In my high school years, I never understood the desire for motherhood. Partially because of how my mother and father’s marriage crumbled and disintegrated into a steaming pile of brokenness devoid of integrity. It made me a bit of a cynic regarding wifedom and motherhood.
Flash forward to 23 year old me, I’d been married for 4 years and had begun to realize that God’s Biblical design for marriage and family looked nothing like my parent’s relationship, but was in fact fulfilling and harmonious. And That’s when it hit me- the baby fever.
Never before had I been interested in babies or children, but something happened to me biologically and mentally at 23 and it made me crave a child. I had to pass on my genetic material!
Struggling through infertility caused by malnutrition, caused by leaky gut, caused by gluten allergy, linked to hormonal imbalance caused by birth control pills and artificial hormones had me in a catch 22 where I was told conception wasn’t plausible, yet my desire for a child was nearing it’s peak.
Fast forward through my healing process and the birth of my miracle baby boy, my husband and I fell in love with Parenthood and even more in love with each other and we knew we wanted at least one more child.
Fast forward 6 months to the slew of positive pregnancy tests that I couldn’t even wrap my head around. We employed every non-hormonal form of birth control down to abstinence during the fertile period; I meticulously monitored cervical position and basal body temperature, and STILL somehow we ended up pregnant!
I don’t even know…
What I DO know is that come February 2018, we will have three children under 3 years of age. And I also know that there are some pretty tactless people out there who don’t know how to respond to our rapidly growing family or our joy in our ever increasing brood of progeny. It’s less for those people, and more for other parents in our situation that I offer this bit of advice on 3 things NOT to say to a parent of 3 under 3 as a source of encouragement to other people walking the same or similar path as us.
3.) I’m so sorry! This one actually hurt my feelings (like most things do these days with my hormones in a tizzy) mostly because it came from another mom whom I respect and admire. What she meant was that she was sorry if I felt overwhelmed. Which, most days I do. But it came out totally wrong like she was sorry about the baby. She did catch this, and then immediately said, “well not sorry about the baby but certainly if you need help please call me!” And I will! Because she is a dear friend and she’s a wonderful mother. But there are many people who ARE sorry about the new baby… for whatever reason. And that’s because they don’t understand how my husband and I view our children or our attempts at contraception. It’s in God’s hands. All of it- our family, our finances, our lives, even our reproductive capabilities. In spite of us trying to postpone a third child, God blessed us with this beautiful gift. Am I a little surprised and overwhelmed? Yes. But I find solace in knowing that my God is neither surprised, nor overwhelmed, but rather generously gives me a reward and heritage that is a wellspring of joy. (Psalm 127:3-5)
2.) Oh my goodness, what are you going to do? This one confuses me because it most often comes from fellow church members. The confusion comes in to play because I have no idea what they mean by “do”. What am I going to do about what? The pregnancy? I’m going to carry it to (God willing) full term and then I’m going to actively participate in the miracle of life as I bear a living, breathing human being into the world. I don’t believe there is an alternative. Furthermore, I recognize that many women would do anything to be in my shoes. My very best friend lost her twins during her 2nd trimester and there isn’t a day that goes by that I wish I could meet those babies and hold them and see the joy of motherhood in her eyes without the grief of having lost her children the same day she gave birth to them. I struggle with the how’s and why’s of God allowing me this season with my children and not the same for my friend, and I greive with her. But I do know that God is sovereign and He will not waste her pain, but out of it He will produce something beautiful and righteous, whether in this life, or in the life to come. I know that she loves Jesus Christ and she will see her children again (2 Samuel 12:23) and on that Great and Glorious Day, I will rejoice with her. So what am I going to do? I’m going to parent my children to the best of my ability by the strength and power of God according to His Word.
1.) Ugh…I’d shoot myself. This one was absolutely infuriating and believe it or not, came from the older lady receptionist who singlehandedly tainted my first experience at that clinic, as she scheduled my 15 week OB visit. She made her snarky comment upon learning that this is my 3rd child and that the two kids whining in the stroller were also biologically mine. I felt the smile from having seen my little one, healthy and moving on the ultrasound melt off my face and be replaced by shock and anger. Fortunately, God gave me grace and instead of all the nasty retorts I thought about after the fact, (which I asked forgiveness for because really, being hateful back, even secretly is…hateful!) I simply said, “Golly, if you can’t offer anything more encouraging than that, just– I suppose that’s why the Lord blesses us with them while we are young.” Honestly…You’d shoot yourself? Really?? Fortunately for my children and family, I have a high value for all life. Plant, animal, but specifically human because mankind is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and bears His likeness. That’s not to say that all people know God or display Christlikeness (especially this tactless woman). But my stance is, regardless of your beliefs or opinions, however much I may disagree with them, I STILL believe you are highly valued by God and he desires a relationship with you. This child in my womb is fully known by God before even a single day of its life began (Psalm 139:13-14). God is the author of life (Genesis 5:2) and He and only He has the authority to give life, or take life. Period. Not only that, but how are my other children supposed to feel about their sibling’s imminent arrival when all they hear from people (whose job it is to care for me through this process) is negativity? I don’t see my children as a burden. And neither should anyone else, because they don’t belong to anyone else. They are mine, and most importantly, they are God’s. And nothing anyone else has to say about the subject bears any significance when I think about the first time I’ll lay eyes on this child and the joy of watching him or her grow and learn and come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and the Author of life. And I pray that they will go forth like arrows and make known the great and powerful name of Jesus, and give Him the glory for all He has done.