Saturday, October 1, 2011

No Regrets


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


41 comments:

  1. And your family is so beautiful! i think that every time I see your pictures and you as a mom manage "life" so well! You are indeed blessed

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  2. This post has came at just the right time for me. A heartfelt thank you.

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  3. "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."

    Umm. . .people are not going to say this, even if they feel it. And I'm sure some do.

    People do say things like, "I wish I'd had enough money to send my kids to college, but there were too many of them."

    Or, "I wish I'd been able to get him physical therapy, but we just didn't have the money."

    Or, "Health insurance would really have helped her, but we didn't have the cash for it."

    It's not socially correct to say, "I wish I'd spent more time lying around reading books." But there are many people who wish they could have done more for their kids, but could not because they had a SAHM or did not use birth control.

    I'll bet there are even things you'd like to do for your kids, but cannot because of lack of income.

    Also, people who constantly defend their choices make me wonder why they are constantly defending their choices.

    If you really wanted to use birth control, would you have the courage to say so on your blog? It's pretty easy to say, "I love kids" and have your readers applaud you.

    As for the lady at the market, she should have opened her heart to adoption, and then she could have had the children to love that she wants.

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  4. Personally, as a woman in my mid-forties who has never had children and never will, I feel no regret or discontentment. I don't wish my life had been anything other than what it was, is and will be. I made the decision and I was comfortable with it then and am comfortable with it now.

    My grandmother, who was married for 25 years to an alcoholic abuser and had seven kids often expressed her disappointment. Not in her children; she loved them all. But, in the fact that she had no choice in the matter and was trapped in a violent marriage, having babies, without the skills or education to get out. Not to mention the times, which was the late 1940's to mid 1950's and she was expected to be the wife and mom with no choices, options or life outside her family. No matter how violent and unhealthy that family was. When her husband left her - she didn't do the leaving - she had lived her entire adult life fending off abuse and protecting her kids. She had no way to support herself or those kids when he left - at a time when men could walk away without a glance, leaving their wives of decades to rot with no income or means of support.

    Before you judge those without children or automatically adore those with many, remember that more often than not there are far more aspects of those lives & choices than you could ever imagine half the time. No one knows anyone elses life, goals, priorities, options, choices, values or anything else. And a gaggle of children is no indication of any of that.

    It's good you love your children. Be careful to remember that the majority of parents love their children as well, even those who utilize daycare and educate their children through public education.

    You don't have a monopoly on loving your family, wanting what is best for them and raising them with your values.

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  5. I agree with you, Anonymous at 1:17, adoption is a wonderful option, however international adoptions are extraordinarily expensive. It's my hope that more and more Americans would look into adopting and fostering American children in need.

    Mindy

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  6. I feel badly for those who want children desperately but don't or won't or can't adopt.

    My mother raised five of us (she had 6, but one baby died in early infancy), and there was never a doubt that she loved us dearly. She was a stay at home mom with all of us, and it is memories of being with her that inspired me to quit my career and stay home once I became pregnant with my first child.

    We used to have wonderful, long talks. When I was an adult with my own babies, we were talking about different sizes of families once, and I asked her if she would do it all again (raise 5 children) if she could go back in time and start over. She said no, that she wouldn't have as many children.
    She said if she could repeat her life, she'd have been an archaologist.

    I didn't take offense (and I am the youngest child). She had such curiosity and interest in Arctic history and archaeology, and loads of books. After we were all grown, I found her a volunteer job at the Smithsonian helping an archaeologist in their Arctic Studies department, and she enjoyed herself immensely for a few years before she died.

    I feel bad for the touch of wistfulness I detected in her when she talked of the "alternate" life she could have had. So there's a story for you!

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  7. You are right it is such a blessing! I bet people would rather exist, than to not exist because they didn't have enough money to go to collage ect. Children are worth more than money or extras you couldn't do. Kids don't need everything they want. People put way to much on that these days. There can be many reasons why people can't adopt. If she was elderly, adoption wasn't as common 50 or so years ago.

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  8. Actually, I have an aunt who has said that she wished she'd have never had children, and if she could have gone back and started her married life over she wouldn't have had her children. It's hard to hear, and hard to imagine how anyone could say they would have rather not had the grown children they now have.

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  9. I don't think I'll ever stop being amazed at how positively people respond to all of our children in public. When I had three children, I didn't get nearly as many comments, but with 5 well-behaved children we draw constant attention. The world is hurting, and it is a cool balm to see a godly, peaceful, happy family.

