June 20, 2021

Delaying Parenthood

Should a young couple choose to delay becoming a parent?  In some cases there seems to be a good financial as well as emotional reasons to do such, but this certainly wasn’t what we have done historically.

One of God’s commands to Noah and then to the children of Israel was to be fruitful and multiply.  Children, until this past century, were not something that you could avoid if you want to be active in normal marital activities.  Yet with the introduction of the pill and other means of preventing pregnancy, children have started being looked at as an expense rather than a blessing or a gift.

Indeed, in my own family alone, two of my siblings have stated that they will wait five years before having a child of their own.  I don’t question their reasons, I just point them out to say that if it’s in my own family, you’ve probably come across it.

For my family, we enjoy having had our children while we were younger.  I’m constantly computing how old I’ll be when our new one arrives, when she graduates high school, when she may get married.  I don’t want to be too old to enjoy those times, too old to physically keep up with the older ones.  To me, some of the memories that I want to have with my kids is playing sports or games that I won’t be too old to get around effectively when they’re just getting old enough to play.

There are other problems with delaying having children, as outlined in this post:

  • Delaying children can help parents to get selfish– in that they have spent their entire lives together focusing on each other.
  • The shock to the lifestyle of people who wait can be enormous since they have long ago gotten comfortable in their ways.
  • The family bond can be weakened– as there is more of a gap between parent and child.

If you’re thinking (or someone you know is thinking) about delaying having children– pray about it, talk about it, and make sure that it’s what God wants you to do, not what society, culture, or your selfishness wants you to do.  Be doing it for the right reasons.

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13 thoughts on “Delaying Parenthood

  1. It is not good to delay parenthood for a myriad of reasons, many of which you have mentioned here. One can only agree with you.
    Having said that I must admit that I am nothing but a person who delayed parenthood 🙂
    First there was the University, then some serious personal turbulences, and still alter on moving to another country and estabilishing a position there. Plus health problems preventing conception.
    I hope to be fit enough to take part in my boys’ lives, though…

  2. I agree that delaying parenthood doesn’t make Biblical sense, but like Ann, I have to admit that my dh and I did this. We married on my 18th birthday and felt we had plenty of time for children. We thought we’d wait a year…a year turned into 4 years. Also, we’d had Christians (yeah) counsel us to take our time and enjoy one another before bringing on the responsibilities of parenthood. Those 4 years were very special I’ll admit, but the years with children have been just as special. We’ve been married 13.5 years and sometimes look at each other and say, “Can you imagine if we had a teenager right now?”

    You do wonder if you missed out on one or more special children by waiting, but I don’t waste time worrying about it. What’s done is done.

    You listed several very good reasons why not to delay, but another is that the longer you are on the pill the harder it sometimes is to get pregnant. Your body has been resistant to it for so long that it resists a while longer. And that’s the least of the reasons for not going on the pill, as we all know.

  3. I have to wonder if you CAN delay children for “right reasons”. I would be interested in finding scriptural support for reasons to delay children.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  4. I think that would be hard to do. Since God is the one that opens and closes the womb, wouldn’t He just do it himself?

    However I was told that Jewish men were instructed to spend a year “comforting their wife” after they were married and during that time they were prohibited from entering the military, etc.

  5. I think its worth noting in this thread (I think it was mentioned in the referenced thread), that most forms of birth control are actually abortion. Many Christians looking to delay their pregnancy use any of the methods that their DR recommends without looking into what the method actually does. Many forms of birth control are centered around the concept of keeping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus (Whether that be something blocking it from doing so, or convincing your body you’re already pregnant so it won’t prepare for it to implant). In the process they abort the could-be-baby. As a result the process of “delaying” is really the process of “exterminating” 😉

    I don’t think I’m willing to say that there are no circumstances where a Christian should seek to delay pregnancy. However I think it it our responsibility to be educated on what the effects are of what is chosen to be used and make sure that its appropriate.

    It also seems odd to me to trust God for provision and finances and trust Christ to save our soul… yet not also trust Him to assist in the number of kids we have. The bible does clearly say that He has the ability to open and close the womb, and he chooses to exercise this will. If this is the case then at any point He could exercise his will to assist His children and there is no need for us to be concerned.

