Nov
30
2010

Don't Mix Messages on Infertility

Our view of having children is not too complicated: Children are blessings. The logic follows: therefore, welcome them. A fairly common misunderstanding is how we view infertility, some grow angry with us because (they think) we condemn it. They couldn’t be more wrong.


We love children, but we don’t ever condemn those who aren’t able to conceive.

We made a comment in a blog post Judgment Hurts, but Is It Persecution? about those who do not subscribe to our convictions. Here’s exactly what we said:

“You know what would be a true downer? Living with a house empty of blessings, knowing full well that God had been calling us to something bigger, something better than the status quo.”

An anonymous poster commented on this statement. Here’s what was posted:

Imagine how a person struggling with infertility would feel if they read that statement ? Words and actions are powerful as you know. I know you are a very God fearing family, but sometimes your words do not come across that way. Your calling is perhaps a large family which God has provided you. Not everyone has to make your choice or in many cases can make your choice.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this response to our convictions. It seems to be a fairly common reaction. A relative was concerned about the challenges we make to parents in our upcoming book. “Consider those who are barren,” he said. “I’d hate for them to think they are being judged.”

Do we sound that heartless? Our mission is simple: Love children because they are blessings. We encourage couples to have children, but in our minds, that’s not anywhere close to judging those who are physically unable.

Perhaps this is the kicker: We sometime focus is on those 20-somethings who voluntarily embrace infertility, especially when they try to say they are making a wise, responsible choice. Yep, we challenge that premise head on. But don’t mix these messages. If anything, those who voluntarily embrace infertility turn the stomachs of others who are not able to have children, especially when they desperately desire so.

We challenge the status quo, but we don’t condemn those in it. Good grief, we’re just as wrapped up in the world as you are, living in the world but not of it, trying our best to decipher truth from falsity. We’re confident we’ve got this one right: Children are blessings. So therefore, view them as blessings. Consider loving another one. They will bless you beyond your wildest dreams.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado, with 14 of their 16 children. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Sarah M. in MI

    I happen to be the fertile sibling out of three. Sometimes it is challenging to share our joy when the other two have struggled so much just to have children. But we don’t apologize…we just try to comfort.

  • Jennifer

    I agree. I think that the message is that all children are blessings. For those that can’t have them or are single and without children, they can still view them as blessings. Treating nieces and nephews, cousins, siblings, neighbors as blessings too. We are all called to different things. Some are called to be parents by conceiving themselves, some by adoption and some by doing other work in the kingdom.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

    Dittos Sarah and Jennifer! Your words are right on, comforting. We’re considering another post that shows all the ways to love another child, not just giving birth.

  • http://mommysblessings.blogspot.com Holly

    We get that all the time. We have 6 children, ages 8 and under, and we are always telling people “Children are a blessing, and to have a big family is what we should all be called to do.” That doesn’t mean we are being judgemental of people who struggle with infertility. We are not including them in what we say. But it’s the REFUSING children that we do condemn.
    Our friends have 1 child and have been praying to conceive again for the past 6 years, with no avail expect for a misscarriage in that time. She always gets sad about us being a full quiver, and her not. But I tell her, they ARE full quiver, because their mindset is accepting whatever children God gives or does not give. They are not typical America who says “Two’s enough!”

  • Kate

    I am pregnant with our 5 child; our first two are adopted through foster care and the rest are biological. I am so grateful that we’re fertile- my mom and sister joke that I can get pregnant by passing my husband in the hall :). I try very hard to not take it for granted. However, I was born with a breast deformity and have been unable to nurse. I grew up dreaming about being pregnant and nursing- all I ever wanted to be was a mommy. I tried everything I could- pumping, herbs, medicines, etc, to no avail. I write this to say that I understand people who can’t have children feeling hurt when people who can choose not to. Though I try hard not to judge, I look at moms who have bodies that are perfectly God-designed to nurse, and my heart literally squeezes in my chest because I can’t. My heart cries out, “God why give them breast that work when they don’t choose to nurse, and give me breasts that are ‘broken’ and I so long to nurse?” Anyhow, I just wanted to share that. I don’t think people who speak of children as being blessings ever intend to make people who are barren feel bad, just as I don’t believe that people who nurse intend for people like me to feel bad. It’s just a pain that we have to look to God to heal.

  • Shelly

    As someone who has struggled with (secondary) infertility I can tell you I don’t feel judged by you at all. If infertility has taught me anything it is exactly what you are saying… children are blessings!! Actually, I honestly believe God used infertility to change the way my husband and I feel about children.

    I think fertile people who read what you are saying and wonder about how infertile people will feel are missing the point, probably because it hits a little to close to home. Your message is obviously not aimed at those who, for medical reasons, cannot have children but for those who CAN but choose not to for whatever reason (money, convenience, etc).

    I am thankful for each of our six children and would love to have more! Since we are leaving God in control of this area we can be absolutely certain that it is not His will for us to have another at this time. But if (or when) another child comes will be thrilled!

    • http://www.infaithandpurity.blogspot.com Valerie

      I absolutely have to agree with you Shelly. I have two children but then became infertile. I took my fertility for granted made a decision in fear after my second was born. WE decided to get a vasectomy. Years later God would change our hearts and we would get it reversed. It was all such a blessing to watch God change our hearts and convictions and prepare the way for the reversal. Unfortunately it was too late. The PCOS (which I was yet to be diagnosed with) was now in full swing and had rendered me infertile. Now, years later, I still hope and pray all the time that God would open my womb. I have repented DEEPLY of our sin, and know that had we not done it, even with the PCOS I could have maybe had a few more before it ravaged my body. I personally PRAISE GOD every time I see a family shouting “Children are blessings!! have more!”.

