Family Planning: Ready To Call It Quits?

I’ve been using Mondays to help clear out by mailbox. This week’s question deals with family planning: What should you do when you’re ready to call it quits?

Monday Mailbag - Ready to Call It Quits

Question: Is it wrong that I feel ready to call it quits?

Dear Jennifer,

I have a question I would like to ask you about an area I struggle with but did not find addressed in your book in the chapter about seeing children as God’s blessing.

My husband and I have been blessed with eight children between the ages 3 and 18. We have been open to receiving all of these, but now that we are both in our forties, we just have this “maxed out” feeling, so we’ve used condoms since the birth of our last baby.

My pregnancies have never been pleasant (continual nausea/vomiting), and we just really feel “too old” to have more children. My husband has a very busy job so most of the homefront is my responsibility.

Especially with the last few babies I’ve felt like I couldn’t give enough attention to the needs of our older children because all my time was taken up with the baby and trying to keep everything else running.

I struggle with “letting God be in total control of our family size” (which has been our “motto”) and feeling like “we’re done”. Can you comment on this? Thank you so much!

Signed: Maybe Eight Is Enough?

Ready to Call it Quits

Answer: Prayerfully make a decision you can both live with.

Dear Enough:

I have conflicting thoughts about this matter, as I am sure you yourself and many others do as well. On the one hand, I affirm that children are a blessing and should ideally be welcomed as God sends them. On the other, I recognize the fact that we live in a fallen world and our circumstances sometimes prevent our living in strict accordance to our ideals.

For me and my husband, the decision to trust God with our family planning has been greatly simplified by the fact that He has thus far blessed us with extremely easy pregnancies, smooth deliveries, healthy babies, a happy marriage, a stable income, supportive friends and family, strong bodies, resilient minds, adequate reserves of energy, and an extra measure of faith.

Were the case different regarding any of these factors, we might agonize more over our decision to leave the family planning to Him.

God is in control

I also affirm that it is God who opens and closes the womb. Even if we remain committed to accept children as He sends them, that does not automatically mean that more children will be forthcoming. Even for historically fertile women like you and me, there will eventually come a time — yea, and it’s rapidly approaching — when our bodies will no longer bear.

Most likely, then, the feeling that you’re “done” will soon become a physical reality. For me, I would love to have another baby and am content to let God determine when my childbearing will come to an end, just as I’ve allowed Him to determine the number and spacing of the children I’ve already borne. But, again, my circumstances have made such a decision easy.

For you, if you and your husband have prayerfully considered the matter and have come to an agreement with which you both are satisfied, I think that is fine. But even if you decide you definitely are ready to call it quits, I would encourage you not to do anything permanent, like scheduling a vasectomy or tubal ligation, so as to leave room for changing your mind if in a few more months or years you feel less stressed or begin to yearn for another babe in arms.

Also, I would absolutely advise against any form of birth control that is potentially abortifacient, like the Pill or the IUD. Of course, condoms and other barrier methods do not fall into that category, so if you are both in agreement to use them, I think it is acceptable for you to do so.

The LORD equips whom He calls

Finally, I believe that God honors our choice to trust Him (or to keep on trusting Him) with our family size, and that He will strengthen and equip us to do whatever He calls us to do, including parenting a large family. But I also believe that the conviction to adopt such a lifestyle must come directly from Him. No couple should feel an obligation to have baby after baby just to keep up with the Joneses. Parenting is hard work, and the bigger the family, the bigger the responsibility. Only God can see you through when the going gets tough, which it does for all of us from time to time.

Hope these thoughts help you to sort this out and to be at peace with the decision you make.

Love Your Husband, Love Yourself

Similar Posts


  1. Such great advice. I had my tunes tied after our 3rd child. We have two girls, 17 and 14, and a son, 9. At the time I asked a close Christian friend if it was okay to tie my tubes. I asked how God felt about it. She said it was okay. As an older more mature Christian then I, I listened to her. My husband was not born again so he was all for it. I really regret doing it. I hurt for all the children I could have had. The precious babies He chose for us so long ago. They are not mine. My heart aches. I agree to not do anything permanent. Pray for guidance. God will give it to you and your husband. He will make His will known to the both of you.

  2. While I appreciate what you have to say about family planning and how to know what is God’s will for your family and putting your trust in Him, I do just want to say that not ALL forms of the Pill are potentially abortifacients. I was on the Pill for many years before I got married (for medical reasons), and when I did get married I researched the form of the Pill that I had been taking to make sure there wasn’t any chance it could potentially cause abortions, as this is something that me and my husband feel quite strongly about.

    I would recommend any woman who feels that the Pill may be the way forward for her and her family (either due to severe period pains, hormonal balance, mental health issues or simply family planning) to research the various forms of the Pill and talk to her doctor about it before making a decision. It really does depend on what type of Pill you use, and there are a lot of versions out there. Sometimes the Pill does solve medical problems (as in my situation) so I wouldn’t swear off it automatically just because of the risks that some versions can entail. There are also some women who can’t use condoms due to sensitive skin, which make using the Pill a more sensible option.

    The IUD, of course, is an entirely different situation. But again, you really have to research and pray and decide what is best for you family. Me and my husband aren’t in a position to start a family for a while yet, because we’re both full time students and have no fixed income, so we’re very thankful that the Pill allows us to get through this stage of our life and wait a few months until he has a job and we have a steady home to raise a family in. But then again, I have heard of women who still get pregnant when they’re on the Pill, and if this were to happen to us, we would welcome the child, no matter how hard it is to balance degrees and babies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *