The State of the Mother's Union
by Mary Pride
As you recall if you got the last issue of HELP, I presented the idea of a Mother's Union and asked for reader input.
Many of you took the time to write and express your support (mostly), concerns (a few), and suggestions (a fair number), and I thank you for doing so.
It seems clear that at-home mothers today feel the pressure of constantly having to justify our very existence. A number of readers were enthusiastic about the possibility of a lobbying group to represent our interests. Others were more concerned with upgrading our general image.
The need for support and encouragement from other likeminded women was also frequently mentioned, as was the need for trustworthy on-the-job training for moms.
Terri Earl from Oregon summed up the general attitude, writing,
By now you should have some idea how popular the idea of a Mother's Union is. Here are six extra Yes!! votes from Oregon. If you want a tally, they're from two grandmothers and four moms, with a total of 19 kids.
So many people have said, "The poor mommies-they take so much flak." But they don't do anything! Our hands have been well-patted, and I'm sure they generally mean well. But our hands don't hurt!
We've taken more abuse than any group, without a single concerted effort at self-defense. A mother's union in any other era would seem out of place, but it's perfect for the 1990's and the 20th century. Go for it!
We received about 100 other responses in that vein. We also received a few letters stressing the need for Christians not to get involved in "worldly" activities, and a dozen or so objecting to the word "union" while supporting the idea behind it. Now the ball was in our court. Time for some serious praying. We have talked and prayed about this for months, and here is where we stand:
With a support base the size of the present HELP subscription list, it seems unlikely that we could launch a Mother's Union. This does not mean, however, that we can't start relegitimizing motherhood and sharing resources and encouragement with an ever-widening group starting right now.
Many of you have written in expressing support for the Mother's Union and asking what you could do to help. Here are some very practical things we are asking you to consider:
If every HELPer now on our rolls would switch to a bulk sub of 10, we would immediately jump to a readership of 19,000! This would vastly increase our networking power, funding for special projects, and even our chances of reaching more families (success breeds success)!
On the other hand, if we have to try to reach these extra 17,000 people ourselves (through advertising, etc.) in the normal course of events it will take us years and years. By getting a bulk sub you will help us expand quickly enough to have some influence.
So if you can upgrade to a bulk sub of 5, or 10, or more, that would be the very best help of all. You would be not only giving us financial resources, but pulling together people for our group as well!
We are not asking for outright donations. More than anything we need your help in bringing more people to us - otherwise all the extra money in the world will do no good.
(Note: Home Life offers 15% off on orders of 5 books or more, 25% on orders of 10 books or more, and an unadvertised 40% off on orders of 50 or more Bill and Mary Pride books - so spreading Home Life books around may be less expensive than you think! See special order form enclosed.)
I led a women's study through your book The Way Home this spring with about 15-20 women from our church. Wow! A lot of it was hard for the gals, but I was very pleased, over all, with their response. Our church has always had a reputation as a church "full of babies," but do we ever have a batch of them on the way now! Also, we've got families thinking of vasectomy reversals and gals pursuing home schooling who said they'd never do it! My husband is a pastor and your book has helped him a lot with his marriage counseling, preaching on the family, etc.! I am very excited to witness it all and knew you'd like hearing of it also!
Judy Roberts, CO
You might suggest to your publisher that The Way Home should be highly recommended for young (and old) men in their advertising. My 22-year-old son read it and has since confiscated three of my copies to give to his friends to read. So far they've all been very enthusiastic about it-even one roommate who is an agnostic and somewhat hostile toward spiritual things.
Nancy Mitchell, CO
I read The Way Home when it first came out-it changed my life. Not because it changed my thinking but because finally someone put in print what I have been thinking for years (and my friends thought I was the only one)! I bought three copies and have passed them among friends and family.
I now plan to get All the Way Home for every young couple getting married in our church, family, etc. What a great guide to setting up your family to effectively raise disciples for Christ.