  • Ann

    I have a friend who could not breastfeed full time. She had to have a surgery on her breast when younger and the surgeon cut all the milk ducts. :( She even was a La Leche League leader! What she did was, she used the breastfeeding supplementer. She put the formula in a bottle around her neck, and a tube ran to her breast. She taped the tube to her breast and the baby nursed at the breast and the milk went into the baby as it nursed. It might be an option to look into. It gave the closeness of breastfeeding and kinda tricked her body into thinking she was nursing. I am not sure if it held back her period as regular nursing does, but it is something think about! God Bless!

  • Amy Pederson

    I think so many people miss the mark when they talk about being quiver full. The whole goal behind embracing children and seeing them as a blessing is just that, a belief and a conviction. It is up to God to fill the quiver with as many children as He wants to bless us with. If you embrace every child God gives you and you end up with 3 or 4, then your quiver is full. If you have more (perhaps 11 like us) then your quiver is full. Small families that are that way because of God’s hand are just as blessed as large families. The number of kids you have doesn’t make you more spiritual. I see far too many parents that carry it around like a badge. I also see far too many small families feeling like they aren’t holy enough because they don’t have more children. We are called to walk a life of faith, and God works out the rest.

    My struggle is with those who try to cut off their fertility or supress the conception of children. I can’t wait to read your book.

    Kate, I know the struggle you are going through. I dealt with similar things with my last pregnancy. May God be a comfort to you.

  • Angela

    I can see how any form of verbiage on the subject is liable to rub some people the wrong way. I would think the context in which someone receives it can add to the assumptions of what are said. You know, sometimes it’s harder to hear it from a strong Christian mom who seems to “have it all:” faith, love, hope, fertility, I’m guessing you probably have few, if any, major struggles with the childbearing season, your family looks orderly, your husband sounds enviable, you obviously have enough order and time on your hands to write books, and I could guess you’re probably a size 14 or less. Let me guess- you’re a successful homeschooler and you cook from scratch, right? (I’m not too familiar with your family) So, here’s a pretty woman who seems to have it all speaking to women who don’t (or CAN’T) even come close, even if they wanted to. Making conviction-filled statements like your’s and that of other commenters can really poke at others’ insecurities, pain, loss, and confusion. I know what you’re trying to say. I’m just trying to help you understand a bigger perspective. I’m not infertile. I have six healthy children in seven years. But my life crumbles majorly with childbearing related depression every time, no matter my lifestyle choices vans when I allow blessings to come into my life only to turn around and abuse them with my words and attitudes, I’m thinking I cannot, WILL NOT, feel pressured into having more babies because Supermom Jeub can. You know what I mean? I reject your accusations that healthy couples are in the wrong for not receiving as many babies as the Lord gives. Maybe when God decides to take care of my mind and bring healing in my emotions and hurts (and a husband who’s actually home and not at work all day) I might allow God access to my womb again. This issue just isn’t cut and dry like you make it out to be.

  • Amy Pederson

    I should clarify a point that I was trying to make. Faith without works is dead, so I didn’t mean to make it sound that all we have to do is believe. I wanted to make the point that its not a race to see who can have the most children and that those with more are somehow winning. God blesses us with children as He sees fit. Our part is to have the faith, belief and conviction that children are a blessing, work that out by not doing anything to try and prevent the babies, and God does the rest. I never thought I would have 11 children, but I can’t imagine life without them. Each one is precious. I hope this clarifies my point.

    For the record, Jeubs, I have never read anything you have written that made it sound like you were arrogant about your children. You have a beautiful view of children and I love reading your posts as they encourage and remind me how to love. My post was more geared toward the smaller families, and those large families that do boast in their fertility. To God be the glory, now and forever.

  • http://www.everydaychristian.com/ Amy Wingfield

    Hello Chris & Wendy,
    You’ve both heard my story now, after two miscarriages this past year and now facing secondary infertility, I’m trying to come to terms with it that God may only have 4 planned for me and that’s ok, although I would welcome more, He may have other plans. I don’t judge those who are infertile, I feel sad for those I’ve met since Aug 2009, some have longed for children 20 years plus. I don’t understand why they don’t seek other options like foster to adopt, I understand wanting your own children by giving birth, but perhaps God has other plans for you to welcome children in your home by other means??
    A childless couple does seem so lonely. I know one lady who cannot have children. They have not adopted yet. I don’t know if they will, but I am in awe at how she sings and praises God despite her infertility. She’s an amazing woman. “Rejoice in the Lord always!”
    I do feel sad for our generation and those younger who have decided not to have any children. It’s a lot of work, time and money, but the blessing is worth all that and more. I’m often very tired and worn out (perhaps the hormones) but I’d welcome more in a heartbeat. Pray for all of us that desire children. Pray for all of us who do not wish for infertility. May God’s will be done.

