Why Having More Babies Isn’t as Crazy as You May Think

The first time a kind stranger peeked at my newborn baby and gushed, “Oh honey, treasure every second!” I almost burst into tears.  Not because I was so touched, but because I was so tired.  We were standing at the entrance to the mall–me, my baby, and my Shamu-sized postpartum belly–all three of us staring at this sweet lady with her abounding supply of freedom.

I wanted to say, “I’ll try!  I’ll try to treasure every second, and you try to treasure every second of the eight hours of uninterrupted sleep you’re going to get tonight.  And treasure every second you’re going to roam this mall in total freedom, buying clothes that will fit your skinny waist, and shirts that aren’t breastfeeding accessible.  And while you’re at it, treasure all the discretionary time you’ll have in the next decade while I watch Dora, and take temperatures, and settle fights, and pretend to be a human jungle gym, and birth more babies, and clean puke off my clothes.”

Instead I just smiled and waddled off–me, baby, and Shamu.  That was round one for me.  My very first baby.  And boy, was the learning curve steep.

Two weeks ago I gave birth to baby number three.  My third gorgeous little daughter.  She arrived three weeks early, in such a massive hurry that despite having two previous c-sections, I delivered her naturally with no drugs (and a whole lot of screaming!)  It was the first time I experienced a baby being laid on my chest the moment she was born.  Later, the midwife told me she would never forget the look on my face.  It wasn’t pretty or serene (Clint snapped a picture, so I know!)  It was a look of complete shock.  Somewhere in the midst of all the pain 16-IMG_0016and hysteria, I had completely forgotten I would get a baby out of this ordeal.  My mom (who thought this one might be a boy, despite the ultrasound’s verdict) asked me later if it registered that she really was a girl.  I told her that in that moment I wouldn’t have cared if she was a monkey.  I held my little baby as they stitched me up, and I never felt more comforted in all my life.  I didn’t examine her, or talk to her, or try to nurse her…I just abided with her, quietly knowing that she and I together had done something extraordinary.  We each went on a journey–scary and unknown–and we met in the middle.

This time, if a kindly stranger tells me to treasure every second, I think I will burst into tears.  Not because of my lost figure or freedom, but because I so ardently understand that the seconds truly are numbered.  They are grains of sand slipping through the hourglass, never to be returned.  That’s the funny thing about motherhood.  You start off with so little on your plate, and it feels like you’re absolutely drowning.  And yet the more you add, the more joyful it becomes.  Because somewhere in between adding more babies, and more diapers, and more laundry, you also add more perspective.  You realize there are worse things than a long night, and challenges really do pass, and tiny toes don’t stay tiny forever.  You know cribs turn into beds, and strollers turn into bikes, and the chubby cheeks making fish faces today will be wearing your makeup tomorrow.

And so, in these past two weeks, as I treasure every second, one verse keeps coming to my mind: “Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah.  So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (Gen 24: 67).  Is it busy and hectic and messy having three children?  Of course it is!  Have I gone to bed at 8pm every night this week?  Yes I have!  But this time around, the baby isn’t the exhausting, overwhelming part.  In the midst of all the scheduling, and carpooling, and cleaning, the baby is my Rebekah.  She is the comfort in the chaos.

Welcome to the world, darling.  We love you.
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68 thoughts on “Why Having More Babies Isn’t as Crazy as You May Think

    1. sharimcminn

      I have 11; 5 biological, 1 step and 5 adopted. They are worth every precious moment and endless loss of sleep, and all you forgo for your own personal life because of giving up for them. My good husband died very unexpectedly last year. We are doing okay without him, we just miss him more than words can say. I see him in every one of my kids; treasure these days, and have as many as the Lord will bless you and your husband with. Children are the only thing we can take to Heaven with us, so let the Lord bring you many. Priceless treasures they are. Lovely writing BTW.

      Reply
      1. Micki

        So sorry for your loss. I am very happy to hear about your large family. We currently have 5 biological children and plan to start the process to adopt this year. We would like to adopt a large sibling group from foster care. ❤ I don't personally know anyone who has both bio and adopted children, let alone anyone with the number of children we have and are hoping to adopt.

