How Did You End up with 15 Kids?

I was not raised to want a lot of kids. In fact, when I was carrying my first child I was very, very afraid.

how-did-you-end-up-with-15-children

Babies and children were a mystery to me. Even the men I knew were better with infants than I was.    

But as soon as I pushed my little daughter into the world, a love affair began that transcended even my mothering jitters. I just couldn’t get enough of her–her smell, the little squeeky-noises she made, her rumpled hair. I cried out to Jesus, Whom I knew I could count on for help, and He was there beside me and gave me, not only guidance within my heart, but other loving mothers who could mentor me.

That was back in 1983. A son came in 1985, and another daughter in 1986. By this time I was already feeling a little odd, but still using some forms of birth control because I was a little leery of having another, even though I thoroughly and deeply enjoyed almost every part of mothering–from childbirth to nursing to diapering to playing…(except for potty-training).

Then my husband (who enjoyed our babies almost as much as I did, and also loves to potty train) and I weren’t so fastidious in our procreative control methods one time and, SURPRISE!, we found that number four was on the way.

It was during this time that some friends lent us a copy of the radical, “dangerous” tome, The Way Home. After we worked through this book as a couple, we realized that we could live in procreative freedom, and so we embarked on our wonderful adventure, one child at a time.

Shortly after, we found our way into the marvelous world of homeschooling, and we haven’t looked back since.

Some have accused me of being naturally organized, patient, etc., but this isn’t the case at all. I am gifted, but no more than the average woman. The secret to my life has been that I have allowed God to stretch me so that I have to rely solely on Him. Before I took on my “ministry” in this tremendous family I could easily live with just an every-once-in-a-while thought shot up to Heaven. But many children ago I had to change my way of living. I got more “Mary” and less “Martha” and rarely take a step without His guidance.   My house is usually clean and orderly, and I still have time for a little bit of computer and some reading, but only through His wisdom and blessing.

This is not to say that I don’t study new ways of doing things, but I have found that methods without blessing are baloney and only lead to burn-out.

Things have gotten more busy and noisy as the years have gone by. At this point our children are in all sorts of seasons, from rearing their own children all the way down to learning to read. The demands on my time and energy have increased in some ways, but God continues to strengthen me and deepen me with every challenge.

Our large family

This has been my proving ground, where my Christianity has met reality, where I get to put my faith into practice.

Do I have regrets?–doesn’t everybody? But my decision to be serve my husband, to stay at home, to have many children and homeschool are not among them.

27 thoughts on “How Did You End up with 15 Kids?

  1. Love your story! I just re-read “The Way Home” – such a wonderful book. If the church as a whole would read it and take it to heart, what a different scenario we would see before us – for the better!

    Love the blog!

    • I understand what you mean. I think we are all in a season when we are becoming so disillusioned with the way our society is sliding into darkness that we are becoming a bit more bold about truths that can turn things around. True appreciation of life, sexuality, and marriage as defined by God in His word is the beginning of the wisdom we all need. I’m so glad you have enjoyed the time you spent here–thank you for taking some of your valuable time to let me know you were blessed.

  2. Thanks for sharing this testimony. Now that my 4th is 10.5 months, people are starting to ask me if I want more kids. When I tell them that I am opened for whatever God has it can take them by surprise. I do feel stretched, but I also felt stretched when I had two. God continues to grow and sanctify me and i know he will equip us for whatever he has in store.

    • I understand–it’s the “Are you done yet?” questions that are sometimes hardest to answer. We are grandparents (and look it) now, so no one asks us anymore, but some were asking even when we were carrying our 15th baby around. Didn’t they understand we were already past the crazy point?

  3. Our stories are very similar. We have soon-to-be 10 children . Our oldest is 23. The two oldest are married with their own families. Having such a large age range is, at times, more exhausting than when I had just a bunch of little ones. It’s hard for people to understand how that is harder and I now have all these helpers. While that is true, the different schedule and the emotional challenges of toddlers and young adults can be challenging. This is not the life that we thought we would have 25 years ago, but I wouldn’t change a thing. My children are a blessing and I am thankful for them everyday.

    • Yes, that’s how I have felt since the first few started growing up, and, no, I wouldn’t change it, either–so glad we don’t have an empty nest 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing. I’ve never heard of that book, but God’s given us the eight children we have and I wouldn’t change a thing, even though I never would have imagined having this many before we married.

