Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can You Really Love That Many Kids?

I've heard it said before that you couldn't really love this many children. And I remember being pregnant with my second child and wondering how in the world I could love another baby as much as I loved Stephen. I was (and still am) so completely in love with him and worried that I didn't have enough love left for another child. Silly, huh? But not all that uncommon of a fear. When I really thought about it, I knew that it was silly, but fear doesn't always make sense. I know I was surprised at how much my heart grew when I had the first baby. What I didn't know is that it would happen with every baby.

I've been noticing with each new addition to our family that my love for that baby surprises me. I just didn't know I could love yet another baby so much. I wasn't very excited about this last pregnancy. I was excited at times, but there were lots of times--which I kept completely to myself--that I thought I had stepped beyond my capabilities this time. There was no way I could do this. Everyone likes to point out that 40 is kind of old to be having a baby and I'm 40 now. Yes, I'm more tired and grumpy at times than I was at 22. Nearly everyone I know that is my age is done having babies. I was looking enviously at couples who can go out on dates without bringing a baby and couples who can just hop in the car without car seats to buckle in and wondered what in the world I was thinking having another baby.

Well, first of all, I don't think about it. We don't plan to have another baby and we don't plan not to. We leave it to God to decide when to create life. I won't argue that with anyone. You can disagree all you want, but it's ultimately our decision and we are happy with it. Unlike many in our culture, we see children as blessings and we would not want to reject any blessings God wants to offer us.

So Ezra was born and it didn't take long to see that I could indeed love this baby as much as any of the others. It's such a wonder each time that God would see fit to bless us with the responsibility of raising this precious new life. Just like each of my other children, I fell in love with Ezra just because he exists. Because God made him.

Often times, I am more endeared to a child because he or she will exhibit behaviors like Roger. I love Roger and so those traits that remind me of him just help me love that child even more. And now I'm seeing that when Sam does something that reminds me of Mitchell or Clark does something that reminds me of Stephen or x does something that reminds me of y (insert any two of our children's names for x and y) it makes that love grow even stronger. And then I love each one more because they all remind me so much of each other in so many ways.

I'm so glad now that I had this baby. I have no regrets at all. I continue to be amazed everyday at all the new things he is learning and doing. I love it when he smiles just because he sees me. I love how he was kicking his toy just to make me smile yesterday. (It's one of those things that makes noises when he kicks it, but he only kicked it when he saw my face--I would smile and cheer for him each time. I guess he likes that better than the song and such the toy rewards him with.) I love it when he squeals and says "hi" sometimes when he sees someone he recognizes. Yes, I have to get up at night to feed him. Yes, I often have to do things with one hand because I'm holding this big chunk (he doubled his birth weight today at 10 weeks). Yes, I need to load him in a carseat every time we go somewhere. I can't go on a date with Roger unless we bring him. Labor was excruciatingly painful. I could go on listing all the sacrifices a woman makes as a mother, but I think you get the idea. He is so worth every minute of it. They all are.

I swear I can feel my heart swelling and getting bigger and bigger all the time (and no, it's not a health issue due to my "old age".)

And would I do it again? In a heartbeat. (Remind me of this if I get pregnant again.) And the answer is YES, you really can love that many kids!

Melissa
(Roger, I'm sorry to have once again sucked all the testosterone out of our blog.)

5 comments:

mammamolina said...

I hope you don't mind me commenting on your blog but this was an exceptional post. I only have six and have had the same thoughts but may have not been able to put it into words as well as you did. My 17yo daughter received advice from one of her aunts that she needed to go off and "find herself" before she gets married and has children. I just thought of how much moms have to "lose" themselves daily and how much joy comes from the sacrifice. I just don't see that kind of joy in her aunts life, who, by the way, is 34 and still hasn't found herself. Thanks for the post!

Christine said...

Wow, your post was written with such clarity and poise. I only :) have 5 and we choose to let God be the author of our lives. We let Him decide the how and when of our childrearing. It is great to find another family who lives life outside of the box.
Christine, a fellow MOMYS
Feel free to come visit our family blog at www.homeschoolblogger.com/brown

Audrey said...

I was so relieved to hear those words "I was not excited about this pregnancy" I have been struggling with those same feelings this whole time. I just feel past what I can do on some levels. I am so much more tired now than 5-10 years ago. It has totally caught me off gaurd, I have never felt like this before....I LOVE babies and everything about them...but my excitement is gone. This is a weird place to be when you are 32 and assume that He will bless us with at least a couple more before its all over.

One thing I have learned through this weird feeling, is that obediance is not dependant on our feeling like doing it! Its soley based on doing what we know is right, I know letting Him have control over this area is right, theres no question in my mind. So I will press on tired and weary and unexcited....until I see that precious baby look into my eyes and I am sure my heart will melt into a pile on the floor!

Grammy said...

I used to wonder the same thing when I was pregnant with my second child. "Can I love this new baby as much as the one I already have?" The answer was overwhelming love as soon as she was born. And the love just added on with each successive birth. And now grandchildren! There is no limit to the amount of love we can give. And we are only human; can you imagine how much love God has for us?

Julie aka Gigi... said...

Melissa,
What an encouraging post. I posted a link to it on my blog. Thank you!
Julie
www.gigislittleblog.blogspot.com