Sep
08
2011

Loving Another Child Despite Complications

The following is a GUEST WRITER for JeubFamily.com. Every once in a while we welcome the views of others to our blog. If you would like to be a guest writer for JeubFamily.com, see our writer's guidelines. Enjoy this article!

The new pastor sat on the couch in our little living room. It was awkward. Melanie couldn’t even sit up and it feels really funny to entertain people you don’t really know lying down! He said, “I know you must be angry at God. This just doesn’t seem fair. You must really be struggling in your faith.”

No, we didn’t feel that way at all, but we could see why he’d assume we did. Melanie has train-wreck pregnancies. Having an incompetent cervix means surgery before 12 weeks in every pregnancy. Adding in preterm labor means more or less bed rest for six months, lots of meds and shots, and a complete inability to do any housework — that’s a lot more work for the rest of the family! And she can’t even comfort herself with brownies because her usual gestational diabetes means she has to strictly low-carb the whole pregnancy and test her blood sugar multiple times a day.

We’re not angry, though — especially not at the Lord. He doesn’t owe us one thing. We’re sinners in a fallen world and every single good or easy thing that comes to our hands is pure grace. By the time Melanie’s on bedrest, shaking from the meds, and the family is living off of Hal and the boys’ cooking, He has already given us one of the most precious gifts ever: an eternal soul, born of our love and bearing our images as well as His, to love and raise and enjoy! Can we be angry if that means a rough few months? What’s nine months compared to an eternity?

This trial isn’t all bad, either. We’re both notoriously impatient and easily distracted. There’s nothing like noticing underwear on the floor right after someone from church calls about bringing over a casserole to make you take the time to talk your young children through how to clean up a room! And when the alternative is waiting until Dad gets home or walking your son through making dinner, your boys learn how to cook. We get a lot of schoolwork done during those times, too, since we’re not distracted running around town. It’s been good for our children and it hasn’t made them dread pregnancies, though people often ask us that. In fact, folks often ask us how in the world we do it, but that’s a topic for another long post!

We’ve worked really hard from the beginning to make sure our family understands that:

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 NKJV

When children hear that all the time, it changes their hearts! Our children rejoice, like jumping up and down and shouting rejoicing, when they hear we’re expecting again, even though they know very well how much work and worry that means. See, they also know that we went through it all to bring them into the world, too, and we all thought it well worth it!

It’s a little bittersweet talking about this. We’re 47 and it’s pretty unlikely the Lord will bless us with a child again. Looking back at it, as our children range from adults down to a two year old (yes, a baby at 45), we are so thankful to God that He gave us these six young men and two little girls, no matter what it took. He’s good – even when it’s hard.

~Hal & Melanie Young

Hal & Melanie are the authors of
Raising Real Men
Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys
,
Christian Small Publishers Association
2011 Book of the Year.
Join them on Facebook or check out their blog at Raising Real Men.com.

  • http://www.largerfamilylife.com Tania Sullivan

    I enjoyed this post.  Thank you for sharing your experiences. 

  • Bobbi

    What a beautiful testimony!  Thank you so much for sharing.  May God continue to bless your family.

  • Brianandsusan1

    Wow! I did not think other woman had crazy pregnancies like mine! Your description of your pregnancy sounds like min, like looking in a mirror! Incopetant cervix, getting the puse string around the cervix to hold it closed, having gestational diabetes, then having the babies come out with shoulder distosha because my pelvic bone is not alligned properly which means months of therapy after the birth. But it is all worth it for the blessing we receive. The last one of ours has Cerebral Palsy because they induced labor and she came out sack and all intact and the nurses would not break it until the doc got there from his home at 2am! My husband feels like we love our disabled child VERY much, but what would we do with 2 or 3 disabled children so he has decided that we are not going to let the Lord decide when we are going to get pregnant anymore and has even contemplated getting surgery to prevent pregnancy.  On one hand I do not want to take the authority away from the Lord, but on the other hand having another child would be difficult and take away from all the attention we give to our handicap child. Plus, I would VERY much love another handicap child if one came along, but it would be admittedly difficult especially since we already rely heavily on our community for support because my husband is a carpenter and we are by no means wealthy people….we would probably be stretching it to say that we are middle class. I see both sides…is God telling us to let him decide or is God telling us that it is OK for us to stop now? I love God with all my soul, body, and all that I am, I WANT to please him, is the wanting enough, for now we practice Natural bith control, if God disagreed wouldn’t HE let us know?

    • Sara

      Please dont have surgery. Use another form of BC because you will regret it. We just went through a vasectomy reversal and our chances for more children are looking slim. We are trusting the Lord with our fertility and hoping He chooses to bless us again! Good Luck in whatever you decide!

