But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” - Matthew 19:14 (NLT)
If you asked me five years ago if I wanted kids, I would have said no and laughed.
If you had asked me two years ago if I wanted kids, I also would have said no and laughed.
If you asked me now if I want kids, I would still probably say no. But I'm not laughing anymore.
Why do so many young people (like I once did) believe that parenthood is nothing but a unnecessary burden? The simple answer is:
There is a problem with the stigma and culture we, as a society, have created regarding children.
I grew up watching shows like "Cheaper by the Dozen," "Yours, Mine, and Ours," and "The Pacifier." All these movies (and every other movie on the planet involving parenting) have one thing in common: kids are messy, awful, and cause trouble. And it's not just movies that have created this cultural stigma, its all media and the entire mindset regarding parenting and motherhood as a whole.
There was a time I would see kids and cringe. Literally cringe. And I felt bad for the mothers that had to deal with those kids. I remember thinking that I would never want to deal with a burden like that. Now, I am ashamed of that attitude.
It wasn't until recently that I begun switching my tune.
One of the things that made a difference in my ideals was my husband's family. Though my husband and his two siblings are completely grown up, I love watching them together. They tease each other, play practical jokes, and sometimes pick fights, but they are always there for each other and their mother. I remember watching them around a year ago and thinking, "If I could have kids like these, I would be blessed." This was a huge paradigm shift for me. Until that point, having children myself rarely crossed my mind.
My sister was another person who helped me change my no-children-attitude. In 2019, I had gotten back from a lady's fall retreat I had gone on. My sister, who is a mother herself, called me and asked how the retreat went. I told her that we had discussed the topic of "Lies Women Believe." One of the activities the counselors had us do was write down some lies that we have a tendency to believe on a piece of paper, keep the lie, and then pray about it.
Somehow, after around an hour on the phone with my sister, we started talking about kids. I mentioned once again how much I didn't want to be a mom. When my sister asked why, I told her all sorts of things, but the main one was, "Kids are an unnecessary burden." My sister stopped me in my tracks. She said, "Jenn, you better get out your pen and write down that lie you just said." After asking her what she meant, she explained to me that children were not at all an unnecessary burden. Yes, children were hard, but they were not a burden. My sister explained to me that Satan was creating a lie that I was believing that motherhood is an awful fate to be had. She told me she couldn't be happier being a mother.
I listened to what my sister said. I pondered it and prayed about it. And am still praying about it. And slowly, I am understanding the value of children, and how much of a lie we, as a society, have created.