Growing up I knew a few QuiverFull (QF) families and some that were just extra large. One in particular was more along the lines of what this post is talking about. And another that was much more mainstream: birth control didn't work for them and they didn't have a peace about doing any thing permanent so they had 12 kids.
That really isn't all that important, and that post/article is a really good look at some of the glaring problems with the patriarchy movement. I can personally attest to how those teachings have wounded my own young marriage- and lead us to the place we're at. I am so thankful for Grace.
Anyway, it's kind of funny (in a God sort of way) that I came across this post (which I highly recommend you take some time to read through) as this is some thing I have been pondering a lot. Just last week I was discussing QF families and family planning with friends.
I know I just mentioned in a recent post that we are most likely going to have a large family. But we are not honestly setting out for one. I honestly don't want more than a handful of children. And yet I have the sinking (in a good way?) feeling that my Mothering career will involve many more than that. At this point, we're taking it one child at a time and we'll see where we end up. While we are personally opposed to hormonal and un-natural forms of birth control (another hard lesson for us). We practice NFP and FAM and are not ready for another baby at the moment. But as we learned (what a sweet little lesson she is!) babies happen. Even when you think you're (really really are) being careful! Sometimes you misread, back up methods fail and God just steps in and says "I want this one in you family, here you go!"
I've never really had the concern that I wouldn't be able to meet all my children's needs. I really am of the camp that if you're being responsible and dong your part in planning your family(hopefully via natural methods): and God sends them anyway: He will provide for them physically and emotionally. It might be outside the box. It might not look like how children in smaller families are provided for. It might not always be perfect. But does that really make it bad?
I grew up as fourth of five children. My parents were planning two, maybe three kids. But as there was a lack of NFP education back then (my Mom followed the cycle method [which isn't NFP but she thought it was]), and they just kept being surprised! I will say there were some things I didn't like about being in a larger than average family. I definitely carry some scars. But in the end I will say that my being from a larger-ish family has only strengthened and benefited me. Would I (will I?) be doing things differently? Absolutely.
And that is the reason I have this blog, to sort it out. I think the best thing a large family can do is practice Attachment Parenting. When you are keeping your babies close, in tune with their ages and stages. And have a strong Que-response relationship. You're in the habit of meeting their needs, of being aware when harmony is slipping. In planning your family (as much as that is possible) to that end: harmony in the home.
Will it always be there? No. Some weeks are just ugly. You pray for grace to fill in the gaps in every ones hearts. You take as many extra naps as you can squeeze in. You simplify down to the bare bones of existence, and you move forward. If it's always your goal to love, and admit your wrong. Your goal to accept the ugly times for what they are "swift and passing seasons". If it's always your goal to make amends when things snap. Always your goal to build up and make your home where every one is built up. Always your goal to maintain relationship: you can't really lose. Does that get harder with a large family? Undoubtedly. But large families don't (generally) happen over night, they evolve, and you learn as you go.
So here's (raising my tea mug...Well I would be if I wasn't NAKing) to whatever is down the road.