"Are they BOTH yours?" The host at Applebee's fairly cringed when I walked in the door with my one year old on my hip and my 2 year old in tow. My coat slipped open as I bent over to wipe my daughter's nose.
"OH MY GOD!" He exclaimed. "You're PREGNANT!"
"Yup." I responded, really just wanting him to do his job and take me to a table rather than gawking over my reproductive choices.
"Well, you've been busy" He turned on his heel and led us to a table in the back-- furthest from any other customers. I sighed in relief when he walked away, settling into my booth and getting my children situated in the booster seat and high chair provided.
"Hey I'm Nick. I'll be your server today." I look up and see the same host who brought us to our table. Great. He's going to be my waiter. Well, maybe he's gotten all his gawking out of the way and now he'll just take my order and get on with it.
"So you look awfully young to have so many kids. How old are you anyway?" No such luck. Uh oh. He's not done.
"I'm 22."
"WHOA! You ARE young! That is just crazy. So, I mean, why?" Why? Really? Does he really want to get personal? Should I launch into a 10 minute explanation of the fact that I'm super fertile and seem to fall pregnant as easily as I blink my eyelids? Should I tell him how most women stop ovulating while they're breastfeeding but my body continues to have a cycle, meaning that I become fertile again very shortly after delivering my babies? Should I tell him that I'm not all that comfortable with hormonal forms of birth control and that in my research I've found that the ways in which it prevents pregnancy are questionable at best and contradict my views on life and its very value? Should I just laugh him off and tell him I like sex? Should I get angry with him and just tell the kid to mind his own business and serve me my lunch? Should I call security? 

I'm ashamed to say I didn't have a good answer for him. To be honest, he caught me off guard. I gave him some ridiculous answer about wanting to have my kids close together so they'd grow up close. True, but not the best thing I could have said, I'm sure. I think anyway he got the message that I wasn't interested in talking about it. And other than a few smart comments throughout the meal about how messy my kids were, he mainly shut up.

But he got me thinking.

So, why?

Why am I due to have 3 kids under 3 just after my 23rd birthday?

All those reasons I thought up in my head certainly have something to do with it. But are any of them really the underscore? Do any of them truly define the reason my family is growing as rapidly as it is? No. I don't suppose they do. None of those reasons offer enough conviction and motivation to choose and continue a radical life style.

At the end of the day, whenever my husband and I discuss the size of our family, or the speed at which we are adding to it, there is one thing and one thing only that comes out of both our mouths.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed..." -Psalm 127:3-5

I don't know how many children we will have. I don't know what God will show us over the coming months and years in regards to our family. But what I do know unwaveringly, is this: 

Children are NOT merely an inconvenience.
Children are NOT an unnecessary expense.
Children are NOT a curse.
Children are NOT an accident.

God is clear on this point. Children ARE a blessing. A REWARD. An inheritance. Who doesn't want all those things? 

My life is messy. My home is messier. My eyes are heavy. My back aches. I don't have it all figured out. I might look like a walking poster ad for birth control. I might be the image that causes people to shudder because they think my life looks so rough. I might be pitied by people for the tolls that pregnancy and child rearing have taken on my body and my time. I might be the example held up of why others want to wait to conceive, or why they want to space their children.

Why did people hug me, jump up and down with joy and slap my husband on the back when we got pregnant with our first.... but then look at us with apologetic eyes when we announced both our second and third pregnancies?

I even question this life so many times a day. If you read my last post, you know that loss of self is one of the hardest things for me about motherhood. I struggle. I falter. 

But in the eyes of the Lord? The only perspective that will ever truly matter? I know what I am because it is spelled out plainly in my Creator's words in Psalm 127:3-5. This is my credo. My hope. My motivation.

I am: 



Carrie said...

I love this! You are a wonderful, Mama, and I am so happy for you and your beautiful little family :)

LeAnna said...

I love this! Even though I briefly wanted to punch your waiter in the face. You are a walking testimony to a curious world about what a real family is all about. Perhaps his curiosity was a lackluster way of calling you blessed. ;) Howerver, I would have paid money to hear you tell him you just really like sex. HA!

In all seriousness, though, delight in this heritage you've been given, Mama. You are an encouragement to the minority, one that values children more than the stuff they can buy.

Emy Roo :) said...

As always, a beautifully written and inspiring post from a gorgeous woman of God! :)
I love reading your posts Claire! Your honesty and vulnerability is so beautiful. (And I'm pretty sure I say this every time!)

Everytime I cry and I feel God's love for me and children as well.
Everytime it brings me hope for this next generation! Such amazing mothers are being raised up and becoming more and more aware of how important and blessed children are in the eyes of the Lord.

