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Question: We have been married for 6 1/2 years and have 4 children. My husband and I both agree that we are a little "babied out" right now because we have struggled with one income (and sometimes none), series of jobs, and of course trying to find time together. We practice NFP, although you wouldn't know it with 4 boys in 5+ years - God has blessed us even when we were trying to plan the children farther apart. I would still like to have more children and I pray that my husband will decide on this as well. He (age 35) is afraid of being an "old man too old to play with his children", and looking forward to having time for ourselves. Please understand he is not selfish and loves his children with his very being. I am just really torn and pray that God will let us know. We have a very small house and not the income or possibility of getting a bigger one for quite awhile. Should this be a factor in deciding to have more children? Obviously with ten children some of them must share a room. Right now we have each child share a room. Would putting 3 in a room be too much? Also, sometimes I feel so overwhelmed at everything facing me (homeschooling, extra curricular activities, house, etc.)  that I wonder that adding an extra blessing might send me over the edge. I know in my heart that God never gives us more than we can handle, but sometimes I feel very on the edge of it all. How do you balance everything?

Dear Mom,

Thank you for your letter. It was so sweet and sincere. I appreciate your question and the candid and forthright way you addressed the issue. Let me tell you that I sense in your letter that you and your husband and both of a nature that discusses issues and meets challenges head on. This is good considering the delightfully busy household that I imagine you have been blessed to care for.

When my husband and I married I can tell you that we never imagined that we would be the parents of 10 children. I can honestly tell you that there really wasn't a 'plan' that we followed. Having the children seemed natural and such a joy that it was only in the minds of people that couldn't comprehend the amount of work etc. that our life appeared too hectic, too noisy, too busy, and too full. I trust that you have run into this yourself. Comments like "How in the world do you feed everyone?" or "How do you afford shoes for everyone?" or "Your house must be huge!!" were routine when we were out with all of the children.

However the reverse was the truth. There was always plenty to eat, plenty of room, and plenty of time for everyone.

Having a large family is not a matter of space, money, time, or age but very much a matter of the heart.

We always felt so unbelievably blest to be expecting a child, that the 'little details' (that seemed to worry everyone but us) never mattered.

This is not to say that we did not have to be prudent and careful with finances accepting that there would be sacrifices and limitations. It was always understood that priorities would change to meet the needs of the children. (Fancy furniture and decorations were never a part of our household). And I am sure you can add to this list.

One day I thought I would never see the end of diapers and breastfeeding and I was glad to think that this stage of my life would go on for a very long time. Then all too suddenly the day came when I realized that the car seats were out of the van, there were more teens in the house than 'little people' and the days of parenting that seemed to stretch before me were coming to a close.

Take joy in parenting and remember that children are a gift. Jesus will give you what He alone feels you can handle. He will bless you accordingly and gives you His greatest treasure to nurture.

I am 53 and still swim everyday with my 12 year old daughter and her sisters. My husband is active and can run circles around his grown sons. :) We take care of ourselves and try to be prudent with regard to our health. Our grandchildren come to play and it is then that the household returns to the days of babies.

Jesus loves us more than we can imagine such a love. He wants us to trust in His care and His desire to protect and comfort. He will provide for us what is needed and He will send the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to calm our confusion and fears. Go forward.

I admire you!! Little boys are delightful and the days of noisy play are to be enjoyed. You are a wonderful mommy and you have a docile and open spirit that will serve you well as you travel this journey of parenting. The only thing I can tell you that I think is an absolute must when we are parenting is this - Pray the Rosary. Please begin now while you are at the beginning of the journey to do the most important thing each day. Pray the family rosary in the evening. Make your home a domestic church where your dear children, your husband, and yourself can take refuge. Stay close to the sacraments and Mass. Receive the Blessed Eucharist and allow the power of this gift comfort and heal. You are such a powerful witness to all who will have the pleasure of meeting you. Take Joy.

Jesus, we praise You and thank You for the gift of children. Lord, we offer up any hardship for those husbands and wives who have not been able to conceive a child. Lord, we ask that You comfort them in this great sorrow and heal all that needs healing. Lord, we thank You for the gift of adoption and the great blessing this is for so many people. Lord, we ask that You give us the grace to protect life at every stage and circumstance. Our Lady of LeLeche pray for us. Amen.

P.S. Our house is a moderate size. At one point I had 5 boys in one room. :) What a 'he-man' mess that was. :) Now four of those boys are out on their own. I wish children came with a little button that you could push when you wanted them to return to little ones for a time. :)

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

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