Judy Roberts, CO
I've got a group of gals coming out once a month to discuss The Way Home. At our first meeting-called for the purpose of figuring out how to get the word out-we decided that we would each take advantage of every opportunity to encourage young families with more than two children wherever we saw them-at the grocery store, shopping mall, park, etc. I've decided to keep a couple of extra copies of the book in my car in case I have a chance to offer one to someone who looks like they need more than just a pat on the back!!
A group of men at our church are currently studying Bill's book Flirting with the Devil. Bill will soon have a 13-week study guide prepared to accompany the book. So here is another way to spread the word around!
Judy Traffie, NH
I would love to know what the response to your book [The Way Home] has been!
OK - here goes!
Linda Ahlgren, Guam
I recently compiled a list of the comments we've gotten from people who we lent your book The Way Home:
"I don't need another guilt trip."
"It sounds just like you guys!"
The one recently that topped them all to me was:
"Every time I read it, I get a headache!"
I read The Way Home about one year ago. I had been considering home schooling and had seen a review of it in some homeschooling material.
I was not a Christian at the time. Your story seemed so familiar to me. I had quit high school due to boredom and finished by correspondence from the U. of Missouri. Then I headed off for college to major in Biological Sciences at the U. of California. I was an active feminist. Then at 28 I had my first child and everything seemed so wrong. I struggled with the big questions until I read your book. It seemed to make such sense-it was so TRUE.
I had never even considered the Bible as a source of anything and I had certainly not considered reading it. To make a long story short, I started to study the Bible and found that it did indeed have the answers I was longing for. Of course I also found that God is a personal God and that the only way to be reconciled to him is through Christ.
I don't know if your book was meant to be evangelistic but it certainly turned out that way for me.
Judy Roberts, CO
In March a friend called to ask if I had any good books on the family-especially ones that focused on the idea of the importance of moms staying home with their children. As we talked we became more and more aware of the sad fact that most young women we knew really didn't understand the value of being a godly wife and mother, let alone how to do it... so we decided that somehow the Lord wanted us to try to do something to influence our own local area.
Deborah wanted to set up a one-day workshop at her church and I wanted to run a big ad in the local newspaper-offering help and support to "closet stay-at-home moms"! Mostly we just talked one-on-one with people as the Lord brought them to us-although I had a chance to speak to my husband's Fellowship of Christian Athletes class at the University of Colorado also.
Then on Sunday, July 3, 1988 a friend handed me a copy of your book and asked me to read it and then get together with her and discuss it. I began reading it at about 10 p.m. and finally went to bed about 12:30. However, I was so excited about what I was reading that I really couldn't sleep so I got back up at 3:30 so I could finish it. I read for a couple of hours and then decided to take my morning walk before I headed out to milk the cow. The Lord had really begun to convict me when I read your chapters about what a blessing children are and why don't we trust God with this area of our lives just like we do everything else...
As the Lord and I discussed this on my one-mile trek to the east of our home-I finally said, "O.K., Lord-it's totally in Your hands again and I want to leave it up to you whether or not we have any more children." A wonderful peace and joy came into my heart and as I turned around to head back home-I looked toward the mountains to the southwest and there was a beautiful small rainbow!
We have lived in the country for fifteen years and I've spent thousands of mornings walking this same route and I've never seen a rainbow over the mountains at 6 a.m. I sang and rejoiced on the way home and realized as I was going out to milk that my husband might need a little more convincing, so I asked the Lord to prepare his heart for this-that he would be in agreement on it. Again I looked up toward the mountains to the northwest and there was another rainbow-three times as big!
For just a little background on our family-Rich and I have been married 23 1/2 years and have seven children ranging in ages from 5 1/2 to 22 (two boys and five girls)
Our "circumstance" that I mentioned in the beginning of the letter is the fact that Rich was diagnosed with a bone-marrow disease almost five years ago and last summer it progressed into leukemia. In spite of that-there's absolutely no question in my mind that I made the right decision in leaving it up to the Lord to decide our future. I'm 47 and Rich is 53-but kids have a way of keeping a parent young, so most people who don't know us would never guess!