I love how bold and unashamed you are in the midst of the criticism and curiosity. I agree with LeAnna's comment about their curiosity being a form of calling you blessed. Your children will surely call you blessed (the exact verse in Proverbs escapes me at this time)!

I pray that someday when it comes my turn to be a mother I can glean from your examples! Thank you for your faithfulness and obedience in posting these! :)

I love you and your ever growing family Claire Bear! :)

p.s. every time I hear of another pregnancy of yours I wish you could see and hear my initial reactions! I always leap and scream for joy over the new life that you get to bring into the world! :)

Rachel said...

Hi, I came over via LeAnnas tweet.

I seriously would have prolly got up and left.
But, yes! God is in control, and we are going along for the wonderful ride, and doing good for Him!
Loved this!

Andrea said...

That's beautiful, Claire. What a wonderful mama's heart. xoxo

Meg A. said...

Oh my word! I can't believe your waiter! But I like the "I love sex" response best!! DO that next time, pretty please?! LOL. Claire, you are beautiful inside and out and you are a blessed mama!

Natalie said...

Bless you and your sweet family! Our best friends had their first 3 in under 3 years as well and people would do the same thing to her all the time! I remember once in a store when she was pregnant with her third and had the other two in a stroller, a salesperson came up and said 'Oh my, you just have your hands SO full, I'm SO sorry!' And she just respnded, 'I'm not! I'm SO blessed!' Children are such a reward and blessing!

Callie Nicole said...

You ARE blessed, Claire, and don't let foolish people make you feel otherwise. And remember that there is a whole other group of people that look at you, with your thrice-blessed family, and they don't feel anything except a desire to have what you've got. Not everyone is judging. :-)

Beka said...

Oh girl! You are such an inspiration. I do not just say that to LIFT YOUR SPIRIT, but I do want a "bigger" family and I can so relate! I laughed when I read the part about how everyone was so happy with the first and were COMPLEXED by the 2nd and 3rd! :)

God knows exactly what HE is doing! I'm so happy for you to have your babies. GOd is in the SMALL and BIG things in life when we follow HIM..... He is going to bless you so much and I am proud to call you my friend. I love that you are a "YOUNG" Momma. You have conviction and I know your kids are being raised LOVED and CHERISHED. You can tell by the way you right that GOD IS IN YOUR BEING! He is IN YOU. YOu are apart of WHO GOD IS... You are an inspiration!


Natalie said...

I'm sorry you had to deal with that rude waiter...I'm not sure why people feel the need to get in a stranger's business. I have never approached a stranger and said anything like this. Ugh makes me mad!

Melissa said...

I was nodding vigorously throughout this entire post! Amen, Claire! Amen! I can relate 100%, and the facts you stated have been coming clearly into focus as of late for me as I have a child in each hand and my belly sticks out. The looks of "Are you crazy?!" are being shot in my direction constantly, and sometimes it's hard to know how to handle it. It's nice to have a verse like that to cling to in those moments of doubt. I wrote that verse on a piece of paper during a photo shoot I did for Alyssa when she was pregnant with baby #5. It made me smile so big, and still does when I think about it. A REWARD!! Those precious babies are called rewards!

We'll never regret it. Never.

Katie said...

I really loved this post! Although we are unsure right now of where God is leading us in regards to our family (I'm a mama of one little girl, almost 11 months old..I just realized I'm not sure if I've ever commented here before!) and it's growth, I really love reading your story and how you feel about your quickly growing family. We recently stopped using hormonal contraception for the reasons you talked about, but we're still feeling out our way other than that. Thank you for educating me a little more on your perspective!

Lib at Truly His said...


Claire, I seriously think that was the best post I have read on blogger and it brought tears to my eyes. It reminds me (in a weird sort of way) when Ike and I told strangers we were married at 20. They thought we were LOSERS. LOL! Or my Professors at school would say "do not have your first child..." blah, blah, blah...

What a great verse the Lord gave you.. unashamed!!!

I am going to post this on my FB! You are TRULY a woman I look up to, Claire.

Rae Nolt said...

LOVE this so much!!! Such a GREAT post!!! You are doing a GREAT job---keep it up! I feel a lot of the same way and I'm in my 30's having babies!! Blessings!

Emily w/Amazing Grapes said...

Can I hug you!? I wish I could. I know too many who have that reaction to someone with multiple kids, and I don't get it myself. And I can't even imagine what I would have done had that waiter been mine...

I think too many people see kids as a burden and the more there are they can't grasp why anyone would keep having them. How blessed are you both that you see God in your kids. See His glory and blessings with each pregnancy and continue to trust in Him.

