Home motherhood/family/parenting Why Have Babies? By Candice Watters (Excellent Thoughts on Thinking Through Birth Control)

Why Have Babies? By Candice Watters (Excellent Thoughts on Thinking Through Birth Control)

by Kelly Crawford

The article, “Why Have Babies” was so, so good. I guess all of us really love reading things we already know, embrace and believe, from others’ perspectives. Candice Watters, the founder of Boundless.org gives a refreshing reminder of WHY Christians should love and embrace children, and as I’ve said so many times before, understanding what our purpose is and why God gives us children in the first place, completely changes our understanding of life!

A few of my favorite thoughts:

“We live in a world where people take great pains and lots of pills to prevent babies when they don’t want them, and spare no expense to get them when they do. According to our culture, babies before you want them are an accident, mistake or crisis — a result of a birth control failure. And if you can’t have them naturally when you decide you’re ready, they’re treated like a commodity you have a right to buy, as long as you can afford the price tag.”

“But, Dr. Morken, we can’t afford them.”….”Babies are wealth,” he said. “Budget for everything but babies.”

“The control we think we have is an illusion….We stopped assuming our timeline was best; stopped basing our decision primarily on our comfort, ease and consumption patterns; and started asking God when He wanted us to start our family.”

Read all of Why Have Babies? You’ll be glad you did.

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6 arrows May 29, 2013 - 12:13 am

I wish I had known people who welcomed the Lord’s blessing of children in His timing when I got married (or before that, when I was “planning” my future).

We (my husband and I) wasted a lot of time early in our marriage, having our career goals, our house goals (no babies until we buy a house, no house until we find a geographic location where we want to settle down, both of us with jobs we like, etc…). We wanted kids someday, after this and that and the other thing were in place.

I married at age 23 and only had one baby in my twenties, and it certainly was not due to any fertility issues. I wish I knew then what I know now about the beautiful gift of motherhood. I may not have tried to prevent them, or have them in my timing.

I am thankful to the Lord how He turned our hearts toward receiving children according to His plans after 14 years of marriage — we have six children through His awesome provision, rather than the three we planned to limit ourselves to.

Still, I can’t help but try to imagine how different life would have been had I truly understood and embraced the blessing of children from the first day of our marriage. It’s not just that we probably would have had more than six children; my whole mindset in parenting children changed, in more ways than I can recount here. Life with children — our married life, and our parenting life — became so much richer when our babies came in His timing. We stopped taking them for granted, and that changed everything.

Each of our children has brought unique blessings. But I think back to what could have been — I know I shouldn’t. What blessings did we (our whole family) miss by preventing children?

I think I will always wonder…

Hayley Ferguson May 29, 2013 - 4:06 am

I’m not sure I agree with her stance (in another article on her site) that NFP is a gift from God; but that’s just my interpretation because of where it says “do not come apart except for a time of prayer and fasting” not a time to prevent children when in our own wisdom we believe having another child would be dangerous or unkind of the husband (my husband has been told by another father of 10 to give me a break…we have a 4,3,2 and 1 yo…ours are coming closer together.) I love all these children and God is Sovereign and if he can intervene anyway to give children why not trust him to not give them?

Cindy May 29, 2013 - 5:43 am

I’ve come to think of NFP as birth control, but giving God better odds. And what kind of way is *that* to think about anything? 😉

Word Warrior May 29, 2013 - 7:20 am

LOL! Cindy, that’s about where I am. That issue has been a tough one for me to sort through. I do believe there are times, but trusting our wisdom to discern that can be seemingly impossible. There are several times, earlier in our marriage, if I had held NFP at a higher regard, I wouldn’t have some of the children I have now based on temporary things that worked themselves out and turned out to be nothing. And the thoughts of that make me glad we didn’t intervene. But ask me right now, and… Puzzling, for sure.

6 arrows May 29, 2013 - 1:16 pm

We practiced NFP for a few months after each of my miscarriages, to allow time for physical and emotional healing. I have no regrets about that, though I wasn’t sure the first time whether we were doing the right thing.

Different story with long-term practice of NFP, in my opinion. I won’t share details, but ultimately, I think, it’s hard on a marriage. It is certainly a matter that needs much prayer.

