It wasn’t an easy choice.
I remember being afraid mention it out loud. Did I really want what I was asking for? I wasn’t ignorant. I knew the cost, the sacrifices I would have to make. Yet, I began having dreams. A flame I thought was snuffed out long ago began to flicker in my heart. Excitement started to surface. However anxiety of the unknown would continually overpower any hope of lasting happiness.
What was this desire?
I wanted another baby.
I was embarrassed to admit that after 3 biological children, two step-daughters, one integrated daughter, and failed relationship attempts, I was contemplating having another baby. Not just mildly contemplating. My snoozing biological clock was ticking out strong desires to do so.
I can clearly remember conversations I had with God about this way before bringing it up with my husband. I gave God every reason, every excuse why this was simply a bad idea. How I wished I could just bury my fanciful side without killing apart of my person-hood! Never being one that’s afraid of telling me what I don’t want to hear, I heard God say, “Joy, you don’t have to do anything you do not want to.”
Like that really helped.
He’s God, for crying out loud. All I wanted was for Him to tell me what to do. He knows everything. Not to mention if anything went wrong I would have a scape goat, someone to blame my poor decision on.
The next thing I heard from God was, “Do you want to?” This only frustrated me more. Now I had to be deeply honest with myself. I had to admit to myself what was in my heart was good and not bad. It wasn’t unhealthy to want something so beautiful. God continued to expose the sand castles where my trust resided. He continued to reveal the truth. He showed me His thoughts, His plans, and His role in our relationship. Above all, He continued to emphasize this was my decision.
God refuted every sensible argument I could muster. How would we provide for everyone? It was God’s job to take care of me and my loved ones. What about all of my current responsibilities? How would I manage them while adding new ones? It is not my job to control my environment. What about my dreams? It is only my responsibility to live life to the fullest, giving it my all. Not mention, my dreams were His before He ever placed them in my heart. Finally I felt Him smile and say, “Seek ye first, and all these things will be added unto you.”
What did that mean??? To believe my wants and needs were going to be taken care of was hard for me. I felt it was irresponsible to place such trust in the unknown. I come from a hard working family, self-sufficient, who put a high value for earning everything you get out of life. Not to mention, this was contrary to what I learned in college. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you are to live in self-protection meeting your survivor instincts first, and up from there until you finally pursue spiritual enlightenment as self-fulfillment.
I left my conversations with God a little frustrated with the blank check He had given me. So, I decided to share my thoughts with my closest confidant, my best friend, the love of my life… My husband. Surely, he would set me straight with good ol’ fashioned logic. After all, he had a vasectomy from a previous marriage. We’d already come to terms with this, hadn’t we? I was delighted he was unable to have anymore kids when we first got married. I was extremely afraid of the idea of rearing them for a myriad of reasons, some of which included: I was a carrier of a malfunctioned gene and was already raising a severely handicap child. As I mentioned before, I had been in two major relationships, both of which failed dismally. This was hard on me as well as my kids. Pain avoidance became a central theme in my life. I also did not want any of our living children to feel or believe they were not enough, they were not loved fully, or that they would be replaced in any way.
So, I proceeded to present my longing with the full assurance he would bring me back to reality.
I should have known better going into the conversation. After all I married him because he was open to discussion and he wasn’t afraid of obstacles. And like Someone else I knew, he wasn’t afraid of telling me what I didn’t want to hear.
Contrary to my expectations, Matthew burst forth with elation at my aspirations. It saddened him deeply to not have any more children. He had a vasectomy to protect his ex-wife from a heart condition she would incur during pregnancy. He always regretted this decision, never quite feeling he was done having kids.
Still, I was conflicted. We had such a full house already. We were already referred to as the ‘Brady Bunch’. Yet I longed to have a child with the man of my dreams; one that was ours together, created out of our love for one another; one we would raise without having to share with anyone else.
So we finally decided go for it. Little did we know, this leap took us on a journey we very much did not anticipate.
After having saved up for vasectomy reversal, it took many months before I would become pregnant. Once we finally got pregnant, we had a total of three devastating miscarriages. I became hurt, discouraged, and frustrated. Here we thought we did not want anymore children and now we found ourselves fighting to conceive and carry to term. Heartbroken, I cried out to God. What was going on? I felt like the Lord communicated with me that we were up against a spiritual battle. One that did not value life. One that wanted to destroy life at it’s very core. The force we were up against was death. Whether it showed up in the form of infertility, abortion, or the mentality that children are in the way and a bother, it all stemmed from that same place.
