Help! Pregnancy is Making My Body Fall Apart!

Pregnant Asian mother and her son

I received the following e-mail recently:

My husband and I are in the long slow process of changing our thinking about family size.  We are currently expecting our fifth little treasure, and we are so grateful, and excited.  And a little scared sometimes, too, haha.  :)  Our oldest is 6.5, so we are still in the “sowing years” of parenting – this job is monumental!

But the question I wanted to present you with today about having lots of precious little ones is not about raising them through these training years, but about enduring through many pregnancies.  My last pregnancy, I was diagnosed with pubis-symphysis dysfunction; that never really goes away and started causing me enormous pain very early on this pregnancy.  Now, at just 18.5 weeks, I’m already experiencing a great amount of pain in my pelvic floor, despite the dozens of Kegel exercises I do daily.  The simplest and most accurate way I can think of to describe it is that it feels like I have a bowling ball…crowning.  Just like I am very, very, very swollen and sore all the time.  It’s difficult and painful to stand for long periods of time – much less do anything.

I suppose my questions are manifold here.  I have seen so much encouragement about embracing God’s plan for our reproductive years; how do you physically soldier on with so much pain during gestation?  I know it’s temporary – a very brief 40 weeks each time – but for now I have only little children (6.5-1.5) and they require lots of help/assistance/doing.  Second, is this truly as normal as my OB is telling me, or is there something I could or should be doing differently (diet, support garments)?

I truly want to surrender all, even this temple He has entrusted to me for Himself for this short life.  Yet it is difficult for me to imagine how I will do this again and again (and possibly again), and keep life and school and household running even haphazardly when I am already experiencing such pain after just 4 vaginal deliveries.

I did want to add in to my question that I am still quite young – just 30 – and with each pregnancy so far have experienced primary lactation failure, sometimes beginning as early as 6 days postpartum, but always complete and final by about 4 weeks.  So my cycles, and therefore fertility, return very quickly.  I know this is a gift, especially with so many friends suffering from infertility issues.  I just say that to communicate to you that I don’t get that God’s-perfect-design-for-child-spacing benefit of amenorrhea from extended breastfeeding that I wish I could.  I pray each time that God will change our story and allow my body to make milk, but so far, He has not determined that to be in the best interest of the display of His glory in our lives.

So all that to say, in addition to feeling overwhelmed physically at the thought of more pregnancies, I stand in a position to experience lots more of them, based on age and fertility.  :)  A precious gift, yes, but at the moment (even now I am limping everywhere today), a somewhat daunting one.

Before I dig in and address some issues here, I want to acknowledge that this is a real woman with real physical pain and real concerns about her future.  She has agreed to allow me to answer her email in a blog post, but I’m not really writing to her personally; I’m writing to all of the readers in general.  Because of this, I run the risk of coming across cavalier about her problems.

Please know that I feel a great deal of compassion for her and for anyone who faces similar, and even more difficult, circumstances.  I don’t want to waste any time blubbering though, so forgive me if I just dive in and get to the point.  My heart is to help, and one can only do so much in a blog post.  If you are able to hang in there until the end of the post, I’ll have some practical ideas as well.

Things Fall Apart

I’m betting that there are a lot of women nodding their heads after reading her email.  “Yup.  That’s me.  Different problems, but I, too, am falling apart at the seams.  How am I going to last through another pregnancy, let alone the next 40 years of life?”

When Eve took the bite, everything started deteriorating and death began its gruesome work.  So the first thing we need to remind ourselves (and accept)  is that whether or not pregnancies are involved, all human bodies will eventually fall apart and give way to death.

I’ve spent almost two years of my life on bed rest with difficult pregnancies.  I lost my first baby at 21 weeks and got a diagnosis of “Incompetent Cervix” all at the same time in 1993.  My legs look like a bomb went off from my ankles up to my groin area due to varicose veins. I live with chronic pain in my neck, back, hips, and legs.  I have diastasis recti – a three inch muscle separation in my abdomen due to repeated pregnancies, enabling me to look four months pregnant at all times.  And I am one of the 7% of women who have pubis-symphysis dysfunction long AFTER the pregnancy is over.  I’m still trying to find solutions to bring healing to my body after nine pregnancies.

My body isn’t pretty anymore, and I’m dying.  In fact, within the next 40 years I will likely be six feet under and really looking bad.  Once that happens, my legs, abdomen, hips, and back won’t matter, and when God gives me my body – made new one day – I won’t care that I sounded and felt like a wooden puppet on strings for a few short years.

…we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:2-5)

Take Away Point:

Whether or not you go through multiple pregnancies, you may have various and sundry health issues that are not fun to live with.  We can learn to rejoice in our sufferings knowing that they are producing the character of Christ in our lives and will bear eternal fruit to the glory of God.

Wemmick Pressure – or Faith?

A lot of folks make decisions based on what all the other Wemmicks around them are doing.  If bunches are all getting sterilized and saying that’s a good idea, then a bunch more will follow.  If a group breaks away and says, “No More Sterilization!” then some will turn their heads and follow that crowd.  Call it peer pressure.  Call it Wemmick pressure.  Ask me how I’m familiar with it.

