One of the biggest fears of childbearing is the health of the mother. For me personally, I’m healthier now than I ever have been. Friends are constantly telling me how blessed I am, and Chris fond of saying that my body was blessed to have many children.
I’ve often had this eerie suspicion: Perhaps having children is healthier than avoiding them.
I’ve brushed it off as just my personal experience, but I can argue the same for most moms of large families. Virtually all the moms I personally know with many children are all in great shape. The stereotypical mother “living in a shoe” (unhealthy, body falling apart, etc.) is extremely rare among mothers of many children.
Meanwhile, moms are lambasted with these popular assumptions:
- Birth control pills have no burden on a woman’s body.
- Birthing children is equivalent to an emergency medical procedure.
- Bearing and raising children is harder on the body than other unhealthy living conditions.
Chris and I touch on this in Love in the House, but my diet book spearheads it. Love in a Diet throws out the assumption that just because we moms have had a lot of children we should throw in the towel of good health and a good figure. Hogwash. Staying healthy is just as much available to moms of several children as moms with one or two. I workout 5-6 days a week in my 40’s, but I took health for granted in my 20’s.
Finally, science is catching up with my hunch. According to a major study out of San Diego, (Read more: Big families are GOOD for the heart) having 4+ children cuts the chance of heart disease in half. That’s significant.
This study backs up what I’ve witnessed for years. As I’ve been faced with pregnancy after pregnancy, the subtle fear of my health creeps up, but I am reminded that my body has grown stronger and stronger. Look at the other women who have been on TV expressing the love of children and ask yourself, “Are these women falling apart?” Michelle Duggar at #20, for instance, is boasting that she is healthier than she has ever been! In the end, I can’t deny the proof.
This so rubs against the popular assumptions. Even the researchers attempt to push this one down. They come up with other reasons why the women of several children could have such significantly healthier hearts. “The mechanism by which this decreased risk occurs is unknown,” they warn. Perhaps:
- Higher fertility is naturally in healthier women.
- Moms of many have higher levels of circulating estrogen.
- The social support from large families is healthier.
Sure, perhaps. I’m no scientist. But even if there are external factors, the study affirms that the decision to Love Another Child isn’t as fearful as the popular assumptions have made it out to be. I’ve even fallen into these assumptions at times, even though my life is its contrary. When people ask about my youthful exuberance I usually shrug and say, “I attribute it to the constant hormones.”
All these years God has been whispering in my ear, “Open your life to ‘Love Another Child”. Each time I said, “Yes, Lord,” and have been healthier because of it. I find this study refreshing. Validating. The conviction on my heart to welcome another child isn’t God calling me to an unhealthy burden. It’s God calling me to Love Another Child. And it leads to a fruitful, abundant, healthy life.