I will always be grateful to your book The Way Home as it was instrumental in my becoming a Christian. I first read it two years ago and was really touched by its many truths. In fact, I got out my King James Bible and started looking up your many quotes. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Bible was opened to me and I began reading it voraciously! I couldn't put it down. About one and a half years ago I accepted Christ. Thank you!!! And thank the Lord!!!!!
Theanna Davis, CO
My first introduction to Mary Pride and The Way Home came second-hand: I read letters to the editors of Cornerstone mag ranting and raving about a review of the book and casting terrible aspersions on the character and Christianity, not to mention the sanity, of the authoress (is that a word?) When one female writer ended her venomous tirade with the question, "And does Mary Pride think that the natural state of womankind is to be barefoot and pregnant???!!?" or some such, I, who sat in my living room at that moment in just that aforementioned and, in my opinion, highly exalted state (no, not Colorado-I mean barefoot and pregnant!) thought to myself, "Who IS this person Mary Pride and where can I get hold of this wonder of a book which sounds like it might be chock full of good ol' Bible-based common sense?"...
Hey, I too, am a former, very vocal feminist! I KNOW the rhetoric! It is so glorious to know that I am not alone in the belief that being a wife and mother of may children is the most liberating lifestyle a Christian woman can lead!
***** NO LONGER AVAILABLE ******
Several couples have written asking for God's blessing on their reversal operations. Here is one such letter:
Dannie and Debra Pearce
I felt compelled to write and tell our story. Currently we have two daughters, 8 and 10. Just after the last one was born my husband had a vasectomy. The past eight years have really been hard. I have struggled with this issue ever since. Last year we went to Gothard's Advanced Institute. Each night that week God confirmed that what we had done was wrong. We confessed it and we have been forgiven. The next step was to put family planning back into God's hands. May 10, 1989 my husband had the surgery reversed. The surgery cost $5000. The original was $200.
Please pray for God's blessing in this surgery. Pray that God will give us the desire of out hearts!
Through special arrangement we are able to provide most of our current subscribers with a free copy of ABOVERUBIES, tucked into this issue of HELP. (If you didn't get a copy of ABOVERUBIES, we're sorry-only 1500 arrived air-mail in time to mail HELP, and we have 1900 subscribers!)
If you would like more copies (for handing out to friends,neighbors, church groups, doctor's offices, etc.) you can get them, while supplies last, for $1 apiece from Home Life (minimum order: 5 copies), since we ordered another 1500, to arrive by sea mail!.
Those of you who already live in Australia or New Zealand can request a subscription by writing to Above Rubies. Please do enclose a donation of at least several Australian dollars. And tell them Home Life sent you!
***** NO LONGER AVAILABLE ******
Kenene Richmond, WA
Would anyone out there have any info about varicose veins and keeping them manageable during pregnancy? I have them so severely and also into the perineum which necessitates white support stockings like those worn to prevent blood clots and a maternity girdle. I'm miserable because their recurrence is my heralding sign of pregnancy! Any advice for treatment would be much appreciated.
Barbara Wiedenbeck, WI
How do you teach kids about money? What about bank accounts for them, etc.?
Laura McClellan, NE
I'd like to hear some details on what different families do for their family worship. We've just finally started this and we want it to be a really special thing for our family. We have three children so far-ages 8, 6 1/2, and 1.
Also, we've just decided to pull our children out of children's church and keep them in the service with us. We feel really good about it, but how do you deal with the kids' disappointment at giving up "snacks and crafts"? And do you spank them if they sit and sulk and won't sing? (They are doing a lot better, though.) We're also finding that one of us ends up missing a lot of the sermon because we have to walk around the back with a noisy one-year-old. We want to present a good image to other families in the church as far as being considerate.