We will only be truly rested and at peace if we make our decisions based on what the Woodcarver has taught us.  This means ignoring the crowds and going straight to the Source of wisdom and truth.  If we decide to give our fertility to God because we run in circles that are doing that – but we have no real understanding or conviction behind those decisions – we will melt at the first obstacle.

I would challenge anyone reading this to consider where your convictions on this issue – and a myriad of other issues (home education is another one that comes to mind off the bat) are coming from.  Have you studied God’s Word on the issue?  Have you and your husband made an informed decision, looking at all the angles, considering the consequences of the various options from an eternal standpoint, and being prepared to accept those consequences?

If you have lots of babies, you may die early.  (You may not, but you may.)  If you don’t have lots of babies, you may still die early, and you’ll never know WHO you missed out on knowing and loving.  Forever.  A person will not have the opportunity to fulfill a destiny.  A million things that are set into motion by the birth of a human life will never happen.  Consider these things, not from our little Wemmick view down here in the dirt.  Consider it from God’s perspective.  Up high.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:16-18)

Take Away Point:

If you decide to allow God to give you more children, you may suffer in different ways emotionally and physically.  Love always pays a price.  If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be love.  Don’t do it because someone tells you that you HAVE to to be “godly.”  Do it for love.  Do it for love of your Savior.  Do it because you love LIFE.  Every single one of my nine children’s lives ended up being worth it.  I wouldn’t trade even one for a beautiful body that feels like a million bucks.

Anxiety About the Future vs. Peace and Trust in a Sovereign God

Raise your hand if you consider yourself a fearful person.  Yes.  My hand is raised too.  I’ve wrestled with fear my whole life.  I thought for sure my mom would be dead before I was 16 years old, and I’m not kidding.  When I turned 16 and she was still alive, I was flabbergasted.  And glad.  (She is still alive and going strong to this day.)

I thought I’d never get married.  I’ve been married for 21 years.

I lost my first baby at 21 weeks.  I was certain I’d lose my second one.  He’s 19 years old now.

I spent my first four pregnancies (after our loss) on bed rest.  I thought for sure I’d be in bed cross stitching my life away until menopause hit.  My last five pregnancies I’ve been up and about all the way through – and even went two weeks overdue with one of them.

I had sciatic nerve pain during one of my pregnancies that made me want to commit harikari.  I thought I’d have that for every subsequent pregnancy.  I never had it again.

I’ve been afraid of one of my kids drowning, falling, getting hit by a car, or electrocuted every since I held my first baby in my arms.  So far, none of that has happened.  Could it happen?  Yes.  But if I were to spend my life dwelling on all the “what ifs,” I’d go insane.  And besides, God very clearly tells me NOT to do that.

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5-7)

Bad things can, and do happen.  When they do, God promises His grace to be sufficient.  He will not give us His grace for a tragedy that is around the corner until it happens.  And He will not give you the strength, peace, and grace to endure the pregnancy you’ll experience in 2015 – today.  He will, however, give you all you need to make it through this day.

You could be dead next week, so why worry about a future pregnancy that may not happen?  And even if you’re not dead, who says that just because you’ve been fertile so far, that you’ll continue to enjoy easy fertility?  I know many, many women who suddenly lost their fertility.  One year they were enjoying a baby…and they never got pregnant again.  This is not uncommon.

But let’s say that you ARE destined to have 15 more children.  Wow.  If that’s the case, do you think God will abandon you?  Of course not.  Will others curse you?  Perhaps.  Some will think you are wacko.  (And again, if you’re doing it from Wemmick pressure, then you maybe are wacko.)  But if you are embracing each child from God as a gift and reveling it each one, then it won’t matter what anyone thinks.  (They’re just silly Wemmicks, remember?)

” Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” (Psalm 3:5-8)

“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (II Corinthians 12:9)

Take Away Point:

Because we live in a fallen world, life will be rough.  God is powerful in our weaknesses, He is in control of all things, nothing surprises Him or causes Him to wring His hands in frustration or confusion, and we can trust Him to get us through whatever path He may choose for us.  If we trust Him, He will be glorified in our lives, and we will experience His peace and joy in spite of our circumstances.

