This is really just rambling about something that's been on my mind lately. Having babies. Well, more specifically, things like deciding how many to have, or *not* deciding how many to have, "planning" your family size, or using no birth control and "letting God decide".
We have friends who are in all camps, those who are struggling to have babies, who have lost babies, who are pregnant and have several small children, who are using no birth control or family planning, who are purposefully spacing their children out... I see them all in prayerful consideration about what God wants their families to look like.
With the anniversary of Matthias' birth and death approaching, and having recently had another baby, I have been thinking more often about these things - giving birth, raising children, having babies who die, deciding when and if to have more. I know families can -in faith- reach different conclusions about family and children issues; I'm trying to work out what I think, what God is teaching us, calling us to as a family.
I know I love babies, love being pregnant, love the act of birthing, love breastfeeding and having a baby to hold and love and mother. My eyes well up with tears even now, thinking about the day when I will be done having babies. I have heard of men who struggle to think of Heaven being perfect when there will be no sex there. I struggle with thinking of there being no birthing and babies. I know, I know, the bad theology in my reasoning, the idolatry in my heart. But that's just the way I feel sometimes, when I'm not feasting my eyes on Jesus.
Anyway, I don't necessarily want to open the whole birth-control can of worms (have I already done that?). It's more just feeling so strongly the GIFT that children are, the incredible, indescribable blessing they are. When your baby dies, or you can't conceive, or you watch a mother whose baby is fighting for life before he's even born, it's difficult to blithely accept saying, "no, we don't want any children right now." Saying no to children just makes me feel... sad.
At the same time, wow, I just don't think I could handle raising 12 kids. I would want to have 12 babies, but 12 toddlers? Twelve teenagers? Could I do that? It sounds awesome and terrifying and beautiful all at the same time.
Obviously, our culture leans way more towards having only a few, if any, children, and for some really ignorant reasons. That makes me really sad.
So I guess I'm not saying, what's your stance on birth control. I think birth control issues come second to figuring out your basic understanding or view or philosophy about children. Are they a blessing? A blessing in moderation? Is it poor stewardship to have a dozen? Should we always be saying "yes" to children, or should we try to space them perfectly 4 years apart? When (if ever) is it okay to say "no" to having a baby?
I'm really still working through this. A friend who is pregnant with her third baby, after having lost her firstborn son several years ago (and then having a healthy daughter) was talking about this the other day; just how your view on this issue can change dramatically after you've lost a baby. All of a sudden you know - really know - how fragile life is, and how it really is God's prerogative to decide how many children you have, and suddenly you think differently about saying, "No thanks, no children right now. Maybe later."
Anyone want to share their views?