      • Brianandsusan1

        Thank you so much Sara, I am definitely laying it at the foot of the cross! We have just had so much going on I feel like our family has gotten off track. I really hope that our family can make it to the “Gospel Center Marriages” conference in North Carolina in October. It is more of a conference for pre-marriage (which our daughter is), but this is good, because it will be less like therapy for us and more like reaffirming our beliefs through teaching it to our children which I think would be easier for my husband. I really do understand my husbands fear. I would like another child and I believe my husband would too because he even suggested adoption. Someone actually told us that in the past people “hid” their handicap children because they used to think that someone who had a handicap child had committed a grievous sin and God was punishing them for their sin. As intelligent people we understand that the only reason people believed this was because of some of the unhealthy lifestyle choices people had DID actually cause fetal abnormalities, but in modern times when people go to great lengths to be healthy especially when pregnant we now know that “THOSE TYPES’ of “sins” are not what causes the types of disabilities like the one my daughter has, hers is a lack of oxygen during delivery brain injury. Still, it has weighed on us, could we have done something differently? I pray that God does bless you with another child and I will offer up this cross of heartache, in our desire to know and understand God’s will for us, for the prayer that God blesses your family with fertility if it is HIS will! If you would not mind, could you please help me in praying for my husband to come to really know the Lord and give his life over to the Lord? Please also pray that we both know with our whole heart and mind what the will of the Lord is for our family and that we become willing to join our life to Christ on the cross in giving ALL of ourselves in service to God’s will. Thank You!

        • http://www.facebook.com/melanieyoung Melanie Young

          Susan, we sure will pray for you both — for the Lord to lead your husband to really know Him and for peace and joy for you! It’s really hard when we’re not on just the same page. I believe we need to lovingly share our concerns with our husbands, then hush, pray, and obey! :-) Whole lot easier said than done, I know!

          Pregnancy when it is so hard and you’ve had hard outcomes, too, is so difficult to trust through — I think especially for our husbands, who are made to protect us. They don’t want to see us suffer!  I think it helps to remember that part of it.

          Much love,
          Melanie

          • Brianandsusan1

            Thank you Melanie, I don’t know how I would get through life without the Lord! He provides me with EVERYTHING I need, even Godly people pray for us. You are such a strong person, you must never have doubts, your faith is so strong…to be able to have strife and to always keep going…always possitive, I admire you!

            • JaneM

              Susan,

              I think you have made a very courageous decision to do what is best for your living children.

              I’m sure the Jeubs would agree that we cannot possibly know what is right for your family.

              Remember, if the Lord really wanted to give you a child, he could do so, birth control or not.

              I commend you for limiting your family size to care for your precious little ones!

        • Sara

          Will do Susan. And thank you for your prayers as well!

    • Brianandsusan1

      By “Natural Birth Control” of course I mean abstaining, all chemical birth control is not natural and my husband, lovingly, would NEVER want me to poison my body this way. For that I believe that he is being a righteous man and I am thankful.

  • Brianandsusan1

    Wow! I did not think other woman had crazy pregnancies like mine! Your description of your pregnancy sounds like min, like looking in a mirror! Incopetant cervix, getting the puse string around the cervix to hold it closed, having gestational diabetes, then having the babies come out with shoulder distosha because my pelvic bone is not alligned properly which means months of therapy after the birth. But it is all worth it for the blessing we receive. The last one of ours has Cerebral Palsy because they induced labor and she came out sack and all intact and the nurses would not break it until the doc got there from his home at 2am! My husband feels like we love our disabled child VERY much, but what would we do with 2 or 3 disabled children so he has decided that we are not going to let the Lord decide when we are going to get pregnant anymore and has even contemplated getting surgery to prevent pregnancy.  On one hand I do not want to take the authority away from the Lord, but on the other hand having another child would be difficult and take away from all the attention we give to our handicap child. Plus, I would VERY much love another handicap child if one came along, but it would be admittedly difficult especially since we already rely heavily on our community for support because my husband is a carpenter and we are by no means wealthy people….we would probably be stretching it to say that we are middle class. I see both sides…is God telling us to let him decide or is God telling us that it is OK for us to stop now? I love God with all my soul, body, and all that I am, I WANT to please him, is the wanting enough, for now we practice Natural bith control, if God disagreed wouldn’t HE let us know?

