A Time for Children

I’m reading through Ecclesiastes. Chapter 3 is a famous one:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven.

Then the verse starts “a time to be born and a time to die,” and so on.

In every woman’s life, there is a time to have children, a “biological clock” that is ticking. I have met some who think that this clock is not a definite amount of time, that they literally have their entire lives to bear children. Haven’t you ever talked with, say, a couple in their late 30s who claims, “We’re waiting a little longer to have children”?

The seductive argument is that parents have control over the time to have children. I have also talked with parents who, after several years choosing not to have children, end up finally having children, then discovering the great joy of raising a family. These parents often say things like, “I never realized the joy of parenting,” “I couldn’t fathom what it was like to have my own children,” or “I didn’t really know how selfish I was without children.” (I know a mother of four who used to claim “I will never have children”!)

I can’t shout it louder from the mountain top how great it is to have children… — even 15 children. Yes, I really believe that. I have so much to be thankful for. For those parents choosing not to have children (for whatever reason) to take that step of faith and start parenting. Their time may be now.

About Wendy Jeub

Yes, Wendy Jeub has brought 16 children into the world, and loves each and every one of them. So much so, she'd welcome more!

  • Faith

    Not every women can have children, “for whatever reason” – your words.

    It disheartens me that I would be thought of as ungodly, and not doing my “job” in your eyes. I am very ill due to a genetic illness that likely will kill me before I would have died of old age. My body, and my health, could not and cannot carry a pregnancy, and then appropriately care for a child. Adopting a child carries the same risks – I am not healthy enough to care for a child; it takes my husband and myself to keep me at a functioning level in between hospitalizations.

    Others have said the my disease is a result of my own sin, that I just don’t pray enough, though I’m not sure how that happened because I was born with it, there is no cure, and if I were to have children, I would most certainly pass on the defective gene that causes it.

    What do you say to women whose bodies are consumed with illness and whose lives will likely be cut short? I rarely hear rhetoric other than I need to pray more, or that “God will provide” if I just open my heart to Him, but I really want to know what you think about it.

    It kills me that I can’t have a child, or have the strength to care for one, so that wound is already wide open and weeping.

    • LF

      I can understand your position. Maybe you’ve heard these verses already, but check out Luke 13: 1-5 and John 9:3. I find them useful in refuting the idea that illness/hardship is always a punishment. Many Christians have suffered physical diseases and it has brought them close to God. Also check out Joni Eareckson-Tada, she’s quite an inspiration.

    • Karen

      Why would you assume the Jeub family would not think well of you? They merely said that for those who CHOOSE not to have children…it doesn’t even sound like this is a choice. If you’re unable too, then you’re unable to. That doesn’t mean you can’t have children in your life, even if they aren’t your own. My priest says that he doesn’t have a child, he has hundreds of children because he helps take care of everyone’s children. Especially in this economy there are so many children who need as much help as they can get from others, even if only temporarily. And at least for me before I was married, just having a child in you life (like the child of a friend in my life) was a joy.

    • Margaret

      Faith, I think you agree with the Jeubs more than you think. You both agree that being unable to have children is a sad thing–a wounding thing. You recognize more than most that the ability to bear children is not somethign to take for granted–and that thought is exactly what this blog post was about.

      • Roddma

        Society thinks it is a sad thing. It isnt a disease Its a life style choice. Im amazed at those who feel sorry for the childless by choice or not by choice when they should feel sad for the neglected and abused ones. Faith I have been where you are and realized I should be loved regardless of any children My whole life stopped revolving around having children. You are still a person,Faith, regardless of children. Dont let others run you down for it.

        • Margaret

          Er, nobody said you shouldn’t be loved, or that you aren’t a person.

          In many cases, it is *not* a lifestyle choice and people who cannot have children generally find that sad. Understandably so.

    • Genesis_charge1_28

      I do not see you as an un Godly woman! God has formed you perfectly in His Image as they way He wants & needs you to be. I do not know your condition but I’m certain that you have a whole lot of love & compassion to give & to teach others in your well times, just because some people male & female can’t have children does not mean your incapable of any form of child bonding you maybe an aunt or have younger cousins which you can share time with, there maybe a local orphanage you can donate some time to when you are well NO it will never be the same but you have a light to share so don’t hide it under a bushel God has plans for us all & I will pray for you!

    • Jenniferh21

      Faith, I feel you should pray your heart not what makes sense! If you would love to have a child ask for a child!! Get on your face and cry out! You have no idea what that prayer looks like to God! Would he give you a biological child, or an adoptive child and the strength to care for them? Does that prayer open you up to love and care for foster kids or teach Sunday school? Does that prayer have you helping a mother who is worse off then you??? Don’t put God in a BOX!!! Your disease can be a blessing if you let God use it!! IF we hand everything over to God and understand He can do anything!! Offer Him all you can! All David had was a sling shot and faith in God! His giant fell to the ground! What’s your giant? Maybe it’s not your health that’s getting in the way of a blessing, maybe it’s just a little more faith:) God Bless you!!!!!!!!

