Choosing to Have Children
We’d like to ask our sisters to respond to a question or two about how and when they choose to have children. We want your thoughts and experiences on this essential matter as research for an article in a study about LDS women’s experiences in the 20th century that is being created by the fellows of BYU’s Joseph Fielding Smith Institute. Can you help?
Here are some of the kinds of questions in which we’re interested. How many children do you or will you have? What factors have contributed to your decision regarding family size? Do or did you ever feel any pressure, spoken or unspoken about family size? If so, where does or did that pressure come from? What are your opinions regarding contraception? Have your views changed over time? How would you summarize the Church’s position on these issues? Please include your first name, your age, and the city where you live.
Share what you really feel. Here is a sample of some of the responses women have already shared on these issues.
Krissy from Salt Lake (age: 25)
“We’ve only been married three years, but people ask me all the time when we are going to have a baby. I feel like I have to make excuses for the fact that I am getting a master’s degree right now even though I know it is the right thing to do. There’s a lot of pressure.”
Madeline from Ogden (age:69)
“We started having children right after we were married because we wanted to. I wish I could have had more children. But, it is important to use common sense when it comes to having children. No woman should have as many children as she can biologically have.”
Colene from New York (age: 67)
“When we were married, before the birth control pill was around, my sister gave me a card that showed me how natural family planning worked. You see, even in 1955 ‘it’ was in the air. My mother said, “you don’t want to have a baby right away, you want to think about it.”
Heather from Sacramento (age:33)
“I feel that being a mother is a privilege and a duty that I have as a healthy woman who has been blessed with the knowledge of the Gospel. We are following the counsel that we have been given not to put off our family and I know that we are being blessed for it.”
Susan from Bloomington (age: 27)
“I am going to have all my babies by the time I’m thirty so that I can be a young mom and play with my kids. Then I can serve the Lord and build the kingdom in other ways when I am older and my kids are grown..”
Jeannette from Newark (age: 33)
“As members of the Church we feel we need to replenish the earth. How far we’re supposed to multiply is my question. I don’t know I could possibly manage to have five children, but I do. How many will I end up with? I don’t feel terribly adequate as a mother. I feel like they’re missing out on having a happier mother, but I’m always rushing around changing a diaper or nursing a baby or stopping a quarrel. Sometimes I wonder if God expects me to have baby after baby or does he expect us to use our free agency and our intelligence to decide for ourselves? We have read the church’s statement on birth control so many times that it is dog-eared.”
Now, we want to hear from you. In a short or longer answer, what has your experience been?