On a blog titled “Tales from the Mommy Trenches” the author tells about her disgust with what our society has become when it comes to having children. To explain her reasons for feeling this disgust, she told about meeting a pregnant woman in an elevator, while maneuvering her own three young children. From a quick discussion, she learned that this pregnant woman also had three children and was expecting her fourth.
The author said she congratulated her and said, “That’s wonderful!” She said she could see the relief spread across the woman’s face. She said, “Thank you! You have no idea how many people offer their condolences when they find out this is my fourth. Or they ask me if this was planned.” Both mothers considered these as inappropriate and rude comments.
The writer reported that, “Benjamin Franklin was one of ten children (UPDATE: a kind reader has informed me that he was actually the youngest of seventeen!) Beethoven was one of seven, and JFK was one of nine. Every child has the potential to do something great in the world. So please, give the mother of these children the support and encouragement she needs whether it is her first child or her ninth. Because your last child deserves just as much excitement as your first.”
My own mother of nine children was asked how she felt when she found out, at age 46, that she was expecting her ninth. She said, “I was happy. Every child is a gift from God. That ninth child, as well as the rest, has been a blessing to me, particularly in my old age.”
I was sixteen when this baby was born. I was so happy to have a new baby in our family that I would run home from school just to hold and play with him. Through the years, we’ve stayed close. Even though he’s hundreds of miles away, he calls and shares his life with me. I’m so glad he was born.
Why siblings are a blessing
Growing up in a large family can be a blessing to a child. I know from first-hand experience. My seven brothers and one sister have brought a lot of happiness and security into my life. Here’s how:
There is always somebody to play with.
True, we had our quarrels, but most of the time we worked it out and just had fun. I can remember playing “cowboys and cowgirls” for hours on end with our wooden toy guns and stick horses made by my dad. None of us ended up being violent people as adults, just playful. Cousins would often join in the fun.
We learned how to share.
When you have siblings, you have to share pretty much everything. Toys were one, clothes were another. You learn that hand-me-down shirts and pants work just as well as new ones. Beds, too. My little sister slept with me until I left for college. I loved having her next to me. She cried when I left. Even though she is six years younger than I, we have always had a special bond.
We appreciated things more.
When we did get something new, it was really fun and very appreciated. My parents were fair in making that happen equally. We could be happy for each other getting something special because we knew we would, at some point, get our turn. Having siblings teaches you to wait your turn.
We learned to appreciate a treat.
Since there were so many of us, it was too expensive to go out to eat very often. But when we did, it was something we anticipated with a great deal of excitement. I remember my parents took us to their favorite Chinese restaurant occasionally, and we all loved it. That’s where we learned how to behave in a restaurant. We knew if we misbehaved we wouldn’t get the chance again very soon.
We learned how to love.
These siblings endeared themselves to me. If they were hurt I felt sad. And oh, were they protective of me. I knew I was safe with big brothers looking after me. Nobody better hurt their sisters, or they would be in for it.
We learned how to work.
There was always so much to do, it kept us all busy. We lived on a farm so the boys were needed to help Dad in the fields and the barn. I was needed to help Mom around the house. There was always work to do. But there was always time to play, too. With many hands, the work gets done faster.
Smile when the test is positive
The next time you find out you’re pregnant, rejoice! What a blessing to be bringing another child into your family. Goodness knows this old world needs more kids who know how to love, care, share and work hard. Big families help make that possible. Sure it takes work, patience, and sacrifice, but it will be worth it all.
When couples announce that they are going to have another baby, rejoice with them. They will be making an important contribution to the stability of our society. That deserves praise.
Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist.Joy is a writer and lyricist. Together they present seminars and author books on relationships. Their website is garyjoylundberg.com, firstname.lastname@example.org