I was talking to a young father in the produce section once. He shared that he loved his little daughter so much that he couldn't bear to have another child. He said that he worried so much about her that he just didn't want to have any more.
It wasn't because he didn't want any more children, and it wasn't because he felt like he couldn't afford any more children. He was just afraid to open his heart again. "I don't want to be vulnerable," he said.
I looked at this sweet man and said "You're already vulnerable! You already have one child in this world so whether you have one child or ten, you are going to be just as vulnerable."
He thought by limiting his children he could limit his fears for his child. He thought that he would double or triple his fears if he added more children, because he would have more children to worry about.
It has been my experience that worrying about your children is the same, whether it was worrying about my one child when I had only one, or my two children now that I have two. I have not now cornered the worry market just because I have two children.
I have several friends who have had only one child, and they don't seem to have limited their source of worry by limiting their children.
They worry if their child will be spoiled or selfish by being an only child. They worry about their only child "missing out" on the give and take and fights and fun of siblings. They worry if their child will resent them for not giving them siblings. They worry about what will happen to their child and who will give them love and support when they're gone.
Then I have lots of friends who have more than one child, like me! Whether they have two children or ten children they have worries as well.
They worry that their child will feel invisible because of so many siblings. They worry that their older children will feel resentful for having to help with the littles, and that the littles won't be as close to their oldest siblings because of the age difference. They worry that their children will feel the negative responses that some people give them for having a big family.
If you have children you are going to be vulnerable. But is that really so bad?
It just means that your heart is open to love. Lots and lots of love. And your heart is open to joy, lots and lots of joy. The opposite of vulnerable would be closed, guarded, shielded, protected. Is that the kind of heart we want to have? A closed, shielded heart?
We had two children. We did not want to close ourselves off from such joy because we were afraid of being more vulnerable. Can you even BE more vulnerable?
Yes, you are vulnerable when you have children.
Your heart is going to forever leave your body and go walking out that door right along with them whenever that child crosses the threshold.
But it will come back to you again every time that child returns home. It will come back to you every time that child gives you a hug, smiles at you, says "I love you" or says "Mom?" when you answer the phone.
It will come back to you in moments of joy and moments of tears. In moments of faith and moments of fears.
Yes, children make you vulnerable. But they also make you a mother, and what a blessing from God that is!
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