This really was a wonderful post to read, and I think you're beautiful inside and out.
ps...I think you should totally stick with the 'I like sex' explanation next time. ;)
Emily at Amazing Grapes

Laura said...

this is beautiful! My mom always told me that she wishes she had more children...they are the only thing you can take with you into eternity!

Alfonso Ohana said...

Amen Sista! Well said. Your family is beautiful in every way. It's God's gift and your right children are a blessing. People who think otherwise well they haven't been blessed or rewarded. I just had a similar epiphany when our sermon this past Sunday was about suffering and how God reward's those who suffer.

God works in mysterious ways and maybe it was meant to happen so this post would be posted :)


Rachel Flores said...

Dang Claire! get it!! I felt like snapping my fingers three times and bobbing my head around with a "mhhmm ammennne sista!"

Leigh said...

so so incredible Claire. I just want everyone to read this! i love you so much and am behind you Claire. don't ever be ashamed, hold your head high and be proud of the heritage God's given you! i love you and your beautiful family!

caroline@carolinecollie said...

I am so glad I clicked over to read this today (because I'm friends with your sister on FB) -- I needed this reminder. We have a three year old and a ten month old and I thought I might be pregnant with my third up until yesterday. I was getting scared, and I realized part of the reason I was scared was because I was worried what people would think! Ridiculous! I am fully convinced that my kids are an absolute blessing--even if I could use some sleep. And we've held onto Psalm 127 for quite some time -- believing it even on the days when it doesn't feel like it!

Thanks for sharing your heart!

LauraB said...

I LOVE your story...and I LOVE to see how God is choosing to bless you (and your family.)

Who knows...maybe God allowed this to happen, so that you can work this into the wonderful testimony of your life, that you'll someday share with others.

EITHER are following God's lead. And I love you for that :)

Haley Galloway said...

First of all-I read this and was APPALLED by how rude the guy was!
Secondly, your words are beautiful.

I get the same looks and reactions as well from many and it is a tough pill to swallow sometimes. But then I look at my daughter, my tummy moving as my son rolls around and my awesome husband...and it doesn't really matter. I'm so very blessed.

Thirdly! I gave you the "Liebster Award" on my blog. You should check it out!

E-Beth said...

May God Bless you & yours. What others don't realize is if GOD ( he Creator of all) wants you to have 1 or 10 HE will provide & HE has a purpose for each life HE puts in your hands .

Jennifer said...

Loved this post!!

Andrea said...

*Tears* You write so beautifully, this is an awesome post. If only people knew how full a mama's heart can be;)

Sarah Heineman said...

Loved reading this post. You are a great momma, and your sweet babies are in God's perfect timing... they are lucky to call you mom :)

Mrs.NatClem said...

Oh Claire! Amen! I have such a hard time understanding why people think they can ask such questions....and have been there many times myself....thinking, how do I answer your question? What a platform it gives us! An opportunity to choose what we are fixing our eyes on and proclaim it!
I love that God has highlighted this portion of Scripture to you to stand are unashamed, and you are blessed! As am I. Thank you for sharing this! We need to make T-shirts....unashamed and blessed. :) love to you and your awesome family!

ganbarimasho said...

ah....yes. My first three are 5, 6 and 7 right now. I wish that I read this blog and was appalled by the waiter's response, but you are right. Pregnancy #2, 3, and 4 were for sure met with the common response of, "Don't you know how this happens by now? " ha ha ha. I use to laugh uncomfortably with them. But you are RIGHT! Children are a blessing. We are rich, rich, mamas. (even if we are EXHAUSTED!)

I am blessing you even though I don't know you, sister. Press on!

Rachel said...

Thank you for this post. I think being unashamed is a really important point to remember even if it's not about how many children you have - we shouldn't be ashamed of the life that God has called us to lead, whatever it may involve.

We're praying that God will bless us with children, and athough it hasn't happened yet I always see family as blessing - not as a chore!

Tatiana said...

This is such a beautiful post Claire. But seriously, I wanted to punch your waiter in the face! I swear some people chose to use only 1/4 of their brain. Rudeness!
You truly are a blessed momma to have all those sweet kiddos :-) And I won't lie, I'm a wee bit jealous of your fertility's mad skills!

MegsM said...

So happy I found your blog!! I couldn't agree more with you. Amen and Amen.

Hannah said...

I found your blog through my Aunt Vicki who is a missionary in S.A. :) Oh my gosh, you took some of these words out of my brain. I plot about writing posts about this kind of thing but I'm still scared to do it. There are people close to my husband and I who don't approve of our desire to have many children.. it's sad. I don't know how many we will have either, but I agree with you. I am SO excited to see my future babies. They are a blessing! I feel like I'm plowing a giant field and even though it might be taking up most of my time and energy now, I know some day I will see the fruit of my labors and be so happy with the results.

Blessings to you and your sweet family.