On having children

Hello everyone! I’m 18 years old and am in the process of converting to Catholicism. I have seen how some Catholics have such large families, and I love it. I personally feel that God is calling me to be a husband and father to many children. However, I don’t know what the best way to go about it is. When is the right time? How much money is enough? Anyone who has a large family, I would very much appreciate your advice. Thank you all for your time and consideration.

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You are to be commended for your heroism. Thank you for answering the call. I am just getting started with two kids so I may not be the best qualified to answer but you will soon get lots of suggestions.

I do think that if you know Catholics who have large families, you’re likely in the right place already.

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If you want to be able to support a large family comfortably you might want to choose a career field that pays decently/provides job security/provides opportunities for advancement. Jobs in engineering, technology, business, healthcare usually provide some job security if you have a degree and the skills to advance in the field. Skilled trades can also provide a decent income. People are successful in other fields as well although there may be less demand or fewer higher paying jobs.

You still have time though and you should find something you enjoy at least a little. Just focus on developing your skills and maturing as you are young and don’t need to have it all figured out.

However, you obviously can’t become a father and husband until you find a wife. And you could be in your early 20s or even 40s by the time you get married, if you do. You should hopefully spend at least a couple years dating before marriage especially if you are younger. Also, many people do not want very large families even among faithful Catholics and it will depend a lot on your wife how many you have. There is also infertility or illness or death or other difficulties that might prevent you from having as many kids as you want. I’d also consider the potential children and the effect on them. Make sure that they can be provided with adequate parental attention and love as that can get more difficult as you have more.

I am one of 10 kids and I honestly don’t think most people should strive for a large family even if you have the means. It is especially hard if you have children who may require extra attention or assistance. It’s just not really possible in my opinion for two people to raise that many kids alone unless maybe they are really spread apart

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Be willing to also live plainly. We have a family member that has 12 children. He was a teacher until he retired from that and then he worked at Wal-Mart. Most of their children have gone to college and have good jobs. They lived very plainly. Not easy but doable. And the most important thing is your wife will have to be all on board with you and you will have to work together to do what’s best for a large family.

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Thank you for your advice! Yes I will indeed make sure that my future wife and I are on the same page in all things, that’s part of becoming one is all about. Yes I am planning on going to law school, so debt is going to be an issue, but I’ll figure it out. Thank you for your time.

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I don’t know about heroism, but it is vitally important that people, especially Catholics, have families. In a world where having children is considered a burden and even an evil, we must be lights in the darkness. Thank you for your time, and good luck with your children!

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Hi Alex,

I came from a great extended family of seven aunts and uncles, and many cousins. We all lived not too far from one another, and most lived in buildings that had apartments of two or four.
Holidays were such great fun, and there was cooperating in the cooking and sharing of food. My grandfather made saw horses and got a large piece of lumber to make a table down in the basement where we celebrated the large family holiday gatherings.

When I met my husband-to-be we both felt the same way about having a large family.
We had eight children, four boys and four girls. I am now a widow and a great-grandmother, with the fifth great-grandchild due at the end of November.

One doesn’t have to be wealthy and overly concerned about the education of their children. We couldn’t help our children financially, and four of them went to college, and the other four are doing fine, three having started their own businesses, and one working for a company and selling some of her art work on the side.

My husband drove a truck from airport to nearby deliveries, and I was a stay-at-home mom. We learned a lot along the way on how to be thrifty, and stretch the food budget.

Oh yes…I had to learn to pray a lot!

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Yes I do think that living modestly is very important, and I would not have been okay with that before I came to know Christ. Yes it is very important that both husband and wife are on the same page in all things, and I will make sure that the woman I marry is called to be a mother and a wife. That is what being one is all about. Thank you for your time!

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I may not be the best to answer but when you’re blessed with a child, you’re blessed with a child. I suggest keeping hand me downs to save money. Consider having your own garden to cut down the cost of produce.

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Thank you for your advice! It is humbling to listen to someone who has so much more experience than me, us young people can be guilty of being over-idealistic. Yes I do think that people over emphasize the amount of money that it takes to raise children, I think that they are accounting for college and such. But today more than ever it is easier to get an education without having to open the king’s coffers. Once again thank you for your time and wisdom!

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Yes I could not agree more. Children are a blessing, and it is sad that many do not feel the same way. I used to think that there was no other option than to use contraception. Then I remembered that people have been doing it for almost all of human history. Thank you for your suggestions and your time!

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One word of warning!

You will probably never feel like you can afford your children…especially the first one. But…you will find a way. Unless you start out with a great income…most don’t…you will think, “how can I afford a child?”

Then, you have one and you make it work! Learning self denial and frugal living are great tools that you either have or quickly learn when children enter the household. If everyone waited to have children until they thought they could afford them, we’d have very few children!

You and your wife will probably want to learn about Natural Family Planning because it’s so useful for not only spacing your children but also having them! Classes will be found through your parish.

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Thank you for your words of wisdom! Yes, that’s why it was so hard for me to decide when the right time is to have children. But I do think that you are right and you won’t really know until you start, and then you’ll figure it out. Its just important to make sure that you are being responsible. Yes living frugally is very important when keeping your priorities straight. I didn’t know that there was any other way other than contraception until I learned about NFP so that was a Godsend. Thank you for your time!

