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

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  • DenaElizabeth Vancouver, WA
    May 12, 2019 11:46 p.m.

    I loved this article. One of the big arguments about having many children is that the mom can't possibly truly get to know her children.
    And here it is beautifully shown that didn't have to be the case at all. This mother knows her children.
    Great job, mom! 💜 Happy Mother's Day.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2019 9:30 p.m.

    Big families are not so much a problem of the parents are sensitive to the number of resources they use that can cost taxpayers a lot of money like education. We are always being condemned as a state for not spending more on education but it is difficult when we have so many kids in our state. You can only tax people so much for people's personal choices. Raising a good and strong family is a good thing whoever many children you have. As long as parents understand they are responsible for paying for and raising their children and not society/taxpayers it works out for people to have big families. If people are on welfare and/or on church assistance and continue to have children they can't afford this seems to be the thing which sets people off the most. People should only have the kids they can afford financially, handle emotionally and physically.

  • SpÄter73 Hughson, CA
    May 3, 2019 5:24 p.m.

    With the way our social security is set up, having a large family is actually the socially responsible thing to do. Those of us who pay taxes are actually funding the current retirees Social Security liabilities. And our children will pay ours. There is no "lock box". I forget the exact ratio but it is several current employees per current retiree and will continue to grow and baby boomers retire.

  • Star11277 St George, UT
    May 3, 2019 2:41 p.m.

    This article goes both ways. Just because some people have large families in Utah, it doesn’t mean everyone want a large family. Stop asking us if we are having more children. We are not a failure because we only had two. We had only two children because two were the number we could afford and follow properly. Every parent has different ideas of what it means to follow, educate and grow a child. And we don’t have an expensive house. But two was the number we felt we could raise. As simple as that.

  • windsor Logan, UT
    May 2, 2019 5:19 p.m.

    Just want to give a big shout-out to the middle and older kids in this family. I bet with a writer for a mother --who is also a runner--that the little ones depend on you guys for a lot. Thanks for the things you do so the little ones have what they need.

  • Trad Life Gettysburg, PA
    May 2, 2019 4:49 p.m.

    Large family sizes are critical to the survival of the United States. Arianne Brown is to be commended. So is Kody Brown for having 18 children.

  • mominthetrenches South Jordan, UT
    May 2, 2019 3:54 p.m.

    @The Dark Knight-100% agree
    @spencery1990-that is a great perspective and way to respond to nosy questions about family size

    I had my 4 children in my mid-late 30's, ranging in age from 0-5 1/2, and my #3 child was a special needs child, who was delayed, followed 14 months later by our "accidental" caboose. I grew up in the Bay Area and was shocked at how many comments from strangers in a grocery store line who asked the same kinds of questions, here in Utah!
    Are you tending? Are those ALL YOURS? With my youngest and I started getting a few gray hairs, someone even asked me if I was his grandma? I felt a little hurt at first, but I don't like walking around angry all the time, like spencery1990 said, and started looking at all the great reasons why each of my children were a huge blessing to me and my husband. We CHOSE to have these children, later, and we were lucky that we could. My life has been super chaotic ever since. When people ask, I own it and let them know I'm not perfect, but am grateful for the ride, telling them something like, "You think this is crazy? You should have seen us ten years ago!!!" I make no apologies, but I definitely choose to not be offended.

  • UtahBruin Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 2, 2019 12:57 p.m.


    I agreed with your comment all the way up until the last 16 words "especially when those teenagers are not willing to allow me to tell them about my religion." This is 100% False. Actually I will give you 98% False. There are a few bad seeds out there who do it wrong. I get emails from my Son who is serving a mission, and he tells me all the time how he has sat down and listened and been taught about others faiths numerous times. In fact he enjoys the interaction and learning about others. Maybe it hasn't happened to you. But it happens quite frequently. Just keep trying, and sooner or later you will meet a respectful Elder or Sister who will be willing to listen, if you are willing to do the same and just have quality dialogue for both.

  • UtahBruin Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 2, 2019 12:47 p.m.

    "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."

    Obviously you do since there is an article drawing attention to yourself and circumstance with the need to attempt to explain away each comment that might be made.

    It's no different than seeing someone who is lost, and asking "Can I help you get some where?" Kind of like you being asked, are you done? Nobody knows if you are done, and nobody really knows if someone is lost. The difference is that the person who is presumed lost, but is not. Doesn't write an article trying to defend the look or actions that were noticed. Instead, they respond kindly with an answer, and don't think another thing of it. Let it go already.

  • Husker2 , 00
    May 2, 2019 11:51 a.m.

    Arianne, I think you're being too sensitive about this. My wife and I only had 2 kids and people often asked if we were going to have more. We simply told them no, that one child died at birth, and why we stopped at two. No big deal. I think people are just making small talk. It's certainly no more offensive or prying than pairs of teenagers who are total strangers knocking on my door asking if I want to change my religion, especially when those teenagers are not willing to allow me to tell them about my religion.

  • suzyk#1 , 00
    May 2, 2019 11:02 a.m.