I'm interested in hearing more about the logistics of home birth- what about other children? Who takes care of mom those first few days, etc. Any comments?
Cliff and Betty Bingham, TX
Do you or any of your readers have any experience with cloth diapers? I started out four years ago on disposables and haven't till recently seen the new versions of cloth diapers. I have never had a problem with diaper rash, but my husband and I calculated that with two in diapers we could save at least $500 or more a year by changing to cloth. With three children we could use the extra money. This may sound funny, but what are the disadvantages, advantages, and which brands and style are best?
Jan Carroll, WA
With summer fast approaching, a question has been renewed in my mind. I'm home with my toddler writing, playing, singing, creating, etc.
Problem: the neighbor kids always come out of the house and beg to come over.
I understand the hunger these children probably feel but I've seen so many Christian moms become swamped with the whole neighborhood at their house all the time, that their own kids end up in a situation not much different than if they were at day-care.
What kind of balance have you found between loving our own and loving our neighbors?
Junell Taylor, MA
Does anyone else have a terrible problem with overeating because of being at home all the time? If so, can you offer some clever ways to avoid the icebox?
I have three children ages 6, 5, and 3 1/2. I home school and keep up with house, laundry, and garden, so it's not as if I have tons of time on my hands to eat from boredom. But still, I find if I get one little break between working here and there, my first thought is food and I normally follow through with that thought. I think the secular view of a mom staying home with her children all day long is that she is bound to get fat and tired of her kids and abusive in the end. (I was actually told this by a Christian woman who disagreed with anyone saying women should stay home with their children and shouldn't be out in world careers.) It really bothered me that she may have thought she was correct just by looking at me! So, I see a need for true Christian support for moms like me that have this weighty problem, that want to be a better witness for those who are staying home and have an otherwise fruitful life.
Terri Joster, MD
Is there a possibility of vacation exchanges with other HELP readers? The idea is for a certain amount of time, a family would spend a vacation at another family's house in exchange for the same amount of time at the other family's house, thus saving motel and meal expense on vacations. Hopefully, this would make it more possible for large families to afford vacations.
Jodi Smith, MN
One topic I'd like to see addressed in HELP: The value of, and pros and cons to lessons/activities for kids. I see even home schooling mothers playing taxi service for swimming, tennis, baseball, piano, and various instrument lessons. My own approach is more like, "Take the kids to a beach and go swimming. Invite another family over to play kickball. Learn to play tennis together from a book or video. Do all these fun things together!" I am, however, interested in joining a 4-H group. . . . When, or under what conditions, are group activities actually profitable to the character and development of godly youngsters?
Eileen Smith, VA
Do you think that you could address the Home Business subject in a future issue? I have been going through everything and selling on consignment at thrift stores. There is also one that will take plants and crafts. This is all I can think of to do. What does one do exactly to break into Home Business?
Crystal Blanchard, TX
Response to Anon.,
Perhaps grandparents are hostile to the idea of more grandchildren because they (1) experienced the Depression and doubt provision today can be given for all those hungry mouths; (2) are perhaps concerned that if anything happened to the parents of all those children, the responsibility for rearing them would fall upon the grandparents.
These are thoughts that come to mind because my parents have expressed hostility in the past. When we visit them (which is not often because they live in Illinois and we live in Texas,) our welcome is abbreviated when we run into one another in their one-bathroom, two-bedroom house in the woods. But Mother did intimate to me last September that my father is proud of all his grandchildren-even when we were due to have number 10 in February.
To Anon., VA regarding hostile grandparents: Both my husband and I have only one sister, no brothers. I realized a few years back that my parents-both very well-educated by the world's standards-have spent their lives fitting their religion into their science. In other words, if the Bible doesn't fit with evolution, zero population growth, etc., then the Bible is outdated and misinformed.