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I was happy to share all that.

God’s blessings to you!

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Yup, so much of our culture is so for contraception. Thankfully the Church is a bastion and bulwark of truth, warning against the unnatural, immoral practice.
Children have always been a blessing, it’s a real turnaround, seeing some things presented in the culture you’d think they’re a curse! It’s so odd. I guess it’s because of the hyper individualist focus we have.
Anyway, the big thing to keep in mind is to be a family. You know, have a good relation with everyone in the family. Pray together, teach the kids well. Have a warm, organic family structure. Experience will probably be big.

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We were open to a large family initially, but ended up with just two daughters–pregnancy and being awake with newborns took a huge toll on me. I’m just no good when I haven’t slept for 6-8 hours straight with no interruptions. I get sick to my stomach.

My daughter and her husband wanted 6 children, but after 12 years of marriage and several surgeries for endometriosis, she is finally pregnant. Praise God for the St. Paul VI Fertility Clinic doctors!

So their plans for a large family didn’t work out, although I supposed it’s possible that she could still have several more babies. We’re just praying that this little one stays safe and arrives at his/her proper time (not early!).

I’ve known lots of people, Protestant and Catholics, with large families. My mother came from a family of 11 children, and she always loved children and did babysitting in our home.

My suggestions as you prepare:

  1. Avoid becoming addicted to anything! I’m sure you’re saying , “Well, of course I’m not into drugs or alcoholism.” Good, but I’m talking about ANYTHING–for me, it was and still is soda (pop). For some, it’s television, or video games, or bingo, or shopping, or food. The problem with addictions is that they cost money (which you will not have much of while you are raising children), and they demand your attention (which means that your children don’t have your full attention at times) . Think about it this way–is it more important that you indulge in your addiction, or that you pay for your children to attend their parish school and find time to get involved at the school?

  2. Read Dr. James Dobson’s books on childrearing. He’s not Catholic, but he’s the best. Go ahead and read Dr. Popchak’s books, too (he IS Catholic), but Dobson’s stuff really works and you will ENJOY raising children when you follow his methods. Read these books long before you have children so that you and your wife can discuss how you both feel about child-rearing.

  3. Follow your child’s “natural bent.” This is an old-fashioned term, but it basically means to observe your child and discover what he/she LOVES to do and is somewhat good at. It might be sports, or the arts, or academics, or gardening, or caring for animals, or faith activities (like prayer, memorizing Scripture)–whatever it is, follow it and allow your child to enroll in classes, teams, clubs, or whatever will encourage them to development their natural bent to its full extent. And whatever you do, do NOT force your child to do something that YOU love that they clearly do NOT love.

Enjoy life! Enjoy the search for Mrs. alexvat02! And enjoy your children someday!

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And God does provide. Amazingly when needed, things become available.

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You know, this is a great story. My mother came from a big family, too.

But:

As I said in a post in another thread a while ago, the situation today is different. Your children’s needs would be different today. Today they might need a home computer, a cell phone, and other things. They don’t absolutely “need” those things, but they’ll be at a serious disadvantage in their education and career if they don’t have them.

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Hi,

It’s so wonderful that you wish to have a large family!

My ideas are probbaly the most helpful as I live in Europe (in a country that offer more social protection than in the US) and only have two youngs children.

Yet, first, I will suggest you to befriend with some parents with large families, and talk to them.The experiences will probably not be transposable to your situation, but you may find some links between the profile of this large farmilies.

  1. work

The commom patern here of Catholics families where I live is they have made more post graduate intellectual studies, have better jobs and better pay than the average population.

Enginering carrers are particularly popular for Catholics husbands. Almost all of them in my area are enginers. Why? because engineers are people who have a high pay, have often job security, and are more stable emotionally than others ,on the average. (It may not be true where you live, on on our national level, engineers men are the professionals who are the less likely to divorce).

Yet, I know some others fields where you can find some large Catholic families, such as executives, physicians, teachers and sometimes farmers…

I believe (by experience) that job security is much more important than a high pay.

  1. wife

Find a woman who truly want a large family. It is unlikely that you will change her mind. Don’t make the same mistake I do.

The better: a wife that have the ability to work hard and sacrifice for her family. Organization skills, even if it’s not essential, but his lack can be make the family life difficult, and disgust people to have a large family after they start having children. Maybe start to see how her home (or her bedroom, if she still lives with her family) is organized. You should not excpted she will do better with you.

You should know if you have a preference before finding a wife:
a stay at home one (it will make the family life easier, and not planning children too) and if you have enough to allow it. In this case I will focus on a wife with instruction and religious devotion and avoid a carrer oriented woman.
Or if you are okay with your wife working (that will increase your budget, but will make your schedule more complicated).
You both should agree before, otherwise there will be conflict.

  1. preparation.

Don’t marry unless you are ready to have children.

Consider to be financially prudent. It is crucial if you are not certain to have a very high pay in the future. if you were be able to live with your parents for eg. Your money should be oriented toward carrer/studies, to find a wife and maintain your spiritual life/church.

being owner versus tenant.

having a garder to grow our own vegetables. (And don’t forget that when we have babies, the garden will be neglet by her!)

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Yes she is a beacon to what it means to be Catholic by defending the faith so ardently in front of those who choose to slander her for it. Thank you for your time!

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