I was recently sent a question about whether it was wrong for a couple to try and have more children if those children would likely have special needs (because one child they had given birth to already had special needs). The person also asked if it was selfish to want more children if the risk of having special needs was higher. For our TTC post this week, I thought I would share my response. I pray that this will be encouraging to others who may be in a similar situation.
First, children are very clearly a blessing from the Lord. The family relationship is communal and the call to marry and procreate is found in the first 2 chapters of Genesis.
All children are valuable human beings. But today we must consider our own situations. We should trust God to provide for our families, but at the same time we should be responsible stewards. Your income and your time to be with your children, etc. may factor in to how many children you want. Some families have 6 or 8 children and that is the right amount for them, while some may have 1 child or even no children and that is right for them.
I recommend praying about how many children you want and making decisions in life that will best afford you the abilities to care for that number of children.
Concerning special needs–All people are fully created in the image of God. All people are equally valuable regardless of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or even mental or physical capacity. In other words, a child with special needs is just as valuable to God as anyone else. So if a family has a child with special needs, that child is equal in value with any other children. Furthermore, if the couple desires to have more children, there should be no stigma attached to the idea of having another child who could be special needs.
The number of children you have should have less to do with whether or not they will be healthy and should have more to do with how many children you believe that God wants you to have.
I know a family that recently had a child who was born with several handicaps and the family knew before they ever began trying to conceive that the problems were a possibility. When the child was born, they quickly realized that the health concerns were a reality, but the couple loves the child. They are blessed by his birth and he is a very special part of their growing family.
Just because we can run tests now to determine if a child will likely be healthy does not mean that we should abort those that are less likely to be healthy, it does not mean that we should encourage couples not to have children because they might need special care, and it does not mean that we should see special needs children as less valuable, lovable, or needed in our world. All life is valuable, all people are created in God’s image, and all children are a blessing from God.