Friday, February 17, 2012

Is it "Natural" to have children?

As a mother of a growing family I've already come across many comments about our family size and lifestyle choices. As a fan of the Duggars, I've seen many more hurtful things said, that I'm sure will come to us eventually. How many times have you seen or heard this comment geared towards the Duggars (or maybe yourself if you're a large family)..."That's just not natural!"
Well I hate to break it to you, but if you're not taking fertility medication or interfering with reproduction in other ways, it kind of is.

Whether you believe in God, or the big bang theory or something else, you cannot argue that our bodies were formed to reproduce. It is the natural outcome of a man and woman laying together. Sure there are some who naturally are not able to bear children, but again, that is their body working in it's natural way. Some women, when not preventing their bodies from naturally having children will go years in between children, others will have a new baby only a few months old before becoming pregnant again. This is all natural, and shows that each one of us is different, and if you decide to take the natural approach to reproduction, it doesn't mean you will end up with 19 kids and counting.

Birth control, is preventing your body from doing what it was naturally formed to do. It is altering the natural rhythms and know how of your body, it is stopping your body from working naturally.
There are many other things that birth control does that I won't get into. There are many reasons that I personally choose not to use birth control, but my opinions on that are best saved for another day. The only point I wish to make here, is that of the natural order of things.

Altering your body by surgery when your parts are all in working order to stop them from working the way they were intended or preventing yourself from conceiving by using other forms of birth control can not be considered "natural," that's all there is to it.
There are many many people who choose to take matters into their own hands, and determine their family size by the use of birth control or surgery, and that is 100% their decision, and I don't judge them for it one bit (though I am sad sometimes at the thought of all those adorable little babes that this world might possibly have been blessed with).
God gave us all free will for a reason, if we begin to decide for each other how we are to use that free will, then there's not much free about it. But to argue that childbearing, regardless of how many children a person has, is not "natural" then I would have to disagree. To argue that it's not natural and then suggest unnatural ways to take care of the "situation" perplexes me beyond belief, and I wonder if many of these people are really listening to what they're actually saying.

We live in a world where three children is a large family (even though the idea of 2 children being the average family is a very new one), and to have more than three is beyond the comprehension of most. This is only because of the unnatural lives we as a society have all been living for so many years.
Fortunately, the natural way of living is gaining more and more popularity, people are wanting natural food, to live more green, to use more natural forms of energy, to use less chemicals, but so many are still putting those chemicals into their bodies in the form of birth control, which is a bit of a contradiction in my opinion. Maybe soon, natural reproduction will be taken up in the natural living community as the norm. After all it would be nice to have this natural way of living seen as natural by someone.
This is one of many reasons we have accepted the blessing of any children that come our way (naturally). There are many more reasons that I might address another day, there are also many more comments and myths about large families that I would like put to rest as well, but again, another day.
If you have a large or growing family, what are some of the remarks you've received that you've had to shake your head at?
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  1. I have to disagree to a point. I am a Dugger fan, but Michelle Duggar weans her children at 6 months. It is not natural for a child to be weaned at 6 months. If she breastfeed for the "natural" amount of time her children would be nursing a lot longer then 6 months, which would delay her return to fertility and possibly greatly reduce the number of children that they would of had

    1. I just want to say that I 'controlled' when I had kids...which in hindsight may not have been the best....but I also returned to 'normal' cycles within a month of having all 4 of my babies and they were all exclusively breastfed for the first months. I didn't try to get pregnant again while breastfeeding, but all the signs were there that I could have. I was pregnant all 5 times within 1-2 months of stopping 'preventing it' I have to think I was fairly fertile. Just because you breastfeed or don't breastfeed (or feed long enough) doesn't necessarily effect fertility. I know I am not the norm, usually 'monthly's' don't return when feeding, but sometimes they do....just my little 2 cents worth ;)

    2. I too breastfed exclusively, and often, but my cycles still returned very quickly - always within 3 months. I have seven children and most of the time people are very polite. Occasionally someone will ask me "if I know how that (meaning babies) happen." Even then, they are not usually saying it to be mean, just bantering a bit.

      Most of the time it is actually some relative or something that says something more snide. Sometimes it is out of concern for my health and sometimes they think we are down right wrong.

    3. Its not only indeed natural it is a blessing!
      Just another one that breastfeeds exclusively for however long they like and able to conceive with in the next couple months. :D I have been pregnant and or nursing for the past 6 years.
      We don't get rude remarks but we do get a lot of remarks, mostly "wow, your children are so well behaved". (Probably b/c they are all so young yet and not screaming or throwing fits.) The one we like to recall the most was directed toward my husband; the man looked at him and said, "man you don't have a care in the world". Ironically, my husband does care just about what happens to be important to YHVH not the world.