  • Shemmariah86

    mrs  bates  the   friend  of   duggars     is  pregnant   at  44  she  is   expecting  her   19   baby   due  in  february 2012.  have   read  many  testmoniny    about  a  couple    who   had   a baby   at50   after       20    years  of  marriage     still   they  trusted   our  lord  to   bless   them   with  a   baby.  john   the  baptist    was   born    when    his   parents   were   very old.every  thing   is   possible   with   our  lord

  • Katie

    Wow.  Thank God all of my pregnancies have been easy and labors and births (though very long) have been free of complications.  I am truly blessed, and this really shines a light on my own selfishness to fear pregnancy so much despite how easy it’s been for us.  We have smart, healthy children and I STILL worry too much and find myself hoping for a longer time between pregnancies.  I’m sure when people look at me they would assume that I have health problems.  My diet is not perfect.  I carry a lot of extra weight.  But somehow my health has always been good and it’s been pure grace.  Yet still people urge me to give myself a break and think of my “health”.  Everything that has happened, including all the emotional trials, have only served to make me a more determined and faith-filled person.  When you are standing on one side of a trail it seems insurmountable, but looking back it always seems small, and you wonder why you ever doubted that God could get you through it.

    • Brianandsusan1

      ” When you are standing on one side of a trail it seems insurmountable, but looking back it always seems small, and you wonder why you ever doubted that God could get you through it.” I LOVE that and am going to borrow it!

  • Brianandsusan1

    “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice” (Philippians 4:8,9)

  • Lauren in GA

    I commend you both! My 9 pregnancies have gotten progressively worse, with “morning” sickness all day for the first 19 weeks and bed rest for the last 10 weeks with number nine. Y’all explain it much better than I could, but when God convicts you of something, you just have to do it, don’t you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amanda-Roddy/100002031624794 Amanda Roddy

    “God” gives you choice called a brain. if it wasn’t meant for us to control our live we wouldnt have one. I couldnt imagine as a woman my life’s worth being based on if I could conceive or no and the  no# of kids. When the Quiverful verse was written men often had multiple wives.  Im not saying kids arent blessing but it should be placed in the proper perspective. A blessing to you means a tax burden to someone else. IMO it is not godly to keep having kids when you can’t afford them.

    • Gaylene

      Curious – how is my children a tax burden to you?

    • Katie

      The same One who gave us a brain also said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” and “be fruitful and multiply”.  If He had wanted us to use birth control He certainly could’ve said so, instead the Bible forbids just about every type of birth control that could’ve been used back then, especially pharmekia (abortion potients and birth control herbs, which would now include the pill).  We do not serve a God who is unable to provide for our needs, as long as we follow Him and do our work that He provides.  And I don’t see anyone being judged by how many children they have here.  It’s about your willingness to trust and have faith, not how many children you have.  Yes men had a lot of wives back then, but God allowed it, He didn’t endsorse it.  He said that from the beginning it was meant to be a man and wife.  There are no happy polygamous families in the Bible.

      • RodM

        Using this logic, you could assume abortion was OK because it is not forbidden in the Bible. You could also assume slavery was OK, and you’d have to believe that stoning adulterers was mandatory. How many have you stoned lately?

  • DougM

    I applaud Susan’s choice! She is taking responsible care of the children she has. She is treating them like “blessings”!

  • Em Ridley

    I have had two difficult pregancies/ birth experiences but i am blessed with two lively children (girl & boy)age 5 and 8 months, my first i was in labour for 4 days, baby back to back, in end resulted in emergency c-section because her head was stuck ( she was 10lb 6oz too), had pnd and severe backache for 2 years, never thought i would ever have kids again, but after physio once the pain left me i felt strong enough to do it again, this time round i faced a life threatening pregnancy i had placenta previa and ended up spending 6 weeks in hospital with on/off heavy bleeding, another emergecny c-section with general anesthethic was performed at week 34, baby spent 2 weeks in neonatal, but amazingly and thanks to God he is alright. I really thought i was going to die and never thought baby would make it either, God has taught me so much through these experiences, of how you can be brave when you feel weak and in weakness you can be strong and that God will be there when you need him most, despite this difficult birth i bonded straight away with my baby.

    For health reasons we might stop at two, i need to be alive for my other kids and there’s only so many c-sections you can have. I take a type of pill that stops eggs from being released, so no eggs get fertilised, God did give us brains and if we lived 100 yrs ago then without God working through the consultants and without modern technology then i would have been a women who died in childbirth. So I don’t believe we should all just keep having babies without child birth control unless that is our wish. We are contemplating my hubby getting the snip as we wouldn’t abort a baby but it could be dangerous for me to get pregnant again, i am one of 6 and my mum was one of 10 so always thought i would have a big family as i thought i would have natural childbirths as being a mummy was always a huge goal for me, so yes i am disappointed in my c-section births but so grateful too as my babies are alive and we are truly blessed.