The Biological Countdown

I’m reading through Ecclesiastes, you know. 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 everyone’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. Have you ever talked with, say, someone in their late 30s who claims, “We’re waiting a little longer to have children”?

Here’s a seductive thought:
parents have control over their opportunity to have children.
[tweet this]

I have also talked with parents who, after several years choosing not to have children, end up finally having children, then discover 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 16 children. Yes, I really believe that. I have so much to be thankful for in 2011, and I look forward to 2012. My hope is that this blog is a subtle persuasion 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.

(This is reposted with a few edits from 2005 when I had only 13 children. Happy New Year!)

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!

  • Pam

    People are always coming up to us, with regret on their faces, saying they wished they would have had more children. These are healthy people who had good pregnancies, for the most part. Yet, I have not regretted one time giving God free reign over our family size. The problem many people have is ‘peer pressure’. They were made to feel irresponsible and/or ignorant. We’ve had our share of that; even from our own family, and certain church friends, who are ‘concerned’. I find it interesting when someone has a scowl when it’s your 6th baby, but they have great joy when it’s your 2nd and you’re done! It saddens me. But God. He loves to show himself mighty on behalf of those who’s hearts are loyal to Him.

    And the majority of people just love a big family. They usually find, to their surprise, that the  children are very sweet and pleasant. It is not chaos in the home, they are content in small things, hard working, and they get along with each other (most of the time!). It’s God. He has made us rich, and all the glory goes to him. We could have chosen to stop at two. We would have lots more stuff and an empty house. Hmm. I’m glad that didn’t happen. Life is very fulfilling being surrounded by children. They teach us, they forgive us, they bring life into this home.  I am so glad that God honored us in such a wonderful way. Thanks for the reminder Wendy. Awesome post.

    • Chris Jeub

      You speak of the same irony that Wendy and I see all the time. “Oh, my, not for me…but I sure love and admire your family.” They so quickly write off the blessing of children for themselves.

      • Charlene

        Or maybe they just find contentment in a smaller family.

        • Roddma

          Not everyone is into kids and not all are meant to be parents. No one should be looked down on for their choices. IMO the pressure is to have kids from society and family. And who do the parents think support their child tax credits? They really should think of the financial burden placed on others or that could be on others if the unexpected happened. This large family trend will soon pass when reality hits.

  • Mybigfamily

    I am so sad that the countdown is headed my way quicker than I wish. I have my seven and so pray for more every day but I can almost hear that clock in my head getting faster every Day:(

  • Susan

    I am so happy that I have my 5 children … and would have happily had more (that’s all God gave us).  Letting God plan our family was the best decision I’ve made in life.  I especially loved the kids younger years … even though they were busy times … they were great times.  Looking forward to grandchildren one of these days.

  • Anonymous

    I am so in love with my four children and I am happy that the birthing phase of my life is over.  Every birthday I am in awe of how awesome that year with that particular child was and I always wonder if there is any way the coming year can be as much fun.  It always is! Now granted my oldest is only 13 so we haven’t hit the terrible teens but my husband and I view those teen years as years that our children will be figuring out the adult world and its their phase of life where they can still screw up and we can still help to guide them.  Once they move out we won’t have as much opportunity to help them along.

  • Roger

    Actually, men are pretty fertile from about 12 to 80. Their season is pretty much their whole life.

    • Chris Jeub

      Future blog post: “Men’s Biological Clock.” The argument goes like this: Have kids in your 20’s. You don’t want to be in your 60’s. It may be physically possible, but not physically desirable.

      • Roger

        Hi, Chris. Thanks for the reply.

        Does that mean that you and Wendy will stop having kids soon? I know you and Wendy are in your forties. You may well have kids in your 60’s if you continue. Are there plans to stop?

        • Chris Jeub

          Are you for real, Roger? You don’t read this blog much, do you. Read some of the more recent articles for a good laugh.

