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Arianne Brown: Don’t ask if I’m done having children

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On April 24, our family was blessed with the newest addition to our family — an 8-pound, 9-ounce baby boy. He is our ninth child and seventh boy, and we couldn't be more happy and grateful for the blessing to have children.

Having a large family is not everyone's prerogative, however, and I get that. Not only do I get it, but I hear it loud and clear. I hear it when you ask me if I'm done yet, or if I'm going for an even dozen. I hear it when you ask me questions like, “Do you know how to stop that from happening?” or give blunt statements like, “There are ways of preventing this.”

I hear it from all areas of my life: friends, family, but mostly people I don't know who see a large family and have nothing nice to say.

Yet, when I hear you, I don't listen, because it has no bearing on the choices of my husband and I regarding our family. When I hear you, what comes to mind is each one of my children who I am not only grateful for, but who I owe my wonderful life to.

I think of my nearly-15-year-old son who is loyal to his family, his beliefs and has undeterred focus on the goals he has set for himself in life. I think of my 13-year-old daughter who changes her mind with each shift in weather, is as strong-willed as she is physically strong, and who has an insatiable desire to be liked by all she comes in contact with.

When you ask if I'm done yet, I think of my 12-year-old son who is a tenderhearted boy who loves hugs and kisses as much as he does tearing it up on the soccer field, basketball court, race track or tumbling mat. I think of my 11-year-old son who is our quiet storm that you don't know is there until you do, and when you do, is a powerful force to reckon with.

When you tell me I've met my quota, I think of my 9-year-old daughter who is a friend to all, from the toddler in her brother's nursery class to the 80-year-old widow down the street. I think of my 5-year-old son who knows more about dinosaurs and endangered species than anyone I know, and who tells me he loves me each time he sees me.

When you educate me on the latest birth control methods, I think of my 3-year-old son who has broken as many bones in his life as he has lived on this earth, but who jumps back up with every fall even stronger. I think of my 17-month-old son who races around the house on his scooter with the confidence of an experienced big kid, and who snuggles up to me for hours at a time each day.

When I hear you challenge my choice to add yet another child to my family, I take time to look at my newborn baby boy who I know so very little about, yet can't wait to get to know better as he grows in knowledge, strength and personality.

And when you ask me if I'm done having kids, you will just have to wait and see. Or better yet, don't ask the question at all, and perhaps find a different way to approach a large family of children whom their parents are very, very proud of.