  • http://homemakersguidetothegalaxy.blogspot.com Shana

    I always wonder how to deal with my infertile friends and family too. We are working on our 7th baby, and I have many friends who have either struggled for years to just have one child, or have not even been able to have any children. I struggle with how to tell them gently. I know some people, even through their infertility, still consider us very blessed, but others can get jealous as well. Plus I hate to hurt their feelings by being “super-fertile” while they struggle so much.

  • Ninabi

    Not all couples who are childless are selfish. I am thinking of my husband’s aunt and uncle- warm, loving people who have opened their home and their hearts to countless relatives. They love their nieces and nephews (and grand nieces as nephews) like grandparents. We love these people so much.

    My husband’s aunt was a social worker for decades. There are a lot of people in this world who do not love their children and the stories of abuse she told me were chilling. Her love extended to those children as well- finding them a safe place to live (relatives were her best, first choice), clean clothes, toys, counseling. She even bought passes to museums, science centers, the zoo and would often take children there for an hour or so instead of directly heading towards foster care. She also knew that good foster care was not about perfectly clean houses but about how much love was inside.

    Good families can come in all sizes!

  • Lisa

    Children are a blessing!!!! You are so right about that. We have only been blessed with one and I have often said to our friends who have large families if we trust God with our family size can that also mean that we might only have one and some people have none. I do not know why that desire in some is not fulfilled but knowing that our daughter is truly a gift from God and if we do not have any more that doesn’t change the blessing she is. It is kind of humbling to think about how God is in control and it is truley remarkable the miracle of even getting pregnant. We were all created for a purpose and it isn’t a one size fits all. Thanks for taking your time and posting all that you do on your blog.

  • http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/cappuccinosmom Margaret

    Amy, I’m in the same spot. Dh and I joked about how awesome it would be to have 15 (much to the horror of our family and friends).

    But we have three, and lost two to miscarriage last year, and I no longer take my fertility for granted. This last couple of years really set me back on my heels and reminded me that I don’t believe “more is best!” but that “GOD KNOWS BEST”. We welcome children because they are a blessing, but as with any other blessing in life, sometimes God has other plans, and sometimes we just suffer the effects of living in a fallen world.

    That said, Chris and Wendy, I’ve never percieved any of your writing as judgement against infertile couple. And it is all about perception, IMO. If anything, the example you gave in this post is *clearly* not condemnation of those who cannot have a houseful of kids. And if someone was not already hurt and vulnerable, they would agree with you–it *is* sad not to be able to have children, and they *are* sad about it.

    It is important to be careful of our words, and to avoid causing offense whenever we can. On the other side though, when we are hurting or feeling “left out”, it is incumbent on us not to seek offense when clearly none is offended, or to wallow in anger and jealousy over those who have what we are lacking. Or perceptions of accusations when none were made.

  • Abby

    I suppose sometimes it’s easy to judge both ways. Those with only one or two children may well be open for another but for some reason it doesn’t happen, yet many would then see them as settling for the status quo or putting other things first. It is difficult.

    My own conviction does’t really fall in line with quiverfull. My first was conceived whilst using contraception. We felt we weren’t “there” yet and God clearly thought “oh yes you are”. The second 2, were conceived I guess by “trying”. We then thought that was ok – 2 boys and a girl, great. But I then conceived twins couple years later again whilst taking procautions. I personally believe God will break down your barriers that you put in place to give you your children (Im not speaking here on infertility). I don’t believe there are the souls of people which never get to Earth because people are not having children. Miscarried and aborted babies are with our God in Heaven, that is of great sadness. No child is an accident. I feel blessed to have never really received judgement about my family size – is 5 maybe more average? I suppose maybe on the verge of large-I don’t know! :) We are a fairly liberal family and very open to other beliefs, convictions and ways of life. I have to admit, a couple of posts initially got me worked up on this blog, but as I looked into it more I understood what you meant more and I knocked myself straight.

    I feel very blessed with what I have but I have never got caught up in a number, because I would feel like a failure. Take joy in each one and the nextwill be a bonus, not a necessity.

  • tereza

    It’s like apologizing for being wealthy. Or apologizing for being healthy. Those 2 things are God’s desires for us, as it is for us to be fruitful and multiply.

    I like to say it like this: If children were money who would be saying voluntarily that they did not want any. Being wealthy, being able to bless others out of the abundance God has given you is a good and a God thing. So we don’t condemn the poor, we help the poor, we pray for the poor and believe and hope that they might come into what we have. We do the same for the sick and the infertile. We do not condemn them.

    Now, it’s crazy to think that some people want to be poor. I am not talking about having less things, being detached from material things. I am talking about having a need and not being able to see it met. I am talking about going hungry and not be fasting. I am talking about being cold because you don’t have a jacket or means to get one. No one in their right mind wants to be that kind of poor.

    So, why is it that some purposefully seek infertility? I think they do NOT understand, they have NOT come to the full revelation that children are an inheritance from the Lord. Children are blessings.

    Who in their right mind would turn down a million dollar gift?

  • Abby

    I must read my posts back – that last sentence probably sounded terrible to some! what I mean is many can take accepting all children as blessings to mean we must have loads, but may then loose focus on those we are already blessed with. I never say “only” 5 or “a big family of 5″ because, well, theres not set number :)

  • http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/cappuccinosmom Margaret

    Also, this “you have it so good, how dare you speak to this subject” is in itself a judgement.

