Since we decided to send the boys back to school this year, we've had the interesting opportunity of seeing people that we know reasonably well casually, but for the most part haven't seen for a whole year.
Surprise! There's one more of us now!
That mental re-counting on the part of others has given rise to the question: "So are you guys done now?" or "Are you done yet?" or "Aren't you done yet?" or something along those lines.
I'm not offended by questions of fertility and family planning as a whole. Although I believe the decisions of "how many and when" are made in private--there's a lot of discussion that among friends can be helpful and uplifting, and even allow us the opportunity for greater compassion and prayers on behalf of our sisters.
So it isn't that the question itself bothers me--though sometimes the tone of the question does--but recently the question has really made me stop and think. Particularly the word "done."
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, the Prophet and Apostles proclaimed:
"We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."
So, really it's that simple. We believe in having children.
We love our children, they bring joy to our lives.
We definitely weren't where we thought we'd be this summer when Rory was born. I don't know where we thought we'd be, but it definitely wasn't still here, with no job, and no prospects, feeling useless, feeling like we were never going to get anywhere in life. But Rory showed up right in the middle of it all. A gift from God. He brought us renewed purpose, and joy, and something to bring us together as a family during an otherwise difficult time.
The truth is, I'm only 30. I have another decade of fertility to look forward to. Who knows, we had four kids in ten years, maybe the next ten years will bring another four. Or, once we're settled down with a job and a cow, maybe we'll end up with many more than that (though my pregnancies naturally space themselves at least two years, and I was pregnant six times in the last ten years, not four).
But then again, maybe the Lord will let us know that our earthly family is complete before then, through inspiration or natural laws of health.
But not only do we believe in the commandment first given to Adam and Eve to multiply. We also believe that as children of Abraham that we are heirs to God's covenant with Abraham, specifically in this context, that our blessing for being righteous covenant-keepers will be eternal increase. Increase like the sands of the sea or the stars of the sky.
So knowing that we are striving to be worthy of exaltation which includes the blessing of a "continuation of seed" I don't know that we will ever be "done". At some point our earthly family will be complete (until the grandchildren come along!) and then we will continue in faith of the blessings promised to us as Abraham's progeny.
So, as for right now, the answer is simply: no, we don't feel done yet. I don't know when the next one will come, or how many more will come. But we love our children, each one brings something new and different into our family. We pray for help in raising them, we pray for them to love each other, and we trust in God. And until or unless he lets us know that his will for our family is moving in a new direction, we will continue to follow his commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.
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