Some Practical Advice

  • Have you ever considered Natural Family Planning?  It’s just an idea, but if I were in your shoes and was unable to nurse my babies, I might choose to naturally space my pregnancies using this method.  I realize some Wemmicks don’t agree with me on this.  You’ll need to go to God’s Word and study this out for yourself – and then make your own decision on the subject.
  • If you are in a lot of pain, take to your couch.  I do.  Try a support belt to relieve the pain.  This one works like a dream for me.  The last three pregnancies I experienced unbearable pain when walking the last trimester due to that pubis-symphysis dysfunction thingy. I basically didn’t go anywhere.  Even to church.  (Gasp!)  It’s OK to lay low and do what you need to do to cope.
  • Your little ones will start getting bigger FAST.  And then life will get much easier because the older ones won’t require much from you, and they’ll actually be a huge help to you.  I thought I was going to lose my mind after #4 came along.  And then  #5 came, and life suddenly got easier.  The dynamics completely changed, and every baby I’ve had since then has been a breeze.  I’m not saying that will happen in exactly the same way, but if you are raising your children to be givers and not takers, you will reap some beautiful fruit that will enable you to do so much more as you progress through your thirties and beyond.  I have nine kids ages 1-19, run our home, our home school, this blog, and a thriving home business.  I could not do that back when I only had 4 kids 8 and under.  Things change.
  • I have a book coming out in June (not titled yet) where ten women share their stories of fertility through three decades.  Most, if not all of them have suffered physically for their choice to embrace life.  You will be so encouraged by their testimonies of God’s faithfulness to them.
  • Here are some good links related to pain:

Exercises for pubis-symphysis dysfunction

Six Steps to Climbing out of the Pits

On Pain

I pray you find hope and peace as you move through this pregnancy.  One day (and it will come in a blink) you will look back and find that it, too, passed.  And it was worth it.

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Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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39 thoughts on “Help! Pregnancy is Making My Body Fall Apart!

  1. This was a very encouraging article to me. I have lived in pain for 8 years from issues that made our second and final baby difficult to conceive, let alone carry to term. I also have walked the road of fear you discuss. While my situation is different than someone with more children or someone likely to have more, I have the “couch” days a lot! I have struggled with feeling my kids have missed out on something due to my journey of pain……but God has met each and every need BEYOND what we could has asked or imagined. Whether it be my husband able to be working from home most of the time, a friend who hears the pain and brings a meal, or just seeing my daughter continue to serve all of us with her cooking, cleaning, homeschooling her brother. In addition, I see in my kids a sensitivity and trust in God’s Sovereignty even in pain, that I doubt would have come so soon in their lives. I experienced that with a decades long, severe heath issue that started in my dad when I was 13. God taught our family things and united us together and with Him in ways that only happen in the fire. God is good. We are not guaranteed a long life or an easy life – but we are guaranteed HIS faithfulness if we have trusted in Jesus’ absorbing the Father’s wrath for us on the cross.

    • I just read this in the commentary (R.C Sproul) of my Reformation Bible this morning: “The Christian hope is not redemption FROM the body but redemption OF the body. We look forward to having a part of Christ’s resurrection in and through the resurrection of our bodies. Though the exact composition of our future glorified bodies is presently unknown, we know that there will be continuity with our present bodies.” (I Cor. 15:35-49; Phil. 3:20, 21; Col. 3:4) One day God will make our bodies whole, and we will be FREE. In the meantime, as you have shared above, He is working all of this pain together for ultimate good. Thank you for sharing, Sara.

  2. In response to the questioner, I’d recommend Aligned and Well. She makes a good case that lots of Kegel exercises will weaken the pelvic floor. Along with corrections in body alignment, she’d recommend squatting instead (with proper posture of tailbone sticking out, not tucked). Here’s a brief explanation. And squatting demo

    I’d highly recommend buying her video Down There for Women. I have not viewed that one, but I bought My Hands Hurt and When You Hurt All Over, and it made a huge difference in my fibromyalgia pain, so that I’m doing better than I have in years.

    As for the children too close thing without breastfeeding. Personally, we don’t see NFP as being consistent with Scripture (see 1 Cor. 7 where depriving one another is only allowed for express purpose of serious prayer and fasting, not a way to practice BC and then make it okay, and that frequent coming together is strongly encouraged). And, that’s all I’m saying about that, not going to debate if someone has a different opinion. And I know mature Christians that do have a different opinion. :-)

    Children come according to God’s plan, and if we’re not trying to dictate what that time table is (when He may give us what we demand instead of sending the blessings we’re trying to avoid), then we don’t have to worry about the timing being wrong. I see God’s plan being different from what man’s wisdom would expect so many times. The friend of mine who had her first six children 12, 14, 16, 13, and 18 months apart, and then not conceiving until the 6th was 2.5 years old, totally unexpected break and doing nothing to try to prevent conception. Or the couple that had no babies for the first 5 years of their marriage, again no preventing, and then four deliveries in the next 5 years. He is in control!

    Things will get much easier in the next few years. Remember, in terms of family dynamics, you don’t keep adding babies to your family. You keep adding older children. I loved it when my husband gave me this insight; it helped so much. :-) Example, my children are 11, 9.5, 7.5, 5.5, 4, 2, and 8 mths (19-23 mths apart). If things continue on as they have in the past, in another 21 months, I’ll have roughly the same family set-up, except I’ll have added a 13 year old. Another 21 months, and it would be an almost 15-year-old, etc. Of course, God can do something completely different in the future than what he’s done in the past.. But, my point is that as your family grows you are adding older, more capable children. As my children got into the 7 and 8 yo range, they could be of much more help with things like putting laundry away, vacuuming, helping serve siblings at meals, etc. As they got to 9 and 10, they could start doing simple baking/cooking, like my mass rolls recipe to take care of several lunches at once. As Natalie said, adding each baby has gotten easier. My hardest point was adding #4 when my oldest was 6.5; each one since has been better.