    And why do people confuse beautiful testimonies with defenses?

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  10. I am in my mid-thirties with no kids and certainly NOT by choice. For the person who said, "She should have adopted." Do you know how much red tape and expensive adoption is? Apparently not, so please don't judge people who don't have kids because not all of us are rosy about it or have an extra 20-30 thousand dollars sitting around to adopt one.

    I would love more than the world to have even half the babies that Zsu has. Heck, I would even be contented with one, but I have to also be realistic and know that I may never have children. And that pill I haven't been able to swallow yet. My guess is that I will never be able to.

    I certainly don't think ill of people who choose not to have kids. I have a friend in her late 40s that very much doesn't regret not having children, but she was not always of this mindset. She had a disease that prevented her from becoming pregnant and spent years beating herself up over something her body couldn't overcome. In her hindsight, she's happy she didn't have children.

    I think your family is gorgeous Zsu. While I couldn't imagine having so many for my family even if I had no medical problems, I think your kids are fantastic, well behaved and very loved children.

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  11. I'll bet there are women with big families who have the same longing for the career they'll never have!

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  12. Ah yes, adoption. It's such an easy route, she should have just adopted a few kiddos and life would have been perfect. Oh wait, that's right, adoption is NOT easy, very expensive, and even less of a viable option 50 years ago when she was a young woman.

    And way to have sympathy for an infertile woman who never got past that pain. As a woman that dealt with infertility, that God took from us, praise His name, I know that pain. And I know what it looks like when you have the desire for children and you can't have any and don't have $30,000 to adopt a child. It's one thing to be able to afford, easily, to raise children. Another to be able to easily afford to raise kids AND shell out $30,000 for their adoption... each of their adoptions.

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  13. "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."

    Applause to the poster who pointed out that one wouldn't/couldn't say this, even if one thought it.

    But...if one wants to read about a survey and feedback from those who regret it, here you go:

    http://www.happilychildfree.com/ann.htm
    (^the site is not unbiased--it doesn't claim to be. It is, however, an excellent resource for those who know that they do not wish to be parents and for those who are 'fencesitters')

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  14. Adoption 50 years ago was much simpler. There were orphanages in the USA then. There were far fewer requirements for adoptive parents.

    There are some adoptions today that costs $30,000. There are some that cost $2,000. I have adopted several times and spent nowhere near $30,000 an adoption.

    And just because something is difficult doesn't mean it can't be done. What if ZZ said, "Do you know I'd have to be ill for 6 months just to have a kid?"

    Half of infertile couples cannot bear children because of the husband. In such cases, sperm donation is a simple and cheap solution to getting pregnant. However, I think adoption is a much better choice.

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  15. I cannot believe how many people chose to respond negatively to this touching post. Your ugly comments show the state of your hearts.

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  16. I don't intend this to be an "ugly comment" but just a factual response to your statement that you have never known a mother who regrets having children. I am a Christian married woman with three grown children. If I could live my life over, I would choose to be single and childless. That doesn't mean I don't love my children. Just thinking back over the many disappointments and heartaches I have experienced, it doesn't seem worth it.

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  17. Halfway through watching the Demographic Winter video I was suddenly surrounded by my last two children,my son's future wife and my daughter's baby. I told them about what I was watching and told them I couldn't imagine just having 4 children instead of 6. That led us to discussing China's one-child policy and the consequences to that. We discussed how I wasn't conceiving after our 4th child and prayed for about 3 years to have more children(there are 7 years between our two daughters). The last two children were born when I was 35 and 38. My grandmother had my mother in her forties but I was unable to conceive in my forties. Thank you for this video. I have to watch it over to see what I missed.

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  18. I don't go around telling people but if I had to do it over again - I don't think I would. I love my children and would do anything for them but I'm not so sure it has been worth it. I have one child w/ special needs and he takes all my energy - I am always exhausted and sad. I have never told anyone this (not even my husband).

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  19. Wow I just can't believe some of the comments on this wonderful post , I can't immagine someone even thinking about going back and not having the children they have now , that is very sad . My children are my life and my joy and happiness , I pray the Lord blesses me with many more , this is going to be one of my favorite post .