The best way to convince them of the blessings of children is to have them and raise them right. I have an aunt and uncle in their sixties who still don't have any grandchildren. My aunt just goos every time she sees my kids and would give anything to get her kids hustling. My parents are wonderful grandparents (we have the only grandchildren on both sides), but sometimes the best way to get a point across is to live it (sometimes this takes years.)
When I got pregnant with our first, three months after we married, my dad got me a maternity t-shirt that said "I've got rhythm!" At first it kind of stung, but later I chose to wear it in fun and go along with the joke rather than be hurt by it.
I find the more we laugh-instead of getting defensive-and the more we show our appreciation for their many efforts, gifts, etc.-instead of taking the attitude that that's just what they're supposed to do-the more they enjoy our family. It is painful and hard, but we have to recognize that we are living in a society that is messed up now from the oldest to the youngest. It was interesting to me to read an interview with Cher's daughter Chastity recently. Cher is so well-known for her bizarre and exhibitionist behaviors and dress, but now her daughter is evidently rejecting all that. She's not totally reformed, but she has come to reject all the wild stuff her mom brought her up with. Maybe the next couple of generations are going to be the ones to teach the parents the right way to go?
I don't have any answers to why grandparents are hostile to more grandchildren, but I know how devastating their hostility can be. I am facing the same problem. I am hurt and bewildered by it. My husband (Jody) and I had two children, three years apart, just like all our friends. We talked about another baby when our youngest was 3, but Jody really only wanted 2 children. We talked about sterilization, but we never did anything about it. Finally, when our children were 8 and 11 years old, I read The Way Home and asked my husband to read it. He read it and uneasily decided we would stop using birth control. He said he knew that God was in control and He knew what was best for us. And Jody was sure God knew that two children were all we could handle. It was real scary for Jody the first month because I had gotten pregnant with our first two right away. After about 3 months, he was real calm and the Lord was changing his heart. By about the 5th month he was saying that having a baby would be nice. Then he prayed for a baby and in the 7th month God answered our prayer. When we told our parents we were expecting, his parents were real happy (until later when his Mom found out we had decided to let the Lord plan our family.) My Mom was real upset. She said she was afraid for my health (I have low blood sugar and I was a mess before I found out what was wrong and corrected my diet-6 years before. I'm fine now.)
Anyway, Kara was born in May of 1988 and all the grandparents think she is wonderful. But recently we found out that we will be blessed again in December. My father-in-law thinks it's great. Our mothers are really upset. The babies will be too close (19 months apart), I'm too busy with home-schooling , we have a busy 24 hour a day family... it's just too much.
I think that my mother-in-law got too many "snippy questions" while she was rearing their eight sons. She was brainwashed into believing that nobody should have more than two children. This is sad because she has eight sons who will be with her for all eternity, because all are (or were Christians, one died in a car accident and one went to be with the Lord as an infant.) She is worried about me not having time for myself. But if we are to live with eternity in mind, am I to refuse to have children now because I want to spend time on me. I will have eternity to explore all my creative interests in a place where the things I do will not rot and rust. Now is when God may give me children to raise for His glory. (And He does give me time now and then to relax!)
So many people believe that two children are all anyone can handle. Lots of our Christian friends think we are crazy (starting another family when we were almost "free" of our first two!) But when our own parents are not happy to have more grandchildren- the world has really been corrupted. God's standards have been forgotten. We have a lot of ground to reclaim for ourselves and our children.
Re: Judy Goshorn, IN
Issue #5 Spring 1989
I believe I have a similar situation, I would like to share. Seven years ago, when our second child was born, my mother was diagnosed as having poly cystic kidney and liver disease.
Briefly, this is a disease that affects the kidneys and sometimes other organs. It is usually undetected until about age 35. It is about 87% hereditary. My grandfather died at 35 (he was also an alcoholic, which aggravates the disease.) Three years ago my mother had total kidney failure and is on a kidney dialysis and has undergone several surgeries, and has quite an enlarged abdomen due to the many cysts.
