Yesterday, I was shopping with only Miriam and Anna. As I was waiting in the checkout aisle, an elderly lady from one lane over left her cart to step over to where we were and admire the girls. She especially loved the baby, and joked that she wanted to take her home. In passing, she mentioned "I was never able to have any children of my own" before heading back to where she had left her husband with the cart.
Just a minute or so later, she joined me again on the other side of the checkouts as we were both leaving. She told me how blessed I was to have been able to have two children. I agreed with a smile, and told her that I actually had one more daughter between the two she was looking at in age, as well as three older sons.
This lady, who was at least 80 years old, started pounding on the side of my cart with her index finger and, almost in tears and with a wailing voice, said: "Oh, why could I not have any children? Oh, why?" It was so sad! She was not angry, or crazy - just grieving over the children she never was able to have, even decades after her childbearing years had passed. I felt so terribly sad for her. She again reiterated to me how incredibly blessed I was, and our ways parted.
This lady is of course not the first one I have met in my lifetime who expressed her sorrow to me over not having had children, by her own choice or not. For many years my husband and I were very active in various nursing home ministries. Those elderly folks LOVED visiting with our children week after week, seeing new ones added every couple of years, and watching them all grow older. Many times, ladies would tell me how they wished that they would have had more children, and that I was doing the right thing. There is a relative in my family who was likewise never able to have children, and to this day,even in her older years, she is grieved about never having had a baby.
But you know whom I have never met? A lady who would say her regret in life was having had children, or having had too many. One who tells me she really wishes she would have chosen a career, or vacations, or "me time", or lots of spending money, over her children. Maybe these ladies exist somewhere, I just have never met one of them - only plenty of the other kind.
I can honestly say that as our children continue to grow older, I have few regrets. I am not wishing I would have cherished them more as babies, because I did - they each spent pretty much their first year of life in my arms or by my side in some form. I am not regretting having shipped them off to babysitters, nurseries, daycares, and schools, because we don't do any of that. I am not grieving over having willfully limited our family size and depriving ourselves of God's greatest blessing, because the children we have were all given to us by God in His timing and spacing, not ours. Sheer number has nothing to with this - the peace comes from knowing that whatever number of children we end up with was God's will. I never have to second-guess my decision in this area because I am not the one making it.
Below is an interesting documentary on the question of "overpopulation".
And maybe since it's the weekend, you'll even have time to watch this one on "The Great Global Warming Swindle":
The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. ~ Proverbs 10:22