In our Church culture, sometimes even well-meaning questions can bring up a lot of unnecessary pain or set up unreal expectations. Here is just one example:
As women, we are often judged in relation to our family status. Are you dating? If not, why not? If you are, when are you getting married? If you’re married, when are you having kids? If you’re not having kids, why not? If you have kids, how many more are you going to have?
As a young girl, how many kids we wanted was the topic of many conversations with friends about the future families we’d dreamed up in our heads. (MASH helped with the details, of course.) . . .
But after asking other women how this question made them feel, the responses made me think twice about ever throwing out the “how many kids do you want” question without some deeper thought.
Here are some of the responses I got:
“My heart usually twinges, then I respond with, ‘Well, if I had a choice, I’d have a whole litter of 10. We’d be counting our lucky stars if we could get just one here.”
– Jess, Highland, Utah
“I know so many women who struggle with this subject. To me, there is no right answer. Even when we have plans to have a certain amount of kids, life happens, and we may change our plans. We originally thought we’d have three or four, but now we are just trying to keep Ava (who has cancer) alive, so our plans have changed to having two kids. At first it was hard for me, but now I’m embracing my two girls and living every moment with them as if it were my last.”
– Kady, Farmington, Utah and Frauenfeld, Switzerland