We've all heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." But what happens when one mother struggles with the feeling as though she's responsible for raising the whole village? A friend of mine recently called me about whether or not I'd heard of any support groups for moms of many, and unfortunately I have not. She's seeking support for a mom/friend of hers who found herself anxious and overwhelmed at learning she was expecting again, and then guilt-laden to learn she miscarried this gift she'd not completely yet accepted . It has less to do with not wanting more children, and more to do with lacking trust in God's plan for our lives. I can relate at times to the feeling of isolation/alienation that having a large family can bring. Certainly I know I too have questioned at times whether God has a real grip on how much He thought I could handle. (cause the saying goes, He won't give us any more than that...) I wonder at times if He's really getting the full picture...like when I lose it and scream at the kids for nonsense things, or when my frown while fixing a boo-boo leads one of my kids to ask "Mom, why are you mad at me?" Ugg. I'm not mad...I'm just overwhelmed...and my precious baby, whom I'm trying to comfort, is taking it personal. Ouch. Talk about adding salt to an open wound.
There must be some formal group out there though. Any of you have any suggestions?
In all honesty, I've felt grateful and incredibly blessed with each of my pregnancies. Though, I'd be lying if I said there weren't times when I stressed and worried about how much I thought I/we could handle; physically, emotionally, financially. I remember feeling as if four children in three years was my limit...and cried many nights to sleep praying for the strength/courage to quit contracepting and allow God to lead again. Thank Heaven for answered prayers. There's been no looking back since. I recall too when I was expecting our seventh child, that certainly life was going to go from organized chaos to out-of-control anarchy. It didn't. Seven is a holy number, and God graced us with a sense of peace in our home that I could never have imagined with 7 children, ages 5 and under. And look at us crazy kids now...expecting our 12th (eleven here on earth), and feeling confident in God's divine plan for our family (and sense of humor).
Still, there are moms out there, who in trying to remain faithful to our church's teachings, find themselves struggling to accept, let alone embrace the gift of more children. Good moms, good women, good wives, struggling. How can we reach out to them in support? How do we remind them that God in all of his Providence wants only what is good in our lives? That children are gifts from Him, and that the struggles and challenges that come with raising many young ones are worth it, now and for eternity. I can only speak for myself when I say that as we allow ourselves to trust...just little bits at a time, we allow His hand to lead, and see more of His plan for us revealed. Baby steps...growing in faith.
I pray tonight for moms struggling with infertility. I remember. I pray tonight for moms blessed with fertility and who are feeling alone, unsupported, and incredibly challenged by the many gifts they have been entrusted with. I have my moments there too. May we all find peace in knowing we can find rest and reassurance in His hands.
If you are aware of any support groups for moms of many or even words of advice/encouragement, please let me know, either in the comment box or e-mail me...I'd be so grateful to pass along the information.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.(Proverbs 3:5-6)