Opinion

Kids and the question of ‘How many are you having?’

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I had the great pleasure of becoming a Mrs. just a few short weeks ago. The wedding was fairy tale themed with a princess ball gown, tiara and one of my 10 bridesmaids singing a Disney love song as I walked down the aisle. It was a day I will cherish forever.

In the months leading up to the wedding I was asked a number of questions: ‘Where are you going on your honeymoon?’; ‘Do you know where you’ll be living after you get married?’; ‘What church will you guys attend?; and, my personal favorite, ‘When are you having kids and how many?’

During my engagement I didn’t have answers to most of those questions. We looked at a number of places, but I wasn’t sure where we’d end up living. We went back and forth about churches, and I had about 10 or more ideas for a honeymoon spot. Interestingly enough we ended up in a quaint town that wasn’t even on my radar.

When it came to the question of kids, I had a simple answer. It was one that I held in my heart for over a decade of singleness. “I’ll have as many as God gives me”. That answer lead to bewildered looks, warnings of the challenge of motherhood and people talking to my fiance to alert him of my intentions. I guess it never occurred to them that I wouldn’t marry a man who had no clue where I stood on procreating.

In addition, a common and rather annoying response was a smug, all knowing look and the ‘You have no idea what you’re talking about; and, you’ll change your mind after the first kid speech’. I never know how to respond to those assumptions. I’m not gonna dig my feet into the ground and swear to have as many children as Michelle Duggar.

I’m 32, and I’ve spent a whole lot of time thinking through the convictions that shape my life. I have a history of following through on my convictions. Some of the people asking me very personal questions wouldn’t know that because at times they’re basically strangers. However, the truth is, the future’s unknown to us all. So, all I can do is say, “This is what I’m doing, and I’m taking it a day at a time.” Plus, I often throw in a fact about a woman’s fertility rate declining in her mid-30’s to try and prove that I’m not a fanatic. It never seems to work.

A stay at home mom and blogger at ‘Tales from the Mommy Trenches‘ wrote an article titled, “To the lady ashamed of being pregnant with her fourth’. The post had over 10K Facebook shares. In her article the blogger who identifies herself as ‘Sylcell’ tells a story about meeting another mom in an elevator who was expecting her fourth child. Sylcell congratulated her and the surprised mom told her she was used to getting condolences. People even asked her if her 4 children were planned. Sylcell who’s a mom of 3 girls herself, penned these words:

‘When did having a large family become equivalent to a tragic event? Why do people think that seeing a mother with lots of children automatically entitles them to make rude comments concerning her family planning? Countless strangers in grocery stores have seen me with my three little ones and impertinently asked me how many children I was planning on having. I don’t know, person I have never met before. Tell you what, how about next week I will bring my husband here and all three of us will discuss our family planning and come up with a number you find suitable. Or figure out which ones to eliminate if you feel I have too many already. But honestly, the only answer for the impertinent question of how many children I am going to have is: all of them.’

‘All of them’. I like that. In fact, I just may borrow it. I’m just starting my journey of marriage and hopefully one day, motherhood. I don’t know how many I’ll have. I don’t know when they’ll come. All I know is they’ll be a gift, and they’ll be loved.

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