  1. Emily

    What a joy, congrats! I have 3 boys (ages 3 and under – there’s a set of twins in the mix), and the thought of our next baby (Lord willing) actually sounds relaxing! I think the learning curve is so steep with your first baby, and then eventually it isn’t that scary / overwhelming anymore. The joy does increase, and with the extra experience comes more breathing room to just TREASURE the sweet little one. Thanks for your writing!

    Reply
    1. jeanneharrison Post author

      Amen, I love how you expressed it! My best friend also has 3 boys and it is such fun trading stories together. May the Lord bless your young family! Thanks for dropping me a note.

      Reply
    2. roni

      I was in your shoes. … exactly! My twin boys were born when older brother was 15 months old…. and baby boy #4 came 4 years later. Each and every one is an absolute miracle!

      But this last baby….. is a special treasure. I enjoy him like a mommy should 🙂 My big boys are amazing little beings that have flourished having him around!

      Reply
  2. Karen

    Wow, congrats on the beautiful new daughter! So precious! And thanks for the good perspective. I’ll be having my 5th child in July, and sometimes I think I might be crazy! I’ve heard so many older ladies say, “These are the best years of your life!” When I told my husband that, he said, “These can’t be the BEST years.” LOL! And I totally know why he said that, because if in the midst of your hardship, someone says it gets no better than this…. well, what do you do with that? But I think I’ve come to understand that there are challenges and special blessings with every stage of life, and I’m trying to live in the now a little more and not be wishing for retirement!

    Reply
  3. Nicole

    Congratulations!! I felt the same way with my first, especially as a single mom working full time and in college full time…. We have three as well and are past the diaper bags filled with three stages of life and my stuff, the bottles and **all-the-parts** they have to clean, the spit-up, the sweet snuggles, the baby smell, and the folding of sweet baby diapers…. I would have loved to have more when my youngest was 1-3 years old. Now that she’s 4, I know we’re done, because I am happy to hold a baby in the nursery, but equally happy to give him back to mama (oh-my-aching-back!). There has been little progression of renewed freedom, but with my eldest in 8th grade, I can see it coming and decidedly don’t want it. Whatever will I do with myself with no children to raise and my usefulness ended? Enjoy the time. The hourglass runs too quickly out, I’m afraid, as you well know!

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      Never say never! That’s what I thought when I had a four year old as my youngest too. I was so over the baby stage. No more diapers or night feedings. I was getting ready for the teen years with my eldest. Then after 2 miscarriages God blessed us with a healthy baby boy. It felt like the first one all over again. I even forgot to burp him the first few feedings after he was born. Thankfully after some sleep it all came back to me, but it was quite a shock back to baby stages. It’s been even more magical because it’s new, yet with experience and less stress. Oh how we all adore having a baby again!

      Reply
  4. slswildflowermom

    Congrats on your beautiful little girl! How wonderful! I like your perspective on how the more you add the better. You have so much courage. A great saint once said, “Children are like flowers. You can’t have enough of them.” God bless you all on your new journey!

    Reply
  5. mrsmariposa2014

    Well told. With four in my pouch, the oldest nearing thirteen(oh, my.how did THAT happen?!), my youngest two and a half, partway through pottytraining, and the other two at or near double digits, it goes soooo fast! My youngest was a total surprise, but the perspective I had at his birth was lightyears from the oldest. God is good, isn’t he?

    Reply
  6. Jennifer Mull

    Lovely post! I have 8 children, and three are now grown.. my oldest was 19yo when my 8th was born… she is now 5yo, and I truly miss having a new baby to snuggle… after 20yrs. of having babies, you truly do learn to treasure the time differently. You look at your baby doing amazing and wonderful things, and then try to look at your adult son or teenager and try to remember what they were like as babies… it is harder to remember than you thought it would be… you see your little one growing and learning and you are just as amazed as ever because they are all different and the love grows right along with them… When you have older and younger children at the same time, you actually feel the time slipping away….. treasure every second that you can… and know that the hard times will not be quite so memorable in a few years. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Kim Konsh

      Hey, Jennifer, I have 8 too, and I whole-heartedly agree with you! Mine are a little further apart, though; my oldest was almost 23 when my youngest was born, and my youngest is only 20 months (which, if I’m doing the math right, our oldest are both 24 now?). The time DOES seem to go faster now. I have a granddaughter and another grandchild on the way, and it still seems surreal to see Melody playing with her 3 1/2 year old Aunt Rebekah and her 20 month old Uncle Benny!