    So, I’d just encourage the questioner to press on in faith, presenting her body as a living sacrifice unto the Lord. And, I know that’s often easier said than done. At that hardest point with 4 under 7, I was having major health issues that severely impacted my daily living, but I have never regretted continuing to allow Him to open the womb as He saw fit. And by His grace, I’ve experienced significant, though not complete healing, and His grace has always been sufficient, for His strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9) {hug}

    • Excellent and encouraging, Heather. LOVE the way you say God adds an older child!! This is a wonderful way to look at things and being the mother of 8, it totally bares witness with my spirit! Enjoyed your article, Natalie! Thank you so much. I think my biggest difficulty with allowing the LORD to have His way is that there are times when He allows babies to be conceived only to be miscarried later. That was a hard lesson for me. My first four came with much ease… then the LORD allowed a season of miscarriage. It was very discouraging. (It still is when I look back) But all in all, I love knowing that HE is the author of life!

  3. Well, the Lord has blessed us with 4 children so far and pregnancy has been somewhat easy for me. Until this last one. Natalie, the variscocities are not fun or attractive! I also endured lower back pain that had me unable to walk without pain. The verse that brought me the most encouragement was Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” I just kept thinking I was offering my body as a living sacrifice, other translations refer to this as our reasonable service. In light of eternity this is indeed a light and momentary trouble! (2 cor 4:17)

  4. I hope it’s okay to give a slightly different point of view here. I don’t wish to undermine you in any way, but I do not feel that Scripture necessarily leads us to having as many babies as our fertility allows.
    I DO believe children are a blessing. I DO believe each child is a gift of value beyond words. But I don’t follow from that that we have to have as many children as is possible. God commands us to ‘train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’. It is simply the case that some women find themselves in circumstances with health issues, or maybe even psychological issues, that make it very difficult to train those they *have*.
    In our world of babies not being treasured, I feel it’s easy to go to the other end of the line. I’m just not sure that not using bc – ever – is a Scriptural command.

    Just my tuppeny’s worth, and I acknowledge that my opinion may not be 100% correct.

    • I agree with you that Scripture is not clear on this issue. There are things we do know: 1. Children are a blessing 2. God gives and takes away 3. We walk by faith and not by sight 4. We bear with one another in love 5. We are messy Wemmicks. There are times when some folks are forced to use bc for health reasons. I had radioactive iodine treatment after my second baby was born requiring me to be on bc. This was God’s providence, and if someone told me I was wrong or didn’t embrace life, it wouldn’t bother me anymore what they thought. There really are no easy answers here, are there? I have a 16 year old boy named Phillip who wouldn’t exist today if we HADN’T gone on birth control for those 6 months. I really like him…and I’m glad he’s here. : ) God is sovereign, and that is one truth we can all hang our hats on.

      Thank you for your tuppeny’s worth!

    • OK… I have to chime in again… Natalie, you had Radioactive Iodine after your second baby????? I had RI 131 after my third baby. I developed “Graves Disease” during my second pregnancy… went into remission during my third pregnancy and then had to have that final treatment after my third baby was 15 months old. I am wondering if that was the same reason you had it??

      • Yes, I had Grave’s Disease that was triggered by my second pregnancy! Apparently pregnancy can do that – too. : ) I let mine go too long (I didn’t know I had it until I was really sick). I collapsed one morning, my husband took me to the ER and they gave me the treatment that afternoon. I was still nursing my almost one-year-old and had to stop cold turkey. I was sad. : (

  5. I enjoyed reading through this post as well as the comments. I’m always intrigued and interested in other women’s ideas and opinions on this type of subject. Thanks for sharing everyone!

  6. Hi! I am fairly new to this blog, so I hope I don’t come across negative with my question here. I have a friend who continues to have children, and she has multiple health problems. Her health problems put her on bedrest for each pregnancy, and she pretty much assumes that everyone around her is just going to help her out everytime. I know her mother is becoming exhausted with it, and her friends are all getting exasperated with her. I believe every child is a blessing, and I love big families, but she expects to lay on her couch for nine months while her mother, sister-in-law, and friends do all her cooking, cleaning, and raising her other kids. Any comments or advice?

    • God never forces us to give of ourselves to help someone. You can simply stop helping if you don’t want to do it anymore. “…whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV)

      God promises wonderful rewards to those who do show charity toward others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt. 5:7) “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

      Jonathan Edwards writes in his book, Charity and Its Fruits (you may benefit, as I have, from this treasure):
      What is bestowed in doing good to others is not lost, as if a man throws what he had into the sea. But see what Solomon says, ‘Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days.’ (Eccles. 11:1) What is so given is lent and committed to a faithful hand, to the Lord, who will no doubt pay. ‘He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.’ (Prov. 19:17) He will also pay with increase. ‘Give and it shall be given unto you.’ (Luke 6:38) Scattering thus is the way to increase. ‘There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth.’ (Prov. 11:24).”