    My dream since I was a very young child was to be a Mother of 8 to 10 children. That dream never came true and it has been a tough road to accept. All I ever wanted to be was a Mother but unfortunately it did not occur. I envy you Mothers and Grandmothers. Hopefully someday in the near future a miracle will be wrought and I will be given that blessing of being a Mother...this is my hope.

  • spencery1990 Tucson, AZ
    May 2, 2019 10:44 a.m.

    I think there is middle road here. I fully understand how it is insensitive for others to make comments that imply their annoyance with my family size choices. However I have found that it is best to just ignore their annoyance and own it. Whenever people make these comments I try to respond by saying "I love children, they make me happy, and I want to be happy and I am willing to pay the price to have them".

    I also agree it is best not to become bitter or annoyed with others opinions. Elder Uchtdorf gave a talk about 3 sisters. One of which just kept on singing her song throughout her life, even though others didn't like her song.

  • Go Utes! Springville, UT
    May 2, 2019 10:26 a.m.

    Sometimes a question is just a question. Hypersensitivity is a quick path to the victim mindset.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 2, 2019 9:43 a.m.

    definitely a two way street.

    LDS mother in law asked after our first (and only) child was born when we planned on having another.

    I asked her how us having another child would affect her one way or another (she already had over 25 other grandkids). Her response was that everyone should have a big family.

    I asked her if she planned on babysitting for us and setting up a college fund.

    She got the hint.

    May 2, 2019 9:38 a.m.

    Amen sister
    I have 9.
    Just endured an inappropriate comment this am.
    Nice to know we are not alone.

  • oldschool Farmington, UT
    May 2, 2019 8:11 a.m.

    Christ said, "Thou shalt not judge." True Christians do their best to follow his teachings. So let's not judge those who choose to have large families or those who mock them.

  • Yorkshire Logan, UT
    May 2, 2019 5:44 a.m.

    Some of it might be for inappropriate nosey or judging--
    but in a case with a family I know, people kind of ask to help hint to the clueless parents that it might be time to be done.
    The father is mean to the kids right at church and in public-- so you worry if he is willing to be like that in front of others, what must he be like them at home??
    Also the wife expects and often asks and expects Church leaders to pick up and bring home children from various youth activities or friends to take them to school while she herself often gets out of her rotation for carpool.
    Raggedy kids that leaders worry about, clearly overwhelmed mother, father that doesn't help hardly at all and is a mean grouch to them all.
    I see the ladies I hear asking her if this is her last baby as truly kind, worried women who are maybe gently trying to hint to this woman (for the sake of her self and for the children she already has) that maybe its time to consider maybe enough is enough.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    May 2, 2019 4:09 a.m.

    Let me offers a different viewpoint. In my opinion, our world, our country, especially our youth... who are offended at seemingly everything these days... need better responses to offensive questions than to get frustrated at the questioner. I sense a lot of being offended going on here. I think a coy response is better if you have no time to really talk about the question and why it bothers you in a calm way. Perhaps something like "Did you see a stork?" and look around for one.... If you have time, talk with them about why it bothers you.... We have a large family and When someone asks me questions like "are you done having children?", I come to realized that we often misrepresent their true intentions. But at times, they don't realize how offensive it is.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    May 1, 2019 10:28 p.m.

    Most all of the world's civilization has become so anti-human and anti-baby. My wife and I have 9 children (and wanted 10-14 or more), but this whole supposed issue of there being "too many" people on this planet is absurd.

    I believe in a God who is not only omnipotent, but omniscient. He knew how many children would be born, and even how many could be born, and he planned & prepared for all of them (& more)!

    I believe these are his actual words on the subject—

    "God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited...(by humans)"

    —Isaiah 45:18

    And yet more of his words on this subject—

    "...They brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

    But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not..."

    —Mark 10:13–14

    I believe God prepared ample resources—

    "For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things..."

    —Doctrine and Covenants 104:17

    I believe fully in a living God, who knows full well what He is doing (& always has)!

  • raspberrycordial Provo, UT
    May 1, 2019 6:36 p.m.

    It’s just about manners, isn’t it? Some people can’t tell the difference between small talk and prying.

  • K.Call Moab, UT
    May 1, 2019 6:01 p.m.

    For those of us who choose to be mothers and to our husbands who want to be fathers, the greatest blessing in our lives is our children.

    It matters not the number of souls who come to bless our lives. Each is welcomed and loved and anticipated with joy.

    For me, 12 was the number. Yes, my husband and I eagerly and gratefully embraced 12 wonderful children who brought us noise and laughter and problems and love.

    Now that they have all left home, I cherish past days and miss the everyday sounds of their lives. Every trial, every challenge we faced together to create a family is a treasured memory.

    I didn’t know how to respond, back then, when incredulous onlookers asked how many children I was going to have or when would I be done or ‘didn’t I know what caused that’. I was surprised they even cared.

    Now I know. Now I know why it was all worth it. Now I know, seeing my grown children with families of their own and facing life forward, with the family they came from at their I can see why I welcomed the children I did.