Shortly after her diagnosis, I heard a teaching on "curses" and how Jesus breaks these curses and how "children of the King" need not be under these curses. I felt the Lord telling me that teaching was for me and that hereditary diseases were curses and that we should pray and break that curse from our family.
We now have five beautiful children, ages 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 (and have room for more, if the Lord wills.) We are believing God that none of our children will get this disease, nor will I, or my five brothers and sister.
Now please understand, I'm not preaching to Judy or anyone else, I'm just sharing what the Lord spoke to us concerning our family.
NO DEBTS MAKES GOOD CENTS
C. H., CA
Re: "Suggestions" (HELP #5)
I just wanted to make a brief comment about the idea of a fund for loans to people who wish to obtain reversals. When you say easy-term loans are these interest loans? If so, I personally feel it could be bad method to help people to accrue debt, even for such a cause.
My husband and I are praying about a decision to seek a reversal. Before we could do this however, we must pay off the result of several bad financial decisions in the past, to the tune of many thousands of dollars. We are doing our level best to pay these off. My husband is doing everything he can to get them paid off as soon as possible and we pray always for God's help in the best plan to reach financial freedom. We have cut up all of our plastic money and are serious about cash-only purchases.
I would hate to see anyone accrue debt to fund a reversal. It seems to me that it is no more justifiable to be in debt to HAVE a baby than it is to support that same child once it is born, i.e. toys, baby furniture, computers, college education, etc.etc.
WALK IN MY SHOES
I do have a gripe. I receive your HELP magazine and I tend to notice that there is a lot of legalism and judgement. This really hurts those of us who want more children and are unable to have more, especially if it is our own fault.
I don't want to bore you to death but I have to give you some background so that you may understand and then maybe your readers could pray for our family. First of all, my mother died when I was thirteen and it was clear I couldn't stay home so I got married the week I turned 16. I was not in church, so I didn't have any guidance at all. Anyhow I had two children and an alcoholic husband and the doctor talked me into a tubal. I was twenty. Well as things went my ex-husband horribly abused my son and I couldn't report it because the state would take them from me, too, even though I was innocent, so a helpful police officer saw that we were able to catch a bus out-of-town. I fled with Chad (18 mos.) and Amber (age 3). All we had was seventy-five dollars and a clothes basket of dirty laundry. We arrived in the city where my father lived and I called him and he told me that I should give the kids up for adoption before he would help me.
I was backslid but I renewed my faith in God and we spent the night in the Salvation Army. The nightmare goes on, but I did find a half-way house to take us in and I went to work. I made $120 per week and paid $60 a week child care. I wish I could say we got help from churches, we did, but not much. My babies had nothing as people solicitously offered prayer and left in their Mercedes.
Don't think me bitter. I've forgiven and try to never, ever be that way. To make a long story short, I did stay in church and finally found my way to California. (That trip was a genuine miracle.) I met a Christian man and we have a wonderful marriage. (Praise God!)
But my husband lost his job of 20 years, soon after we married so I got a part-time job and he found employment but at a third of what he was making. From my husband's previous marriage there was one still-birth and one baby which lived a week. His wife was diagnosed as having scheleodearma (is that how you spell it?). After repeated miscarriages my husband had a vasectomy. (Incidentally, after all that his wife went out and got pregnant by someone else, that ended that marriage.)