      On a personal level, I’m so grateful for the ladies and family members that tenderly cared for me through four pregnancies that I spent on bed rest. It was a humbling experience, and an extremely difficult position to be in, but God ministered to me through those faithful women. I know they were doing it ultimately for the Lord, and this made that time even sweeter. He was glorified through their acts of kindness! We can only speculate all the ripples their love created in the ocean of life that will reverberate throughout eternity.

      Because of my almost two years being bedridden, my heart goes out to women who have to be on bed rest or are experiencing any kind of debilitating illness that requires constant care from others. Consider that when you minister to a woman who is pregnant, you are ministering to THREE! The Lord, the woman, and the child.

      Any Wemmick can be a friend when skies are sunny and all is well. But it takes a special soul who has given her life to be an offering who can love unconditionally, from a generous heart full of joy. Perhaps God has allowed this friend to be in your life to teach you these precious truths. He wants to bless You with more of Himself. He wants to make you like His Son. What better way to do that than to give you golden opportunities to love needy people? No, we can’t do this on our own strength, but we can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens us.

      I recently saw the winning film in a film festival, The Drop Box. It was the story of a man and his wife in South Korea who took in over 20 unwanted, handicapped children and raised them as their own in a tiny three bedroom house. These children required round the clock care. What an incredible testimony of sacrificial love. There are broken, needy people all around us. They don’t always appreciate what we do, but that isn’t why we do it, right? Those children could never give back anything to this man and his wife. They did it because they loved their Creator and had given their lives in service to Him. In my book, that is the only life worth living.

      I close with this from Paul: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…” (Eph. 4:1)

  7. I do so love to read all of your thoughts on this blog … Such a great encouragement!
    That being said…. This post struck a wrong chord with me…. I fall into the category of women who had SEVERE problems with my last delivery,. My third and last baby . Myself and my baby nearly died from complications of scar tissue and adhesions from previous c-sections. It was horrific. My Doctor told me that she could never imagine me being able to carry another child. At the very least I would not escape without having an extremely dangerous and complicated Hysterectomy. She gave me a tubal ligation, which I was only to happy to accept after those odds! Now… It would seem according to your reasoning that I should have NOT allowed that? That I should have simply taken the chance that I would get pregnant again and possibly die leaving my 3 young children motherless? I was 28 yrs old…..
    Also… I struggle with the logic of Godly wives and Mothers, keepers at home…..pretty much wholly abdicating that area of their responsibility while continually having pregnancies that compromise their health and ability to minister to their husband and the precious children they already have!
    Another thought that I seldom see voiced in these type of posts… What about expanding the family and the kingdom through adoption? How about all of the precious little ones in the foster system longing for a loving home? Why does that not seem to be a prevalent option in large family situations? Especially if the mother has very serious pregnancy related health concerns??……. Just some thoughts that I had……

    • You have several questions here, so I’ll try to answer them in the order you’ve presented them.

      1. Now… It would seem according to your reasoning that I should have NOT allowed that? That I should have simply taken the chance that I would get pregnant again and possibly die leaving my 3 young children motherless?

      I’m not sure where you got that from this post. I never said anything remotely implying that a woman in your circumstances should opt to die rather than have a tubal ligation. In fact, I believe, and have argued, the opposite, but that issue wasn’t even addressed here. You need to be comfortable before God with the choices you’ve made and let the opinions of Wemmicks go.

      2. I struggle with the logic of Godly wives and Mothers, keepers at home…..pretty much wholly abdicating that area of their responsibility while continually having pregnancies that compromise their health and ability to minister to their husband and the precious children they already have!

      Are you standing in judgement of other women who are not in your shoes and who have every right to make their own choices before God…the same way you do? You have stated that they are “wholly abdicating that area of their responsibility” which sounds pretty negative, don’t you think? I want to gently encourage you to show the same grace to others that you wish others to show to yourself.

      3. Another thought that I seldom see voiced in these type of posts… What about expanding the family and the kingdom through adoption? How about all of the precious little ones in the foster system longing for a loving home? Why does that not seem to be a prevalent option in large family situations? Especially if the mother has very serious pregnancy related health concerns?

      I have read countless posts over the years written about this very topic of adoption. In addition, I personally know many, many large families that have grown their families both biologically and through adoption. Our church is literally filled with adopted children of all colors and nationalities. So your assumption that this is not the case is just that – an assumption based on limited knowledge and awareness.

      This post wasn’t about adoption because it was a post addressing a specific need in a woman’s life. Her needs are not going to be everyone’s needs, and they turned out not to be your needs this time. A blog post cannot be all things to all people. They can only briefly address a small focus. This one didn’t cover the issues that are concerning to you, but out of love for others who have different lives and circumstances, you have an opportunity to extend a gracious, charitable heart to your sisters in Christ.