    Nobody knows the trials and thorns that another family is going through. Maybe things are running smoothly now, but who’s to say that they simply don’t want to dredge up and wallow in past hurts and pains? Who’s to say they aren’t struggling with something right now and not ready to speak on it until they’ve wrestled with God for a while? And even when these things are mentioned, nobody knows the depths of pain and struggle they go through.

    Unless someone outright says “Look at me, I’m the perfect mother”, nobody has a right to use their perceptions of that woman’s life and project onto her arrogance or ignorance. I’m sorry, but you just have no clue about the heart-state of anyone but yourself.

    That has been tossed at me more than a few times. I get “Three boys, you’re obviously a better person than me” or “You’re so calm all the time, I don’t know how you do it” and “How do you *manage* all that”. The answer is, it’s not me, it’s the grace of God. And what you see in the few minutes you’re around me, or in my blog, or when I’m shopping with my kids is not the whole of us. If you assumed I thought I was the best mom, and looked down my nose at others, and hated me for it, you’d be dead wrong. What you can’t see is my baseline emotion of “I’m not good enough”, my frayed-around-the edges OCD/anxiety-ridden mind, my deep, deep hurt from miscarriages, the heart-scars from when our early years of marriage didn’t go so well. I have tried to protest these assumptions and tried being “honest” (euphamism for venting), and the misperception continues, because it’s a handy way to be judgemental and feel good about it.

  • JAC

    My wife and I are one of those couples who spent our first few years of marriage delaying the blessing of children. We both regret it now, but God blessed us with a beautiful baby girl born last year, and we pray for more if God sees fit. (I sometimes wonder if the size of the “quiver” handed out by God is in any way related to the spiritual strength or maturity of the recipients. It seems that often the larger quivers are handed out to those who are strong spiritual “warriors.” We don’t really know, or know of, any large families who are ungodly.) We were challenged in our former way of thinking by a pastor’s wife who had suffered multiple miscarriages, and by the book START YOUR FAMILY by Steve & Candice Watters. Likewise, books by the Jeubs, the Duggars, and Mary Pride have influenced us to embrace the blessing of children while we are physically able. But most of all, God’s leading and the sweet spirit of our first precious little girl have helped us see that we would be wrong to squander our ability to have and raise godly children, when others would love to be parents but are unable.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

    Abby, you’re our favorite poster! We’re going to take this quote and tattoo it to the inside of our eyelids: “I have to admit, a couple of posts initially got me worked up on this blog, but as I looked into it more I understood what you meant more and I knocked myself straight.”

    This discussion is absolutely fantastic. Keep it coming…even if you disagree with us (we appreciate you, too, Angela!).

  • http://godmadehomegrown.blogspot.com Tiana

    Thank Chris and Wendy,

    My husband and I have been on all three sides of this. When we were first married, we decided to “wait” to have children because everyone around us said that this was the responsible thing to do. Then, when we (in our wisdom, LOL), decided that the time was “right”, we experienced infertility.

    I don’t think most young couples ever imagine that they might not be able to have a baby after having used contraceptives. The “safe sex” crowd leads young people to believe that getting pregnant is very easy–sometimes, it isn’t.

    I am so blessed to say that the LORD has been gracious to us far beyond what we deserve, and has now given us four little blessings–the youngest born just over a week ago. We are not in the greatest financial situation, and there are folks who can’t understand why we would have “so many kids”…but we cannot, after having cried out to God to please give us a child, all of a sudden decide that the blessing is, once again, a curse. It just doesn’t make sense.

    Blessings to you!

  • Sara

    I do not feel judged either by what you say. We have 3 WONDERFUL boys, 7, 5 and almost 2. We have lost 2 babies this year. One at 4 mos and one right away. Well, I didn’t miscarry till 10 weeks but knew from the start I would…blighted ovum. It has been 4.5 weeks and am still lightly bleeding and spotting. This year has just been such a BLOW in our lives. Conceiving has always been easy. All 5 children were conceived the first effort, or month of trying. The first 3 babies and pregnancies were so simple, (besides the 3 mos of early nausea of course :) I just never thought after 3 healthy pregnancies and babies “infertility” would be our issue..if that is waht you call back to back miscarriages. After a panel of tests, doctors can give me nothing except “normal” But I know in my heart that back to back losses are not normal. BUT, I do know, it is God’s will. He doesn’t to see us hurt the way we have this year, but I know this is all to His glory. IT has made me appreciate the 3 blessings I have here now so much more. It makes me more aware when I talk to others who struggle with infertility, more caring and sympathetic and aware. I squirm in my skin when I hear others talk about their husbands getting “snipped” or how getting pregnant is just “all them” and their choice and they will plan how and when even sometimes, “girl or boy.” I know you have lost babies too Chris and Wendy> it gives me hope when i heard of others who have been in our situation and went on to conceive. BUt for now, that is not God’s will for us as of this time. So, we continue to pray and trust. Thank you for all your do Jeub’s! :) I miss talking to Wendy on Facebook. I deleted my account a few months ago for the very reason of taking more time for children and less time with everyone else’s lives and gossip. BUt she sure was a true blessing to talk to during our first loss. Hope all is going well with your pregnancy!!

  • Jolene

    Once again you hit the nail on the head. As someone who struggled with “infertility” we become very very sensitive to what we think are injustices regarding something we feel quite a bit of pain over. God dealt with me and showed me how I was wrong in always seeming to look for those injustices and point it out to everyone.

