MegaMom Interviews: Milehimama’s story

I have a fascination with big families. Probably because I am an only child and have almost no first-hand experience with large families, yet I am probably (hopefully) going to have many children of my own, I have a million questions for moms with lots of kids.

Since I know that there are other people out there who share my desire to know more about the day-to-day operations of families with a house full of kids, I decided to start doing email interviews with some of these “megamoms” who are commentors and fellow bloggers.

And who better to kick it off than Milehimama, who has seven children under the age of nine. I asked:

Q: A lot of people in our culture would probably look at how many children you’ve had in such a short time and wonder what compelled you to sign up for that. Why not, after you had two or three great kids close in age, decide to take a break for a few years to give yourself some time before the next one?

Her response:

I think what it boils down to, is control. I didn’t sign up to have as many kids in as short of a time as I could; but I did decide to turn the matter over to God, trusting in Him fully.

This didn’t happen right away – when I got married, I had turned my back on the Church (I told people I had survived Catholicism and was never going back). I married a “backslid” Baptist, meaning that he had, at one point, gone to church and been “saved” but now was living as a heathen, so to speak. [...]

Our first two children were born 13 months apart (and our firstborn came along 3 days after our 1st anniversary). When baby #2 was 4 months old, I started working at a pro-life pregnancy center one morning a week, and I got pregnant again. (I wasn’t Catholic, but I was pro-life). My husband and I hadn’t really discussed birth control (believe it or not!), but working as a counselor at the pregnancy center I decided that I would never go on artificial hormonal birth control.

We had a miscarriage, and people were so cruel! The doctor told me I “already had enough children”. I think those two events really changed my heart towards God. I remember during the miscarriage begging God for our baby, but in a very conscious way also submitting – “Thy will be done.” I also realized that I really had no control over when babies would, or wouldn’t come. I could use birth control to ask God not to bless us with a child, but that’s no guarantee.

I could also beg and plead and pray and fast asking for a baby – still no guarantee. So I let it go completely and surrendered myself – “Do with me what thou wilt”, as the prayer says.

He can always draw good from bad! That was one of two events that brought me back to the Church. [...]

And so, we surrendered control of our fertility to God. My husband is not Catholic (yet!), and he will usually talk jokingly about getting a vasectomy when I’m pregnant but as soon as the baby’s actually here, he doesn’t mention it again. I think he’s a sucker for the babies too!

Fully surrendering means accepting God’s will for our family, whether that means many children, no children, or only a few. In our case, God has blessed us abundantly – but there is another end to marriage, which is sanctification of the spouses. God also uses our children, and situation, to refine us and, if we cooperate, become holier.

We have never used NFP to conceive or delay pregnancy. We don’t use anything at all, which is ironic because I know people think of us as proof that NFP doesn’t work!

I guess the answer to the question, why not wait and space them further apart, is that God does our family planning. He is infinitely wiser than we are, and loves me, my husband, and our children more than we could ever imagine. I fully trust the He knows what is best for our family. I’ve given control to Him.

May you be filled with His peace,

Milehimama


[NOTE ON COMMENTS: Milehimama was so kind to take the time to answer my question and so openly share her story for me and my readers, please make sure that any comments or questions are courteous and respectful.]

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9 Responses to “MegaMom Interviews: Milehimama’s story”
  1. Sarah says:

    What a beautiful reply. I’m the mother of four, all two and under (two sets of twins). While I’m not the mother of a big family, or not yet at least, having four so close, and on our income, allows me to relate to the stigma of big families. I was very blessed by this reply. Thank you for asking/posting it.

  2. Radical Catholic Mom says:

    Beautiful! Thank you!

  3. SteveG says:

    Only on an orthodox Catholic blog could someone who is the mother of four utter this phrase…

    “While I’m not the mother of a big family, or not yet at least…’

    …and seem totally normal.

    How cool is that!:-D

    I love being Catholic!

  4. Ouiz says:

    My oldest will have just turned 10 when I give birth to my 7th child this fall.

    My husband and I came to the same conclusion — that God knew how to space our kids better than we did, and we were going to trust Him on that… not that I think NFP is wrong by any stretch of the imagination — this is simply what my husband and I chose to do.

    If it had been totally up to me, there is no way I would have had all our kids so close together (9 1/2, 8, 6 1/2, 5, 3 1/2, and 20 mths… all c-sections)… but we would have missed SO much! As hectic as it’s been, I have to say that I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    I *do* find it embarrassing, however, since most people know that I am Catholic… and simply assume I’m practicing NFP… and therefore use me as proof that it “doesn’t work.”

    Thank you so much for interviewing milehimama (another South Carolinian!)… I look forward to more of your interviews (if nothing else, to know that “I’m not alone….”)

    God bless!

  5. Sarah says:

    Steveg,

    I’m actually not Catholic, I’m a Christian of the Protestant variety;) Thank you for making me feel so at home here though!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I would like to simply add that breastfeeding is part of God’s plan for childspacing. And that there is nothing at all wrong with totally trusting God to plan your family, but also that using NFP is not sinful if there is serious reason to delay or prevent pregnancy (such as the mom’s physical or mental health). I’m a mom of 6 on earth and also 4 miscarried babies. alicia

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love your blog. I love this post about allowing God to space children. I have an interesting twist to that. I’ve allowed God to space my children too; I have none! My dh and I have tried for children since our wedding day 6 years ago and have not been blessed. We’ve had testing done and were told older eggs and not the smartest sperm in the world, but other than that, no obvious problems. We’ve had a few very early miscarriages.

    We are honestly, prayfully open to being materially poor, having 4 carseats, little space for too big a family, etc., but it doesn’t happen for us.

    God works both ways, I guess.

    Rebecca

  8. Anonymous says:

    This was really lovely. I have seven (on earth)but severe problems with delivery. It can be hard not to live in fear. Its wonderful to see couples accept their fertility as part of who they are.
    Marilyn Shannon is a nutritionist and teacher of STM NFP with the Couple to Couple League. She has learned nutrition or underlying health issues are shown in miscarraige, or failure to conceive. There is also a John Paul center for fertility that trains NFP only Doctors with great help.

  9. JMB says:

    A very interesting reply. I’m Catholic as well, and had to go through infertility. I’m not of the same ilk as many here-we actively pursued treatment (fortunatley not having to grapple with the issues that surround IVF), but at one point, I came to the same conclusion. After four years, and even though we had done what we could, and the people who were helping us were blessed by God with the intelligence and grace to do what it is that they do, in the end, it was really, truly out of my hands and in His. It was an amazing release of the guilt and pain that comes from infertility, what it does to you emotionally and spiritually-either it kills you or brings you to a new plane. I can remember the exact moment, lieing in bed staring at the ceiling after our fifth, and possibly last injectible treatment cycle. I don’t know why it took me so long to get there-just part of the overall journey I guess. Two weeks later we found out that we had been successful. Our miracle is almost 21 months now.

    I’ll never have the brood that she has-but we certainly have the common thread of learning to release it all to God, and know that He will show us the way. Great post.