Last week, my daughter in dental school tagged me on Facebook with a link to an article called When Did We Start Hating Big Families?
“Was this your experience at all?” she wanted to know, referring to the negative comments the author of the article got regarding her three (3) children.
“Never once have I felt self-conscious about being part of our family,” Bethany continued. “I know we get lots of comments, but they’ve never seemed negative, just surprised. (At least the ones I heard.)”
She went on to note that she’s heard reports like this one from lots of women. Especially from those of her own generation, many of whom are just beginning their families. Some of these families have only three or four children (so far). But are still regarded with suspicion.
“That doesn’t even seem like a big family at all,” Beth wrote. “Although I guess it is double the national average. Anyway, I love you and our 8x-the-average-size family.”
The answer to Bethany’s question as to whether such vocal reactions have ever our experience is yes and no. Sure, we’ve gotten our fair share of comments through the years from people who think we are crazy to have so many children.
But the vast majority of remarks have been positive. That may have something to do with the fact that we live in East Texas. Small town people from the south are normally too polite to say mean things to your face.
Big families are no longer the norm; therefore, we attract more attention than we would have in another era or another culture.
Generally, I think people who try to strike up a conversation about our big family are often simply curious. So I do my best not to take offense, even if their questions get a little personal. Most of the folks who ask such questions aren’t trying to be rude. But even if they are, that says more about them than about us. And a patient, friendly response will do more to win them over than a snippy comeback ever could.
For those who’ve lost sight of the fact children are a blessing, not a burden, I offer this week’s coloring page. It features Psalm 127:3-5. “Children are a blessing from the LORD…. Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Evidently, some people could use that little reminder. So I designed this Children are a Blessing coloring page to serve in that capacity.
And for folks who are particularly intrigued by big families — especially those who seem interested in starting a big family of their own — we point them to the following titles for further study and encouragement.
- Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies by Candice Watters
- Be Fruitful and Multiply: What the Bible Says about Having Children by Nancy Campbell
- Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception by Sam and Bethany Torode
- Three Decades of Fertility: Ten Ordinary Women Surrender to the Creator and Embrace Life by Natalie A Klejwa, et al.
Have you ever received comments on your family size? How did you respond? If you find yourself in this boat often, you might want to familiarize yourself with the many blessings having a lot of children brings. For a good synopsis of these benefits, check out my other posts on the topic:
- 15 Unexpected Benefits from Big Family Living – A tongue-in-cheek post detailing all the things I love about living in a large family
- 9 Smart Reasons for Having Babies – A fascinating look at the scientific benefits to birthing lots of babies
- 7 Reasons to Prioritize Intimacy in Marriage – And here’s an article on the scientific benefits to doing the deed that makes the babies in the first place. 😉
- 5 Tips for Responding to Negativism – Here are some guiding principles for answering people’s comments on family size, whether those comments are kind, callous, or curious.