    Praise God though my “infertility” turned out to be a clotting disorder and I have my 9 month old miracle playing at my feet right now….plus we adopted 2 beautiful blessings so we’re at 4 now and praying for more!

  • Sara

    Jolene, did they just do the blood panel to find that in you? I had those tests done and apparently blood clotting was not an issue for me…but you always wonder, “would low dose aspirin help?” Apparently all the tests I had came back “normal.” :)

  • LE

    There is just so much pressure from many (including Christian, Bible believing and God honoring family and friends) not to have “too many” children. I have 4 and many think we should be done now. “2 girls, 2 boys – perfect, right? Be happy and be done.”
    Wow! What does one do with this thought from MANY? Many who say – “God gave us a brain, too!” In their minds I’m supposed to use my brain to say – “Oh! We must be maxed out because we have 4 kids. And that because we get frustrated, tired and sometimes sin toward our children – we should probably stop having more children now so that we don’t “ruin” them all completely. And besides- you have FOUR!”
    What do we say to godly grandparents who love the LORD and yet say – “You have health issues – you should not have more babies – it will be hard on you and your family”???
    What about “Honor your father and mother.” I know my husband and I answer to the good LORD alone. That yes, God wants us to honor our fathers and our mothers but that we are to do His will alone. But- these are friends,family and grandparents who are GOD FEARING, who pray daily and LOVE the LORD who are making comments about using our brains that God gave us and don’t have too many children. “You can’t afford it….you’ll put stress on your marriage”…
    How do we lovingly tell them – “Well we’re listening to the scriptures and God’s voice alone”?
    And how can I say this to them – when I’m not sure myself? I think about Michelle Duggar (I’m so proud of her and how they are honoring the LORD in so many ways in the public eye) what about her health? What if next time she has to give her life for her unborn baby?
    God is in control – I know this so I will pray through this more – controversy can always draw us closer to our LORD if we allow it to.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

    One post at a time, LE! =) Be sure to subscribe to this site, because we answer many of these questions from time to time.

    Actually, a lot of these questions are answered in our new book. So, quick answer: buy everyone who comes at you Love Another Child. =D

  • Lisa E.

    My husband and I struggle with infertility. We have 3 beautiful angels that we miscarried. After our last miscarriage in 07 we became foster parents. We are in the process of adopting #4 and 5. It does make me sad that someone else can decide I have “too many” children, but God can do all things. We are believing that He will restore my body. All that being said, I have never felt judged by you or anyone else who is quiverfull because of my infertility.

  • Monica

    For 7 years my husband and I struggled with infertility, finally we went the IVF route and have been blessed with 5 girls – twin 4 1/2 yos, 2 1/2 yo, and twin 4 1/2 month olds. Our last pregnancy was the last of our embryos. I have never taken your words as hurtful, your message is that children are blessings and we should welcome those blessings. I think some confuse hurtful with convicting.
    We are thrilled and content with our family and would love to Love Another Child if God blesses us in that way. (I love miracles) The one thing I have learned through this journey is that it is not my job to keep God’s blessings from myself (choosing not to have children) nor is it my job to manipulate the will of God (via IVF). God is in control of EVERYTHING and yes He did allow us to conceive through IVF but I always wonder what better things he had in store for us if we had left everything up to him.

  • Tammie

    Love this post, and we agree 100 %.

    We hope to have baby #7 in the next year and dont care too much what others think anymore.

  • Sarah M. in MI

    JAC said “(I sometimes wonder if the size of the “quiver” handed out by God is in any way related to the spiritual strength or maturity of the recipients. It seems that often the larger quivers are handed out to those who are strong spiritual “warriors.” We don’t really know, or know of, any large families who are ungodly.)”

    Like many things, spiritual strength has to be learned, gained, excercised. Much like the people who say to me “Wow, you must be a paitent person to deal with so many kids.” Well…how does a person become patient? By practicing PATIENCE. We’re aren’t born spiritually strong or patient or any other such thing…we become that way by effort, by practice. Taking every thought captive. Being patient with one child, then two, then three…
    So, probably these spiritually strong people you know with big families got that way by obeying God and allowing Him to lead them, NOT because they were holier to begin with. And I definately know people who allowed God to plan their family that only have 1 or a few kids that are spiritually strong.
    Just a thought, lest anyone say “God isn’t blessing me because He doesn’t think I’m spiritual enough.” [Or lest anyone think I'M more spiritual because I have 8 kids...I'd hate to be the example people follow....]

  • LE

    Thank you Sarah M.
    Your words bless me. It’s so true… we learn so much of Christ’s character, love and plan for us through shepherding our little ones.
    God bless you.
    -LE

  • Abby

    Please don’t tattoo that too your eyelids, it would be very painful :) and if you do be sure to put the pictures up :D

    All in good humor my friend

    I personally don’t believe the number of children you have is based on how Holy you are at the start of it all, but it is certainly a valid opinion. Maybe I’m only saying that because I see teenagers falling pregnant out of wedlock and my sons friends athiest family with 6 children :) I do love how my son (age 11 – called Noah, good name choice) has asked to take this friend to Sunday School.

