as accepting what the Lord would give. Certainly there were times when it was very important that I not be pregnant and at those times our efforts to remain strong and use NFP were given added strength through the grace of the Lord.

Let me share an observation with you. I see our Hispanic community of Catholics growing every day. This is a beautiful and holy witness. Because I am the DRE it falls to me many times to make arrangements for the details of Faith Formation. I am so uplifted by the growing numbers of Baptisms, Communions, and Confirmations that are taking place within this ministry. It is a wonderful reminder of the days when I was growing up in a large Catholic church of the 50's. It was not unusual to see families of 10 or more children.

When families feel safe, well fed, secure, and loved then it is only natural that they would want to share this blessing with children. Children are a gift of the highest and holiest degree.

There were 6 children in my family. It is only now that I am aware of the many sacrifices my parents must have had in giving all of us Catholic education. The Catholic education of the 50's was quite a bit different than a Catholic education of today.

The Lord does not bless us with children so that we can "give to them" as much as possible. On the contrary the Lord gives us children so that we can "share with them." It is a far better witness to share with someone. When we share with a person we are in effect giving of ourselves and risking our own self in the process. It is a form of dying to self. The Lord shared in our humanity that we might share in His glory with the promise of Heaven.

If you had asked my husband and myself 30 years ago "Would you accept 10 children?" I am sure our faces would have dropped and we would have been overwhelmed. However the Lord never gives unless He provides a way to care for what He gives.

You are a beautiful and loving daughter of the Lord. It is a real witness to me that you have shared this question and its wisdom with me. I thank you. Perhaps if the Lord wills we can discuss it further over tea. :)

Jesus, we praise You and thank You for the witness of families. Seeing children of all ages coming to You is a witness that uplifts and upholds each member of the Body of Christ. You are so generous. We praise You and thank You for the many glories and gifts that You bestow each day. We are the people who long to see Your face and live forever with You in the home You have prepared for us. Amen.

Dear One, keep praying and keep working as a team. You are truly blest to have such an agreeable and easy going husband. :) I am sure that your household is one of holiness and joy.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

   
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