“Your family is complete”
By Katie Winn
As a child and a youth I always admired mothers with large families. I was fascinated with their patience and love. It seemed to me that the more kids you had the happier the home would be. I loved the idea that each child would have a friend at all times and no one would ever be lonely.
I knew years ago that I wanted a large family. The Lord has seen fit that I should have six children. I love being their mother. There was a time during my fifth pregnancy when I couldn’t see an end to my baby creating. I wanted to have as many children as my body could carry. I truly wanted to leave the decision of the number of children I had to the Lord. I was willing to have 9 or more if that was what He wanted. I never wanted to be done.
I remember conversations with my husband about never wanting to be done having kids, and he was not on board. It was a little bit of a touchy subject between us because I couldn’t imagine never having little feet in the house again. He was ready to move on to a new chapter in our lives, one that didn’t include lugging strollers and diaper bags everywhere. A new chapter when we could attend all three hours of church without having to roam the halls with a toddler not quite ready for nursery. A new chapter when we no longer had to change diapers. A new chapter when we no longer find sippy cups in unusual places filled with what used to be milk, but is now past the cheese stage and you have to throw the whole cup away because you know there is no way you can wash it out. I couldn’t fathom having those moments gone from our lives. I was hurt that he felt that way.
When my fifth child was about 6 months old I started to have the aching in my belly again. I had a physical yearning for baby number six. I started talking to my husband about it, and he was reluctant. He knew that it wouldn’t be the end he really wanted. I felt bad because I knew I wasn’t taking his feelings into consideration, but I knew through prayer and the Spirit that we had another baby who needed to come to our home. He trusted me and agreed to have ONE more baby. I was so excited and happy.
I conceived when my fifth baby was a little over a year old. Twenty weeks went by, and we went to our ultrasound appointment. I was really looking forward to it. We already had two girls and three boys. I thought it would be perfect if we could have another girl to even things out. When the technichian asked if we wanted to know the gender, I said yes. As she was moving the transducer across my belly, I saw for myself. We were having a girl. The tech told us what she was, and I was right. We were having our third girl, a perfect balance. Then I heard a voice say, “Your family is complete.” Tears streamed down my cheeks. I was not expecting that voice. I didn’t know what to think. This couldn’t be it! I was going to have many more babies. I wasn’t ready to have this be it. I never wanted to be done, and couldn’t believe what I had heard.
I enjoyed the rest of my pregnancy and looked forward to meeting my little girl. The pregnancy was normal, the birth went well. I snuggled my new baby all day and all night. I looked forward to nursing her every three hours. I loved carrying her in my ring sling. When she was six months old I approached my husband and said, “I think it’s time to have another baby.” I waited for the tingle in my belly, and the yearning in my chest. It didn’t come. I told him that I really didn’t feel that way, but I just had to test it.
I waited for the feeling to come. I have thought to myself that it should be time to have another one. I have friends who have announced pregnancies and had babies. I liked to look at their growing bellies and hold their new babies but didn’t feel the need to have one of my own. I was really done. The desire was not there. Now my baby has grown and is a month away from going to nursery. I have started looking forward like my husband. I can look forward to her going to nursery and being potty trained. I can look ahead (with an aching heart) to my children growing up and going to school and college and getting married. I can look forward to being a grandma. We are moving on to the next chapter, and I am OK with it.
I am grateful for the prompting I received at our ultrasound appointment. The Lord knows my heart, and knows that I was willing to bring as many children into this world as He wanted me to. He also knows my limitations and my weaknesses. He knows my strengths and my abilities. He knows my husband and his needs, too.
I love the Lord and the direction he gives me. I love that I have an eternal family and that my six gifts from God will be with me long after they are grown. I have learned over the years to accept the Lord’s timing. He knows what my plan is, and I am trusting Him in guiding me along the way.
Katie Winn is a stay-at-home mom and currently a student with the BYU-Idaho Pathway program. She has been married to her husband, Steve, for nearly 14 years. Together they have six great kids ranging in age from 13 years to 17 months old. Katie is enjoying juggling student life with church callings and the daily duties of being a mother and wife. She feels her calling as a mother to be the greatest responsibility and blessing.