  5. I always appreciate your perspective on things. I have 7 children ranging from 9 months to 15 1/2, and I think I’m really struggling with whether or not to have more. Minimally, I think I need a break. I’m 40, and I had a mental break-down when this last baby was 4 months. I ended up on Zoloft, and am currently weaning off. It was really tough at first, to accept that my body needed something other than Jesus, who I was relying on heavily. I am now in acceptance that our bodies sometimes need extra seratonin. 🙂

    My last few pregnancies have been high risk, and required some medication, but they have been blessed as well… I think what I am really struggling with is the age range. I feel I don’t have enough of me to give my older children while parenting the littles, but particularly while not always getting the sleep I need. Mostly, I feel like I am not really available for extra cirricular stuff that requires me to get out of the house. Dinner, school, and the basics get done, but I don’t have time to be a taxi driver. Mostly it is the outside stuff that is leaving me with a sense of ( false?) guilt. There is always a sense that I should be doing more… and getting them out more. I feel incredibly blessed, but honestly… I feel like I have reached my limit… at least for now.

    Anybody have testimonies of babies in their 40’s, or just a testimony of encouragement?

    • You have brought up some important points. I look at things as trade-offs; some things my children may not have (such as all the extra-curriculars) but others they will enjoy in greater amounts than the rest of the population. Actually, I decided the pressure to get everyone “out there” has been a cultural one. My older, grown children all found ways to do what they needed to do, perhaps not on the same schedule as the rest of the world, but at a slower pace, a better one, in my opinion. They have not been hampered in any major way, they all are active socially as adults, they are youth pastors, worship leaders, run their own businesses, have traveled, etc.

      If you have a facebook account I could ask your question on my fanpage, where you would receive a much better response.

    • This is a great point! I am 42 and expecting #10, and I am thrilled (after I had a little temper tantrum, lol). I think, as we age and are still open to life, we as moms need more self care.
      I had a very hard time when I was in that same age range of children. I felt like I was doing my children a disservice by not being able to do all the activities & be the “fun mom” I used to be. I started taking time out for myself; just to sleep, eat, and have a little quiet. The older kids were helpful, keeping the babies (twin girls ) so I could nap for an hour. Just before the twins were born I took all activities that required my participation/ driving off the table- it was awesome! I had a lot to manage, but knowing I had no outside commitments was huge for my sanity & stress level.

      This school year we began to add in a few activities, but they are consolidated so that a number of children were participating in the same activity (like co-op) and I told my friends I couldn’t lead/ volunteer for anything. I have my teens babysit for me on co-op day so I can focus on my middle set.

      The other thing that has made a difference is having a teen driver! God bless my older children. They can run to the store, drop off siblings, and they go and do things together.

      It gets better, I promise! You are doing a great job & were smart to get help.

      • Thank you so much for how you are finding balance and handling these times in your life. I like how you are handling adding just a bit of extra-curricular without compromising mom’s need for rest, etc. May you enjoy a blessed upcoming birth!

    • We married at age 24. & have 8 living children (& 3 w/ the L-rd). The last 2 (girls) were born when I was ages 43 & 45. My 2 oldest (23 & 21 both moved out at 19 (college).. Our others are all boys. This means, for modesty reasons, after age 2, I’m the 1 who helps w. potty training, baths, dressing, etc. . I’d love to clone ME!. But, at least once a day I think – WHY don’t Moms in their 40’s want more babies?! They have NO idea what they are missing! Yes, people have assumed I’m the grandma. No, I don’t read aloud & snuggle as much as w/ baby#1, but I also try to protect our “home life”. I joke “you have to be home to home school”, but reality is – although homeschool is portable – sometimes it works best at the dinning room table. I limit our outside activities to 1 school day a week. Plus a day-long field trip 4x/yr. Yes, we have age-range challenges. I don’t teach my “bigs” as well when I am nursing a baby. To save time, I don’t choose teacher-intensive curriculum.. (I don’t do unit studies). Even if I didn’t homeschool I would still limit our outside activities. I value our family meal times. Grabbing a burger in the car to go to ANY “wonderful” extra curricular event can never replace the 1 hour EVERY day my kids get to sit w/ daddy & just talk! That is 365 hours a year. He doesn’t choose sports or clubs over them. either. They know he loves them! & They’re influenced by his Biblical worldview when they’re with him. Yes, I always feel I should be doing more, that I’m behind on everything. Lets not discuss baby books, scrapbooking, or even cutting coupons. I could be doing lots of stuff “better”! Yes, I am at MY limit- but thankfully, never G-d’s! He is the source of my strength & patience – even on days I am running low on sleep. Our 1 day out a week includes church youth group so my kids do see friends during the school week in addition to weekends.. When people ask me why I have so many kids – I say. 2 things: 1) The only things we can take to heaven with us are friends and family (not stuff), so why not have another child? 2) Yes, I am busier than a mom of 2, but here is no way to “save up” my time, so I choose to spend it serving treasures that will last forever (my husband & children).. Isn’t serving what Jesus did when he was here?