    Monica, I believe that even though you had to go via IVF, those children are still Gods plan and if they weren’t meant to be hear then the IVF would have failed. thats just my view, I don’t believe you’ve taken control away from God. I don’t think fertility treatments have a very high success rate…..that could be wrong…..but it worked and thats saying something. My dear friend went through IVF successfully and then conceived naturally before starting treatment for a second-maybe it’s just a journey that God wanted you to go through for some reason….who knows. Please don’t take anything ive said offensively, I think you’ve been blessed! :)

  • Bea

    I do think you do come off sometimes as ‘high and mighty’ or ‘this is the right way and everything else is less’ not only on this subject but others as well. Having children is such a personal thing and while we both agree that children are a blessing there are a lot of people out there with children who don’t believe it. While I don’t agree with a lot the Duggars say/do they almost always say that they feel called to have as many children as God wants but that they aren’t trying to force it on others. I get the vibe that you do want to force it on others. The thing is while both of our families immensely enjoy our children a lot of people don’t enjoy their children. Yes they love their children but they don’t enjoy them. I feel sorry for them but God made each of us unique and some people just don’t get joy out of parenthood or are meant to go down that road (their choice). People who enjoy children and feel their lives are richer with them should have as many as they feel called to whether it is 16, 8 or 2. While I love and enjoy my children I do applade people who decide not to have children because much of society looks down at them. A neighbor and her husband don’t want children and she told me that their life felt complete and they didn’t think they were missing out on anything. While I disagree, my husband and I always knew that our lives would feel incomplete without children, its not my place to change my neighbors mind. In time they may change their mind and they might or might not be successful but no one is guarenteed a tomorrow and if they are o.k. never being parents then so be it.

    I agree with Abby and I think seeing/being exposed to different points of view is healthy and something I want to model for my kids!

  • http://medicationoptional.blogspot.com/ Melissa McKimmey

    I have one daughter and I can’t imagine having a more perfect child. :) However, my husband I are very content with just one. I consider myself to be quietly religious and if I pray for something (guidance), it’s a big deal, because I try not to bug God with the little stuff. I asked about this. I prayed, or meditated, whatever you call it and I truly believe, that one child is the right decision for us. I love kids (and they like me…a lot) but I just doesn’t feel right for us. Even people with one kid may have gone through the same wrenching process to feel secure in their decision to stop having children. (And there is pressure, grandparents always want more grandbabies!)

    I like hearing about large families and I think it’s wonderful that people enjoy having many children. I find it to be a good example for my parenting self.

  • Amber Smith

    I’m a young, married Christian 20-something who doesn’t want kids. and I have a problem with you judging those who voluntarily choose to NOT have kids (“We sometime focus is on those 20-somethings who voluntarily embrace infertility, especially when they try to say they are making a wise, responsible choice. Yep, we challenge that premise head on. But don’t mix these messages. If anything, those who voluntarily embrace infertility turn the stomachs of others who are not able to have children, especially when they desperately desire so.”). Sometimes God DOES call couples to not have kids so that they can focus on ministry. That’s my personal choice, and no one else’s business. I’m not trying to slap infertile couples in the face with my choice; they shouldn’t judge me for that decision either. I have a few friends who are infertile and it breaks my heart for them. I pray for those couples, some of whom are VERY dear friends, to be able to conceive if it’s God’s will or for them to have the door to adoption open up. As for my husband and I, having kids just isn’t something we desire to do. He’s a youth pastor, I’m studying to be a marriage and family therapist. We both desire to someday do foster care, open up a homeless shelter, and possibly run an orphanage either here in the US or abroad. Do I believe children are a blessing? ABSOLUTELY. Do I feel like my life will be full without having my own children? ABSOLUTELY! We have full peace about our decision to not have children and are confident that that is God’s plan for us. I think the greater issue is when people feel like their lives are utterly empty without having children, and that’s a problem. It’s an issue because it means that they are not embracing what God does have for them, which may not include children. So before your family, or any other, dare judge me for choosing to not have kids, maybe you should consider that God has something different for everyone, and for me, that includes not having kids.

  • http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/cappuccinosmom Margaret

    Sometimes God DOES call couples to not have kids so that they can focus on ministry.

    *****************

    Not Biblically, he doesn’t.

    Paul urges those who want to be wholly focused on ministry to stay single and celibate. But there is no Biblical basis for saying that married Christian couples should not have children for ministry’s sake. If you want to be “unencumbered” by family the Biblical situation for that is singleness.

    God does have something different for everyone. You may have noticed that a number of people who agree with the Jeubs have very few children, or none at all. We all acknowledge that there is no “perfect” family size, and that how many children we have, and how we get them, and at what point in our life will vary from couple to couple.

    The difference is in the belief about *who* decides and effects God’s will for our family size–us, or Him.

  • Amber Smith

    My point is that I’m not sinning because I feel God is leading us to not have children. If there is a verse that specifically says every couple who can have kids, must have kids, then I’d concede that I’m wrong. But just because children are a blessing does not equate to God demanding I have children.

  • Amber Smith

    Furthermore, I also strongly believe that God has made that decision for us, based on the peace we have about our choice. If God decides we should have kids, fine…but we are not actively seeking to have that as part of our lives. He is clearly leading me towards a career and pursuing a Ph.D., not towards starting a family. If you doubt that He can choose to lead us to that, you may take that up with Him.