  2. Love this post, yes very natural, and a beautiful blessing!

  3. I agree that for some people extended breasfeeding may help to reduce fertility for a while longer, I have a friend who's cycle didn't return for a couple years because of this, but that's rare. Medically breastfeeding is only said to be able to be used reliably as a natural form of birth control for 6 months, and only if you are breastfeeding exclusively, though this isn't true for everyone.

    I've breastfed my last 2 children for about 9-10 months each, and the only reason they were weaned then, was because my milk supply was dropping from being pregnant already.

    My cycle came back at 3 months with one, and at about 6 months with the other. At 6 months, children will start eating solids and not needing as much nutrition from you anyway, so the chance of it continuing to reduce fertility after this point is rare anyway. It is still dependent on the womans natural fertility at this point, not so much on breastfeeding.

    As for Michelle weaning at 6 months. Here is a quote from her on that topic, her cycle comes back at 6 weeks postpartum like clockwork, regardless of how long she nurses. So clearly it would not have reduced the amount of children they had, though with some people it might.

    What is the "natural" amount of time to breastfeed a child by the way? Are you talking about child led weaning?

    Michelle's Quote:
    “The longest I’ve been able to breastfeed is nine months, and I’m thrilled about that,” she said. “I’m designed in such a way that I start my cycle six weeks after the baby is born—and that’s with no paci, no water, just breastfeeding—to the T!” she said, referring to the fact that exclusive breastfeeding—and in particular, a practice called lactational amenorrhea method (LAM)—can be a form of natural birth control if certain conditions are in place.

    It’s like clockwork, she says: though she’s likely not ovulating with the first menstrual cycle that returns, her cycles are regular from that moment on. “At eight months (after the previous baby was born), I usually conceive, and when I do get pregnant, then my milk seems to dry up. So by nine months, my baby is fussing when I’m nursing…that’s when I have to supplement.”

    Here's the page I got that quote from if you're interested.

  4. I could not agree with you more. My husband and I walked the long dark road of infertility for almost 5 years and were finally blessed with our daughter. When she was 7months old I found out I was pregnanct(naturally)with twins. I had just started to wean her from breastfeeding. My boys came 6 weeks early at 34 weeks from a small uterine rupture. Due to this I had my tubes tied, and while I thought it was the right thing to do at that time, I now regret it almost everyday. Knowing that I took away blessings from god. I am coming to terms with it, but would love to have a large family as to me 3 is not large!!! Great post.

  5. We just bought a mini-van yesterday because we have such a "big" family of three kids :) When the paperwork woman found out how close my kids were in age she smiled and she said "be sure to come back to us when you need that passenger van" It made me laugh.

  6. Ha, we're totally at the passenger van stage. I tend to stare at mini-van with a sinking feeling knowing we've only got about 5 months to figure out how on earth we're going to make this a reality.
    5 kids with one on the way, we will no longer fit in our sweet little beat up van, and we have no way of getting another. God will be getting a lot of prayer requests from me for the next 5 months. Good thing He's so good at that miracle thing, think we'll need one.

  7. Jessica this is a great post. You worded it beautifully. God knows what is best for each family and will give it to them, whether it is 2 or 22! He is good and knows us best! Blessings, Tirzah

  8. I really enjoyed your post. I agree completely that all of our bodies are different and natural means not changing it with medication/surgery, but it doesn't necessarily mean a ton of kids. We currently have 5 sweet children and just recently moved up to a passenger van. We are open to God blessing us with more. :)

  9. Jessica, I can't wait to hear how God answers your prayers for a passenger van. We are also expecting Baby #6 and our minivan will soon no longer work for us. I just read in our homeschool co-op newsletter that a family of 8 (their 6th is one year old)has an urgent prayer request for a vehicle to hold them all. As we are praying for the same I would love to hear about other's blessings from the Lord.

  10. It's so funny I actually blogged about this today. Thank you for your insight. I'm really praying and asking God for guidance in this area of my life. Should I have more children? Is two enough for me? Am I missing a blessing by "controlling" how many children I have? All these are questions that I'm exploring everyday and looking for answers.

  11. It wasn't long ago that we were asking the same questions, the best place I found answers was not in blog posts or articles but in the Bible itself. The rest are opinions, but the Bible is truth! Look up verses on children and trust. I also wrote a post recomending this article last month It's definetly worth a look if this is something you're thinking about (or not) helps you really take a look at how you view children. God Bless you're family as you make this decision.

  12. My husband and I only have two.We don't use any form of birth control except for me knowing my body. I can not believe that people would ever come up to any parent with a large amount of kids and make comments. To me that is very rude. The amount of kids you have is a very personal thing.