Monday, April 24, 2006

"Anomalies and Curiosities"

I am fascinated by numbers, I must admit. I recently heard a story of a woman who was expecting her FOURTH set of twins. I thought it was remarkable. Then I read the story of another family...

Kirilow was a peasant in Russia in the 1800s. He was presented to the empress of Russia in 1853. He had had 2 wives and you won't believe how many children!! His first wife produced 57 children, of these: 3 pregnancies were twins, 7 pregnancies were triplets, and an astounding 4 pregnancies were quadruplets! It doesn't end there. His second wife had a "mere" 15 children: 6 sets of twins, and 1 set of triplets. Ok, so hold on to your hats (I know you're thinking "1800s, right?"). At the time of the presentation in 1853, all 72 children were still living. I'm thinking, "How?" There was another Russian man who had fathered 87 children, but in 1872 only 83 of those were still living. =) You can read all about these and other anomalies: "Anomalies and Curiousities of Medicine" by George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle.

Ok, so I admit that this took me a LOT by surprise. I have had many thoughts about it. I mean, when you're a peasant, how do you feed that many babies? Were these people Christians? I firmly believe that God blesses people with what was God thinking? I have often thought, "what's the worst that could happen?" I might end up with like 12 children... Ahem... Well, apparently that's not the "worst" that could happen. Could you imagine a family like this in America today?? I don't think it would happen. I think for all the state "knows better" and would "intervene." Sad. God is the giver of life. Who are we to think that we have the right to tell God what's best? We probably won't be able to find out more about Kirilow, why he had been blessed with so many healthy children, how they managed to live, etc. It would be unfair for us to pass judgement on whether he should have been allowed to have that many children. Clearly God saw fit to bless the wombs of his wives and also to hold those little children in His hands and bring them up. It isn't for us to determine why, only to accept that it was. And you know what, I don't believe that "worst" is the best description for this situation. "Best" is much more accurate!

A gentle reminder: This is my opportunity to "sound off" and this is not an open debate.

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