I have 7 kids. Five girls and two boys. I did not grow up picturing having a large family. I knew I wanted to be a mother and have children, but I figured it would be only a few kids, at the most 4. My husband and I didn’t “map out” how we wanted that aspect of our life together to go, we didn’t “plan” it and detail the year we wanted kids and the sex of that child and their name … we took it as it came. We knew we wanted kids and so we had our first daughter.
Each child that came after that first one was desired. I never said “I really want 7 kids, let’s have seven.” I just “knew” as the youngest would get a little older that there was one more.There was a time that I wasn’t able to get pregnant … after my second daughter we knew we wanted another baby and I tried for years and it didn’t work. It was heartbreaking. I didn’t understand how I could be so seemingly healthy and able to get pregnant and have a baby to then not being able to … I grew frustrated, sad, depressed (yes I know that I had 2 kids and that was awesome and yes there are many women who would love to be mothers and aren’t able to even have one child … yes, I understand that. I did feel this way though, and so yeah, owning my journey), and eventually I moved into the “letting go moving on” phase. I figured after 3 years it just wasn’t going to happen. The doctor couldn’t tell me why I wasn’t getting pregnant they just said there was no cause. So my husband and I started talking and aligning ourselves to that new spot of “we have 2 kids and this is our family and we’re moving on to grow together, just the 4 of us.”
It was a good spot for a while. We imagined how easy life would be with just 2 kids. We knew it would be much less expensive to do EVERYTHING with just 2 kids. We pictured ourselves going on fun vacations and having our kids in many different activities and it was good. I was happy with it (or beginning to be, anyway).
Then I got pregnant. And after that I had another baby every other year for 10 years. (5 more babies!)
I look back on that very short time of just 2 kids and imagining life that way and then see how my life is today and think how quickly things alter and shift and change and how we THINK we can plan things out but really we don’t know how things are going to go. It’s harder to have an exact picture of what we think it should look like and have that not happen, than just being open to whatever comes and responding to each new experience as it is presented.
I wouldn’t have necessarily “planned” the way my life worked out … especially in the kid arena, but as I look at my children, especially after my experience of random infertility, and then having my number 3 through 7 kids, I cannot imagine NOT having them. Each one is amazing and has taught me something. Several of them (ahem #5 especially) have been HARD and I STRUGGLED greatly learning to adjust to life with that added challenge … but you know what? I grew and am growing because of each one. And THAT is the purpose of life.The best thing to do then, that I can see, is to be open and not attached to any one way of being … knowing that things can alter and shift dramatically in an instant.
That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have hopes and dreams for the future. And it doesn’t mean that we should never plan ahead and prepare for things. Do those, absolutely. What it means to me is that I should not be so married to a specific idea of what I want my life to be that if it doesn’t happen exactly that way, I’m devastated and so focused on this one narrow way I can’t see anything else … I’m talking about just being a little more open to ALL potentials … understanding and having faith that what comes into your life will ultimately be for your benefit … it’s a teacher for you in some way, and if that’s so, whatever happens can be used and you can grow because of it.
My life has certainly NOT taken the course I would have expected, but the experiences I’ve had, the expansion I’ve gained, the knowledge that’s come through that growth is invaluable. I wouldn’t trade it. I am who I am today because of ALL of my experiences, the ones that I wanted, planned, hoped and dreamed for, and the ones that appear on the outside to be less than desirable … the hard ones too.
Each thing I’ve encountered in my life has taught me and shaped me into the person I am today. Each experience has lifted me higher … some because the joy that was brought was more than I’d previously known (motherhood is a good example of that … joyful expansion) and some, because of the depth of pain I experienced and worked through which challenged me to grow (my parent’s divorce is a good example of that … it brought me to a place of extension … I had to learn from it and grow or I would be swallowed up in it).
