I’ll tell you, now that my husband and I have a daughter and a son, we get this a lot: Oh, you got your two! Your bookends. Well, you can be done now. I shrug, laugh, smile, and make a vague comment about being open to a big family. Many of our friends come from smaller families, and have smaller families for a variety of reasons. I’m not one to pry into their relationship and family planning–frankly it’s none of anyone’s business, right? But the question comes back to me, after I open up that we practice natural family planning and would love a big family, is why. Why pace our family naturally? And why/how could we want a big family?
These two questions aren’t that complicated for us. First, regarding the natural pacing versus artificial hormones, invasive physical insertions, or barrier methods, we’re an all-natural family! We eat organic food, we avoid processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, fast food, soda, etc. We value the beauty and symmetry in creation and mother nature. We honor the balance in our relationship by pacing our intimacy and our children through communication, paying attention to my body, and assessing where we are as a family and, if we’re ready to welcome another little gift from God. Sound like a lot of overspeak? The bottom line is, natural is best for my body, our relationship, and we really truly are open to lots of kids.
Leading in to point number two: the big family. But you won’t be able to afford college for all of them! You won’t be able to take nice vacations or drive high end cars! Or pay for x, y, z. The most frequent response we get as a followup is about cost. Cost of education, clothing, food. Cost of housing, medical bills, and activities. I used to think that way too. It’s not that we’re totally checked out on the realities of raising children, but we see children as these amazing unique miracles–not an expense. This does mean we have had to adjust our expectations. Meaning, if we’re able to have lots of kids, depending on how we are doing financially, maybe some things won’t be possible. But who knows? That human’s life is worth financial hardship or sacrifice to us. We’ll figure it out. I’m certainly already sacrificing myself as a mom and wife taking care of my family, financial sacrifices are another one on the pile! Sleep, my own private time, flexibility, eyes that aren’t darkened with mommy-circles, the list of sacrifices goes on.
I look at my husband and see a man who is totally open to me in our relationship. We’re not holding back with each other. It’s a fresh feeling, and a very safe one, to know that your spouse and you are open to life, practicing a healthy & natural intimate life. From that solid foundation, we are free to build a strong relationship that can hopefully carry us through the really tough times in marriage and in life. Strong and healthy. And that’s why we pace our family naturally.
Nell O’Leary is a recovering lawyer turned blogger, speaker, and sewer of baby goods while tending to her husband and four kiddos in the great city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She serves as Managing Editor for Blessed is She and can down a hot cocoa in no time flat. Find out more about her here.