Mesorah (Jewish stuff)

On Having a Large Family

I was introduced to the world of large families when I was becoming frum, shortly after college.  I watched the lives of these large families with no small amount of awe.  This, I thought, this is what I want.  The love, the helping, the necessity of sharing and learning to compromise, the endless action and boisterousness.  I wanted it all.

And, after getting married, we started out on that path, but then things got a little more challenging than I anticipated.  Okay, that’s a huge understatement.  I was drowning and felt like a total failure.  How could I not live up to my ideal of what I imagined my very own frum family to be like?  How could I not be able to do it?  What did that mean for me in frum society?

Well, it turns out it meant that I felt the same way as many of my friends and neighbors.  I’ve had more than one friend express to me her dismay at the incredible challenges having small children close together poses, and others confide that they didn’t even realize birth control was a thing frum people did.

A while back, I pitched an idea to Kveller to write something about my feelings on this topic, but I hesitated for a long time before writing it.  I’m well aware that it is not a given that pregnancies come easy, and that having many children close together is a bracha. I know it’s not only not a choice for some, but it’s also a very painful topic.  I didn’t want to inadvertently cause pain to those who wanted a large family but whose physical reality makes that unlikely.  I didn’t want my message and experience to come across as extremely insensitive, a “first world problem” of family life.

But the more women I’ve spoken to who feel overwhelmed by their blessings, and feel guilty (among other emotions) about it, the more I felt their feelings needed to be articulated.  It’s difficult to feel like you’re the only one going through a challenge that isn’t really a challenge, except it really is.  So I wrote the article, and it’s up today over at Kveller.  I hope you’ll head over there and let me know how you feel.

And since this is the last post before Rosh Hashanah, may you have a ksiva v’chasima tovah (a good writing and sealing in the book of life), and a sweet new year filled with all good things, blessings, success and the ability to appreciate whatever goodness is in your life!