The Right Time to Have Kids: Part II
First of all, please know this is seriously none of your business. Please don’t go asking pregnant ladies why they are (or are not!) pregnant, and please don’t ask me to elaborate more than I choose to here.
Why I’m pregnant again
My heart was (and still is!) set on adopting and/or fostering—and not on doing the whole childbearing thing again.
But God had other plans.
God began to tell me I needed to get pregnant again when my baby was perhaps just under a year old. When I heard His strong suggestions, I wasn’t anxious. I was downright terrified.
I didn’t know if this pregnancy would be any better (or worse) than the last. The way my last one went, I didn’t know how I would be able to take care of myself, let alone my 1-year-old.
What I do know is God. I know He told us we need to do this. His voice was firm.
When I pleaded if I could just wait a little longer, I heard Him tell me, “You can, but you will regret it.”
I lay my body, my life, my everything at the Lord’s feet to do His will.
My pregnancy started out practically the same as the last. For about a month, my life came to a screeching halt. I canceled or delegated out practically all of my responsibilities, and I scheduled out angel babysitters and family members to care for my baby because I was incapable.
By the grace of God, I have since been blessed with wonderful gifts from friends, technological advances, and medical personnel that have reduced my symptoms to a much more manageable level. While I still have bad days, I can mostly take care of myself, my child, and a good chunk of my other responsibilities.
I am grateful God has seen fit to grant me a (so far!) easier pregnancy than I had dared hope for.
Couples: take courage
As much as I wanted to wait as long as possible (read: through the Resurrection) to get pregnant again, I felt God pushing me in another direction.
At risk of sounding dramatic and revealing my life as charmed, I think I can say this is the biggest test of faith I’ve ever faced.
If you’re married and wondering if it’s time to start (or continue) having kids, first and foremost I declare: it’s between you, your spouse, and the Lord.
But you’re here, so I assume that means you want my two cents.
I suggest that, as a society, we would do well to consider the choice to have children as more than just a personal choice; instead, I propose we also consider this process a holy council. This council includes coming with questions to the Lord and being ready to listen to His advice. May we consider our willingness to “[yield] to the enticings of the Holy Spirit.” (Mosiah 3:19)
Yielding to what we hear from the Holy Ghost might feel uncomfortable, disappointing, or scary—especially when the counsel we hear does not align with our desires. I’ve been there. Hearing stories of faith have lent me courage in making this decision.
Stories of faith and courage
This story and subsequent guidance from Elder Rasband lends me courage, and may bolster your faith if you are in a similar trial of faith. One of their newly-married children once approached them and asked the following question:
“Is it still safe and wise to bring children into this seemingly wicked and frightening world we live in?”
Elder Rasband continues:
“Now, that was an important question for a mom and dad to consider with their dear married children. We could hear the fear in their voices and feel the fear in their hearts. Our answer to them was a firm ‘Yes, it’s more than OK,’ as we shared fundamental gospel teachings and our own heartfelt impressions and life experiences. …
“Take heart, brothers and sisters. Yes, we live in perilous times, but as we stay on the covenant path, we need not fear. I bless you that as you do so, you will not be troubled by the times in which we live or the troubles that come your way. I bless you to choose to stand in holy places and be not moved. I bless you to believe in the promises of Jesus Christ, that He lives and that He is watching over us, caring for us and standing by us. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.”Elder Rasband, October 2019 general conference
In his talk from the last general conference, “The Personal Journey of a Child of God”, Elder Andersen presents stories from multiple brave people of faith. I heard this talk while I was still dealing with the full force of my “morning” sickness without much aid.
I felt an instant connection with the sweet Laing family, who had their own challenging experiences with childbearing but still had four children! Even though they were content to be done having children, they listened to the Spirit telling them they weren’t done. They had not one but two more children.
What an inspiration to families who think they cannot possibly have another child.
(Even though I had already chosen to follow the Lord’s council and was already pregnant, they still inspired me to continue working on this piece. I’ve been working on it for three months now.)
This all said, I don’t know if God will ask me or if I will have the faith to have another kid after this. I’m happy to not know for now—so please don’t ask!
Aside: a word about appropriate boundaries
In my experience, when you get married, most people want to know when you’re going to have a child. A good number of them are bold enough to ask.
Please don’t ask. They may volunteer the information if they so desire.
I pretty much expected this when I got married.
What I didn’t expect was that practically as soon as I came home with my first baby, people also wanted to know when I was going to have another child, and an even bigger number of them were bold enough to ask.
Please don’t ask. They may volunteer the information if they so desire.
I was surprised and a little hurt by this experience—especially considering the hellish pregnancy and traumatizing birth and postpartum experience I had just escaped.
I tried to bite back mean-spirited retorts and play it off, saying something honest but conversation-ending, like, “Oh, I think we’re ready to start working on adoption once we’ve got the money.”
Family: a matter of faith
I know for a lot of people, childbearing and baby-tending are deep, strong desires. Many women describe “baby hunger,” a phrase I neither particularly like nor relate to.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my baby girl. I enjoy being around kids. I just haven’t personally experienced a personal desire to have babies. Instead, the experience of embracing motherhood has, for me, been a largely faith-driven process.
For this second baby, I had exactly zero personal desire to get pregnant again.
But I know God too well to not listen when He guides.
I know that He always takes me in the right direction. It’s almost never the fun or easy direction, but I can always look back and know it was right.
May we not neglect to exercise faith in this critical part of life’s journey, having children. Certainly, God grants us agency and, often, the peace of knowing that our choice is a good one; however, in making this decision, we must have faith.
I have faith in personal revelation, in my experiences following the Lord’s commands, and in His holy scriptures—which teach over and over again that having children is both a commandment and a blessing to the righteous. (Gen 1:28, Ps 127:3)
I don’t understand perfectly now, but I have faith that God’s plan for me as a mother is central to who I am and must become.
With my imperfect knowledge and incomplete testimony, I testify of God’s love for you, of the compassion of His commands, and of the reality that He always keeps His promises. I testify that He loves families. I testify that He does not call perfect people to be perfect parents and that He understands that it will be a sacrifice. I testify that He will not lead you astray in this or any decision.
In the name of our everlasting Lord, Jesus Christ, amen.
If you have children, what has been your experience in making that decision? No matter who you are, what are your experiences in following God’s counsel? Comment below.