I have two kids, but it wasn’t always this way. Different as night and day and completely opposite of what the experts say: girls are chatty and boys grunt. My daughter is a thinker, a deep thinker. I’m amazed at her insight. I ask her opinion on most everything now because she knows me so well. My son is a talker, a constant talker. He cannot allow other people to have any conversation he is not part of – we’re working on that. He does not tolerate silence well, even in going to sleep he needs noise.
My kids are also almost 12 years apart. I thought for many years that we would be a family of three. I had what doctors termed “secondary infertility”. We had no trouble conceiving our daughter, but when we tried again about three years later our efforts were fruitless (pun intended). We waited in limbo like this for over a year and then they decided to try to figure out why. We went through the usual rounds of tests and treatments. Nothing worked. Eventually, after suffering panic attacks from being on Clomid (and yes, I do believe the Clomid was a causal factor despite my doctor’s denials) I came to the realization that I was missing the life I had been given by wishing for a life I didn’t have. I stopped all treatment, was told that my tubes were twisted and, along with endometriosis, the chances of conceiving on our own were minimal. So, we moved on. It was hard. I will not say otherwise.
Then, in 2006, right after my daughter turned 11 a strange thing happened – a pregnancy test came back positive. I was stunned…and angry. I had moved on and accepted the inevitable. Actually, I had done more than that, I began to embrace this life I’d been given. These moments in time spent with your child – one on one. I found the joy in parenting and homeschooling an only child. I had a hard time with this pregnancy. I blamed it on being over a decade older; but I do think my emotional state was so fragile that it affected my physical state. Most days, all I could pray was that God would protect my baby from me. I knew the affect a mom’s mental and emotional well-being can have on a child – even an unborn one.
I will also admit that even though I am more pro-life than ever, I have a deeper understanding of the emotional trauma an unplanned, unexpected pregnancy brings. I have compassion for women facing this – however they ended up in the situation. Moms are human just as much as the tiny life inside them. There must be a balance of compassion here – for Mommy and Baby. Our daughter also had a hard time with this. I honestly don’t believe it was because she was selfish. I just think she was mature enough to realize that our family life was going to be changing – in a BIG way from all she had ever known and change does not come easily for her (she’s part Hobbit). Siblings who are young when the next one comes along do not cognitively assess the impact a new person in the family will have.
I cannot say that the pregnancy brought out the best in me. There are still times (even six years later) where I struggle with guilt over my feelings at that time. The turmoil inside me was indescribable. I lashed out at God and my husband. They were both faithful, never judging and always allowing me feel my emotions very deeply. Another thing happened on the way to Baby #2, a separation from my Mom that also affected my emotional state.
During this time I put on as happy a face I could muster and moved through those months. I was ashamed of my visceral, raw feelings. I had some wonderful friends through that time but I don’t know how much they knew, or guessed, about the emotional roller coaster I was on. They encouraged me and loved me as best I would allow, but I had closed myself off. I questioned God… A LOT! As you can imagine I had prayed about more children daily. Cried to have more. Begged. Pleaded. I even had a dear friend come over one day and prophesy over me (on her own accord) that I would have a son. She felt it so strongly. I held onto her faith when my faltered and failed. Then I felt I came to the end of my asking. I asked The Question. The one I was so afraid to ask. I asked Him if I would have more children. The answer I thought I heard came very clearly – “No.” After I had accepted this answer was the point I was able to begin moving on. So, when the positive test came, I was knocked to my knees. Well, not even that. I couldn’t pray. I doubted everything I thought I knew about God and how he speaks to us. I did not trust any one, particularly God.
Looking back on that time in my life I do see the hand prints of God. He sustained me despite my rejection of him. He answered the only prayer I had during that time. He protected my Baby from me. My son is a gift. A reminder of God’s faithfulness in the midst of our pain, our questions, and our distrust. During that time I came face to face with who I am and I did not like me.
I don’t pretend to have learned all the lessons I was supposed to during that season of my life, but I did learn a very important one, the most important, God knew exactly who I needed and when I needed him. I treasure the gift of that little boy. His smiles, kisses, hugs are a delight. He stretches me and challenges me to embrace more of life right here and right now.
I’m struggling now to find a reason for this post. It seems clunky and out of sorts and I apologize for that.
Could the reason be to just allow you to get a better glimpse of this girl behind the computer?