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Choosing The Cross

April 7, AD2016

CS_Pregnancy3_pixabay
I am expecting our seventh child. My husband and I never dreamed we would be blessed this abundantly.  Having a large family was always a dream of mine, but more along the lines of four children.  I cannot imagine having only four now.  Now, to clarify, my children are spaced apart quite nicely; they range from nineteen-and-a-half to two years old.  God bless those strong mommas out there who have seven age seven and under!  Having children spaced apart as I do has had its pros and cons, however.  Literally, at the age of thirty-seven, I have never held a full time job outside of the home. This sacrifice keeps us from big vacations, a big new home, or a nice new van. We try and save what we can, and it teaches us humility.

Pregnancy and motherhood also teaches us to be humble.  God has set His will upon me and I happily accept my vocation.  This does not mean that there is no suffering in my life.  Each of my pregnancies has brought with it debilitating morning sickness—the kind of sickness that makes people look and you and ask, “Why are you doing this to yourself…again?” Well, I would like to answer that question for those who are not familiar with suffering and sacrifice.

Why Would I Continue to Sacrifice My Health?

Simply put, because He is worth it.  God wants us to be fruitful and multiply.  He did not promise that this endeavor would be easy.  Being open to life is brave and noble.  The hardships that come with childbearing are awesome and painful.  Really, what other position in life is as rewarding as motherhood? Each time I am sick with a pregnancy, I offer up my pain for others. I pray that my suffering may help ease another person’s pain. Another way I cope with being sick is to actually thank God for my suffering.  This may sound crazy, but the gift He has bestowed upon me is worth every second of nausea. I visualize the new baby and that new baby smell.  I look forward to my other children welcoming their new sibling into the world.

Happiness is Not About Material Things

I believe I am teaching my children about the value of life.  They are excited each time a new baby comes home.  They never complain about having too many babies.  They realize that people are important, not possessions.  As they grow into adulthood, what better lesson can I teach them about life?  Striving for material things will only lead to unhappiness and emptiness.  When we are surrounded by God and family, we have the strength to persevere through hard times and challenges. We cannot turn to objects or money for emotional well-being or spiritual guidance. Only God can provide these things.

Wise Choices

Of course, I am not saying that if one has a serious, life-threatening condition that she continue to have children. Each person knows her own limits.  However, if a person is avoiding pregnancy for reasons other than health, she may need to re-evaluate her priorities.  Are you a slave to your job? Your mortgage?  Ask God for His wise counsel and you will be surprised how He responds to you.  Talk to your spouse about really being open to life in your marriage. You may find that he also feels the same as you. What a joyful revelation that would be!

Conclusion

My sickness is waning a bit now that I am approaching my fifth month.  We are adding a sweet son to our family of eight. My husband is our sole provider, and he does a wonderful job of supporting us in every way.  I am not rich monetarily, but I am in other ways.  My children are more valuable to me than anything in this world.  I enjoy being frugal and finding ways to save money.  I love driving around in our huge passenger van filled with children. Will we have more? God willing!

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Karen Reep is a Catholic wife and mother to seven children. She lives in a small town in southern Kansas. She has a degree in health science, but prefers to be a stay-at-home mom. She teaches catechism to the tenth grade girls of her local parish. In her spare time she enjoys writing, reading and running.

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  • Guy McClung

    You are such an example for me of selflessness and of God’s love. “May your tribe increase!” Thank you.