      • Gsyeager

        My man and I are 12+ years apart, so this has been an issue for us to consider. We have been married over 26 years now and are blessed with ten living children, ages 2-22 (as well as seven with the Lord). Would we refuse another one to three children (likely all I’d be able to have, if that, since I’m now 46) because my husband would be around 60 years old when they would arrive?

        I remember before marrying Gary, getting advice from various people about our age difference. A fellow college student shared his experience with having an older dad who had very little energy and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) play with him as he was growing up. Then he looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t do it. Please, don’t.” I certainly took his viewpoint under advisement, but ultimately the energy of my future father-in-law (who was in his mid-to-late 60’s and running 5Ks and marathons) helped weight the scale of decision in Gary’s favor.

        Now, at 58, Gary is fairly active, enjoying hiking and even mountain biking with our children. But even if he became inactive for some reason, we would still be open to the possibility of more children. Why? Well, lots of reasons, not least because if God grants more, we are called to embrace them. On a practical note, though, we have sons in or nearing their teens who would LOVE to play with little brothers. (Currently they have only little sisters.) And as our older girls get married, we have MORE sons to come alongside and help bring opportunities for physical activity. (Our first daughter to marry added a guy to our family who plays baseball and goes fishing–two activities our other kids are eager to do more of!) I’m excited about the prospect of more babies as we are in a positive cycle of olders helping youngers, which I know will one day cycle back as the youngers help the olders. :-)

        • Chris Jeub

          This comment is one of my favorites. And I love your picture! Thank you, Gsyeager.

    • Katie

      Unless he divorces his aging wife and marries a young woman, it really doesn’t matter how long HIS biological clock is. 

  • Cathy87

    “Here’s a seductive thought:

    parents have control over their opportunity to have children.”

    Unless you’ve given over your control to God.

  • cheryl

    children are such a blessing..I want another baby but only God will choose to give us one or not..I have never taken birth controll left it all up to God..Iam proud to say this. I love my children…Thank you Jesus for each and everyone of my manyblessings!

  • Lydia

    I am sorry, but all of those shoes in front of the door is a trip hazard. Really, I think you need more.

    • Tammie E.

      Hhahaha OMG !

  • Tammie E.

    I had my first at 16, and my last at 36…. I couldnt imagine it any other way . I wish I would have had more though if anything !!!

  • Michelle Zielicke Murphy

    I will NEVER regret any of my 5 children. I would love more. My children pray daily that they will have more sisters and brothers. They love babies as much as I would. I just wish my ILs and husband would be able to see the blessing and joy they are, instead of the curse and bother they believe they are. :-(

  • Susan

    … I love the photo of the shoes … indirectly it shows that a family is at home… I recently took a similar photo when my sons friends came for his birthday celebration at our new home … to show how many new friends he has.

    … the photo was likely staged as I don’t think that many people would leave their shoes that neatly (at least it would never happen at my house) … so the person who complained about it being a tripping hazzard is missing the point.

    • Chris Jeub

      The photo was taken on the way home from Minnesota after Thanksgiving. We stopped at some friends in South Dakota, and their rules were to take the shoes off at the door. We told the children to keep their shoes together when they took them off, and this made for a good picture.

      I should take a picture of our shoe closet at home. Not nearly as neat! =)

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  • Debi044

    I think also, that sometimes young people feel they have forever to have children.  One of my daughter’s friends and her husband decided to have a larger family because they said everyone they asked with two children wished they had more, and everyone they asked with a larger family (4 chhildren) were glad they had them.

  • Paula

    I have 10 children, and would LOVE more, but that just doesn’t seem God’s will for me.  I have had 7 miscarriages in a row with several multiples in there.  From what I can tell, I have lost at least 14 babies.  It is very hard to have so much loss and hear people say they are waiting to have children, like that gift is something we can control ourselves.  Many women find they have control over the “not having” but no control over the “having”.  It is a sad culture that we have that views children as such an awful thing till for whatever reason they decide they want it and do all kinds things to achieve that which they formerly disdained!