To make my point, people shouldn't be hard on every working mother or every mother with just one or two. I would love to have more children and even was told by a doctor it would be simple if I could fork up $6,000 and it would cost the same for my husband. I appreciated the article about the doctor who would do them for $1,000 but, if I could scrape that up I wouldn't be able to get there, I work evenings and all our medical insurance is through my job. I homeschool all morning. I've been given advice to pray (which I do.) People think I'm crazy because I don't want to work, I home-school and wish for more children. I don't feel comfortable with the women in our home-school organization because they have husbands who make good money and nice homes and can't understand the bind we are in. <B>LABOR PAINS
Cindy Rollins, NJ
To S.S., MI (HELP #5)
The pain of birth is very scary. During my pregnancy with James I prayed that Jesus would be my labor partner. Of course, during the worst of the pain I wasn't thinking of him at all. All of a sudden he revealed His presence to me and totally humbled me. I cried out "Lord, I know I'm under the curse but could you please shorten it a little?" Within minutes James was born. I am always awed to think of that experience and the physical presence of Christ during my pain. He is worth it.
Barbara Wiedenbeck, WI
To S. S. in MI who's worried about losing her composure during childbirth: With my first daughter, I ended up "losing it" and was really rather ashamed of myself because people who had been to the childbirth classes should know enough not to fall apart. With my second daughter I did an incredible job-it was an extremely difficult birth resulting in a 10 day hospital stay for her, but I never lost it once. The only reason I can see is that I needed to be "up" for it- God gave me the special strength to get through it.
For our third child, they tried to induce me for two days to get him to come on time (large size was the problem with #2). Ironically, all I listened to for two days sitting in that hospital was screaming! It was almost funny to me, because I had been so mortified over my own "failure." I figure now that I just prepare the best I can, but any way I can get the kid out is doing fine!
J. M. Dunlap, CA
To S.S., MI. I'll be honest. I am terrified of the pain of giving birth. Some people maybe have it harder than others. My last baby, my third, was 9 lbs., in a posterior position, and I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hip which makes it worse and it was horrible! However, I still plan to have more because I think it's part of God's plan and will bring rewarding results.
My feeling is that women should be more honest about this area of our lives and care more about supporting one another in this area, rather than "proving our macho" by pretending it doesn't hurt as bad as it does to show our "good control" during what doctors and nurses, to my disgust, call "discomfort."
Among my friends I find honest admissions (whether it was real bad or wasn't so bad-it's different for every momma) and real prayer support as well as moral support.
Why can't women be more honest about this area of our lives and more supportive of each other?
Laura McClellan, NE
I can relate to all the fears you've expressed. I, too, am afraid of having people think I'm weird. In fact, I think that bothers me more than the expense or discomfort of a big family and childbirth. It helps to have my husband on my side. He's pretty secure about the whole thing, and not one to worry too much about what other people think. As long as I have my "best friend" on my side, I can take what other people dish out. ("Zippy Answers to Snippy Questions" is a BIG help in that area!)
I've never met a woman who wasn't a little nervous about giving birth. In some ways, I think we'd be nuts not to be nervous. The more you learn about childbirth, the more awed you become at the intricacy of the whole procedure and the myriad of different things that could go wrong.
However, in the vast majority of cases, those things don't go wrong. We can, should, and must acknowledge the hand of God in our births. He's the One who delivers our babies anyway. Debra Evans, in her book The Complete Book on Childbirth, points out that pregnancy and childbirth is a time that can turn us toward God, if we acknowledge that He is the One in control, that only He can bring forth our babies safely. Our very vulnerability during this period of our lives can cause us to learn to rely completely on Him.
Don't be ashamed to admit to being afraid of the pain in childbirth. I don't know a single honest woman who doesn't share that fear to one degree or another. Even with all I've just said, every time I've been pregnant, I've had to deal with that fear. The first time it was fear of the unknown. After that, it becomes "Can I do this again? What if I just can't cope this time?"
Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can. I have no tolerance of pain whatsoever. None! When I stub my toe, I have to lie down for an hour. Yet I've given birth three times (so far) with no pain medication. Lots of women have done it more times than that. All I really need to make it through childbirth is my Lord, and my husband beside me to hold on to when I feel like I'm drowning in those transition contractions.