Gem January 11, 2014 - 5:29 am

Hi Hayley,

I have had the same thoughts. I went from using the pill, to using NFP or FA to prevent conception. Then since having kids I’ve realised that fertility and childbearing is normal. I have also had traumatic pregnancies (sick with hyperemesis gravidarum). I’ve been blessed with a substatioal natural gap between pregnancies to heal. This gap has been a result of “ecological breastfeeding.” In traditional cultures, babies come further apart – around three years. I believe that our modern parenting paradigm has more ramifications than we realise and when embracing fertility it helps to understand how to space babies through the traditional parenting practices. It is amazing statistically how much ecological breastfeeding: nursing on demand – as in a LOT, not just three hourly, and no dummies, lots of skin to skin contact, baby led weaning (they usually don’t eat much food until age three) these sort of actions can radically space babies. I had two years before my first period after my first and another eight months before I fell pregnant. My second is turning two so In a few days and still no period. These tips might be helpful depending on your goals and desires, but either way – you are blessed! Skint I skin contact and nursing both increase prolactin and decrease estrogen leading to a natural gap. Interestingly the levitical law only provided food for those over three years old and the Hebrew custom was for weaning at approximately age three, sometimes up to six. 🙂

Laura May 29, 2013 - 5:54 am

We are dealing with that secondary infertility she mentions. We have four wonderful boys, and I am only 32, and married at 22. We had 2 then a space of 2 1/2 years and then another 2. I have an empty sella around the pituitary gland and the doctors are scrambling to figure out if it’s the empty sella condition that has messed up my fertility, or something rather treatable like low thryoid. During my last pregnancy, I endured a blood clot in my leg, which put me at a high risk–but everything came out fine and the labor was the easiest of all four!! The hard part is that after he was weaned, my cycles became irregular and eventually non existant. But I also know that every month, hubby and I were watching expectantly that I would get pregnant, and every month I wasn’t. And I was vaccilating between wanting to be pregnant and being AFRAID to be pregnant, due to te previous complications(I had to give myself shots in the sides of my abdomen of blood thinner). This time was extrememly stressful! I also have wondered if part of our infertility now (I’m not ovulating or producing correct levels of progesterone) could be simply fear-related, and it’s stress on my body/mind… I’m only 32 and still hoping that the Lord isn’t done with babies for us–has anyone else dealt with something similar? Also, my endocrinologist is a lab-only doctor who won’t look at symptoms to diagnose thyroid issues, though, according to a list off the internet, I came up positive with 22 symptoms for low thyroid… and just wondering what to do now…But the crazy part is that my dad thinks we are nuts and should “tie the tubes”… and somehow my “infertility” is showing him that God CAN be in control of fertilty and that HE can space babies according to HIS will… and that we can trust Him.

Word Warrior May 29, 2013 - 7:22 am


You most certainly need to have your thyroid checked and rule that out for a number of reasons; it can wreak havoc on all sorts of systems in your body. I have dealt with that for 22 years.

Laura May 29, 2013 - 7:56 am

Kelly, Supposedly I “have” had it checked. But my doctor says that I am “on the low end of the normal range”… he is one of these doctors that relies only on lab, but as long as I’m in the “normal range” he doesn’t seem willing to consider it “low”… even if I’m showing symptoms…. The thing that seemed crazy to me is that the list of symptoms I compared to listed some specific things like “itchy inner ear” “yeast growth” and “plantar facciitis” all of which I have!! (as well as MANY more). I’m just not sure how to go about finding a more holistic doctor who is willing to look at labs AND symptoms and say, “Gee, even though her labs are in ‘normal range’ she has symptoms, so this level must be low for HER.” I’ve even imagined population control conspiracies where doctors are told to avoid treatment if it means conception is likely…

Kristi May 29, 2013 - 1:00 pm

I have personally had issues with yeast and borderline thyroid issues. An amazing thing to check out is Virgin cold-pressed coconut oil. Consuming it kills off excess yeast in your body as well as giving an energy boost without exhausting the thyroid. It’s worth googling. It’s changed my life. 🙂
(Melt a teaspoon or more in your tea several times a day for the best way to consume…this is my personal preference.) 🙂

Laura May 29, 2013 - 7:57 am

Don’t want to pry, but are you on thyroid med? And if so, what’s your doctor’s take on it?

