News, and evidence, of delay abounds. People are getting married later and having babies later, as the graying moms pushing prams at the playground prove. But not everyone is following the ways of the culture around us. Our friends Ted and Ashleigh took a different path. She writes,
I grew up viewing the wedding reception as a time to celebrate a newly formed marriage, not a time to start thinking about having babies. But thanks to my dad, ours became both.
While other family members and friends toasted us with congratulations—recalling the past and wishing us the best for the future—my dad took his toast a step further. He ended with this exhortation, “And finally, I expect you to be faithful to obey the first command in all of Scripture, and that is to be fruitful and multiply.” He then handed my new husband, Ted, a pacifier—a tangible reminder that in God’s design marriage and children go hand in hand.
In the early months of our marriage, my mom continued where my dad left off. On a regular basis, she encouraged us not to put off having kids. As someone who had her own children early in life, she recognized the value of having children in your youth. And, since my husband was in his mid-30s, she knew the clock was already ticking for us.
My parents’ encouragement, paired with our church culture where many couples where expecting babies within the first year and a half of marriage, changed my mindset. I went from believing it was good to wait several years before having kids (after all, I was still in my 20s and believed there was plenty of time for children), to being ready and willing to have them sooner. As a result, when we were surprised with pregnancy after being married only eight months, I felt ready. The news of a baby wasn’t simply unexpected, but welcome.
Now six and half years after our wedding reception and my dad’s toast, we’re the parents of three children five years of age and younger. Each day as we look at these little faces, we are freshly grateful that we didn’t put off starting our family.
Ashleigh isn’t just living her convictions privately, she has a webzine dedicated to helping women at all stages of life embrace their faith and make it real in their lives. Her webzine, Ungrind, is an encouraging place with weekly articles, a blog and more.