However trite it sounds, one look at that sweet baby's face makes it worth every moment of fear, discomfort and fatigue. You can do it, S.S. Really you can. Please write to me if you want someone to talk to about these things.
OLDER WOMEN ARE NEEDED!
Paula Sutter, CA
I wanted to encourage Martha Pugacz, not to be discouraged in sharing her wisdom with us younger, inexperienced mothers. It may seem that there are a lot of very selfish women in these days who are unwilling to make the sacrifices that you had to make, but you are planting seeds into their hearts and lives, that you may not see the harvest of, but months or even years later will bring forth fruit. We can't always base things that we do or don't do on other people's responses to us. If we are obedient and faithful to do what we are supposed to do, then God will honor that and bless us for our obedience, and we can commit the other people into God's hands and trust that He is working in their lives too. TRANSLATING FROM THE AUSTRALIAN
J.M. Dunlap, CA
[In the last issue of HELP I printed a wonderful letter that originally ran in ABOVERUBIES. Since the writer was an Australian lady, I had trouble in translating a few of the terms and asked our readers to help-Ed.]
I grew up in Papua New Guinea, on a mission base with as many Australians as Americans. So Australian terms are as familiar to me as American terms-in fact I often need my husband's help to decode American expressions, even after 10 years here!
A Pikelet is what we call a pancake, only smaller. These are often eaten for a snack ("afternoon tea") To Australians a "pancake" is what we call a crepe, to be rolled up with lemon juice and sugar, and eaten for desert ("after-tea sweets"). A Fredo Frog is a popular, flat, frog-shaped chocolate wrapped in colored foil. It has half milk-chocolate and half white-chocolate. I grew up on these. They sold for $.05 (Australian).
A Lucky Dip is what we call a grab-bag. You can reach in and pull out a surprise to keep, but you don't know what it is until you unwrap it.
HELP WITH MISCARRIAGE
Cindy Rollins, PA
First let me say "Thank you" for HELP. The Spring '89 issue was especially timely for me.
The day HELP arrived, I was lying in bed miscarrying a very much wanted baby. I was happy to see the sections on miscarriage and grief, and quickly turned to them.
Because we feel so blessed by God when we find I'm pregnant, to lose a baby feels like a curse. Susan Gaddis' letter was the most helpful. After the baby was actually gone, I felt a great peace. We always pray that each child we have will serve Christ, and if they won't serve Him we pray we won't have them. So we would never beg God for a child He didn't want us to have.
As the week went on I appreciated HELP even more. Everyone from my mother to mother-in-law to "well-meaning?" friends gave me a slice of advice including:
No one really understood that I was sad because most were relieved (because my baby is only 14 months.) My mother gets so embarrassed when she tells people I'm pregnant again and my grandmother firmly gave me permission for one more and that's it.
Anyway, I'm glad HELP was there with a few friendly responses just when I needed them.
Later in the week I even got a call from a HELP reader who saw my name in the Network Corner. We were able to share stories of miscarriages and it was nice to know in spite of a past miscarriage she now has a 5 week old little girl. Joy does follow grief one way or another.
RATING THE SNIPPIES
Lisa Keyes, CT
We really enjoyed Holly Sullivan's Snippy Question rating system. I take my 4 children with me everywhere and now that I am expecting #5 in September, I really hear it all. Mostly, people ask me "Are they all yours?" and "How many are you planning to have?" To which I reply, "I gave up trying to plan, we just choose to trust the Lord."
I can't tell you how much I am encouraged by your newsletter. What a blessing to know that there are others out there as "crazy" as I am!
I also wanted to share something that I've observed. It may not be anything new to you but I'm amazed by it. My four children are 15 mos., 3 1/2 yrs., 5 1/2 yrs., and almost 7 yrs. and besides having more wash and dishes to do, things aren't that bad! As you said, the older children just love to amuse and help with the baby and they are learning to help around the house too. We're managing to homeschool our oldest daughter also.