|Family of 3|
|Family of 4|
|Family of 5|
|Family of 6|
If Dong had his way, we'd only have one child. We would have stopped at Therese.
|At Creative Explorers - 2010|
When I got pregnant with the third, I changed my mind... Okay, three. But that's it! No more! Quota na!
|Therese, Andre, and Reuben at the grocery (NO Room for real groceries!)|
|The giggly, eternally smily Isabelle Veronica :D|
If you read my earlier post on PMS, I mentioned there that my greatest paranoia at the moment was that I could be pregnant... AGAIN.
Turns out I was delayed all right. Delayed by nearly a week! (Whacked-out hormones from still breastfeeding at 8 months.) I really thought I was pregnant with our fifth... although we have been so careful in counting (!) and practiced self-control (!) and all that. Dong said, I could not possibly be pregnant save for an Immaculate Conception! He was right. I am not pregnant, just delayed. My PMS or PMDD symptoms have abated too. Yahoo! :)
Here in the Philippines, for several years now, the topic on the extremely controversial RH (Reproductive Health) Bill has caused the mostly Catholic Flipino population, to reassess their faith. There are the Pro-Life (those against the RH Bill) vs the Pro-Choice (those for the RH Bill).
|"Obey God's Will-- NO TO RH BILL"|
|"Kill the RH Bill Before It Kills the Filipino Family"|
|"Respect Life from Womb to Tomb - supports anti-RH Bill"|
|Another rally against the Reproductive Health Bill|
There have been sooooo many rallies of pro-lifers (Anti-RH Bill) as opposed to the pro-RH or pro-choice.
|Partido ng Manggagawa Rally - Right to RH is Workers' Right to Health|
|"RH Programs Can Reduce Maternal Deaths yet 11 Women Die Every Day: DO BISHOPS CARE?"|
That said, when I was pregnant with Isabelle Veronica, my namesake, I kept it a secret for three months. For the most part of my pregnancy, especially in the early part, I was:
- ashamed to be pregnant again. I felt that people would judge against me. (Malandi! Lagi na lang buntis! What a flirt! She always gets herself pregnant!)
- wary for our children's future (schooling, food, diapers, etc...)
- embarrassed to be contributing to the already ballooning Philippine population (96.71 million and counting)
- angry that my pregnancy would make me slow down in my career
- depressed over having to gain weight all over again and go through the whole pregnancy bit for the fourth time just when I have slimmed down!
Pregnancy Progress of Isabelle Veronica
In short, I did not possess God's Spirit in me. All that I felt was from the enemy, obviously -- fear, anger, self-pity, shame, depression... I was oppressed and tormented for a loooong time. Poor baby Isabelle! Her mommy was too selfish! :(
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
1:7 Sapagka't hindi tayo binigyan ng Dios ng espiritu ng katakutan; kundi ng kapangyarihan at ng pagibig at ng kahusayan.
During this seemingly long trial, I got hold of my book, LIES WOMEN BELIEVE by Nancy Leigh De Moss, once more. This was the book that my husband gave me at the beginning of our marriage. I read and re-read the whole chapter on THE LIES WOMEN BELIEVE ABOUT CHILDREN.
Topping that chapter is the LIE that:
"IT'S UP TO US TO DETERMINE THE SIZE OF OUR FAMILY"
Allow me to quote some of her thoughts on the matter. It is very rich and enlightening.
"God is the Creator, Author and Giver of life. Not surprisingly, as the sworn enemy of God, Satan HATES life. He has always sought to destroy it. He persuaded Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, knowing that if they did, they would die, as God had promised.
As a destroyer of life, Satan is definitely not into encouraging childbearing. Every child that is born has a potential to thwart his purposes by receiving God's grace and becoming a subject of the kingdom of God. So, anything that hinders or discourages women from fulfilling their God-given calling to be bearers and nurturers of life furthers Satan's efforts.
|Number Four and Number One|
Abortion, infanticide... are examples of life-destroying practices that have become widely tolerated in our culture. Bible-refuting Christians are generally quick to refute such blatantly evil practices. However, many have to come to accept a number of philosophies and practices that are subtly "anti-children" and "anti-life."
One of the fundamental tenets of feminist ideology has always been the right of a woman to determine for herself if and when she will have children and how many children she will have.
The Christian world has been unwittingly influenced by this way of thinking, leading to the legitimization and promotion of such practices as contraception, sterilization, and "family planning." As a result, unwittingly millions of Christian women and couples have helped to further Satan's attempts to limit human reproduction and thereby destroy life.
