Have More Children

My daughter and first child. Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika
My daughter and first child. Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika

Dreams

When I was a young girl, I had dreams of having a handsome husband, several happy children and a beautiful home. Most of my dreams have come true, however, not exactly as I had hoped. I admit that my choices greatly influenced how my life is turning out, but some things just cannot be helped.

I had all of my four children before I was 30 years of age. As a result, we have had an empty nest for some time, while those who went on to have children into their forties still have children to keep them company, and they talk about attending all their activities. At times I feel guilty for not having more children.

My first son and second child  Copyright REK
My first son and second child Copyright REK
Diastasis recti - separation of abdominal muscles
Diastasis recti - separation of abdominal muscles | Source
My children and I in the South Pacific
My children and I in the South Pacific
Grown kids and I  Copyright REK
Grown kids and I Copyright REK

Have you ever felt guilty that you didn't have more children?

  • Yes
  • No
See results without voting

Not me, but similar condition

Reality

After the birth of my first child, a beautiful healthy daughter, I was ecstatic! I felt I had fulfilled one of my dreams and verified my womanhood status. I was a mother! Fifteen months later, I had a handsome bouncing baby boy. What more could one want? A daughter and a son? I was truly blessed and enjoyed my cute little babies. They brought me so much joy and happiness.

Physical Complications

I noticed that I didn't look like some of my other friends who had just had a baby. Their big tummies shrunk back to a normal looking stomach. After a physical examination, I was told I had diastasis recti where the abnominal muscles are separated. If I lie down, you can actually feel the separation of several inches between my abdominal muscles. I could have had surgery to correct it, but we lived in the South Pacific and our funds were limited.

Physician's Recommendations

Later I was told by several doctors that it would be best if I did not have any more babies, as the separation would worsen. It did cause some lower back pain and made it difficult to lift objects. Additional complications can include weakened pelvic alignment, poor posture and chronic back pain, all of which I have had issues with. Needless to say, my bikini days were over (not that I ever wore them in the first place).

Possible Causes

I am a small 5 foot Caucasian woman who married a Polynesian man, and my babies were born at normal sizes around seven pounds. When I got pregnant with my last two, you could feel little feet and hands easily through the separation. My husband said he did not mind the look of my torso, so I never had it fixed with a tummy tuck, but I did do exercises to try to strengthen the muscles. I had two more healthy beautiful boys, although it was difficult. But, I cannot imagine my life without them. They have brought so much to my life. Deciding to have a tubal ligation was probably the most difficult decision I have ever made, but I felt my damaged body could not take any more.

Societal Norms

Having two children for a Caucasian family is now considered normal, but because we moved to live in the South Pacific, I learned that many Polynesian families have eight, ten or more children. They like to compare how large their families are and will even adopt (hanai) their relatives children to add to the numbers. It is funny to sit and listen to Polynesian women, because inevitably the subject will turn to how many children they have. They love to "one up" the other. I was talking to a lady who had fourteen natural children and another lady told her she had 21. End of discussion!

Mother's Day

In these uncomfortable situations, I found myself ashamed and guilty that I only had four children. By American standards, I had done pretty good, but in some third world countries, four children is considered very small. Even our church (LDS aka Mormon) society, it was common to have five or more children. This has been one of my most difficult challenges. Mothers like to "brag" about their six, seven or ten perfect children who have never done anything wrong and how they have gone on to conquer the world. I really hate Mother's Day for that reason (sad, but true).

I think Mother's Day is for anyone who has loved or nurtured a child. There are many who have not given birth to a baby, but have that nurturing loving nature that help children blossom.

In Conclusion

For those who are prejudice towards women who for some reason are unable to bear children, get over it! Show concern and empathy to others and help them know of their worth, no matter how many children they have. Here in Hawaii, the auntie is a revered person in the family. Many do not have their own children, but treat their nieces and nephews like their own children (including discipline and celebrations). I admire this culture and think the mainland could learn a lot from it.

I am so grateful for the wonderful children I have. Now that I have grandchildren, my heart has grown in leaps and bounds. My only daughter has only been able to have one child, an angel of a girl, but she has mothered, doctored, and nurtured all of her sibling's children. I know she wants to have more children, but she has a condition that makes getting pregnant more difficult.

Women have enough to deal with and overcome without feeling guilty about not having more children. We do not know what others may be dealing with. It is best to be kind to all.

FYI

Diastasis recti can occur in men also if they become obese


There are exercises you can do to improve your condition, but if done improperly, it can make it worse.

This hub is an answer to a question asked by harmony155, "For those that don't have children: do you feel guilty for not bringing new life into this world?"


Although I do have four children, I still felt guilty that I didn't have more. I can only imagine the sadness and pressure felt by those who are unable to have children (if they want them). My heart goes out to them. I have a few friends who have not had any children, some of which are remorseful, and some who are not bothered by it (at least outwardly). Each person is different, and we should not judge.

More by this Author


Comments 6 comments

i scribble profile image

i scribble 3 years ago

I have some guilt about choosing to have only one child, but not due to societal pressures or others' opinions. It is because my son was and will always be an only child, which can be a lonely situation for a child or an adult. I really don't see any reason you should feel guilty about having 'only' 4 children, but I can understand that you may have wanted more because you love children and being a mom so much.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

I have three sons and that is plenty for me. I loved being a mother and now a grandmother. I never felt the need to have more children and my first was born when I was 19 years old, although the last one did not come until I was 29. We each have to decide what is best for our situation. I am sorry to hear you had the abdominal muscle problems. Voted up!


msshandriaball profile image

msshandriaball 3 years ago

Great hub thanks for sharing!


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

I grew up in a highly dysfunctional family, so I decided early never to have children. I've heard very little criticism, and when I do, I have no qualms about putting people in their place. I live in Hawaii, and frankly, with teen pregnancy at an all-time high and girls having X number of babies by the same number of guys, I find that downright appalling.

I once had a co-worker who had 2 babies in high school, then tried to marry someone else. She left the Catholic church because they refused to perform the ceremony. She joined the Mormon church, married the guy, and had 3 babies by him. The man was a violent alcoholic; one of her children committed suicide because of that. She finally escaped him and married someone else, having 2 more babies by him (that makes 7). One of her daughters got into drugs (another rampant factor here), so she was raising a grandchild as a result. She told me spouse abuse is rampant in Hawaii because while boys stand by their pregnant girlfriends, they can't adequately support a family with barely a high school education, so they take it out on them.

I don't see what there is to brag about, here!


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

That was a very good hub based on that question asked by harmony155. I enjoy hearing your opinion, and your own story. As an American, I can't imagine 4 children as being only a few, but since many other cultures have a multitude of children, I understand.

I'm glad you were able to have children. Even if you wished at times you could have more, I'm glad you enjoyed motherhood!

I don't have kids yet, but I am an auntie to 2 little girls, and two growing boys, and I enjoy being around them once in a while! Not as often as I'd like. But I will be seeing the girls in a couple of weekends.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful hub with us, and have a wonderful day!

~ Kathryn


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

I appreciate and respect your feelings. I also salute one of the excellent ways you've chosen to cope with them--the writing of this beautiful article. Thank you for sharing, Elayne! Aloha!

Joe

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working