Word Warrior May 29, 2013 - 8:11 am

Yes, very high dose which always has to be increased when I am pregnant. Right now I’m taking 200mcg. I think if I were you I would definitely find a different dr. for a second evaluation. And read this:http://chriskresser.com/5-thyroid-patterns-that-wont-show-up-on-standard-lab-tests

A standard TSH test can give a normal reading on an under-active thyroid. You need an endocrinologist who really understands the thyroid function.

Candace May 30, 2013 - 9:17 am

I have the same issues that you do with low progesterone and no ovulation. I was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistance. My thyroid was checked as well and all results came back normal. Many of the symptoms of PCOS can mock thyroid issues. My doctor is surprised that we have had five children given my diagnosis, but that is just proof to me that the Lord will work His will despite what the doctors say is impossible.

Erica June 2, 2013 - 2:47 pm

Hi Laura-
I experienced a period of inability to have children. We had 3 boys in 1995 & 1997. Then I found myself having miscarriage after miscarriage. The Dr’s claim I have an incompetent cervix. But for some reason after 8 years of the inability to carry to term I got pregnant, went on bed rest, and then popped out 3 more kids in 3 years time. Some easy pregnancies mixed in with some more difficult ones.

Maybe God is giving your body a chance to heal & recover from any problems while He waits to bless you with more when He knows you are ready? That’s the take I decided to have on how it happened with me.

But I definitely think that you should look for a second opinion with the problems you have had. I have a friend with bad thyroid problems and it has caused her to be unable to get pregnant at all. She has one child & she and her husband desperately want more. She’s started seeing different Dr’s and is trying different things to get her body under control. I never realized how badly thyroid problems could throw your body out of whack.

I’ll be praying for you!

Laura June 3, 2013 - 1:19 am

thank you!

Word Warrior May 29, 2013 - 8:13 am

And another (there are lots of great articles on the subject of misdiagnosis by standard tests. I wonder how your dr. would respond if you printed some of them and told them your concern?) http://thyroid.about.com/od/thyroiddrugstreatments/l/blderryb.htm

Erica June 2, 2013 - 3:06 pm

I have to say that was beautifully written. I wish this had been around prior to my DH deciding to have his vasectomy! Honestly I DID use birth control when we first got together – and it failed. Joke was on me! God showed me way back then who was boss. 😉

Birth control pills (that I took every day at the same time) – FAIL! I got a shot to induce my period because, hey I was taking the pill so I *couldn’t* be pregnant – FAIL! Realized birth control pills wouldn’t work for me so we switched to condoms – FAIL! At that point I began to experience a period of inability to carry to term. Then BOOM 8 years later I had 3 more children in 3 years. And DH underwent the knife because I refused to.

Now I am boo-hooing the lose of being able to have more. I really REALLY want more and unless God wants to go the immaculate conception route with me I am never going to be able to. I have to say that I actually miss the idea of not having more kids. 4 years ago I was “ok” with it…for the past 3 years – not so much. It just makes me feel that much stronger in my convictions to spread the word on letting God take the reins from us and allowing Him to make the decisions on when & how many children families have. I am blessed that my best friend & her husband have 6 children and are still going strong. I am her biggest supporter in their decisions. I love giving her the advice I read on here so that she can rest easy in their decision to let God control how many children they have…and hopefully soon she’ll get online so she can start chiming in!

Word Warrior June 2, 2013 - 4:45 pm


I know many stories like yours, of regret, and it’s one reason I keep talking about God’s gift of having children. He can restore though, what the locusts have eaten and as you pour yourself into your children, you can praise Him for what He has done.

Erica June 3, 2013 - 1:59 am

Kelly –
Thank you for the kind words. God truly does use you as an instrument to reach others. I hope you realize how much of a blessing you are to others. I am beginning to comprehend your passion of relying so literally on what the Bible says. And realizing what a disservice so many Churches are doing by putting their own spin on it. I do so appreciate your frankness on topics you feel so passionately about.

6 arrows June 2, 2013 - 5:00 pm

Hi Erica,

That’s a hard place to be in, wanting more children when your spouse does not. However, the Lord moves in mysterious ways, and can certainly turn the heart of a husband toward wanting to receive children when previously he did not want any (or any more). I will pray that that will be the case in your family, as it has been in others.