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  20. I am 26 and have been unable to carry a baby to term. I often have moments where I feel like that older woman. I blame myself, wonder what I did wrong, etc. I know I still have time, but I don't believe in all of those fertility IVF things. One day we will adopt, and it will be from the foster care system.

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  21. I don't intend this to be an "ugly comment" but just a factual response to your statement that you have never known a mother who regrets having children. I am a Christian married woman with three grown children. If I could live my life over, I would choose to be single and childless. That doesn't mean I don't love my children. Just thinking back over the many disappointments and heartaches I have experienced, it doesn't seem worth it.- I hope your children don't read that. How cold, how do you love your kids, but wish you never had them?

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  22. What a great post. Yes, there are days when I want to throw in the towel and call it quits but you know...the days are long but the YEARS are short. Whenever I am tempted to "lose it", I remind my self of that.

    On the adoption subject...if they (governments, countries, etc.) want people to adopt children then they are going to have to make it more affordable. Goodness...there are SO MANY CHILDREN out there who need good homes yet the "system" has made it almost impossible for them to be adopted. So sad.

    I would LOVE more children if the Lord sees fit, and we will raise each one for HIS glory! :)

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  23. I can't believe that person said her children weren't worth it! I too hope they don't read that. How cold of a mother. Why are people so full of hate that Zsuzsanna must have so many hateful comments. It was a warm heart felt post about her children. Really people? If you have to be so hateful and rude, just don't bother to comment. Is spending all your time on the internet stocking and snarking on blogs really more enjoyable than having children? You seem to have plenty of time to do that. Very sad.

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  24. Also, when I saw this post was tagged under birth announcement/story, I got very excited for a moment that baby number 7 was on its way! :)

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  25. "Almost impossible" to adopt? What malarky! People talk that way when they really don't want to adopt, but feel guilty about that. I adopted two kids quite easily, and I know dozens of families who have done so. Few of them were rich.

    When you spread around that "almost impossible" talk, you discourage people who might want to adopt. Thus, you are hurting those homeless children. Even if you are not interested in bringing one into your home (ZZ is quite silent about adoption, I suspect she shares that view)--don't hurt their chances by claiming adoption is "almost impossible". I assure you it is not.

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  26. It is difficult to have children with special needs. My daughter(28) calls me from her group home (for woman with high-functioning autism) nearby(since 2008), everyday after she arrives home from her day program. Our other beautiful daughter(21) was diagnosed with type I(not type II that is caused by diet) diabetes at 5. For years I took them to their doctors every 3 months and kept notebooks for all the prescriptions. We went to a large support group for children with type I. Nehemiah 8:10KJ says that the joy of the Lord is your strength.

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  27. I am confused over the "I love my children, but if I could do it over again I would not have them" comments. The phrase that is most confusing is: "I don't think it is worth it"

    Your children were not worth the effort you had to put into them? Is that what this means? My goodness, really? It has to mean something else.

    I love you (insert child's name), but you weren't really worth it -- seems to be a contradiction in terms to me.

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  28. @Confused Anonymous - It is called unconditional love. ZZ said she had never heard anyone say they had no regrets about having children. Just b/c she hasn't heard anyone say it to her, doesn't mean that there are some mothers that don't feel that way. Until you have lived in one of these mother's shoes, you cannot judge how they feel. Are you exhausted & depressed caring for a special needs child? Have your children tried to kill you? Does your child tell you they hate you? Is your child living a lifestyle against your beliefs? You know, what I can't believe? Is that anyone would actually think that every single mother in the world has no regrets. What about the number of woman (that we know of - I'm sure there are many others) that have killed their own children after they were born?

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  29. We don't know "Jan's story. She may be married to a disrespectful man. The children may be disrespectful towards her because he has taught them that. Sons get married and get caught up in their own lives. I once read that if the father doesn't like vegetables or fruits that affects the children's food preferences. It's the same thing with Christianity. If the father isn't a Christian even though the wife has been praying for years, it can affect the children's attitude toward Christianity. A husband who won't allow a wife to home educate their children or not allow her to have anymore children is a sad situation. Perhaps that one more child would have brought him to our Lord or given her joy the older ones couldn't(I saw both of these happen with a friend and her third child). We have to keep praying for our families. "...let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap,if we faint not."-Galatians 6KJ. Aaron and Hur held up Moses' arms. There are many Scriptures of encouragement.

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  30. I can believe there are a lot of women out there that can't put themselves above anything else. Imagine the kind of kids they raised and you would too feel it wasn't worth it.