      • I am nodding my head in agreement, Penny. Why wouldn’t a woman want to be comforted in her latter years by a cute kiddo or two? Something else is unique that we both understand; it’s harder and harder to guard your family life as your kids mature and begin to branch out.

      • Penny penny! I don’t know you but know a sister with the same heart when I hear her) May God continue to shine his face upon you lady. The responses to the question I always hear was lovely. I’d like to hear some clever responses to: you have your hands full, or don’t you know what causes that, or don’t you have a tv. Ladies excited to hear your comebacks.
        Lisa
        Mom of 7

        • I have lots of come backs! I saw a lady at a conference with a t-shirt printed with them, lol!!! Her husband had it made for her as a joke gift, but she loved to wear it in good company. It begins with, “yes, they’re all ours; no, we don’t have a TV…”
          I once was very pregnant and not feeling well and a man started teasing me (at church for goodness sake!) and when he asked if I “knew how that happened?” I looked him dead in the eye and told him, “Of course, and obviously we are good at it!” Oh, my poor husband turned bright red! I apologised to my husband but told him people shouldn’t bother very pregnant ladies. Alas, things pop out of my mouth when I’m tired and pregnant. I have had a lot of teasing about our twins, I tell them they are my “welcome to 40 gift package”. In then end when questioned I am acutely reminded that due to the sacrifice of a marriage that is open to life we are blessed to enjoy a full marriage; one that doesn’t cut God out but one that honors the heart of how He created us male and female, and how we are sanctified by co-operating with Him as He intended Holy Matrimony to be!
          Remember it was once called Holy Matrimony!

          • Some good ones, Vivian. I always like the one, “My husband chases me night and day!”

  6. Great thoughts, Sherry! I love hearing how things worked out with your older children. 🙂

    Is your fanpage open on facebook?

  7. Hi Sherry i read your story …so encouraging..we have 4 kids and we are praying anout adopting 2 … How do you do it when you go to church.. I am a jewish mom who believes in Messiah…sometimes it can be tough with lots of kids in church..

    • I hear you! We honestly didn’t attend every single weekend, more like twice a month. We made allowances for the tiny ones to have snacks, quite playthings, etc. and there were also numerous times when Mom bowed out gracefully with a crying infant or unruly toddler 🙂 Keep in mind that this is just a season, and also that as siblings get older everyone can take turns!

  8. Hi, such a beautiful story! Found your blog recently and really enjoy reading it. I am from Czech Republic and few months ago, me and my husband started, little by little, to acknowledge that God is calling us to leave the number of babies we might have, in his hands (we have one 10 months old daughter). I am so excited but also sooo scaried – there’s no one in our surroundings to have more children than 2-3. So I don’t have anyone to talk about it with. Also, there are no books available concerning this topic. That’s why it’s always an encouragement to read about people who are in this journey. Thank you.

    • Bless you, Petra! Mluvim cesky! I have a great love for your country and have prayed for it for many years. I’m so glad you feel comfortable here.

  9. This blog is full of encourage. I’m a mama of 2, under 2 years old… so many dynamics that make the big picture. I’m so glad our Lord can have center stage. Often I feel overworked and overwhelmed… cause at the same time I am newly wed (almost 3 years). It’s late, my husband works nights and the babies are asleep – God lead me to this blog and oh, He deserves all the glory! Again, so much encouragement. Thank you for spreading your wisdom via the internet. New mama’s like me need it when we finally settle down for some devotiom time looking for some inspiration from mama’s with more experience, and years. God bless.

    • It’s so sweet that you have taken your precious time to leave a comment here, Katherine. Yes, the glory belongs entirely to Jesus!

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