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There Were 10 In The Bed

 And the Little One Said…

We have a new member in our family.  On March 16th we were blessed with our 10th living child.  After a very difficult and scary delivery we welcomed Jacob Liam into the world.  Unfortunately, because of an emergency situation only my husband and I were able to be in the room when he was delivered via cesearen section (and I was not conscious for it!).   We had brought two of our daughters with us to witness the birth and to welcome him into the world with us.  They understood though and were great helpers after his birth while I was in the hospital, still, it was a disappointment to both myself and my daughters that they didn’t get to witness Jacob’s birth.

Normally after the birth of our children my husband goes home to bring the others to the hospital to see us.  We take our first family picture as a “bigger” family there at the hospital and we get great candid shots of each of the kids holding the newest little one.  Unfortunately, this time, given the circumstances the kids were not able to come to the hospital to see the new baby or to see me.  This was disappointing for the bigger kids but was traumatic for the little ones.  They wondered where I went and when I’d be home.  They wanted to see me.  Some of them understood about having a new baby but others just really didn’t quite get that concept yet.  It would take seeing and holding their new brother to really understand.

Finally I was well enough to go home.  While I was “well enough” I actually wasn’t.  It was going to take some time at home healing as well.  I was on strict bed rest and was on medicines that would make my pain subside.  The little ones didn’t know what to make of it.  Here I was finally at home but I couldn’t do anything to help in their care nor could I do much of anything at all but sleep.  The bigger kids were prepped to know how I would be when I got home from the hospital and how they would have to help out.  They knew just how dire my situation had been while giving birth and were just thankful that I was coming home.  They knew it could have been much different.

Often times when we have a big change in our family life our children, especially littler ones, wonder where they will fit in in the “new order”.  The birth of a baby is huge event in the life of a family.  It changes everything… mama and daddy are preoccupied with a new little one-  there is crying and fussing and arms that are full of someone else now, there are bottles and pacifers and poopy diapers, there is exhaustion and grumpiness and less patience, if there was a traumatic birth like mine then there is time spent healing and unable to do anything.    Sometimes that can make a little one (or a bigger one too) feel left out and unloved.

Over the years we have been so fortunate that when we have added a new child to our family that we’ve never experienced sibling rivalry or children who are mad that the newest one is here.  I think that while we may be “lucky” we have also done things to help insure that the older children will be secure in our love for them.  Beside the regular prep for when a new sibling is going to arrive we constantly reaffirm our love through playing, singing, praying, talking with and routinely spending one on one time with each of our kids.  But when we can’t do things one on one with them we don’t fret over it.  We know that as our family grows that the children have more and more people to love them and to show them attention.  There are constantly arms to hold, hands to help, and siblings to play with.   A big family means more hearts to be open to loving each other.

I know that having a lot of children is not for everyone.  I would never tell anyone that they must have a big family.  I know that having 10 children seems insane to some and paradise to others.  I know that not all are equipped with the patience, time, or energy it takes to take care of so many little lives.  I will say though that being open to God’s will in our lives, particularly to the blessing of children, has been the greatest thrill of my life.   As Catholics we are not called to have the biggest families on the block nor to reproduce irresponsibly, but we are called to be open to God’s love and God’s plans within our lives.  If we have no grave reason we are called to be open to life.  I wish I could convey through words how much joy, how much love, and how much contentment that living my life this way has brought not only me but those around me.  You see, not only does God bless my husband and I with each child, but He blesses everyone around us as well.  These children touch the lives of others and bring God’s love and joy to them as well.

I am writing this post to ask you to consider opening your lives to God’s blessings of life.  While the time might not be “right” right this moment and you may have a grave reason to abstain, I do ask you to pray about God’s calling for you.  Life is so precious.  It is such a great gift that we are able to be God’s helpers in this process.  The joy and love that comes from bringing a child into your family, whether through birth or through adoption, is life changing.  You may not think you are cut out to being completely open to God’s will when it comes to your reproduction, I know my husband didn’t think he was when we first were married, but the graces and blessings that come from it are life changing.   I look around me with awe and wonder and ask God why I deserve so many beautiful blessings in my life.   I always pray that God will help me be worthy of such a life.   I am blessed.  I am happy.  I am loved.   My arms and heart are full.  I can’t imagine any other way to live my life.

There were ten in the bed and the little one said, “I’m home at last!”

 

 

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About Michelle Fritz

Michelle Fritz is a daughter of God, a cradle Catholic, a Georgia peach, a devoted wife of almost 30 years to amazing husband Mike, and an eclectic homeschooling mother to eleven living children. She has experienced the loss of 16 babies in her call to be open to life, but knows that God is always loving and always gracious. She and her husband know that they have an army of Saints already in heaven! In addition to her vocation as wife, mom, and homeschool teacher she also holds a Masters in Theology and has recently taken on the role of Youth Minister for both the middle school and high school groups at her parish.

  • Colleen - Beautiful! 🙂April 14, 2012 – 7:49 amReplyCancel

  • Megan - Congratulations! You have a beautiful family! I’m new to the Church (confirmed April 7, 2012) and have just recently in August 2011 learned how harmful and out of sync with God birth control is With that being said… What are grave reasons to abstain? I know NFP is acceptable if there is a grave reason. Thanks!April 14, 2012 – 7:59 amReplyCancel

  • Mary - Megan – the church has left the discernment of what constitutes a grave reason to each couple, as it may vary from one couple to another and it would be impossible to list all possible grave reasons. It is wise to consult with a trusted priest as well as prayerfully considering whether the situation you’re facing as a couple is a grave reason to avoid conception. We are called to be open to life, but also to be responsible parents so we must consider our physical, mental/emotional and financial abilities to care for our children. It’s a bit of a balancing act between being logical and practical and trusting God to provide what we need. Also, while avoiding pregnancy, we are encouraged to work towards removing or correcting whatever reason has us abstaining. Hope that helps some!!April 14, 2012 – 6:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Congratulations on your son. What a beautiful, encouraging piece! You forgot to mention how handsome your husband is — also, you both look way too young to have ten children.April 15, 2012 – 1:38 amReplyCancel

  • Michelle - Megan, I think Mary gave a great response… our reasons for abstaining (or using NFP) can vary and it’s best to consult not only a trusted spiritual advisor (perhaps your priest) but also talk about it and pray with your husband. Physical illnesses, financial problems or just being able to adequately provide for your family may be some of those reasons. For my family, financial concerns have not been an issue… not because we have lots of money, in fact, we are considered “poor” by societies standards especially given our large family size, but we have always trusted that God will provide for our needs (and He always has!) but for you that might be a grave reason.

    Thank you for the compliments on our family (and on my husband and myself!). We are so very blessed to have each other and such a wonderful community who cherishes the lives of each of our children. What a wonderful faith community we have that respects and upholds the lives of even the tiniest ones!April 16, 2012 – 7:42 pmReplyCancel

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