It is a blessing that your friend and her husband are welcoming many children. Just knowing people who are open to God’s gift of children in His will and timing can have a good influence on a person who is reluctant to have more. My husband and I really began thinking about not limiting our family to three children, as we had at one point, when two couples we know who are dear friends of ours both decided to have reversal surgeries.

Also, and this doesn’t happen a lot, but a little neighbor boy of ours was born a few years after one of his parents underwent sterilization without a subsequent reversal surgery.

God really does work in amazing ways. Blessings and peace to you, Erica.

Erica June 3, 2013 - 2:04 am

6 Arrows –
Your words brought a smile to my lips. My best friend said to me a few weeks ago that God managed to give me child after child when I tried multiple ways to avoid having any. Then she said, “A vasectomy…that’s NOTHING. This is God we’re talking about! He’s brought you many through less.”

So I have to agree with you that God works through mysterious ways! I have learned not to limit Him to what I believe Him to be capable of, because He can do so much more than I could ever imagine.

Blessings to you as well!

Natalie July 9, 2013 - 6:53 am

I have searched and searched for encouragement from other women who have a deep conviction that trusting God with our family size is the best, most God glorifying choice. I love and respect my husband, but he does not agree. I would love to hear some stories about women who waited, prayerfully, and the Lord eventually brought them to a place of complete agreement.
He says that we have already been fruitful and multiplied and that the commandment was given to those (Adam and Noah) when the earth needed to be filled. Also, he believes that egg + sperm + right conditions = conception…that God put this scientific process in order and he does not divinely choose when a life is conceived. Therefore, we could end up with a lot more children and he believes that would not be good for our family. I believe God would not allow anything into our lives that would not be used for our good and his glory.
I am sad but hopeful. By the grace of God, I am not allowing it to affect our intimacy or my attitude toward him. I have to mention a miracle that has happened since I let go of my desire to control this area. My attitude toward my little ones has completely changed! I no longer consider them a burden or a bother. I am so thankful!!!

6 arrows July 9, 2013 - 7:02 pm

Hi Natalie,

I know where you are at, wanting to trust God with His provision in childbearing, while desiring to love and respect a husband who does not share that conviction. I’ve been there; in fact, I was still there when I made my earlier comments on this page several weeks ago. But by God’s grace, there is now more to the story, and I hope to encourage you by telling you “the rest of the story”, as God has written it so far. My apologies that, though I want to be brief, it will probably be long…I’m usually incapable of brevity when I have a story to tell! 😉

For a little background, I’ll mention that I’ve been married 27 years, and for many of those years, my husband and I have been on the same page regarding our childbearing, whether both of us were desiring to delay or prevent children, or both of us were wanting to welcome them according to God’s will and timing. (You can read my other comments on this page, if you’d like, for more context.)

What I have not mentioned here (but that I feel is the right time to share now) is that soon after our sixth child (our youngest) was born almost six years ago, my husband began to feel that having any more children would not be a good idea.

His reasoning was not selfish, but was motivated out of love and concern for me and the difficulty I was having mothering our children around that time. Life had gotten very hard, as our fifth child, a son who was aged 3 1/2 when our sixth was born, became especially challenging. (We had not yet realized that he had autism, and we had not developed any skills or coping strategies for dealing with that yet.)

Long story short, I really struggled with homeschooling my oldest four children, while trying to deal with my young son whose challenges I didn’t at first understand, AND nurture an infant all at the same time. I was able to burrow in close with my baby and really bond with her, but I just about shut down with the weight of all the rest of life as it was then. Our whole family was just existing in survival mode for a long season, and by the time my fertility returned 19 months after our baby was born, my husband had already decided that in my overwhelmed state, we should not have any more children.

I’ll be honest with you, Natalie, I had a very hard time accepting that decision, even though I knew my husband had decided that with the best of intentions. We had both been open to receiving the blessing of children in God’s timing for over eight years at that point, and I had thought that we would continue in that all the way through menopause. (I was 46 1/2 when I resumed ovulating after the birth of my sixth child, and though many women are unable to conceive at that age, my fertility was still very much intact and would remain that way throughout my forties (although I didn’t know that then). So it was a rather bitter pill for me to swallow — speaking figuratively, not literally — that I was still fertile, but we would be back about the business of trying to prevent any more babies from coming.)

