To My Dear Friend-
How was your day today? As you are a mom, I'm pretty sure it was crazy in some way. Your children are so cute and fun and full of life. I remember when I had three kids and my hands felt really full and my brain felt really fried. Those little people have a way of eating up your everything.
I remember sinking to my knees in my toy strewn bedroom and saying "Heavenly Father, I'm really tired and maxed out. I want to have as many kids as You would have me care for, but can I have a break?" My parents had eight children and I knew the blessing of family. My extended family on my mother's side were so close and made me want that experience for my children. It is a commandment given by God and though my church teaches that the number of children a couple chooses to have is between them and God it has been made very clear that having children is essential and should not be put off or limited for selfish reasons. I was not thinking that me not having any more children just then was a matter of selfishness but rather self preservation and I was so relieved that I felt very calm about taking some time before looking to have more.
We bought an indoor dog and loved her like our baby and four and a half years passed before I had another child. In this time I had a few experiences where I learned more about how this "more kids" thing might play out. I had an experience where I felt strongly that we should adopt. Not a passing "Gee, I've got a spare ten thou and I think pregnancy is the worst idea ever so lets give it a try" kind of experience but a direct and unmistakable kind of experience. We went through conventional adoption processes right up to the time we felt strongly to move to a house with one bedroom. That was not a typo. Three kids sleeping in the living room for three years. There are not words to describe the joy, happiness and sheet volume of this living experience. I knew that we would be ready to move ahead with this new phase of our lives when we had a little more space. During that time I read several books by Sarah Hinze and a blog post by another woman whose name I have now forgotten that really changed the way I looked at adoption before. I had been instructed to learn about spiritual adoption and I thought that meant the spiritual action corresponding to a sealing experience here on Earth.(Sealing a family together in a covenant before God is an ordinance performed in our temple) My attention was finally drawn to an aspect of the commandment to care for the least of these, these whose lives never really began. These whose parents had not kept their agreements, who had because of pain, deception and darkness, not provided them the lives they had promised. Who had through abortion terminated their lives and stolen from them their opportunity to fulfill their mission on the Earth. The picture I had in my mind (it looked remarkably like a Mormon ad, I'm embarrassed to admit) changed from one of the selfless sacrifice of a birth mother ( bless their hearts- every single one of them) and the joy shared by all who love these little people who come from hard situations , perhaps in foster care or suffering from medical conditions or poverty in another country, to one of the desperation and longing for a body, a mother, a home, a family. A picture of ones forgotten in the rush to pursue goals of wealth, education, fun and pleasure. Promises made and broken and not even remembered. There are many women who feel a longing that they can't quite supress for someone missing, for empty arms and they can't explain why. Don't think that there isn't someone on the other side wondering if you will remember promises made, who long to fill those arms and be with you. I felt that I had fullfilled my promises when I had my first three children but when I expressed a willingness to have more I learned a whole new perspective. With each subsequent child my husband and I have had the opportunity to make a new agreement before the experience of pregnancy ever began. We felt prompted to take a foster parenting training but never did get to the last class addressing attachment. I prayed to recieve help in completing the training but was told that we had done all we needed to. As years have passed I've recognized patterns and symptoms of emotional trauma more often found in adopted children. I've found help and comfort in remembering the training and my parenting has imroved as I've recognized I am dealing with emotional/spiritual beings who have reasons to distrust and doubt the sincerety and safety of others. I've been reminded again and again of the wise words of Inigo Montoya, when he states that "I don't think it means what you think it means." For some weird reasons I can always remember "Princess Bride" better than Scripture references, what can I say. I hope I can still go to Heaven. I have prayed in the past for eyes to see the forgotten, alone and poor. I had a deep desire to love those the Savior commanded us to care for. I looked around for those whom I could serve and I have found an opportunity here and there to make a dinner, to tend someone's children or to smile and compliment someone having a hard day but it wasn't until I asked that I saw those who have no voice. Those who wait for arms to welcome them to this world of experience. Those whose hope has been lost when they were rejected, feeling unloved, unworthy.
So I can't tell you my dear friend, nor should I, how many children to have. That is between you and God. I can't tell you what your physical, mental or spiritual capacity is, how much you can or even should handle. I can't even explain to you how I have managed to do a good job with six children because I don't feel that I have. I can only tell you that my life has been blessed more than I can explain. My life has been changed in ways that I haven't expected and some ways that I don't really even understand. I am still tired, I frequently feel fried after a week of lousy sleep with children who have been sick and I still wonder about my mental capacity (daily, if you were wondering) but I would do it again in a heartbeat. For the least of these have shown me the face of God.
With much love,
I recognize that there are many wonderful women who can't bear children, who would if they could. I see many women who are doing an amazing job of mothering a few children and I am not shaming anybody at all, ever. I am sharing my experience and really cannot begin to tell anyone the "right" way to mother, the right number to mother, the right age to mother or that they should have twenty children. Most days I would throw a grand piano at anyone who would dare suggest that I could handle even one more and I felt this exact same way when I had one...and two...and three....you get the picture. I have once or twice contemplated asking God to stand a little closer so I could get Him in range so I could launch any musical instrument close to hand but by the end of the conversation the love I felt was enough to get me into compassion -peace-love and violins are expensive mindframe and I felt confident that it would really be okay. Which is how I came to have six kids. Ask and ye shall recieve.