Why Did You Have So Many Kids?

my oldest daughter is ducking behind her dad and I am pregnant with our ninth child

The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people.

When the words The Joy Of Mothering popped into my head as a title for my short stories it was like an epiphany for me because those few words verbalized my experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. However, it has been far from easy, rather it has been a long journey through confusion, guilt and public condemnation to reach the point where I can now shout loudly,

“This is my call, this is my vocation, this is my witness to the world.”

After the birth of our fourth child, Michael and I struggled to understand exactly how we were meant to live our lives. We were discussing an article by an author whose main premise was that letting go of control and trusting in God was not some abstract principle but a day-to-day practical call that included the surrender of our fertility. Of course we practised natural family planning but I was one of those rare people who could conceive long before ovulation.

As my doctor said once, “Ah, I remember reading about a woman in New Zealand, two years ago, who conceived five days before ovulation.”

I raised my hand and chirped, “Well, you can add me to that list!”

Although we could not imagine how large our family would become, the words of that article resonated within both my husband and I. Guilt lifted off us and a surge of excitement, a sense of purpose welled up from within. Although it took time to really believe that none of our children were simply a failure of the natural family planning method. Many small experiences kept reinforcing the truth the for us that God called each of our children into being with our co-operation. We’d stumbled blindly at times and then a burst of clarity would shine light on our purpose.

For example, twenty-five years ago, I once again slipped into panic mode, worrying if I was pregnant with my fifth child. Suddenly a wave of peace enveloped me and my whole body relaxed.

I heard these words within me,

“This is your call. This is your vocation. This is your witness to the world.”

All sorts of objections rushed into my head,

” What on earth do you mean a witness, a witness to what?- stupidityy? People don’t understand. They just think we are irresponsible or idiots……”

Then unexpected joy bubbled within me and I sensed these words in my spirit, “I am with you.”

Once again a blanket of peace wrapped like a blanket around me. It was an actual physical sensation and I was at peace, my mind calm and my spirit felt strong.

That was it for me; I understood and I said “yes”.

Though I still cringed under disapproval from society, I always understood that my children were saving me by compelling me to dive deeper into my spirit. They challenged me to dig deeper, discovering the power of eternal Love at my very core. A love that can stand strong against all opposition

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32 thoughts on “Why Did You Have So Many Kids?

  1. Melanie, your articles are so thought-provoking and your messages have little pearls of wisdom that can be applied to my own experiences, albeit different ones than yours. Thanks for sharing. You are a wonderful person!


  2. Joyful! That’s exactly how I remember your home when we visited when our kids were small. How many days did we spend together with the little ones running around while we folded laundry, or you taught me how to make pie crust or pickles? Your patient joy with your children was an inspiration to me, especially when I didn’t have a clue how to be a mom.


  3. I’ve been asked the same question many times and have felt the same panic at the realization that I was pregnant yet again. I’ve never been able to articulate a definite, perfect answer to the questions of the curious, nor am I able to say that the beginning of every pregnancy was joyful. I am able to say that being the mother of 8 children is a life filled with love, peace and the certainty that God is with us every step of the way.


  4. Good for you and the many blessings you will get from God. My friend has 13 and the youngest, now 6yrs is my darling god-daughter.
    Just you go on and have as many children as God blesses you with.


  5. Enjoyed your article. You really witness to faith and trust and surrendering to God. I became Catholic after having my children so have not experienced this aspect of Catholic motherhood. I am always dismayed when I hear people being criticized for having so many children. Even by other Catholics! God bless you.


  6. I loved this article. My family was….made by following certain unconventional paths that I am not certain most people understand or support, but at the end of the day I know that my children are gifts to me and that, for lack of a better phrase, everything happens for a reason.


      1. Seems to me like *other* people need to focus less on others and more on improving themselves as kind, accepting people. But perhaps I’m just biased towards the situation.


  7. If we all would just be open to God’s plan for our lives, we would all find the happiness that He wants for all of us. When we marry, we should be especially open to His plan for our family. That means being in constant communication (prayer) so that we are one with His will. Or to say it in a few words – let God be your family planner.


  8. I came into being open to life by way of a very different, turbulent filled path. : In my youth, I was hijacked by the evil one, wavered away from the faith and remained close to life in a marriage that was not God’s will for me. But guess what? Upon returning to the Catholic Church, God brought me to service in a crisis pregnancy resource center where I help women bring their babies into the world! Saving a baby from abortion brings me more joy than I can describe. By golly, that’s it! I’m a joyful “mother” anyway! Isn’t God good?


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