    At the same time there is nothing I am aware of that specifically states that you should not try to control pregnancies… besides the fact it just shows a lack of trust in God.

  6. I would think that one reason for delaying pregnancy would be physical issues– issues where the woman’s body hasn’t had time to heal. Even the law in the Old Testament dictated that a man was to give the woman 40 days after birth where he should not “approach” her as she was “unclean.” Doctors now instruct a man not to “approach” her for 6 weeks after birth. Since these two seem to correlate, that means that if there were physical issues it would be conceivable that couples could delay getting pregnant again.

    Another one could be how it would effect a nursing child. Since nursing a baby has the effect of contracting the uterus, if you nursed while pregnant you could abort the baby, and yet we know that the natural design of feeding babies (and the best for the baby and mom) is nursing, one could justify delaying pregnancy for nursing children.

    I understand the argument that God will protect and provide, but I also understand that it applies to all areas of life– I’m supposed to exercise care and be a good steward. I could use the logic that says that I should not use any kind of delaying of pregnancy with finances and say that since God promised to supply all my needs I can spend all my money on whatever I want, because God will provide the needs. That’s foolishness– since the money is part if not all of God’s supply. Applying that to pregnancy, if God provides methods of controlling when I have children (not counting that which aborts a baby), then is it wrong to pray and ask for wisdom about how many children we should have and use that which is around to delay when feeling so led?

  7. MIN,

    Firstly, Nursing a baby full time (before they start to eat solids) in general DOES prevent pregnancy. (and not by abortion either… it prevents ovulation.)

    Secondly, I have never heard of spontaneous abortion related to nursing a child. If you conceive while nursing, generally a woman can nurse the whole time and have no complications at all. Some women lose their milk (like me) and some have their milk “go bitter”, and the nursling child weans them selves because of the taste change.

    uhmmm…. I don’t agree with much in your last paragraph. We can compare finances and babies to some degree but not all the way. For example, the Word does say that the Lord provides money. But I don’t see anyplace where it is written that HE provided contraception. The Word does say that He rewards us with financial blessing, and that He rewards us with children… I think your comparison is faulty.

    I think it is far more likely that the Devil is the one who thought up contraception, of any sort. Because GOD is the bringer of life, and the creator, and He calls new life a reward, and made the family an example of His love. But the Devil comes to “kill and destroy”, he hates the organization of a godly family and seeks to destroy it in many ways, one of the most subtle of which (imo) is birth control.

    I don’t think it is wrong to pray and ask for wisdom. But I do think it is unlikely that the Lord would tell you a number of children to accept from Him. If He did, I would think that you would not need to prevent others from coming, because the Lord would not have made a mistake in the number He told you, if you heard a number and then got pregnant again, I think that means you heard wrongly, not that God forgot how many to give you! or that He was relying on YOU to stop those blessings from coming. (if He doesn’t want you to have more, you won’t, kids can’t just happen “by accident”.)

    Are there never reasons a family might try to delay pregnancy? I guess, there are (I can’t really think of any that aren’t selfish, or a distrust of the power of God, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.) If a family prayed and felt they should “delay pregnancy” I think that the Lord provided a way for this. That the man and woman remain apart for a time of prayer and fasting. If there is a reason that is important enough to delay pregnancy, then I think it is important enough to separate for prayer and fasting…

    “Defraud ye not one the other, except [it be] with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” (1 Cor 7:5)

    You will note however, that the intent of the heart must be for fasting and prayer, not simply as a means of preventing kids.

    anyway. I better get off this soap box. LOL….


  8. I agree with Bethanie. I am not infertile, but I come from a family with a very long history of miscarriage and stillbirth. DH and I have been married for 7 months and have already experienced one miscarriage. When someone tells me that it was a blessing that my baby died — that we should be glad that we have more time alone together — I can’t even begin to tell you how that feels.

    It is sad, but I know all too many people who waited too long to have children, and were faced with a choice of IVF or adoption when they finally decided they were ‘ready’ for a family.

  9. Greetings, Harmony.

    My wife and I had a miscarriage of twins the first time we got pregnant– so there’s still hope. Your point, however, is right on target. I don’t know how people can look at children as a curse, and I especially don’t know how someone could be insensitive to people that want children.

    My prayers go out to you in your desire to be blessed by God with children.

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