All things can be for our benefit if we see with those eyes. There is something to learn in every experience.The thing is, if you fight and resist and are so rigid in your view of what your life should look like, you might miss the opportunity to grow in any given experience, and you’ll keep getting that kind of experience over and over until you learn what you’re meant to learn there. You ARE here to learn and grow and experience is how you do that. When there is a “lesson” your soul needs, the experiences that will teach you that lesson will come into your life until you learn that lesson. It’s divine design. It’s God and the Universe helping you move forward … progression is necessarily based upon knowledge, and experience brings knowledge. Expansion then comes through learning in our experiences.
You must be open to seeing with the eyes of one who is looking to be taught, having faith that all things are for your benefit and life WILL teach you and IS teaching you something you need.
Then you look for the teacher … look for what it is in what you’re going through that you can learn … where in this experience can you extend yourself and grow?
When you do this the resistance changes wholly into resonance, and you flow with the divine design of your life. You learn, you’re open, you grow, there’s movement and progression. It’s EXPANSION of understanding, knowledge, and experience.
This way of living is joyful, peaceful, freedom, and it is open to ALL of us. Every moment.
What I learn everyday in this life I am living is that I don’t know what I need as much as God knows what I need. I can’t see the whole picture, but I DO know that the Universe can and does see and so I trust God and the whole Universe of existence to guide me and teach me and I am open to whatever comes, knowing it will benefit me and help me grow.Growth is good … expansion is joyful in whatever form it comes in … even if there’s pain to get there, the pain can teach and humble and help us learn. Don’t hide from it, don’t try to not have it … it’s part of life. The cool thing is that the joy and peace that comes in acceptance of what is, envelops you even IN the pain of hard experiences and there’s an overriding feeling of well being despite the storm outside.
I’m grateful for that well being and I am grateful I am open to growth.
I can relate to a lot of this. I didn’t plan on having a large family either. My husband and I both came from families of five children. He is the oldest of five, I am the youngest of five. So when we got married we knew we didn’t want to have five children because, well, that’s A LOT of kids! Our first two kids came along without much fanfare. Then our third child turned out to be identical twin girls! This turned my world upside down a bit. I’m an easily overwhelmed person with perfectionist tendencies. I tried to “let a few things go.” After a few years we felt like we had our act together and couldn’t believe we were thinking of having one more. When #5 came I knew I was in over my head. Three years later, #6 was a surprise! Unfortunately, health issues, and kids’ health issues have gotten the best of me the past several years. I have learned you have to accept where you are at in life. Yes, this is not what I had “planned” or hoped for. And when I say “accept” I don’t mean be defeated, I mean accept that it’s okay if paths go in a different direction or seasons of your life are put on hold. I am doing my best to attend to my health, love my family, and live in the moment. I am finding more joy in imperfection and in not expecting so much of myself or others. I lived the first half of my life always striving to do better, but it just made me feel like a failure. So now I just try to look at things differently and be accepting of what I have to offer from day to day…..even if it isn’t a lot. I enjoy reading what you write, Honor. There are a lot of good things going on in your head.
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I was thinking about writing a blog post, asking the question that you so gracefully answered: How does natural family planning work? I know I don’t want to be in control and I know God knows me better than I know myself, but how does that play out families? Do couples just know by divine peace that there family is now complete? We are catholic and when we talked to a deacon before marriage he basically said he didn’t want to know about our family planning procedures. Without outright saying it, he was telling us that even though the church is officially against birth control, many couples use it anyway. But I don’t want to be on birth control or have surgery just for the pleasure of sex! I don’t want to limit what God has planned for me and our family. Sometimes it can be so confusing, especially when we’re forced to be realistic about finances, but we do believe each child God wants for us is a gift and teacher and a sign of His love. Thank you for your thoughts.
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It is definitely something that each couple needs to decide. We just went by inspiration. I was very certain, with each child, that they were “meant” for us, and with #7 I knew he was it. Did I “have to” have each child? No. It was a choice. A potential for growth and joy. I’m grateful for each one. Is it hard having so many? Yup. But it’s also wonderful and amazing. Bottom line, follow YOUR inspiration and do not look outside of that. You will know what to do. Trust the voice who guides you and then be joyful in fulfilling your divine “role!” Blessings to you! Life is so cool. I love expansion.
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