You see, this is the thing...

When you hold the beliefs that we do -- that children are a blessing -- and you aren't just paying lip service to that idea, but actually living as though you believe it, it can be hard to be "real" about the difficulties you face as a mother of many, or going through another pregnancy when you just did that.

For instance, at church. We already have the most children of all the families there. Now that the news is out that we are expecting yet another, (and it did spread like wildfire), we are under (kind, but evident) scrutiny. How can I go to church and expect anyone to support me in my difficulty, when the answer is so simple as "stop having babies?" I have to put on the happy face, don't I? Many situations are like this. When you are a Christian in front of non-Christians, you have to be upbeat and nice all the time, right? Otherwise, what does that say about your faith? But if you are having difficulty or finding the road rough, no-one in a church would say to you, "stop being a Christian."

Easier isn't better. The rewards are in the perseverance and in the trust that develops between you and God. Oh, and in the fact that you have a lovely crowd of children circling your dinner table for years, and making their parents and grandparents proud! But it would be nice to not have to put on the happy face when you could use some support instead. It would be nice if people -- family, friends and church members -- could truly understand.

And I'm really, really thankful for the ones that do. :-)

**Added: Renee asked me a question in the comments that I've been mulling over. I would be the last person in the world to say that I have everything figured out, when it comes to bearing and raising children. Fortunately, today Stacy McDonald of Your Sacred Calling posted something very wise on her blog with regards to this matter. At some time, I'd like to do a discussion on passages in the Bible which clarified to me what Christian parenting and God's view of His people having children is all about. Until then, this is a very good post: How do You View Children?
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