Now, during this time, my sixteen year old daughter discovered she was pregnant. Though shame, guilt, and condemnation entered my mind for a brief moment, my internal being knew she was going to be a very good mother. After all, I did teach her well. I found my strength and hope in God once again. I encouraged her that she could face her fears, be great mom, and still remain true to her dreams.
Then a devastating blow almost ripped me apart. My third miscarriage wracked my body with immature labor pains. I had carried a blighted-ovum until the first day of my 12th week. I labored 1/2 the night only to deliver and empty amniotic sac. My body was in agonizing physical pain while my emotions were utterly numb. Yet I took comfort in the fact my daughter was still carrying my grandchild. It was not until we went to her OB appointment the next week that I discovered what she had been hiding from me. She had gotten an abortion the same day I suffered my miscarriage. We sat in our driveway having an intense three hour conversation. Despite our close relationship, we struggled to connect with each other during this time. I felt betrayed. I felt inadequate. I felt like a failure. I felt I had not passed on my values to one of the closest people to me. Meanwhile, she sat there feeling grief and remorse, all alone, misunderstood, and angry.
Matthew and myself were disheartened and even more confused. Should we just chalk the whole thing up? Should we look into other options? Should we adopt? Should we try again? How should we best care for the children we already have? Besides our personal desires to have a child together, we were dealing with so many other life issues. This only made our choices that much harder.
Our character was tested. Our faith was tried. Our spirits had been crushed, but not broken. We found our strength, our hope, and our source through prayer. We found ourselves allowing the peace that passes understanding to be an anchor as our lives felt tossed on tumultuous waters. Through our trials we kept finding our peace, hope, and joy.
It was a relief when we discovered I had a problem with my thyroid and my progesterone. Finally, we knew what we could do to get pregnant and carry to term.
You can only imagine our delight after nine beautiful and long months, we were finally able to celebrate the entrance of our daughter Abigail into this world. A little after a year passed and we discussed whether or not to conceive again. Our other children were so far apart in age now Abigail would be raised as an “only child” in a few years. Again, we were faced with a tough, yet good decision to make. I had told Matthew it should be his choice as the choice had been previously taken from him in his previous relationship. After weeks of prayer and careful consideration of our lives in general, Matthew had come to the conclusion he wanted one final child.
We were intimate all of three times when another surprise happened. My daughter called and informed me she was once again pregnant. Freaking out, I put the stops to all intimacy protected or not. Though she was now nineteen, in a relationship, and had overcome a lot of trauma, she was going to need me.
Matthew was gracious, but did not understand my strong stand on the matter. As far as I was concerned, we were finished having kids. I was going to be a grandma. I was going to make sure this time I did not let anyone down. One week passed, then two. Though I was sad and felt a since of loss, I also felt a sense of duty to help my daughter.
Then my period became late. I tried to ignore it and regard it as stress. All the while I already knew the truth, but I convinced myself it was all in my head. I wasn’t pregnant. Grandmas don’t get pregnant. So, unlike my previous pregnancy tests I had always taken in front of Matthew, this one I bought at the store, took alone in a public restroom and planned on throwing it out with no-one the wiser.
The two blue lines showed up quickly. I was both excited and panicked. Instantly, I thought, “what is everyone going to think of me? How am I going to be able to handle all of this? Where are we going to get the extra finances to pay for the expenses?” My mind was swirling. I drove home in shock. When I pulled into the driveway my handsome husband was greeting me at the car door. I quietly slipped my fresh pregnancy test into Matthew’s hand and proceeded to the house.
Matthew looked down and instantaneously back up. “Is this ours?” he blurted out. A smile rushed over his face as he could not contain his happiness. He was not worried about all the concerns I was raising. He just enjoyed the fact he was going to be a father one more time. I however was not as eager to join the festivities. I did not know how to balance my feelings. Happy, overwhelmed, nervous, stressed, excited, and unsettled, I wanted to compartmentalize life. However, through this process, I have come to realize more than ever life can be hard. There’s no two ways about it. There are lots of pressures we humans experience. However, our character is shaped and formed by how we handle stressful situations. I no longer fear failure. I am now more concerned with failing to try. And though I remain imperphect, I do a heck of a lot of things right. My identity has become wrapped tightly up in what God thinks about me. I am also aware everything works itself out and often times we make life harder than it should be when we stress and worry.
With all that being said, it is with great JOY I announce the birth of our son, Matthew Isaac. His name means “God’s gift of laughter”. I am so glad God gave this young man to me. He is a promise I have carried in my heart for years. He also arrives as an uncle to my grandchild, Joshua James, who was born a week prior. For the first time in my life, I can say with full certainty, I have no unresolved desire to have any more of my own children.
I also know I will be the coolest Glam-ma on the planet.