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  31. I really enjoyed this post.

    I think Zsuzsanna's point was that as people get older, they realize that their children truly are the most important things in their lives. Careers end, beauty fades....but love is everlasting.

    Beautiful post, Zsuzsanna. I have 4 children of my own and I wouldn't trade the world for them.

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  32. This was such a lovely post to read today! You are indeed very Blessed. You have a lovely Precious family and your children are absolutely beautiful.
    I do indeed feel so sorry for ladies who can not have children.
    An gentleman in his 50's who lives nearby has no children, his wife never wanted any choosing the luxurys in life instead whereas this man really wanted children. His wife has recently passed and it is so sad to see him yearning for his wife and the children he never had.

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  33. I think it is great that ZZ is so happy to be a mother. A good thing for her children. I just hope that everything will continue to go well for her in the future, no illness or other difficulties coming her way.

    My own mother told me several times when I was still a child, that she regretted having me and my brother. But then she was an unbeliever, had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, had married a violent man (who actually tried to kill me and himself), and got divorced because of these incidents. She had also a rather immature character, was into nightclubbing, had different boyfriends, was dependent on welfare etc.

    If it had not been for my grandparents, who partly raised me, my childhood would have been a lot worse.

    I am 36 and single, not by my own choice but by a lack of godly man in my country. Here we have much more women attending churches than man. So just by doing the math it is clear that some women will remain unmarried. It is nearly impossible to find a man who takes the word of God serious, has a job and is not divorced. I recently met a christian man in my age, who flat out told me he could not imagine settling down and having children at this point of time. I thought by myself: When are you going to be a father, at 50?

    A lot of men are unbelievably immature, I think ZZ was really lucky when she met Pastor Anderson, and I am sure if she had not met him, things would have gone a completely different direction.

    However, I trust in the Lord and His timing. I have been ill for several years and suffered from dizziness, upset stomach and lack of energy during this time. I would have been a terrible mother during this period,I was hardly able to look after myself, let alone a child. I have nearly fully recovered since then and I hope that one day, when the timing is right, I will meet a godly man and have a child.

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  34. So you would think after going to labs every 3 months for 12 years for my younger daughter-with type 1(not type 11 diabetes)- I would be an expert(our oldest daughter-with autism- didn't start medication/labs/drs. until she was 16). On Saturday morning, I borrowed my son's car, took my granddaughter that I watch on Saturdays(the 4 others I watch during the week), and grabbed the thyroid lab script dated October(I was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroid-not low thyroid),and waited a half hour at the lab. When I was called, the receptionist told me that a test had not been checked off by the doctor. I didn't notice because the top part of the script was filled out. Oh well, PTL(Praise the Lord). I called the doctor's office on Monday and they're mailing me another lab prescription. I'm thankful for so many things but I really was hoping to have a break from drs.,labs,etc. for awhile and then I get diagnosed with something. I wonder what the causes of these things are. Our third son and his wife are not vaccinating their children.

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  35. Well, if she didn't want children, she shouldn't have had them; most likely she would not have made a good mother.

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  36. I want to say that I did not read through all the comments so someone may have already made my comment.

    The thought "God gives us children in his timing with the number that He wants us to have" drives me crazy!!
    I would gander to say that anyone who makes such an ignorant comment has never struggled with primary or secondary infertility. When you say this you are basically saying that it is not God's will for those people to have children, but it is for those who don't have any issues. How hurtful! God made us each with a sperm and an egg and a brain. I feel he would like us to pray and search Him out for how many children we are to have and that decision is between a husband and wife.

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  37. I applaud you for having a large family. I myself only haf one living child. I had 12 miscarriages and finally at 38, after having had twin girls die prematurely decided I couldn't bury another child. I know quiverful people like yourself would condemn me, as I decided I couldn't do it anymore. You are not better a Christian because you have 7 kids, than someone who has 1,2, or none!

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  38. "I never have to second-guess my decision in this area because I am not the one making it." Amen!

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  39. I am 27 (tomorrow) and my husband and I have 4 kids, I got my tubes tied before I knew better, on the "advice" of my mother. My youngest is 2 now, and I truly with all my heart regret getting my tubes tied. So many times people (myself included) take the easy way out without thinking of the aftermath. Many nights I do cry for the babies that I won't have. Especially now that my baby is no longer a baby! -delia

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