Melissa was my college roomate. She has a contatgious laugh and was always in a good mood. She married this awesome guy named Peter, who comes from an amazing family. I love this couple dearly! She has four stunningly beautiful children, 3 boys and 1 girl.
Tell us about yourself:
Melissa Hickson (30), Peter Hickson (30), kiddo’s- Sean (5 ½), Grace (4 ½), Aidan (3), and Thomas (1 ½). We have been married 6 ½ years. I grew up in Naperville, Ill which is a suburb of Chicago and Peter grew up in Marshall, Virginia (Near DC). We now live in New Bern, North Carolina because Peter is stationed at the Cherry Point Marine Air Base.
When did you first hear about the Church’s teachings on NFP and contraception? Did you always know about it or was there a time that you heard about it for the first time?
Well we both grew up knowing that contraception was wrong and knew the alternative was NFP but didn’t quite know what it was until college.
Likewise, was there a moment when you decided that you would use NFP in your marriage or was it just understood that that is what you would do?
It was never a question that we would be open to life in our marriage, we both went into our marriage knowing we would never use contraception. We were so excited to start our family. So excited in fact that when I had my first period right after we were married I got worried thinking I was never going to be able to get pregnant…. Little did I know;)
Did you have any fears about using NFP? If so, what were they?
Well we didn’t really use NFP with Sean and Grace because we didn’t feel it was necessary. After Grace I wanted a bit of a break. I have pretty miserable pregnancies (I am sick for 5 months, throwing up at any strange smell or if I don’t have something in my stomach and I also have this extra silivia problem. It is a pretty rare symptom in pregnant woman, I always have to have something to spit in or mints that help me not to gag the extra siliva down. Needless to say I just needed to feel “normal” for a bit. So we began doing NFP for a couple of months when Grace was about 6 mths old. It didn’t last long during that period because I just couldn’t justify wanting to wait and I couldn’t wait for another little one! However, Peter and I were always open to whatever the Lord had in store for us. I just always wanted to be happy if I got pregnant so our mind set was (and still is) we would like a little break but if God blesses us even in our desire to control we would always put our trust in his plans and not ours. Sometimes I do get a bit scared thinking of how many kids we could possibly have… But again God is in control and I know he won’t give me more than I can handle.
How has using NFP positively influenced your marriage?
Yes in many ways. One of the ways that is has really helped our marriage in communication. I just feel like it has helped us to understand each other better and for Peter to understand woman in general more.
What has been the greatest challenge?
The biggest challenge for us is just being able to trust and to surrendering to God’s will and not ours. (Peter never worries but I do especially when he is about to deploy and worrying about taking care of the other littles ones while having morning sickness…)
How do you handle the topic with family and friends? Is it ever an issue? How do you handle criticism about the Church’s teachings?
All of our good family and friends know that we don’t use birth control but they all are very respectful and supportive. They always joke about it. Like when are you guys going to buy a “church van”. We just laugh and try to show that having many children is not a burden but a blessing. Sometimes it can be hard with people we aren’t very close to or random strangers that make their comments when I have all four kids in tow. But then I look at all their cute faces and think if they just could get to know each one of my kiddos they would think differently.
Could you share a happy moment or memory that you have of your children? As well as funny story or incident that was difficult?
Oh my gosh just one?! Ok well a positive one just happened recently. I had all the kids with me at walmart. The kids go with me everywhere so they are pretty good in the store. Anyways, we were checking out and I really wasn’t paying attention to anyone around me, I was just focusing on paying and leaving the store. Well apparently the cashier next to us thought my kids were just so well behaved and just could not believe it… She kept going on and on saying all of these really nice things about the kids. It was so nice of her and it made me feel like some of my parenting/disciplining was paying off. (I was used to them cooperating with me for the most part in stores because they have been so used to just being with me …). So she whispered to me “can they have a piece of candy?” I was like “oh sure.“ Well she pulled out her wallet and let them pick out a big pack of candy each. I just thought that was so generous of her (even though I didn’t want my kids to have a whole bag of m and m’s.., it was so kind of her) Anyways, it was good reward for the kids and a good lesson for them as well. That good behavior pays off and that a stranger noticed their good behavior and mommy was very proud of them!
The hardest part of having lots of little ones is when they all get the flu and then in turn I get the flu… Last winter there was this weird flu going around where they would have a series of throwing up for like an hour and then be fine for two days and then throw up a few times a couple days later… well they ALL got it and they ALL got 3 rounds of it!!! Cleaning up throw up is aweful especially when it is all stuck in the carpet and so random! Gosh, that is never fun.
Thanks Melissa! Please keep her and her family in your prayers, as her husband Peter is currently deployed!