Today’s guest post is written by Jenna Em.
Jenna Em is mom to 5 great kids, 6 years and under (4 boys & 1 girl). She has pursued a lifelong career in Marketing, which will resume once her youngest enters kindergarten. Jenna holds an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto in English & Sociology. She lives with her husband and 5 kids in Ontario, Canada.
“You must have always known you wanted to have a big family!” Whenever I go out with my children, this is a statement I often hear. The answer does seem to be self-evident. Otherwise, why would someone choose to have 5 children in just 5 years? I will tell you my answer.
It was 15 years ago when my boyfriend (now husband) and I had “the” discussion? You know, the one where each states that they had always wanted to have 2 boys, or a singleton, or a group of 3 giggling girls. That discussion.
My husband–an only child—went first. He stated that he would like to have 2 children one day. I was mortified. What I was going to say would surely break us apart and end our relationship. Can you guess what I was going to tell him (seeing that you are reading this on a large family website)? I bet you cannot!
I went on to tell my boyfriend that I planned on remaining childless, and if he wished to have any children, that he should find another woman – as that woman would never be me! At first my boyfriend was speechless. His expression was one of surprise, but then he became thoughtful and tried to compromise.
He then told me that he would also be happy having only one child. As an only child himself, he had wished to have a sibling, but he could be satisfied with only one. He nodded at me, hoping I would agree.
I did not agree and had the unpleasant task of telling my boyfriend that I did not want any children, not even one. There was a long silence on his part. But love was young and we stayed together, him agreeing that he would find peace with having no kids whatsoever.
Many years passed. Our careers were successful. We bought a house. We bought a large Newfoundland Dog. Many more years passed. We got engaged, then married. I was considering buying a second dog.
Then one day at work I received a simple e-mail from my husband. It had a photo of twin infants. The message read: “Which one do you like better?” 3 years passed and I received half a dozen similar messages. My husband never pushed, but always coaxed me gently in the direction of having “just one” child.
“Oh, come on!”, he said one day out of the blue, “You would make a great mother!”
So, not having changed my mind, I agreed to have “just one” child. I still did not want to have any children, but did not wish to deny my husband of having the child he so yearned for. I wanted to make him happy and decided to make a leap of faith.
I was pregnant within 3 months. As I was labouring the birth of our first child, I thought I had made a terrible mistake. I still did not want to have a child—why had I agreed?
My son arrived without my agreement. The whole family thought he was cute and were thrilled for his arrival. I am not sure exactly when it happened, but I started loving having our son too.
I loved having a child so much, that 5 months later I was pregnant with our only daughter. I told my husband that I even wanted to have a third child, and with surprise he agreed. 20 months after our daughter’s birth, our second son was born.
I had to really convince my husband to have a fourth child – he thought I was crazy, but finally agreed. Our third son arrived exactly 12 months later.
However, my husband absolutely refused to have a fifth child. How could the one who pursued me for so long to have a child, deny me of having another? It was a very difficult time in our relationship, as I felt like someone in our family was missing.
Finally, my husband agreed to have a fifth child. However, he made me agree that if we were to have a fifth child, that there would never be a sixth one. He just wanted each child to have individual attention, and felt like he was being spread too thin. I readily agreed and our fourth son was born 15 months later.
So, that is our story of how we went from 0 to 5 kids in five years. It really was about taking that first leap of faith, in order to open my heart to having children.
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