I felt as you do, Natalie, that God can be fully trusted to open or close the womb by His will, and that He would not allow any hardship into our lives without also giving the grace we needed to endure it. But at the same time, I could see where my husband was coming from, too, even while it was difficult for me to accept. He has a strong urge to protect, and it is a blessing for women and children to have a husband/father like that, and that urge was the driving force behind his decision in a time of great turmoil.

Still, though, it was hard for me to be at peace with his decision for a long time. I have prayed in different ways over the years since then. That God would turn my husband’s heart back toward receiving more children was my main prayer for a long time. When it didn’t seem to me that God was answering that one fast enough, then I asked Him to just end my fertility quickly, or take away my desire to have more babies. Sounds cynical maybe, but I’m being real with you. I also prayed that I would be able to fully meet my husband’s needs for unconditional love and joyfulness from his wife in intimacy.

Are you ready for some good news now? 🙂 After practicing natural family planning in these years since our youngest was born, a slow transformation began to occur, in both my husband’s heart and my own. God eased the ache in my heart in ways I can’t fully comprehend, so I won’t try to explain. And at the same time, He was working in my husband, easing his fears and doing much through a variety of circumstances He alone orchestrated to renew my husband’s vision for receiving the blessing of more children.

God in His sovereignty brought my husband to a place of peace again regarding the open womb, and starting last week, he stopped asking me if I was “safe” (at a point in my cycle where I wouldn’t conceive). Even though I am nearing 51, and my fertility has noticeably declined in the last six months, God has nonetheless worked a beautiful miracle, where my husband and I can again walk in complete unity together in this area and trust in God as He chooses whether to bless us with another child, in whatever way He pleases, or complete our family with the six blessings we have already received from His gracious hand.

Well, Natalie, that’s my story — or book — so far! I don’t know the rest of the story, but God truly does work in ways that are far beyond our comprehension, and brings blessings in all the little steps along the way, even if we don’t see it at first.

I’ll pray for you and your husband. Also, I’m very encouraged by the miracle you mentioned about your attitude of thankfulness toward your children! May you continue to find joy in their presence, and grace and peace through Christ in your marriage. Blessings!

6 arrows July 9, 2013 - 7:24 pm

Also, Natalie, I wanted to add that, in regards to your husband’s fears that you could end up with a lot of children, there are so many people I’ve heard of who experience a very dramatic decline in fertility at some point, sometimes at ages far younger than one would expect. Past fertility is not a reliable guide to predicting future fertility. And even if a woman is able to conceive easily (as has been my case), that doesn’t mean she will necessarily have a lot of children, as miscarriages can happen quite frequently, especially as a woman ages.

The bottom line is that God is in control, and there are many ways by which he opens and closes the womb according to His divine will, blessing His people with children to raise here on earth, or taking babies home to heaven before birth, or sovereignly ordaining a temporary or permanent end to childbearing at His appointed time.

God promises His grace to His people in every situation. Everything God ordains works for our good. Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When God blesses us with children, whatever the number, according to His perfect purpose, we can be assured that He will equip us with everything we need to raise His children for Him.

I hope that encourages your husband!

Natalie July 9, 2013 - 9:22 pm

What a blessing, thank you for taking the time to write. I am very encouraged by your story! After the birth of my last baby, my midwife advised us to wait until our baby was 3 before we did anything permanent. I am so thankful for her wise advice. I deeply appreciate your prayers!

Word Warrior July 9, 2013 - 9:38 pm


I too, am encouraged by your grateful attitude. If your husband is open to further discussion on the matter, a couple of things popped into my head as I read his reasoning.

First, the command to be fruitful was given several times in Scripture, and even specifically to the Israelites when they were in captivity. The command was never revoked which, with all other commands, Christians understand means that it continues to be a command.

Concerning the randomness vs. God’s sovereignty over life, it is hard to argue with the passages that mention God opening and closing the womb, or the several verses where a mother said, “God has given me a child”, or the other verses that refer to His being the Creator of life (Psalm 100, Psalm 139, etc.). I would encourage you to appeal to him, as he is open, to really dig into God’s Word and “disprove” you, if you will, and see if he is able, from Scripture, to support where he stands.


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