So here we were, with two babies in a span of 13 1/2 months. Yes, my hands were full, but as the cheeky saying goes, so was my heart. I had prayed for Addison intensively during the months of my pregnancy. I prayed that she wouldn’t feel any less loved once Gillian was here. I prayed for her development. I prayed that she would be patient and understanding of the new demands in our life with a newborn around. The second piece of evidence that God was in this all was that those prayers worked! She loved that baby and was so excited when she was born. It was crazy the attention and focus she had on her little sister. It was what I had dreamed and prayed for.
Gillian was a very easy baby. She struggled with nursing, but for sanity’s sake, after trying and crying through it for six weeks, I decided to make a move to formula. Her tiny 6 lb 1.8 oz body at birth grew quickly once she moved onto formula. I didn’t beat myself up too much about it, but I did have some mommy guilt. We all have it for some reason, by the way. She slept a lot. She would sit in a bouncy seat or the swing for chunks of time that were surprising to me. She was simply amazing. I felt certain that God knew what He was doing with us.
Right after Gillian was born, I was sitting and talking with two friends of mine at church. Actually, they were talking mostly, and I was just attending the conversation. One was thinking about having a third child and wondering if the timing was right, and the other actually already had six kids of her own. I don’t remember the exact words exchanged, but it was along the lines of “How do you know when it’s the right time?” “How can you be certain you can handle another one?” and other questions similar to those in nature. Our friend with the six informed us that she doesn’t really worry about those things and that she simply trusts God to make those decisions. She explained herself a bit and recommended that we read the book “A Full Quiver”, by Rick and Jan Hess and pray about it, of course.
So, I read the book. It is based on the following scripture…
Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5 (NIV)
Now, in every book written by man, their spin or interpretation is placed on scripture. So we really wanted to pray about this decision and make sure that God was leading us to make it, not Rick and Jan Hess. So we read our Bible and prayed for a time, and we both felt that God was leading our family in this direction. This was what we thought He wanted from us. I obviously got pregnant pretty easily, and deliveries had been complication-free, so far, with the exception of Gillian’s cord being wrapped and requiring her to have a little boost of oxygen to help her transition. Nothing major or unusual about that event. And might I add, I had no idea who the Duggars or the Gosselins were at this point in my life. I think for anyone to assume that because some family out there that I don’t know anything about has a bunch of kids, I would be motivated to do the same thing, is a bit foolish. However, you would be surprised at how many “Oh, you’re trying to be like the (insert family name here), aren’t you?” Now, it’s become, “Oh, you need/must want a t.v. show?” to which I often reply, “No thanks, I’ll take my marriage in tact instead.” Since we aren’t quite at Duggar proportions yet, we more commonly get the Gosselin comments.
So we quit using anything to prevent pregnancy. No charting, rhythm method, or barrier method here. If we felt like being intimate, we did. If we didn’t, then we simply didn’t. No fear of getting pregnant involved, and no timing intimacy simply for the production of life. It allowed us to experience intimacy in ways that God intended it, not just for reproduction (but don’t tell your conservative granny this- she might not believe you).
And we got pregnant right away. This time, however, there were no tears and there were no fears (I didn’t make that rhyme on purpose). We just felt truly blessed by this gift. However, not everyone else felt the same way. We were told we didn’t have our priorities in order. We needed a bigger house and a bigger car. Shockingly enough, we were a one car family, and it was a Honda Accord, which isn’t quite roomy enough in the back for three car seats. Some people were concerned with how this was going to affect their life (though no one came over to help and no one babysat for us aside from an occasional date). People were concerned about affording it all. After all, the cost of raising a child in the US from birth to age 18 has been estimated to be between $200,000 and $250,000, and that’s not counting college tuition! And what about proms, weddings, and cars? Not to mention, you have to clothe these little people? (I guess some folks thought we hadn’t considered any of these things in our decision making process.) The reaction we got from people was downright shocking to us. We heard things like, “Not using birth control is like stepping out in front of a car and saying ‘God will save me'” and “Would you not take medication to cure an illness like cancer, just ‘trusting God’ to take it away?” To us, however, we didn’t view having a child as a horrific vehicle accident or a disease. We believed quite literally, and still do, that children are a blessing. Period. Not “Children are a blessing, but…” or “Children are a blessing, if…” or “Children are a blessing, except…” We simply believe children are a blessing. It would take some time to convince others of such a crazy idea.