      Reply
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  8. Kelly

    Beautifully expressed! I have four, and mine are spread out enough that I have had the pleasure of seeing the older ones help with the younger ones, and peek into their future lives as parents of their own. The benefits of a larger family are huge…the sharing, and learning from each other, and yes, even the fighting (during which they are learning to give and take and deal with others). It is all such a blessing! And don’t worry too much that it is all going by so fast…each stage has wonderful moments, and you truly can enjoy teenagers as much as toddlers!

    Reply
  9. Lucy Crosslin

    Your post is so spot on. I have three children (all adults now) and the learning curve was steep with the first. By the time my son was born, I was much more relaxed and ready for the challenge of three little ones under the age of five. My first grandchild is due any day now and while my daughter is a little scared and anxious I can hardly wait to see her transformation into a wonderful mother.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    What a great post! I just had my 3rd (also a girl, who joined 2 brothers ages 3&5) and this post could not be more true. I have sat in my daughters room at night teary eyed about how fast this all goes and she’s only 5wks old!!! What will I do when she goes off to kindergarten – ahhhh I can’t bear the thought lol.

    Reply
  11. Jennifer A

    I’ve told my sister (who is on her first) with my third baby, and now my fourth, I was/am so much more free from myself. I let go of my crazy expectations (like getting a full night’s sleep, being able to shower, etc.). I love being free, to love these babies, to embrace and rest in having a baby. To give grace, and receive grace, and just be in the moment. The plus to all of this freedom, I get showers and plenty of sleep!

    Reply
  12. ks

    I am expecting my third, and ever since I found out I have been nervous that we made the wrong choice to expand our family… your post gave me so much comfort! Thank you for a new perspective!

    Reply
    1. jeanneharrison Post author

      KS–I can relate to that nervousness! I often felt it too while pregnant with our third. Any time change is coming it feels a bit nerve-wracking. So glad this gave you some encouragement! Will be praying tonight that God gives you great peace & a wonderful experience transitioning into being a mom of 3.

      Reply
  13. leilanisdesigns

    I treasure this article. You state so perfectly the feelings. I am the mother of four under 10 – 3 boys and a girl. My daughter is also my youngest child, also a Rebekah (love the spelling!). With her I treasure every smile, every curl and even her gropes for a comforting hug with her current cold. Her tiny pink socks will be our last until grandchildren. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this world where it is “odd” or “crazy” to have more than one or two children.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Well said! I totally relate, and especially like the last sentence “comfort in the chaos”, that is so true! We have 3 lovely little ladies (7, 4, 1), baby boy due in April 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  15. Amy

    I am the mother of three boys, 4, 2, and 11 months. I cried as I read the last statements. My Isaiah is my comfort in the chaos. He is my third little guy, and in his innocence, I find serenity. Thank you for sharing your heart. I needed this tonight. 🙂

    Reply
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  17. Natalie

    Absolutely beautiful article! It really resonated with me as I have two children and I am craving number three! I also had c-sections with my first two children and would really like to know if it’s possible for me to v-back? It is very difficult to find a doctor around here that will support a vaginal delivery after having a cesarean previously. How do I know if this is possible for me? Will my body actually do what it needs to do because it did not with the first two :/

    Reply
    1. jeanneharrison Post author

      Natalie, I think hospitals & doctors are growing more comfortable with vbacs in many places. However, it is even riskier to attempt a vbac after 2 previous c-sections. I had no intention of trying a vaginal birth & only did it because the baby came so fast that they couldn’t get enough IV fluid in to give me anesthesia before I was fully dilated and the baby was nearly crowning. Like you I wondered if my body could even do it & I was terrified of something going wrong, but I had no choice. It’s definitely possible to have a vba2c but I would advise talking to your doctor & following his/her counsel. The great news is, even if you can’t find one who is supportive, most doctors consider it safe to have a third c-section & at the end of the day, how the baby gets here isnt nearly as special as the baby himself :). Congrats on your 2 kids & will pray for wisdom for you tonight! Thanks for writing in!