    It is also grossly taking those verses out of context to apply Paul’s chapter on singleness to having children! I did not say I wanted to be unencumbered by family. I wouldn’t have gotten married if that were the case! Furthermore, a little background investigation reveals that even the married Apostles probably did not have children. Are you saying they were in sin for not having children?? I know several amazing older Christian couples who also chose not to have kids for the sake of ministry, and God has immensely blessed them. I therefore have no reservations about this decision, because I see no biblical reason saying it is not ok for me to not have kids by choice.

  • Abby

    From my own beliefs and general life happenings, if Amber is meant to have children, she will. That’s just my view, because I have seen God break our physical barriers. If she feels God is saying she needs to focus elsewhere, in this case on helping existing children in need, then that is just as good. If we feel so strongly in our own convictions, we cannot put down others for their convictions when we share a faith. God speaks to all of us.

    I feel strong about my convictions and how my family lives and therefore I can accept that everyone has a different calling. Amber your ministry sounds wonderful and I hope you achieve what you are called to do :) We need to open our minds and realize Gods purpose for all of us is different. Things will rub us up the wrong way, but look a little deeper and you can understand points of view. It doesn’t mean we must change our own minds. :)

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

    We love this exchange, even from those who disagree! If you are curious how much we “allow” on our comments, read today’s post: Why November Was Our Best Month Ever.

    Amber (and others), thank you so much for posting your heartened disagreements. We’re working on some posts that will answer some of the issues you raise.

  • Amber Smith

    Thanks for your words of encouragement Abby, Chris and Wendy. I re-read my posts and realize that it sounds like I’m totally closed to having kids; I’m not, it’s just not what God has for us right now as we are clearly called to focus on our ministry and aren’t seeing that change anytime soon!

    BTW, just because I don’t ascribe to the Quiver Full view for myself does not mean I think it’s wrong. I think it is wonderful that God has blessed some families with the ability to follow that path!

  • Peggy

    I have not read all of the comments as there are so many, so this may have been said in one form or another, but I was told I would struggle with infertility due to PCOS. (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) I found this out with my ex. For two years we tried and tried and could never get pregnant. The relationship soured and I realized that all along he was never the man I intended to spend the rest of my life with. After this relationship ended, I lost 100 lbs through diet and exercise and felt wonderful about myself! Then, I met the right man for me and from the beginning we knew we wanted to let God decide how many children we wanted (the more the merrier) and the very first month we tried to get pregnant it happened! Such a miracle!! I am due in two weeks with our sweet little girl. I know I may struggle with losing the weight again and getting pregnant again, but I know if God decides this is the only child we will have naturally, our hearts are calling us to be foster parents. Whether the children are our own or someone else’s, they need to be loved.

    No, I do not take offense with that statement at all. I did not even think of it in terms of infertile couples. I think the person that found this offensive forgot to read the second part of the statement. The first part “You know what would be a true downer? Living with a house empty of blessings” may sting, but that is not what you were saying. “…knowing full well that God had been calling us to something bigger, something better than the status quo.” I feel God calling us to have many children, and if I feel like our family is not complete and I cannot bear any more myself, I just know He would want us to open our hearts and home to those children that are already in this world and need to be loved.

    So no, you do not sound heartless at all. You sound like an amazing family that has listened to God’s calling.

  • http://www.tishadeutsch.blogspot.com Tisha

    I love the Jeub family. You have been a major inspiration to me. I believe your family is a ministry and the work you do of encourging people to count their children blessings and to be open to welcoming more is refreshing, counter cultural, and much needed.

    I agree with Amber – some couples are called by God into a ministry that does not permit time, finances, or energy for many, if any, children. There are people, (even married people, not just singles) doing AMAZING, priceless, intense work on the front lines for God here in the US and overseas that they absolutely could not do if they were welcoming children every year or 2.

    Other couples are dealing daily with the emotional, mental, physical, financial effects of having children with extreme special needs – and it limits their ability to continue reproducing while maintaining a strong marriage/family life and meeting the unique needs of their little ones.

    JAC – How could implying that a larger “quiver” is some form of spiritual reward for greater maturity NOT insult or be hurtful to the infertile?
    Many, many people who have in no way whatsoever submitted their lives to the God’s call for them freely procreate as well. What are the statistics for single mothers with many children from multiple fathers who choose not to restrict child bearing and as a result are the recipients of wellfare? I’m not saying those children should not have been born. I am only pointing out that there are indeed very large families who are not “strong spiritual warriors.”

    Sincerely,
    Tisha, Mother to 7 – 5 biological, 2 adopted, and praying to receive more, if the Lord wills.

  • http://www.tishadeutsch.blogspot.com Tisha

    Sorry – meant to say welfare.

  • Pingback: “God Doesn’t Want Us to Have Children!” | Jeub Family

  • Dawn P

    If God calls a couple to a ministry in which children are not possible, then He will not give them children, even if they do not “prevent” conception. Life comes from God, and without God’s touch, all the biology in the world will not produce a child.

  • Brooke

    I don’t get the feeling that you are judging couples at all…..I believe you are simply stating that you all LOVE children. My husband and I have 3 children ( 2 here with us, one with Jesus )….we STRUGGLE to conceive children. We do NOT use bc and just simply do not conceive easily. We are at the one year mark to have our 4th pregnancy and it’s VERY HARD. We have always had the desire for a large family but for some reason ( right now ) we only have 2 blessings. We are actually seeking infertility advice and looking towards adoption….we are praying God blesses us both ways so we can have “twins”. I am thankful that God has blessed your family ( admit that I wish I was so fertile also but am thankful God has blessed your womb )and I feel that you guys simply state that children ARE a blessing. Sometimes when someone is on the dark, hard road of infertility their emotions get the best of them….maybe that’s all some of the responses from your article were….comments out of shear hurt. Anywho, you are richly blessed !!!!