  8. I did put a question mark after my situation to imply I want sure how you would feel about it…. Perhaps I was simply looking for an opinion….. No need to be snappish! You did say this post was for ALL the readers did you not?… .. Can I help it if it struck a note with me….. ??
    I certainly was not “standing in judgement” over anyone… I said “I struggle” with the logic… I do certainly feel very judged by you with that statement! Goodness…..
    As far as my statement about adoption….. I just simply disagree with you…. I read many, many blogs and a great number of them are large family blogs…. I have common interest in values of course, and the fact that we homeschool…. I also have a lot of real life experience with large families who have left the size of their family to The Lord…. And it is a very rare occurrence that I see adopted children as part of that…… So I am not just a nutty nit picker! :) Of course, that is entirely their choice…. It just would seem to me to be a wonderful solution to a family that wanted to grow, and a Mom who struggled with difficult pregnancies… We are prayerfully hoping to be able to do that in the near future…..
    I would humbly challenge you to temper your responses with a bit more grace….. You honestly may have lost a faithful reader this evening!

    • I wish you God’s best, Autumn. The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

    • Autumn, I want to just respond to your desire to see adoption promoted as a way to grow a family. My husband and I desire to grow our family both through natural birth and adoption, and we are currently trusting God with the when, where, and how of it all. I think it is important to note that one can passionately promote adoption and yet passionately trust in God’s will for their body and natural child birth, and the two are not automatically conflicting. On that topic, I thought I would point you towards some excellent Christian resources that promote adoption and can provide you with some great testimony from families who are growing their families through adoption. Russell Moore, who has adopted all of his sons from Russia, has a blog ( where he has written nearly 100 times on the topic (just search adoption in the search tool). His book “Adopted for Life” is also excellent and I can’t recommend it enough if you are thinking of adopting. There is also a conference/ministry of pastors called Together for Adoption ( and they have great biblical resources & articles as well as conferences. David Platt is another pastor who is passionate about Christians adopting, and one of his books, Radical, contains the inspiring story of his entire church stepping up to adopt hundreds of foster children in their area. These are just a few that come to mind that have made an impact in my life, but there are so many resources on this topic if you are looking for them. I hope this is helpful in leading you to find that the precious topic of adotion is not being neglected by Christian families, and I hope that you will find encouragement in your own desire to possibly grow your family through adoption.

  9. I think I have to agree with Autumn. You missed the point of my question as well. I do believe God made us beautifully to create children, but did not create us to be baby machines. The woman I know is simply letting her responsibilities fall on others while she watches soap operas all day long. I think if you honestly read some of the things you wrote, Wemmick Girl, you would see that you do place emphasis on your opinion of having children no matter what the conditions, and trusting God. This leaves a bit of an arrogance or judmental perspective on those who don’t “trust God” as much as you or others who just keep pumping out children no matter what the consequences. Leaving a Bible verse for Autumn instead of answering her legitimate questions, also might leave a bitter taste for some of your readers.

    • “You missed the point of my question”

      Your question was, and I quote: “Any comments or advice?” I gave you some comments and advice, did I not?

      And I think your point was crystal clear. You have a friend(?) who YOU feel is taking advantage of everyone, including yourself. This is your personal opinion, but whether or not it is a reality is unknown to any of us reading. Your bedridden friend has not been given a voice here. You’ve ungraciously maligned and judged her character on a public blog, but the rest of us ought to give her the benefit of the doubt since she is not here to defend herself of your accusations.

      “This leaves a bit of an arrogance or judmental perspective” Yes, there is most definitely a judgmental “perspective” here. Yours. You judge her for watching soap operas. You judge women who love having children by rudely calling them “baby machines.” I haven’t said or written one negative thing about women who choose to do things differently. You are making that up in your own imagination as anyone who knows me or reads this blog can attest to. I happen to love and support women who make a different choice than I do. You, on the other hand, do not, based on your own negatively charged words.

      If anyone else reading this wants to read more of what I’ve written on this subject, I recommend my article here:

      “Leaving a Bible verse for Autumn instead of answering her legitimate questions, also might leave a bitter taste for some of your readers”
      I did answer her questions, one by one. You can read those above if you missed them. After my taking precious time to do so, she responded angrily and childishly, ending with “You honestly may have lost a faithful reader this evening!” (I could almost hear the “stomp stomp.”) There was nothing left to do at that point but give her a blessing and let her go. The blessing wasn’t from me. I’m just a sinful Wemmick. It’s from God’s Word, it is a blessing I give to my children every night before they go to bed, and it never leaves a bitter taste in their mouths, but rather blesses them, as it is supposed to do. Giving a blessing for a curse would only leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the unregenerate. Most folks here are believers who love the Lord and love His Word.

      I recommend the following book for your consideration, Natalie:

      I also recommend that everyone read this amazing and hilarious article about how to be a decent blog commenter here:

      And finally, I hate to do this, but I’m going to have to block you from commenting here again. Rant and rave if you will, but I don’t put up with nonsense, and this is what you and Autumn have resorted to. You have both behaved like fussy children, contributing nothing of worth, other than to be made as an example to the rest. There are literally thousands of blogs out there that will express things more to your liking. Have at them.

