Okay, I admit it - I have the baby bug. A combination of recent baby showers, many friends pregnant, and my little man starting to talk and potty train has me thinking it would be fun to do this again. The major hitch in this equation is the husband.
The husband does not one teensy little bit even for a minute want to have more kids. He did at one time -- a long, long time ago when there were no kids in the picture, he was all in favor for a big family... like, 4+, and of course so was I. Am I. But he has been the one at home with our two children under 3 for Elvis's entire life, and half of Lydia's, which makes him justifiably against having any more kids... right now.
I have at least pushed the "maybe later" button, so that the discussion isn't completely sewn up. Maybe after Elvis and Lydia are in preschool, or maybe after he is in or done with graduate school, or maybe after we've got the timing just right... but nothing we have ever timed has actually happened in our timing. That's how it goes.
What complicates this wanting more babies thing for me is that we've been through three miscarriages, two c-sections, one difficult pregnancy and one difficult post-partum NICU experience. After the last miscarriage this summer, I was left with a lot of weird emotions -- the pregnancy was definitely not planned in the first place, I was on birth control, and Brandon was really not ready to have another child in the family. And then we miscarried and were left with sadness and relief and guilt about feeling relieved. I had never been on the "baby not wanted" side of the painting, and it was a strange, awful place to be, especially in light of where we have been in the last four years.
Prior to Elvis and Lydia, we had two miscarriages - one a partial mole pregnancy and another very early miscarriage (4 weeks or so). For the first time since I became a Christian, I was thoroughly pissed at God. Honestly. I couldn't understand why we had to go through miscarriage #2, when we certainly figured out what it felt like to lose the hope of a baby the first go-around. It was an empty, depressed, silent time for me. You know those times in your life when God is so quiet and your grief is so deep that you no longer feel the joy and peace and happiness that had accompanied your faith for so long? I was there.
Brandon and I wanted a family so badly. We started wondering whether I could ever "hold on" to a baby or if we would go through the loss and pain of miscarriage after miscarriage. In a women's Bible study at the time, our group was cross-stitching verses from Scripture on a weekly basis, and about the time I had the second miscarriage, we cross-stitched the verse, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart," and I remember pushing that needle in and out, in and out, attacking the cloth with my thread, "YEAH Right!" I said in my head, "DeLIGHT yourSELF in the LORD! What the heck does that look like?!" Did I mention I was angry?
After that second miscarriage, I couldn't find it in me to rejoice in the Lord, not the way you would think of rejoicing. But what I could do, and did, was list out ten things about God that I needed to cling to during that time of waiting, and healing. It was a list of promises God has made in Scripture about redemption, about how Jesus wept too, about how much he loves me, about salvation, about heaven, about plans and purposes. There are times in our lives when we just aren't feeling it. I'm just not feelin' ya, God. But in the midst of that deep pain and grief, God is there, and if we can't rely on the emotions of our faith during those times, we must rely on our intellect, and if our intellect can't get us there, we have to know in our souls the truths of the Word. We know he loves us, even if all of our circumstances seem to shout otherwise. He loves us, and he is continually working on us.
God pulled me out of my pit of grief slowly, gently. He let me heal at the pace he knew was necessary for that healing to be true. We can't just put band-aids on our wounds and pretend that our injuries are shallow scrapes when they are deep heart-wounds. It won't heal that way. We need to deal with the pain by letting God deal with our pain. I can't tell you how many times I shook my fist up at the sky and asked, "WHY?!" He never answered that question about those first two miscarriages directly, but he redeemed those losses.
Even though the pregnancy this summer wasn't planned, I was excited at the possibilities - concerned about my poor husband and his sanity, yes - but excited. So when we miscarried, I was sad, but the core of my being, the rock that is my salvation, was not shaken. Something between miscarriage #2, live babies, and miscarriage #3 rooted my faith more strongly than it had before. I can't disregard the fact that having two healthy children here to snuggle up with during and after that miscarriage helped soothe the ache, but I also believe that God did a work through all of that fight and grief, something to build me up in a way I could never have done on my own.
So now I'm in this new season again, this season of weepy-eyes when watching television and a baby, any baby, even Shrek babies sneak into the picture. This season of wondering whether I can convince my husband that more kids is a good idea. This season of contemplating whether wanting more kids is a selfish thing or a selfless thing, whether it matters, whether God will bless us with more kids, whether He has "closed up my womb" like he did in the Old Testament, whether our timing will be God's timing, and whether I would be okay with any or all of these possibilities. Right now, I think I would be okay with whatever God proposed, but ask me tomorrow and I might have lost all patience and sense.
Regardless, God loves us, whatever season of life we are in, and He has a purpose for us right this minute - single, married, widowed, pregnant, working, at home with kids, trying to get pregnant - wherever we are we are here for a reason. Cliche as it is, it's true. The trouble we have is finding peace and contentment in the present without losing hope for the things of the future.
FAITH-BUILDING ACTIVITY: What are ten things you know to be true about God, based on Scripture? Think about your current situation and see if you can find verses that speak to it, and if there aren't specific scenarios that come to mind, then what are some truths you can root yourself in, regardless of the situation?