Katharina Gehring

30 years old; Rehabilitation Teacher; Housewife and Mother of five children aged five to six years; Mother of Quadruplets
Schoenstatt Family Union

What experiences have shaped you as a woman?

The births of our children have had a particular impact on me.

When I was a teenager, I always wished for a large family and imagined what it would be like when I later lived a family life with my husband and our children. It has always been my greatest longing to find a husband, to be able to have children and to be a good wife and mother in my own family. I was able to recognise my vocation at a very early stage and am now able to live it.

I am very grateful to God for this.

The pregnancy and birth of our quadruplets had a special impact on me. Our son was just 7 months old when we learned that we were pregnant with quadruplets. That was a shock and we asked ourselves repeatedly what God was planning to do with us and what he was thinking. The doctor who diagnosed the quadruplet pregnancy was visibly shocked and could not imagine that I could give birth to four healthy children with my petite body, especially since I had fully breastfed my son and the rapid succession of pregnancies carries additional risks. When he mentioned the possibility of reducing the number of children in order to give at least two children the chance of a healthy life, my husband and I immediately realised that this was not an option for us.

We were firmly convinced that God was giving us these five children and we trusted in His help. Even if we were to lose some of the children during pregnancy, or if the children were to be severely handicapped, by early birth, we believed that God would give us the strength to accept His will even then.

An uncomplicated pregnancy followed but then a much too early birth in the 26th week of pregnancy. Our four daughters weighed between 640g and 720g and their organs were not yet functional. Three and a half months of intensive care for four premature babies followed when at the same time our 11-month-old son was waiting for us at home.

Now a huge balancing act began for us parents to do justice to all five children. I was very busy pumping milk. Fortunately, the breast milk had been enough for all four children for a few months. During the day, there were always two of us in the clinic, sometimes four of us (with two grandparents), so that we could split up among the four children and they all got a lot of physical closeness every day.

In the evening we tried to give our son as much love and attention as possible. We were plagued by a bad conscience for not being able to be with him during the day. However, during these difficult times, grandparents and extended family members on both sides supported us very intensively by taking care of our son, shopping, doing household chores and everything else that was necessary.

In the hospital there were new worries every day, as complications occurred again and again with different children. Their condition was often critical. After three and a half months in the intensive care unit we were allowed to bring four HEALTHY children home. It is such a great miracle, and we cannot express in words our gratitude.

This time formed me. Today I can enjoy every day watching our five healthy and beautiful children, all play together beautifully and are a sworn pack of five. For the last six years I have been able to live out my role as a mother and give myself completely to my children. Yes, everyday life is characterised by a lot of work, laundry, household chores, etc. and there are always dry spells. But my days are also so rich in love and wonderful situations with the children.

Where in have you experienced God your life?

Through the relationship with my husband and the births of our children, I was able to feel very clearly that God is with me and accompanies me.

God has really brought us together. He has shown us how to find each other in different ways.

The certainty that we belong together and that God has chosen us for each other has shaped our relationship from the very beginning and strengthened our love for each other. The firm belief in God’s guidance is so valuable and enriching.

To this day, our faith has allowed us to accept and overcome all challenges and strengthened our relationship. Examples of this are: the birth of our quadruplets, major house remodelling with four babies and a one-year-old, or a four-day evacuation from our newly renovated house, which we had just moved into when there was a landslide on the mountainside opposite.

We were always allowed to trust in God completely. We were given the assurance that God is with us and that everything will go well.

We can clearly see God’s work in the miracle of our five children and thank him.

Due to the extremely early birth of the quadruplets and the complications associated with it, it is a miracle that all four are alive and in perfect health. None of the girls have any signs that they were primis. Here, through all the professional and loving help of the doctors and nurses and through the help of our two extended families, God has had a very clear effect on our lives.

During pregnancy and the time with the children in the clinic, heaven was stormed with prayers. We knew that so many people carried us through prayer. It did us good and gave us so much strength. We were never alone. We are grateful for that.