  10. Natalie, thank you again for an encouraging post! Encouraging not to *do* a certain thing except seek God in the subject and then give your own insights and experiences (such as all of the “what ifs”, I loved it!). This post really resonated with me (though not on number of children, God is knitting together number 3 as I write this).

    I had a distended-prolapsed uterus after the birth of my son in Dec. 2010 and then had sharp pain in the front of my pubic bone. The prolapse would return every time I would my son until it was completely healed one year later… well, I held him anyway and just dealt with the prolapse–how could I miss out? During that full year I also continued to experience the sharp pain my pubic bone, which I had never heard of before! I was afraid I had injured myself giving birth to my son, and that was why we spaced out having this child. After January 2012 I no longer felt the constant stabbing pain my pelvic floor, but it did come with using those muscles, and I still had no idea what it was or for how long I was to endure it. Without going on and on with a personal story, I just wanted to say that I began to experience the sharp pain and the “bulging” immediately with this pregnancy… literally! At just a few weeks pregnant I felt full-term. I began chiropractic care around 10 weeks pregnant. I also notice that sex uses the exact muscles needed to relieve that pain for a period of time. Though it may not feel comfortable at the time or even a day later, the discomfort completely goes away. I am also working daily at balancing needed rest with needed activity, as neither one is exclusively healing. There are things that will need to be done and I need to trust God in his plan. I am now 24 weeks pregnant and definitely feeling wonderful most of the time.

    I hope this was helpful to someone. I know it was a bit discombobulated as my two toddlers were coming to ask questions and I got distracted :)

    • I’m so glad you are feeling well again! I pray that your little one stays safe and that God gives you peace and endurance to run this race all the way to the end. Thank you for sharing your experience too. I know I’ve picked up on a LOT of information and “leads” just by hearing other moms talk about their experiences. In the old days, the older women always passed on what they knew. Now days it is harder to get that wisdom unless women are willing to share their lives.

  11. Natalie (Wemmick Girl),

    I think you have exercised great wisdom here, both in your post and in your responses. There is a dangerous tendency to villianize fruitful women, (women who aren’t “doing anything” except receiving the children God has given them), based on anecdotes of “someone I know”, etc.

    And as you pointed out, which I think is fundamental, when we truly see the gospel, understanding the joy in dying to self and serving, then even in extreme cases when a woman is bedridden as she carries an immortal soul, we DELIGHT in the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ to her and to the immortal soul she carries.

    I think of Paul and if we took this approach with him…”Paul, you know preaching Christ is against the law and if you would just shut up, you wouldn’t keep getting beaten and we wouldn’t keep having to bring you stuff in prison. Gah…you’re such a burden to us all.”

    Hardship is not a measure of whether we are in God’s will or not.

    And I think you’ve made it clear that you don’t believe that there is never a time when a couple might prayerfully delay or prevent children due to extreme health concerns. As is always the case with this issue, the fundamental principles must be grasped and then the tough decisions flow from there.

  12. Dear Ladies,

    This has been quite a lively discussion. My heart goes out to your emailer, who is going through testing times and I will pray for her strengthening and renewal in Jesus’ name.

    When I was in the world I was a medical doctor trained in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (UK). But I give thanks to Jesus’ Christ for saving both myself and my family from further wandering in the world and bringing me home to be help-meet for my husband and raise my children according to His will and direction. I have stopped practising because it was totally incompatible with my servanthood to and faith in Jesus Christ, based upon the Word Of God. Though challenging (much like a U-turn when you are doing 150MPH), God has constantly and consistently edified, rebuilt, re-purposed and shown his heart for us and our ministry to others through Him.

    As an Obs/Gynae I can understand how this 30 year old feels, I have met and treated many women who are incontinent with significant prolapse in their thirties some after fewer children. I have also seen my fair share of women with diastasis, musculoskeletal problems, endocrine issues and generally worn out. This was not the greatest advert for marriage and kids for a 24 year old surgeon in training but the fact of the matter was I did not know and trust Jesus and was walking according to the counsel of my own wicked heart and imaginations. I would probably have advised your emailer to have a coil and even put it in myself same day in the consulting room + chalked her up for an anterior/posterior pelvic floor/ slings or whatever was necessary to tighten up everything down there. (Note further pregs would impact the results of any surgery so I would be implicitly be telling this woman to complete her family as not to mess up my surgery and if she did prob seek a hysterectomy after the next baby) To me I thought that was being nice, plus a good bit of surgery to get on the logs. This is the thinking of many doctors because they do not know the Lord.

    The Lord recently took me through His word to examine the importance of the womb (while struggling with morning sickness at 4am) He assured me that not only would the exercise be a ministry to my current frailty but important research.

    What did I come away with? Understanding of the dominion and sovereignty of our Father over the womb. It is His place of special and secret work and purpose. In all the years of studying and practicing reproductive medicine it had never occurred to me to see what God’s word had to say and on reflection it would have changed many of my decisions and practice.

