By Ashley Hatfield

I’ve always wanted to have five children. Growing up with only one sibling, I dreamed of having a big family with all of my children being friends and going through life together. I hoped for endless children and grandchildren who would love me unconditionally. I wanted nothing more than for a home where love continued to multiply.

But then I had my daughter and it totally changed my dream. Or at least, fear has been telling me that my dream has changed. After having her, I decided that I didn’t want any more children. One of the biggest reasons I’ve been making this decision in fear is because I almost died giving birth to my daughter. I won’t trouble you with all of the details, but the short version of the story is that I lost a lot of blood attempting a natural birth and then I lost a lot more during an emergency c-section – then I lost more due to internal bleeding. All this loss of blood was neglected for 19 hours before a new doctor came on call and I was rushed to get seven bags of blood transfusions. For reference, we only have nine bags-worth in our bodies, which means I was operating at roughly 22%. After the transfusions, I had the most intricate surgery you can have to stop my internal bleeding.

To say it was a traumatic experience would be quite the understatement. I cried constantly for weeks wondering why it had happened to me and being so angry that I almost lost the chance to raise my daughter. And so, as you can imagine, I’ve been terrified to become pregnant again. But I know that deep down, it’s always been my desire, and my husband’s, too. So how can I face this very understandable fear? How can I trust that I’ll make it through another delivery safely so that I can stay alive to raise my children? I turn to the Bible, God’s written word.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

The Bible tells us to push aside our own interpretation of events and our belief in what’s to come for us and to simply trust in Him with all of our heart because he has a purpose for us that desires to be fulfilled. If I listen to my own fear, I hear all of the problems and complications that may happen. I hear another warning of how next time I may not be as lucky. I hear that maybe one is enough. If I listen to God, I hear that trying for another child is what he is calling us towards. I hear His encouragement to step out in faith and trust Him with my fears.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” – Psalm 127:3

If I listen to God, I hear that I will survive the pain of childbirth again and all of the pain will be worth it because of the joy on the other side.

“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” – John 16:21

“And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” – Isaiah 58:11

Of course, as soon as I build my faith that having another child is the right choice for us, I start becoming stressed that it’s not the right choice for my daughter. Through discovering parenting and the love that is possible to hold for a child, I can’t imagine loving another child as much as I love her. I start to question myself again as fear tries to creep back in – is it even physically possible to add another child on? Both emotionally and physically? Will one of my children feel neglected or feel that they’re not the favorite? How is it possible to grow my capacity for the love in my heart and not divide what is already there? But I turn back to God’s word and see that once again, He is reassuring me.

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else…” – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Through faith, I know that the love in my heart will increase and overflow onto any child or relationship I bring into this world. Loving God and experiencing His love allows the love in your heart to grow without bounds. All it is capable of doing is multiplying. I want to encourage whoever is reading this, that in those moments of fear and doubt, turn to His word – there is a promise for hope and a future waiting for you. Don’t let fear run your life or convince you out of the things you know you were made for. Trust God against your own fear! He will win every time.

“Now faith, hope, and love remain — these three things — and the greatest of these is love.” — 1 Corinthians 13:13