I’ve hesitated writing this post for, well… 20 weeks now. But that pesky nudge to share what’s on my heart never gives up without a fight. So, here we are.
In case you missed the announcement — my husband and I are expecting our first child, a son, the first week of March 2019. We are excited and thankful that the Lord has called us to become parents. We believe that the parent–child relationship is a reflection of the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father, which makes this a role we definitely don’t take lightly.
But I can’t say the ‘Road to Baby Fine’ was always that clear and easy.
It’s something we have talked about since the day we got married, 3 and half years ago. It’s something we have argued and fought over more times than I care to admit. And it’s something we have certainly prayed that God would give us clear signs to.
As Christians, we know that God calls children a blessing… a gift… a reward. And what kind of person wouldn’t want one of those?
I guess this is the part where I slowly and somewhat, shamefully, raise my hand.
Of course, I love children and have never doubted that I would have them one day. But to most people’s surprise, the thought of getting pregnant and having a baby has been unbelievably terrifying to me ever since we entered into marriage. I’ve literally given my husband, William — who wanted to start growing our family the moment we pulled away from our wedding reception — every excuse in the book.
He’s been so patient month after month, year after year, waiting for my heart to sing another tune. Never failing to continue the conversation of challenging questions.
Why are you so afraid? Why are you so against the idea? What makes you think there’s a perfect time? What makes you think you’ll ever be “ready”?
I recently listened to a podcast directed towards Christians having or not having children. They argued that the majority of the reasons Christians have for delaying or being ‘done’ having children can be placed into three categories: fear, faithlessness, selfishness.
(Please know this was NOT speaking to people who desire children and are battling infertility).
Fear. Faithlessness. Selfishness. Yikes.
There was no way I could deny how true this was for my heart. Every single reason and answer I’ve ever given William absolutely fits into one or all of these categories.
Oh boy. Where do I start? I had (and still have) so much fear in regards to pregnancy. Fear about my body changing (and potentially never looking quite the same). Fear of the responsibility of growing a human. Fear of that same human being delivered into the world in a not-so-warm-and-fuzzy way. Fear of the pain. The risk. The recovery. The unknown. The opinions. The judgement.
Oh, and that’s all before the good 18+ years that will follow. Parenting. The lack of sleep. The lack of words and wisdom. The meltdowns. The failures. The financial stress. The potential strain on marriage. I think I’ll do us all a favor and just stop here.
This one caught me by surprise. While fear was outright obvious to me, I’ve never thought of my hesitancy to start trying as faithlessness.
But after reflection I’ve realized that the ‘perfect timing‘ has always been a huge part of the equation for me. I didn’t necessarily expect God to write it in the clouds on my commute home from work one day — but I at least wanted Him to provide me peace about moving forward. Actually… having it written in the clouds would have been nice too. 😉
I’ve spent years doubting the where and the when. Questioning the best age to have kids, the best location to raise a family, the best timing to become parents. All things that have felt wildly unknown — especially as a military family.
I’m a planner and researcher at heart. Poor William certainly knows how hard it is for me to jump into something without first having as much detail and information as possible. (Can any of my fellow Enneagram 6’s relate?!) So as if babysitting and nannying for the last 15 years (over 90,000 hours!), getting my undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies, and then a masters in Professional School Counseling wasn’t enough — I’ve also been reading books and blogs on pregnancy and parenting for years. All in hopes that one day I would wake up and truly feel “ready” to be a mother. Even if everyone and their mother has reminded me that there’s no such thing.
It would be hard for me to deny that my lack of trust and need for control didn’t insinuate faithlessness. Faithlessness that He isn’t capable of silencing fear. That He can’t and won’t provide. That His timing isn’t the best timing.
And then there’s selfishness. The category that may have the shortest list underneath it — but somehow it feels the most vulnerable to admit.
Over the last 3 years years, I’ve struggled with the idea of “throwing away” 6.5 years and $150,000 invested in education to get pregnant and have my priorities shift. I’ve struggled with the thought of “giving up” the opportunities we have to travel and see the world. I’ve struggled with the idea of having to “share” my time with William. I’ve struggled with the reality of “sacrificing” my body, my sleep, my routine, my comforts for tiny people.
I’m not proud of these thoughts (or the ones that aren’t listed), but they were (and sometimes, still are) real, selfish thoughts I needed to work and pray through.
Around our 3rd anniversary, the Lord began quieting many of my fears, encouraged my heart in singing a new and different tune, and then so graciously breathed life into my womb.
But don’t be fooled into thinking my sin related to pregnancy and parenthood went away overnight.
Here I am, half way through this pregnancy, still struggling with a lot of the same issues that held me back from entering this season to begin with.
Still occasionally allowing fear to outweigh joy — and to hinder me from the blessings the Lord freely wants to give me.
Still occasionally letting faithlessness sneak back in — and lead me to consider the enemy’s lies.
Still occasionally, and selfishly, believing that having a baby may limit or squash my dreams — instead of fully trusting that having a baby is part of the dream.
And so with that, my daily prayer during this season has been that the Lord would not just quiet, but completely silence my fears. That I would be quick to lay my faithless thoughts and selfish desires at the foot of the cross. That the Lord would forgive me when I try to ‘compete’ with Him to be in control. That He would continue to provide us wisdom and discernment as we prepare to steward this little life. And that one day, that same little life would know Jesus personally and love Him forever.
I’m thankful for the friends that have surrounded us during this season. For those who are quick to lend a listening ear, encouraging tongue, or truth-filled scripture. For the ‘me too’ moments and the “you’re not alone” reminders.
I’m thankful for family who has celebrated with us from day one. Parents who have never questioned flying across the ocean to lend a helping hand. And siblings who can’t wait to love on our son.
I’m thankful for a husband who has loved and desired me through many hard conversations and a roller coaster of emotions. A husband who is so confident in his faith — and quick to trust the Lord’s plan and provision for our lives. A husband who is bursting at the seams for our little boy to get here and know him as “Papa“.
And above all — I’m thankful for a Heavenly Father that is unbelieveably patient with my overdriven mind and anxious heart. A God who cares deeply for me and my 20-week-old growing, baby boy. A Savior who chose to come and die an undeserving death for this mama — knowing very well the depths of her sinful, fearful, faithless, and selfish heart.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7