    7 things were related to me:

    1. Opening and closing-His sovereign control of fertility
    2. Ordination
    3. Sovereign craftmanship
    4. Sanctification and consecration unto Him therefore as parents we are charged with perpetuating this in our children keeping them from corruption
    5. A place of blessing and affirmation
    6. A place of life  and fruitfulness
    7. A place for the child of conciousness, feeling and hope

    The second thing He showed me was about the importance of us surrendering our bodies to His care (this Truth stands against all that my previous doctor self would have believed):
    Women understanding that by nature their bodies are not for themselves to give life, nuture and serve others.
    We are not in control of our bodies. In controlling the body medically or physiologically we are fighting against what it is meant to be and the purposes of the creator which is damaging
    Our bodies have a creator author and director
    Submission brings peace and optimum functioning (in the light of God’s perfect plan for our yielded lives)
    We are not independent not made to stand alone
    God has ensured that we understand that in some of our major reproductive life events – helplessness and suffering but lead us to surrender.

    Trust God is who he says he is he does not lie seek to harm and only wants the best for us – many have been deceived that God was not who he says he is by Satan. If we as women all functioned according to our Father’s will and in one accord (under direction of The Holy Spirit), families  – not just women – but FAMILIES would flourish with the care and support of others when needed in Christ. This does happen – I know it by personal testimony.

    God bless and keep you always in Christ Jesus!


    Thank God for His word!

    • WOW and AMEN!! THAT was encouraging! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us. I’m SO blessed! I hope people will be able to read it. I may have to publish it elsewhere so that the readers who already came and read this article will be able to read your comment. Many blessings to you!

  13. There’s so much good in here that I just don’t know where to start. Yes, on the NFP. If nursing can’t get your body some rest between babies, then it might be wise to go easy on your womb for a length of time mimicking the effects of exclusive nursing. My personal (and I think very Biblical) rule is: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it is, FIX IT! That’s a brokenness, and I’d take care of that in that way, probably.

    Also, this: “This means ignoring the crowds and going straight to the Source of wisdom and truth. If we decide to give our fertility to God because we run in circles that are doing that – but we have no real understanding or conviction behind those decisions – we will melt at the first obstacle.” I’ve had so many comments from people who decided to join the “quiverfull” “movement” (there ain’t no such thing!) because it was the new new holy thing-to-do and they’ve ended up bitter and angry at everyone else who has a bunch of kids. They joined what they perceived to be the next great fad, and then they found themselves miserable because they didn’t even know why they were doing this crazy thing.

    • Great point.

      “quiverfull” “movement” (there ain’t no such thing!)

      SO TRUE!! I wrote about that whole quiverfull thing in a prior post…(I think the link is above somewhere…no time to find it right now.)

  14. Wow, Natalie! This was such a good post and I was greatly encouraged by it. My heart goes out to women who are truly suffering through each pregnancy. I’ve had a couple of rough deliveries, one was posterior and one was an emergency c-section, but I have never experienced the type of pain these women have gone through. What I am able to attest to, though, is how much help the children are when they are older. I have 6 children. Three are teenagers and three are ages 6 and under. The last one was my only c-section and I had so much help from my teens. That really made my recovery go smoothly. They are great at helping with housework, cooking, and caring for their younger siblings. Now we have a family that enjoys working together. We are able to accomplish way more together than I ever could alone, even before I had children! I feel so blessed to have each one of them and wouldn’t trade a single one for anything. I’m in my 40s now and each pregnancy makes me wonder if it will be my last since menopause is just around the corner. I treasure each one, knowing that they grow up so quickly. Oh, and we can’t wait to have a houseful of grandchildren!!
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and all the wonderful Scripture references on this. God bless you!

    • So true Debbi! That is SUCH an important reminder – and hopefully encouraging for the younger moms who are truly in the most challenging “part” of motherhood. Thanks for bringing it up!

  15. This really blessed me today! I have been in a difficult season of both early and late miscarriages, and my doctor now has an educated ” guess” as to how to prevent them. It is not a diagnosis… but a guess, and sometimes that part is difficult to think about. I loved what you wrote about anxiety and the future. It really spoke to me.

    Blessings to you.

    • Dear Lisa, I’m so sorry for your losses, all the raised and dashed hopes, the waiting…it is such a lonely road. I will pray for you tonight…that He would give you grace to endure, but that He might also mercifully give you another child someday.
      “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

  16. Thank you very much for your gracious responses to hard questions. Thank you also for not making woman who may think and choose (slightly) different from you feel like big loser sinners. I won’t give you my sob story but I would like to thank you for not being mean or spiritually snobby and encouraging people to just go back to the Book and study things for themselves. We studied and felt a clear leading to follow a specific path one that isn’t always popular. Most writers just make me mad because they have no clue about the pain and suffering that can accompany childbearing
    (they just happen to breeze through it all) and for that matter parenthood. You didn’t make me mad.

    • Well, that’s encouraging, because I do make some folks mad…and I don’t want to! (Really!) I know too many women in “real life” with difficult situations, who have hearts that are wholly committed to the Lord – and who would have things be different if they could. Thank you for taking the time to leave an encouraging comment Colleen.

      And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)