  • Just4jane4

    Dear Faith, I don’t think this post would seem fair for someone in your condition. I am sorry that you suffer so much and that life seems unfair, but the day is coming (in Heaven) if we are faithful to God, that there will be no more disease (which is a result of this sin-cursed earth) no more tears and we will have new bodies. I know of many Godly women who have had to suffer here on this earth, no we don’t know why, and we need to accept that. God bless your day.

  • Just4jane4

    To the Jeub’s you truly are blessed with a beautiful family, enjoy them!

  • Mybigfamily

    I am one to shout as loud as possible how GREAT and truley BLESSED it is to have children. My biological clock is ticking fast and it is such a sad time to think I could possibly not have anymore babies.So sad. I tell everyone to embrase this time to have children and enjoy every second of their pregnancies and in the upbringing of their family.

  • Anonymous

    Having left our fertility in God’s hands, I find myself very sad that my time for bearing children may be over. We have 5 beautiful children and I feel greedy for wanting more, but, there it is. I’ve had one miscarriage before our 5th child was born and then a second one after he was born. It’s been 11 months since that last miscarriage and there’s been no hint of a pregnancy. I’m 42 and I know that others have been able to conceive at even later ages, but I’m not so sure about me. I struggle with impatience and being in limbo while I watch every month for “signs”. When we first were convicted about letting God decide our family size I figured that my struggle would be fighting the fear that God would give us “too many”. Now I find that it’s just the opposite. I’m fighting the fear that God is saying that I’m done and that five is enough. Do I trust Him? Yes, indeed. But my heart is lagging behind my head on this one.

    • Mybigfamily

      Oh my gosh I feel so much the same.I have 7 children. I had a child at 43 and here 4 years later pray every day for another. I am so not ready to let that part of my life go.I too am fighting the fear that it may be over. I trust in God that this time has not ended. I shall pray for you as well.

  • Jchilous

    I didn’t want children when I got married, but a year and a half in, I found myself pregnant and three or so months after he was born, I was pregnant again. I NEVER have felt joy anywhere close to this, I have my one year old and two month old and they keep my super busy but so entertained! I spend my days and nights with them, and while it isn’t a “job” by the world’s standards, they put my to work! I used to find myself spending hours doing nothing at jobs and now everyday I am learning and working and happy with my children. Now my husband and I are open to more, want more, but also would be just fine with the beautiful two we have so far. I can’t imagine my life without them and can’t even remember what I was even doing before them!

  • Margaret

    I think the key here is control.

    We think we can control when and how often we have children. When it turns out we aren’t actually the ulitmate deciding factor, we get mad. And that happens whether it’s trying to avoid children or trying to have them. Our calendar is supposed to rule the issue.

    I’m closing in on 30. Been married nearly 9 years, and never used birth control. We have only three children. After 2 miscarriages and years of not getting pregnant, I no longer believe that “young and healthy” is any kind of guarantee. What’s for sure is that wanting children is no kind of guarantee either.

  • Roddma

    And some people never change their minds about having children. Not all are parent material.

    • Marmalade

      I agree. Not all of us are called to be parents.

  • Sonya Lillis

    our friends and family thought we were crazy when we started “trying” to have children right after we got married. it was something we both wanted, we married at 19 and during our engagement we talked of having a big family and starting that family right away. so many people told us we’d regret it and feel trapped or wish we had more “alone” time before kids.
    we got pregnant 3 months into our marriage, and now 8 years later we just had our 5th baby (all boys, all under age 7) we LOVE it. we haven’t gotten away for a dinner alone since the second one was born, but we have found new ways to be alone for a little while, either way i think life is wonderful. i’m happyier than ever and so glad that we made the decision to have children early.
    our friends and family still think were nuts, because 5 kids later we haven’t “stopped” (we allow God to choose the time for a child, wich is often overwhelming expecially because God chose to give us a disabled child 2 1/2 years ago. but it is always always worth the stress.
    sometimes i day dream about having 12, 15 or more children. people think i’m nuts but it really is my secret dream to be a mama of babies all the way up till my biological clock stops ticking.

  • Kimberly

    Amen. Amen. We have 3 great kiddos. The youngest will be turning 12 in a few months. We went through several years where we thought we were done and that we had all we could handle. A little over two years ago, our hearts changed. We want nothing more than to welcome another miracle into our family. However, secondary infertility has plagued us, and yes, tick…tick…tick… I’m getting ready to turn 40. We’re still hoping, praying, and trying, and we’re at peace if it’s not meant to be, but it doesn’t stop the ache or make us stop wondering, what if?