      Reply
    2. Jennifer Mull

      Yes, it is possible.. I have actually known quite a few women who have had 4 c-sections and went on to have several vbac’s…. was more common in the 90’s and has only recently changed. I had two vaginal deliveries then a c-section, then three vbac’s, then another c-section, then a vba2c…..(I have 8 children.)

      While there is some risk, one must realize that there is even some risk for a first time mom for rupture… the doctors are trained for dealing with vbac emergencies, and if they aren’t you need a new doctor anyway. My doctor explained what they would do in the event of an emergency, and I have even known of women who had vbac ruptures and went on to have more children…. You have to realize the change in philosophy isn’t just out of risk to mother, but risk for liability for the doctors and insurance companies and hospitals… they are making the decision for financial reasons, too, not just the individual mothers… (not to say that there aren’t doctors who ARE making good recommendations based on an individual mother, just that many are generalizing for the sake of liability… )

      It is certainly possible, but it does come down to finding a doctor willing to take you as a patient and a hospital willing to let you trial labor. It isn’t right, but that is how it is now. I am so thankful my doctors allowed me to have a vba2c with my last baby, but they knew I was well-informed and understood all the risks…

      Reply
    3. mel

      I had 2 c-sections and then 3 VBA2Cs. Most definitely possible and really less risky than repeated c-sections. Really the hardest part is finding a care provider. I much prefer midwives :-).

      As for knowing what to do, your body definitely knows what to do….. but it acts like you’re a first time mom for the most part… usually labor is on the long side. Although obviously not in this particular case, lol.

      Reply
  18. Brianna

    That was so beautiful. I had my first baby 4 months ago, and although I haven’t experienced what it will be like to add more children I really resonated with what you wrote. My first few nights after my baby was born I cried because i was so tired and didn’t know what to do. Things have definitely changed, and fast. Babies really are blessings.

    Reply
  19. Yporegon

    I too just had my third this past Fall. She was the unexpected “game changer” that joined her two older brothers after the vasectomy. You are so poignantly correct about perspective and grains of sand. These moment are just “blips” but I cherish every single Lego stepping, diaper gagging, sleepless baby spit-up moment. I wouldn’t have my life any other way!

    Reply
  20. Karisa

    I LOVED reading this! I also have 2 boys (4 and 2yr) and my baby girl is almost 4 months. She was my all natural birth too! I wouldn’t change a thing!!! My boys adore their baby sister.
    So much fun to watch the different stages of childhood. It is a big difference from number one (wishing you could sleep) and number three (cherishing every moment)! Thank you for your post!

    Reply
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  22. Charity

    Coming from someone who the LORD did not bless with children. If I could have a whole dozen I would! I’ve never had little feet to kiss or messy hands to clean. I’ve had no little arms reaching for me or a tiny sweet voice say mommy for the first time. You ladies are royalty blessed by the KING of kings!!!

    Reply
    1. jeanneharrison Post author

      Oh Charity! This brought tears to my eyes. If anyone would make an incredible mother, it’s you. I am believing God that in His timing you will be one, via adoption or a surprise breakthrough. I am so touched & challenged by your beautiful attitude–you could choose to be resentful & instead you are heaping blessings on other moms. Your husband is so blessed to call you his wife, as I am to call you my friend.

      Reply
      1. Charity

        We know not what GOD has planned for our lives or what HE is going to allow.
        My husband, the deacon, Sunday School Superintendent, Youth Leader and the only man I’ve ever loved left me the night before our 11yr wedding anniversary. He was having an affair. The boy I’d dated since I was 14 and married when I was 23 simply walked away and never looked back. Sadly, he is now my ex-husband. I pray he finds his way back to the forgiving arms of our LORD. I hope to see him in heaven.

    2. jeanneharrison Post author

      Charity, please forgive me–when I read your first comment, I assumed you were a friend I knew in college. After reading your second comment, I realized I was mistaken. I am so, so sorry for all the hardship you have endured, and I am equally amazed by your godly attitude. It is beautiful, convicting, and so honoring to God. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your journey with us.

