We got married nearly twenty one years ago. I was still in college, and on the birth control pill. Had I known what I know now, about the possibility of conception, and then the pill aborting that, I would never have taken it. Also naive to think that my carreer was far more important than anything else!
The pill made me very sick. I had migraine headaches, and vomitting. Eventually, I said enough was enough. God was telling me to give up my teacher training, and the pill. Within a couple of months I was pregnant with my first child. Not an easy pregnancy really. I had horrid morning sickness to start, and developed tachycardia later on, and severe anaemia. Had to see a heart specialist, as a rather pompous obstetrician diagnosed me with anaemic heart failure. (don't always believe what so called experts say) I was subsequently told my heart was excellent, and that obstetrician had wasted his time. I had planned a home birth, so when my waters started to leak, my midwife came out. I didn't actually feel contractions, I was in agony ALL the time. I had 16 hours of that, even running out of gas and air. I finally was transferred to the hospital 32 miles away by ambulance. Cherith was born 30 minutes later, just as my husband told the midwives, and me. They said to my husband, ''you must know something we don't'' Yep, prayer, and faith in God, our creator. I am afraid, we had said before we married that we would both be open to a large family. I however told my husband that there was no way I was having any more........Funny how the Lord can help you forget, and soften your heart.
Breast feeding was awful, as I had such soreness, I would actually bleed. A friend encouraged me to keep going, but half formula. I am glad she did, as I was all for giving the breast up!
Five months later, I was pregnant again. A lovely baby boy later, and an amazing birth. Just six hours. So much different to the first!
We had decided to have as many as the Lord gave us, and trusted that he would provide the finances, and indeed the strength, both emotionally, and physically to endure it. Now some say, you are tempting God to have lots of children, and expect the Lord to provide. I don't see anywhere in the Bible that supports this, in fact the opposite. ''children are an heritage from the Lord.''
There is nowhere in the Bible where it tells us we should limit our children due to finances. I heard one pastor say, when he was critiquing the idea of ''quiverful'' that we don't try to aqquire as much money as possible, so why should we do it with children. What a ludicrous suggestion!! As if children can be equated with money. ''the love of money is the root of all evil'' Children, are a blessing, and the fruit of the womb. They are the natural by product of marriage. If it was not so, the Lord would have said!
Our third child was a boy. He was born still in the amniotic sac. The midwife said he would be special, and was one in a million. (No wonder it was so hard to push him out!)
Our fourth child, another boy, and the first of our Scottish children.
Our fifth was another girl, and the most demanding. The midwife demanded that I put her in her cot on her own, and leave her cry...........30 minutes later, and the midwife conceded defeat. It seemed Charity only ever wanted to be close to mummy. Now, she is a very loving thirteen year old, but feisty, too!
Our sixth was a boy, and he was the first real late one. two weeks late, and we thought we wouldn't have a babysitter, as she was going to have to go home!. He was born on her last day, after much prayer! I wasn't induced, as I believe, unless there is a major medical concern, they will be born in the Lord's time. Not always our time, or in our comfort zone.
Our seventh was a month late. Now that WAS a testing time. We ended up with 2 babysitters, and a grumpy me, as it was a summer pregnancy, and I carried for over ten months. I also had a severe varicose vein problem in my leg, causing extreme pain at times. Again, I did not get induced, though at the end, due to contractions coming irregular, I had pitocin administered. We called her Hosanna Patience. Don't ask me why!
Our eighth child was born 20 months later. I had a severe post partum haemorrage. I recovered without a blood transfusion. I just didn't want to take the risk. I had been offered a transfusion before my first, and that year, a whole batch had been contaminated. I don't take these things lightly.
It was at this point that we decided to try to avoid certain times for my health, as I needed to get strength back, and iron levels up. There was a threee year gap almost, and then baby number nine was born. She was very difficult, and had severe reflux as a baby.
Three years later, our tenth was born, again nearly a month late. This time the hospital was rather annoyed that I was the first in its recent history to go over the 2 weeks without induction. One was not needed, as she was born in the Lord's time, and it was probably my best labour.
So, does the Bible say we must have as many children as God gives us? No, we are given freedom, as we are saved by grace, not works. However, works being evident, and a sign OF our faith. I believe that you cannot enter into a Christian marriage, and not expect to have children. This totally confuses one of the purposes of marriage. We also can't expect to turn on our fertility like a tap. I am forty now, and do not know if I will be blessed with any more. Mara is three and a half now. I do believe it is something that should be discussed before marriage, and also something that should be taken seriously, and prayerfully. God does bless obedience to him. He wants us to joyfully do His will. We need to seek out what his will is regarding our fertility, we cannot take it lightly. I have not heard anyone regret having the children they have had, as a norm, but plenty who have looked back, and wished they had more.
Maybe you are suffering ill health, or you feel you just can't handle any more children. Pray! Ask for the Lord's wisdom and strength. It has been a real blessing birthing 10 children. Hasn't always been easy, but the Lord has ALWAYs provided. Sometimes in amazing ways.