The process by which most people -- even "believers" -- determine the size of their family is often driven by fear, selfishness, and natural, human reason:
"How will we ever provide for more children? We're barely making ends meet, as it is. What about college tuition?"
"I can't physically handle more children, I am exhausted trying to take care of the two I already have."
"I just don't have the patience to handle a lot of children."
"If we have more children, we won't have enough time for us as a couple."
"My friends (or parents) will think we're crazy if we have more kids. They already think we have too many."
"If we were to let the Lord decide how many children we should have, we'd have two dozen kids!"
The world says, "Children are a burden." God's Word says children are one of the greatest blessings He can give a couple. (Psalm 127:3-5) Yet we look up to heaven and say, "God, please don't send any more blessings!" "
|Therese, Number 1 and Andre, Number 2|
I am ashamed to admit that even till now, as proof of my crazy antics just very, very recently, as in just the past week recently, I still have not given up to God, full control over how many children He wants us to have.
|Duggar Family Blog|
I even wrote a whole six-pages-long (personal) paper on why I wanted to have myself ligated ('Torn About Being Tied') after my fourth child -- only to end up, battling with my conscience a few days before delivery, and asking repentance from God, and NOT PUSHING through with it come delivery day.
I figured, my FERTILITY is a gift from God. With so many childless couples I know, who would do anything and everything to bear even just one child, I felt guilty and ashamed to have even contemplated on relinquishing this gift. The word that went in my mind again and again, was "mutilation." The Catholic Church considers ligation "a mutilation of the body".
|Andre, Number 2|
- I will mutilate my body, just to stop the fear.
- I will mutilate my body just so I can be in control of my body.
- I will mutilate my body so I can be in control of our family size.
- I will mutilate my body so I can no longer be pregnant, ever again.
In case you yourself, dear sister have had a ligation, it is not my position nor my intention to judge against YOU, just to make myself clear here. It is really between you and God. However, for me, since my conscience could not take it, I went by the saying, "When in doubt, DON'T." so, I didn't.
I did not want to live with regret my whole life. Ligation can be undone or tubes re-tied but at a huge cost. I also had to search deep within my heart and soul, to find out why I was having myself ligated. When I found out that it was simply because of selfish reasons, I opted to not push through with it.
|Number 3, Reuben with a chocolate-covered mouth|
In the practical sense, it really is very, very costly to have many children in this day and age, especially in a third world country such as the Philippines where education and medical help are not free. Here too, for some reason, the poor people multiply the fastest and the most (from 5 children to as many as 11 or more!) and the rich or middle class have few children or none at all.
I feel you dear sisters, when you say, you just want the best for your children. Who wants to be overburdened with hungry mouths that we may not be able to feed, right? Who would want to risk not being able to provide for the little ones, and get blamed later on in life if they did not get the best education that we would have been able to provide were they not too many?
I am one with you in still letting go of that fear. I am not out of the woods, yet. I still carry with me that kind of "practical thinking" that actually is contrary to the Lord's Teachings... I still battle with it every time I feel I might get pregnant again or when I actually am. :(
|Pregnant with our second child, Andre - 2007|
I pray that there will come a time when we no longer have fear in our hearts over having a baby, or another baby, or a sixth or even 19th baby (!)... just like in the days of old when children were considered "a heritage from the Lord and the fruit of the womb, a reward." (Psalm 127:3), and not a burden and even worse, a curse. :(
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
|Isabelle Veronica -- Happy 8th monthsary baby! :)|
13 Ang anumang aking sangkap, ikaw O Diyos ang lumikha,
sa tiyan ng aking ina'y hinugis mo akong bata.
14 Pinupuri kita, O Diyos, marapat kang katakutan,
ang lahat ng gawain mo ay kahanga-hangang tunay;
sa loob ng aking puso, lahat ito'y nakikintal.
15 Ang buto ko sa katawan noong iyon ay hugisin,
sa loob ng bahay-bata doo'y iyong napapansin;
lumalaki ako roong sa iyo'y di nalilihim.
16 Ako'y iyong nakita na, hindi pa man isinilang,
batid mo kung ilang taon ang haba ng aking buhay;
pagkat ito'y nakatitik sa aklat mo na talaan,
matagal nang balangkas mong ikaw lamang ang may alam.
* The wonderful well-lit pics are done by Mr. and Mrs. Nards Coll :) http://www.brownsugarphotography.com/