      Reply
  23. Tara

    Lovely thoughts and post from so many mothers out there. I’m only on my first and would like to start trying for number two. I do wonder about finances though. I’d love a large family but can’t dream of asking my husband to take on full financial responsibility. We already live paycheckz to paycheck. I take comfort in prayer to our Lord, but tell me, how do you all do this! So many children, I’m jealous already.

    Reply
      1. Jennifer Mull

        It sounds reasonable… to think you can plan out being financially capable and all… but the truth is, if you are a person of faith, then when you decide to have a family, the first good lesson to learn is that you are not the provider… neither is your husband… The Lord is our Provider… and He chooses how He will provide… For years, He provided through our jobs, then, when I stopped working, He provided through my husband’s job … and then, after our 8th was born, my husband was laid off… it was two years before he had another steady job! He worked any temp job he could… but you know, we saw amazing displays of God’s provision….

        In the course of time, we have been given a house, 5 vehicles, tons of clothing, food, baby items, diapers, furniture, and more…much more… we even had people stop by our house and tell us that God told them to give us money… as in $500.00!!! My older kids have been able to go to college due to trust funds set up for them… and we recently had people give us extra Christmas gifts for our children. All of this was unexpected and could not be planned on or “budgeted.”

        In fact, my kids talk all the time about how because of that time that my husband was laid off, it is easier now to trust the Lord… they know He will provide… they can’t deny it. But, it is something you have to step into… and yes, of course, we need to steward our finances as best we can… but children are BLESSINGS not financial burdens… the burdens come in everyday life, yes, but God provides for our needs…. if we let Him… It is not an easy walk, but well worth it… we have seen amazing things…. 🙂

    1. jeanneharrison Post author

      Oops, Tara, I’m sorry–that comment sent before I was finished! I think financial readiness is so important because it demonstrates wisdom, patience, responsibility, and also respect for your husband. My hats off to you for taking your desires to God but also being willing to wait on His timing & provision–your husband is blessed to have you! Continue to trust God, not only with providing, but with knowing how many children He wants you to have. You never know how He may surprise you with His generosity.

      Reply
  24. Anonymous

    Great article. That’s why I have 6. Not everyday is peaceful, amazing and beautiful, but each day is precious. The experience of bringing people into this world who will make a mark on this world and have an existence and leave a legacy. Now that’s worth it.

    Reply
  25. Jennifer Bush l

    Thank you for sharing this…. I have 7 children, my oldest is married now and my youngest is just 14 months… each one of my children has added so much joy to my life!! I truly believe that the Lord sends us blessings through our children, biological or adopted…. when you give your love to a child you get so much more back in return

    Reply
  26. teachmetobraid

    This is stunningly beautiful and powerful and yet, oh so simple. Thank you for writing it and reminding me to not be so hurried all the time. It’s such a struggle – being patient, being gentle (with myself mostly), and being in the moment. Thanks for these sweet words that I’ll keep with me as I travel through tomorrow with my three dears.

    Reply
    1. jeanneharrison Post author

      I remember reading a post of yours, written to the mom of your child’s future spouse. Will never forget it–it was so beautiful! I recognized your web address immediately because I remember that post so well!

      Reply
  27. Karen

    I’m also a mom of 8. My first 5 were c-sections, and then, similar to you, and much to our surprise, #6 was not only our first girl, but also a vaginal birth. Now she is expecting her first in a month – our 6th grandchild. I can’t imagine life without our little crowd, and it just gets better with the grandparenting phase! My oldest is 32; youngest is 14. I know I don’t have to tell all you young moms to enjoy the ride; I did try to cherish the moments, and no matter what you do, the clock just keeps moving forward relentlessly. The memories are precious, and the present is precious as well, with 6 adult children and 2 teenagers.

    Reply
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  29. Becky JB Hammond

    This is just perfect. It’s like you were writing from inside my brain. From the panic and exhaustion of the first to the savoring and abiding (such a good word!) of the third. Thanks for writing.

    Reply

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