Three Decades of Fertility: Ten Ordinary Women Surrender to the Creator and Embrace Life
This book is a captivating read for the simple reason that these women have continually said ‘Yes!’ to bringing new babies into this world at ages that most women would not. You’ve probably got the image of the Duggers on your brain by now, thinking that having babies into your late thirties and forties is a ridiculous concept. Not so for these brave souls! I’m not going to tell you that I understand what’s it like to go through pregnancy or to have multiple children, being a man that’s impossible, but I will tell you that these stories are about women of faith, who believe in the work of a Mighty God, and who would go to bat for every one of their children. Rather than capture the entire book, I hope to give you some highlights of the book that let you in on the experience of these women.
This might seem a bit unordinary but one of my favorite sections of the book came from a quote by Camron in the first chapter. She writes, “…waiting to have children until you are “ready” may sound like a good idea but in reality does not stand the test. In reality, a man responds to the heat of the crucible by growing in his ability to meet responsibility” (69). How does a couple know that they are ready? Surely not by the amount of money in the bank account, because you can never account for the things that happen with having kids, only the monthly expenses early on. Camron is right in that the proposal that you have to be “ready” before you have children will not hold. I do want to push back a little here and say that if both couples aren’t on the same page about being prepared emotionally, spiritually, and financially for a new baby, there can be some strain when the baby comes because some of these issues haven’t been approached. But, Cameron is right in that a man steps up his game as the time comes for him to do so gets hotter.
The chapter by Jeanette Paulson brought us into the experience of a young mother trying to raise children with some help. At one point, Jeanette writes, “…I ran a child centered home – seeking to please my children in all things and to never cross them except in cases of great danger. This child rearing method makes motherhood a dismal affair” (87). This is a tough point for both mothers and fathers, knowing when to serve and love your children and how to take responsibility. Pleasing our children almost comes without saying, but as Jeanette realized, this doesn’t lead to a good home environment. Jeanette was quick to take responsibility and knew that by doing so she would be doing right for her kids. I can almost imagine it’s a very difficult thing to try to please your children anyway, when multiple kids are in the house.
I think mothers will greatly benefit from this book and the encouragement to stay the course in child rearing. Even more, there is a picture of faith here that is unwavering even through the tough times of life. I will indicate to some readers that many of these women have very strong views on having births at home instead of at a hospital, Pitocin, homeschooling, and other issues. I certainly didn’t agree on some of these issues but it was worth reading to find out why these mothers took such a strong stance.
Thanks to Visionary Womanhood and Cross Focused Reviews for the complimentary review copy of this book in exchange for review.