    Our family...their family....would not have been complete without any one of them. We simply couldn’t leave anyone out.

    Happy Mother’s Day

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 1, 2019 5:31 p.m.

    Happy Mother's Day, Arianne!

  • DavidMiller American Fork, UT
    May 1, 2019 3:25 p.m.

    @screenname - I got questions when we only had 2 kids - even when the words are the same it is clear that the meaning was much more innocent at that point than the questions that came once I had more than 4 kids.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2019 2:54 p.m.

    I, for one, am confused. We have two children and also semi-regularly get the question of whether we are done or not. It's just a question, and I don't see how it's overly personal or rude. Even in our case, where we're done against our will because of health reasons, it doesn't offend me in the slightest.

    I think we could all practice being less offended, which would go a ways longer than yet another "stop asking this question" article that only forces to further discourage human interaction.

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    May 1, 2019 2:52 p.m.

    How about this? I will not ask you if you are done having children if you don't ask me about my religion. Both are private decisions. Deal?

  • Justin M Roseville, CA
    May 1, 2019 2:46 p.m.

    After graduating from a sedan to a minivan for our family, I said "Look, there's room for one more!". We filled it, but my wife's first look after I said that was not a pleasant one.

    But we had plenty of people look odd at us when shopping for groceries with kids.

    Now, divorced and remarried, saying we have 9 kids gets looks of incredulity, especially when I have more than her.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    May 1, 2019 2:31 p.m.

    When we lived in California I would bring our then four kids shopping and occasionally I'd get questions like "do you do daycare?" No, they are all mine. "Are those, yours, mine and ours?" Nope, just mine and his. "Are you done having kids?" Nope, this is my retirement plan. The more kids we have, the more they can take care of us in our old age.

    That usually shut them down, and that was only with 4 kids!

    Big families done right are a tremendous blessing to parents and society.

  • Helen M Kimball Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2019 1:55 p.m.

    Sounds like a good mom. We need more like her.

  • DavidMiller American Fork, UT
    May 1, 2019 1:44 p.m.

    I can relate. When you are clearly outside the norms of society you get to experience how some people try to not-so-subtly enforce societal norms on people they have no connection to. It's like there is a certain portion of the population that thinks they should be able to stick their nose in anywhere their fancy dictates.

    @iluvnz: how does your SIL feel about your comments. If you have a good relationship with her it might be fine to joke about this.

    @DarkKnight: you are 100% correct that asking childless couples when they are going to start is also completely inappropriate.

  • iluvnz Vernal, UT
    May 1, 2019 1:18 p.m.

    Mrs. Brown you are a special person, (and obviously your husband as well). I appreciate your thoughts on each child and how they add joy and blessings to your life in their own significant way. My wife's sister has eight children. Over the years I have made similar comments to her. All in a fun-loving manner with humor intended. My intentions were meant as innocuous and genuine, heartfelt banter with my sister-in-law. She is a wonderful mother with a sense of humor who has always accepted my comments as nothing more than lighthearted fun. However, through your story, I have seen that poking fun, regardless of how innocent and humorous it's intentions, may not be appropriate. I appreciate you helping me understand that, and hope my sister-in-law will forgive me.

    God bless you for bringing His children into a loving family to experience mortality, as is His plan.

  • heavyhitter Lehi, UT
    May 1, 2019 1:11 p.m.

    We need as many productive, positive members of society as we can get.

  • Mona Portland, OR
    May 1, 2019 12:58 p.m.

    Great article. Many of us with large families have been subject to ultra-personal questions, and opinions of people we don't even know. For a while my response was to say that we don't consult with strangers in our family planning. Next time I'm subject to nosy questions and comments about our family size, I'm going to remind the person that my children are or will be paying for their social security.

  • gatsby Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2019 12:55 p.m.

    good for you! Children are such a blessing and you'll have a wonderful large posterity. as long as most of them are productive and contribute to society, I can't think of a greater blessing or legacy

  • Strider303 American Fork, UT
    May 1, 2019 11:39 a.m.

    As to the unsolicited comments on the number of children one has or has not, I opine that many people who are unsatisfied with their how they are living their lives seem bent upon telling other people how to live theirs.

    A second thought: I read how expensive it is to have a child and raise him or her, and yet the Browns seem to manage on what must be a fraction of what the sum total would be to raise a child. Therefore I conclude those who publish the financial cost estimates are mistaken in their prognostications.

    Thank you for the article, it's nice to read something uplifting in the newspaper.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    May 1, 2019 11:28 a.m.

    I completely relate to this letter writer. My wife and I have 7 children. Yes we are done but people look at us like we must be crazy. It makes me sad. It used to be most families in Utah it was common to have 5-7 children. I think peoples priorities have shifted. Some will say oh we can't afford so many, but if they would give up the expensive house and unnecessary things in life. I think most could. Children are a blessing.

  • The Dark Knight Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2019 10:27 a.m.

    It's equally inappropriate to ask couples without children "When are going to have kids?", or anything else along these lines. These are excessively personal questions and comments and the people who ask them should stop.