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

      Adoption is an absolutely beautiful way to “love another child.” It’s not 2nd place at all…very much a blessing just like natural birth. Adoptive parents know this to be true…you’re in for a wonderful journey!

  • Gina

    I was very blessed to conceive my little girl right away. However, my mom struggled with infertility. She never had trouble conceiving, only carrying babies. She suffered a miscarriage and a baby who only survived 3 hrs due to extreme prematurity. My parents were blessed with me and my sister, as well.

    I, myself, was born 3 months pre-mature. The fact that I am here today is a miracle. Every child is a miracle, whether you have 2 or 22. I don’t take offense at the Jeub’s comment – the are simply asking us to cherish one of life’s most precious gifts.

  • Tracee

    I enjoy your blog and have purchased some of your products. This topic doesn’t change my view of you or your family but I wanted to add my thoughts.

    I have been thinking about how to reply to this topic since I read it about a week ago. I have suffered through 11 years of secondary infertility. I have a biological child and two adopted. I don’t feel like your post is judgemental. However, it can come across as hurtful. Perhaps not your post directly but many of the comments. You are right, children are a huge blessing. Suggesting that those who desire children of their own to focus on nieces and nephews and family that have children is hurtful. Imagine you didn’t get to have any children and were told you should just see those around you as a blessing. I think the point is that as infertile people we DO see children as a blessing and that is why its so hard that we don’t have more (or any in others cases). Knowing that children are a blessing does not do anything to dissolve the pain of infertility.

    The other issue I had is the attitude of the more spiritual the family the larger the quiverful. Does this only pertain to Christian families because the biological mother of my youngest is a drug addict and has had 7 children and cared for none of them. I know I will always have room for growth in my walk with the Lord and try not to judge myself better than another yet I’ve only given birth to one. I really think this was the most hurtful thing I’ve read on infertility. That somehow I’m not in right with God so I don’t get the large family my heart so desires.

    Praise God I know better than to subscribe to this line of thinking. I would never wish the pain of infertility on anyone, however I think a lot of attitudes would change by walking a day in our shoes. I’m sure you, Jeub family, can relate to that.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

      VERY well said, Tracee, and thank you for pulling your thoughts together for everyone in this thread. These are issues of the heart, so tender to those of us who walk through them, but there are rich lessons in them. ALL children are blessings (what we continue to shout from the roof tops), and we especially encourage those who desire more children to throw off the world’s suggestions that they’re desire is unfounded. Sorry to come across crass, but, again, thank you for pointing it out.

  • Jana Unruh

    I’ve read all the comments on this article I am a follower of large families like the Duggars and the Bates (follower as in I observe them. I am not sure how I feel about the Quiverful Movement) I am amazed how the focus is always on the parents of these megafamilies. What about the children in these families? Before I go into that some background on me. I was the middle child of three girls. I have a true “middle child syndrome”. My husband was the oldest of three but he was the only boy in a family with outgoing sisters. We both know the pain of feeling left out. We are both naturally shy. Both sets of our parents are loving Christians and wonderful parents still somehow we always got lost in the shuffle. Even to this day I see the pain in my husband when he feels left out in his own family. My point in all of this is I cannot imagine how at least one kid in these huge families doesn’t struggle with feeling unimportant or like just a number. There has to be times when one or more get lost in the shuffle. I am sure these parents are well intentioned but there are just so many hours in a day. For some kids feeling love means getting quality time and lots of it. I get where the quiverful movement believes God knows best, but is it really wise to just add and add to a family without thinking about how it could affect the child or children you already have? I have a beautiful two year old son. I spent so much time thinking about the next baby and trying for the next baby since he has been born that I haven’t appreciated him very much. We finally got pregnant with baby number two but had a miscarriage at seven weeks. Now more than ever my son is so precious to me. He gets all my time all my attention he knows he is loved and adored by his parents. We still want to give him a sibling but feel like just two kids would be perfect for our family. I know children are a blessing from God. It’s not the number of blessings you have that make you more blessed it’s what you do with the ones you ALREADY have. God has given us common sense. Common sense says if you have sex during ovulation it might result in pregnancy. Common sense says if you feel like you can’t handle any more children or the children you have wouldn’t benefit from less attention from already stretched thin parents don’t have any more. No one should feel guilty for taking birth control if their conscience is clear before God. Everyones convictions are different we should not judge one another. Even the poster who believes that God wants them to remain childless. Who can say that’s not right. God is bigger than the box we put Him in. Non-believers already think Christians are judgemental and they are right. How can we know what God’s will may be for another we can’t walk in their shoes. I have to go I could write about this forever. God bless.

  • marie

    You mention the “status quo” several times in this post. Wouldn’t the “status quo” be called “having children”? The majority of people have kids. The status quo is not childlessness that’s why people are so bothered by the voluntarily childless: They are going against the status quo. I think you have your definition of “status quo” backwards. I HIGHLY recommend this Christian lady’s writings on infertility. She is one heck of a writer: http://palepage.com/?cat=16