Want to get the blogosphere wound up in a tizzy? Start telling women the more children they have ... the closer to God they’ll be.
That’s the message Lindsay Boever, a mom of (gulp) eight children, sent back in 2010, when she wrote a post titled “Why most families have two children” on her blog, “My Child, I Love You.”
Even though the post was written a few years ago, it keeps resurfacing, with 440 comments that range from pure praise to accusations of Boever tearing women down.
So, what’s all the hubbub about? In the post, Boever begins describing life with a toddler and a newborn—citing the difficulties I think most new moms can relate to: the sleep deprivation, the worrying, the tantrums, did I mention the sleep deprivation? She writes that she had always wanted “hundreds” of children, but despite those first few rough years, her “whole point is simply that if you are blessed with the gift of fertility, please let us see it as such.”
… And that’s where she lost me completely. Early on, my husband and I talked about having three kids—we’re both from families with three children, so it seemed natural. Of course, unlike our mothers, I was 31 when I had my first baby, and 33 when I had my second. I also had a full-time job, a career I loved, and while I was certainly fertile, I never felt it was "God’s plan" for me to churn out babies until that fertility waned.
In fact, it turned out my two beautiful daughters made our family complete. I watch my siblings and in-laws with their newborns, and, while I love them to pieces and am thrilled to babysit, I also think, wow, I’m so glad to be past those sleepless, stressful years.
“When you get into deep conversation with a woman, you see the longing and the loneliness on her heart for more children,” Boever writes. “She may not even know it.” Really? I don’t know who she’s talking to, but when I get in deep conversations with other women, we for sure talk about our kids, but also our husbands, our jobs, what’s going on in the world … Just because we’re “blessed with the gift of fertility” doesn’t mean we just sit around wishing we could be pregnant again and again and again.
Look, if you want lots and lots of babies, more power to you. My grandmother had eight of her own and, while I have no clue how she did it, she totally rocked. But I’m not sure she would buy into Boever’s claim that “with each new child, you are promoted.”
I really don’t think God “promotes” a woman who had eight kids over one who had two -- or zero, for that matter. If having a whole lot of children makes you feel more worthy in God’s eyes, that’s your deal. But, for the record, if we should ever chat and you think you see “the longing and loneliness” in my face, please don’t mistake it for a deep-seeded urge to put my blessed fertility to use. I probably could just really use a nap.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.