As a mom of five, with five siblings, dozens of nieces and nephews, and a huge number of other relatives, I’m used to large families. But many women who, with their husbands, have become convinced that large families are not to be avoided, do not have the background and support that we do. This book is for them, offering support in the form of stories, encouragement, information, and advice.
Three Decades of Fertility: Ten Ordinary Women Surrender to the Creator and Embrace Life by Visionary Womenhood is a unique, multi-author book. Ten Christian women, many of whom have borne children in their forties, tell their stories and answer a list of questions. Filled with gratitude and faith, this warm book honors God as the loving giver of life.
I love the birth stories and the detailed journeys in fertility and faith. Each woman’s personality shows through in her story, and many of the stories are inspiring and uplifting, reminding the reader of God’s goodness and encouraging trust in him. Some women struggled with fertility, pregnancy ailments, or negative attitudes, and others with miscarriages, finances, and family disasters, but all of them give thanks to God for the gift of children, those on earth as well as those in heaven.
The survey questions address some of a mother’s deepest concerns: How do you deal with miscarriage and the fear of miscarriage, and how do you discuss these with your children? How do you balance life with older children and babies? Is it ethical to get pregnant if your miscarriage probability is high? Is it responsible, health-wise, to have babies when you are older, and how can you care for your body? How do you deal with disapproval from family, friends, and the medical community? Will you have the energy you need to raise little ones when you are older? Is having a large family good for your marriage? Do you have any tips for physical self-care for multiple pregnancies? And what about all those statistics that say it’s dangerous to have babies in your forties? The ten moms answer these questions at great length and with openness, humility, and conviction.
Besides the mothers’ stories and survey responses, Three Decades of Fertility contains both nutrition information (from the author of Naturally Knocked Up) and advice about pregnancy and health conditions from a chiropractor (finding medical support, exercise, rest, varicose veins, pelvic floor issues, joint pain, and more). Many pregnancies do take a toll on one’s body, but informed self-care and excellent nutrition can make a 40 year old pregnant mom feel better than she did two decades ago.
Three Decades of Fertility is filled with godly wisdom and startling sayings:
God’s counsel to obey your husband (rather than your children) is counterintuitive and countercultural, but wise and good.
…our bodies [are] tools to be used, not treasures to be stored.
I had made a mental habit of complaining, which created an additional self-inflicted burden for me to carry. As I focused on how tired and overwhelmed I was, the days became longer.
The idea that having children is greedy implies that we are having children primarily for our own fulfillment rather than for God’s glory.
I’m sure there are many unmet needs in my children that stem from my micro-managing style of motherhood, and amazingly those needs keep them on their knees before God. He continues to offer grace to cover our mistakes and meet our needs. He uses everything for His good and our growth in knowledge of Him.
…if we’re doing it all, we’re doing too much!
Remember that letting go is often painful and confusing as to where your role begins and ends, so go into it with prayer and open eyes.
Only Christians know man’s real significance. So often we don’t stand in awe enough of the potential of each human to use his mind, to think, create, and to develop all the hidden potentials in the earth. One of the most powerful ways of imparting this truth to the world is to welcome God’s little ones, even when it brings us pain or inconvenience. Our world needs children. It especially needs children of believers. Every child born is God’s greatest gift to parents, families, churches, and communities.
In a fallen world, bodies break down, life gets overwhelming, and sometimes birth control has to be considered. I’m not writing to discourage or judge those who have had to limit their family size but only to encourage anyone who is looking for reassurance and inspiration.
It really is all about attitude and keeping a grateful heart.
Although I have always been used to large families, I wish this book had been around when I became a mom. In Three Decades of Fertility, the authors open up in a way that moms of large families rarely have time for in real life. What a blessing for other moms!
If you already have a large family, or look forward to welcoming all the children God sends your way, or are having children in your late thirties and beyond, this book will encourage you. At almost fifty, I enjoyed the birth stories, learned about trust and God’s goodness, and even found some very helpful health information. I think younger women will be blessed by Three Decades of Fertility even more than I was.
Three Decades of Fertility is available from Visionary Womanhood as a PDF, Kindle, Nook, or paperback and includes a free download of other Visionary Womanhood products.
To read more reviews of Three Decades of Fertility, visit Cross Focused Reviews.
Disclosure: For the purposes of this review, I received a free ebook from Visionary Womanhood via Cross Focused Reviews. I have expressed my own opinion and am not compensated in any way.