on having babies

photo(1)Jon and I believe in the power of stories. We believe that words matter. This space is not just for (really infrequent) updates on our life and pictures of our cute baby. It’s also a place to share the stories that make us who we are.

When they hear the timeline of our family, some people shake their heads. We met in the fall of 2010, married in the fall of 2011, had our first baby in the fall of 2012, and are expecting our second in the spring of 2014. But that timeline? It’s what makes our family our family.

The first moment I believed I could marry Jon was while watching him play with kids after church. He ran all over the building, chasing them, racing them. When he picked up one little girl and slung her over his shoulder, I knew he was one of those rare types: guys-who-love-kids.

The first time we discussed having children, Jon and I were still just dating. Family is so important to me, he said. I have always wanted to be a mother, I said. We talked about the tender parts of our genetic histories in regards to family planning — that we both had infertility in our genes, that my genetic history limits the birth control options available to me. What we discussed were the brass tacks of creating a family, the whens, what-ifs, and it-could-happens but all underscored by the conviction that children are a blessing from the Lord, and we want children.

After we were engaged, those near and dear to us suddenly became very interested in our having children, specifically, how long we would not have children. So we talked about how to not have babies and still be married, and we talked about it often. Then one night, Jon said, “Marriage and sex and babies are all very connected. If we’re married and having sex, we have to be open to having children.” Just like that, he named our philosophy of family. We want children, and we want them when and how God wants to give them to us.

We’d been married 5 months when we learned Jack’s heart was already beating — a heart near my heart, as a friend says. When people asked if Jack was planned, we shared our philosophy: “This baby is not an ‘accident.’ We were open.”

That philosophy — that mantra of we are open, we are willing, we have unclenched hands — flew out the window when I learned I was pregnant the second time. Because isn’t it true that when the theoretical is tested, sometimes we’re different people than we aspire to be.

I felt all. the. feelings. Jack was 8 months old and still waking every 3-4 hours to eat, and I was still exhausted. Another baby? I thought. I’ll never sleep again. I was shocked. I was terrified. I lived in denial for weeks. I didn’t want to tell anyone because it wouldn’t be true if no one knew. I wasn’t giddy like I was the first time, and I felt guilt sour my stomach. I knew couples enduring tests and surgeries and grief and waiting to have a baby, and I found myself pregnant with a baby I wasn’t sure I was ready for. Feeling anything but exuberance made me ungrateful, horrible, a fraud.

I felt like everyone was excited about this new baby and just waiting for me to catch up. I remember thinking that Jon would be excited enough for both of us—until I could get there, too. It was a very raw time. I cried a lot, dreamed terrible things. I also discovered these rough edges I’d thought were smooth. These hidden places that showed me how much I crave control. How willing I am to trust God when things go according to my expectations, and how quickly I withdraw that trust when they don’t.

God is faithful, though. He is patient and still working on my heart. And we are still open (to unexpected surprises in our life) and willing (to welcome this baby into our crazy and be her parents), with unclenched hands (because there’s no point in holding on tightly to any part of this life—He is sovereign over it all).

At our 20-week ultrasound, when the tech said, “It’s a girl!” Jon looked at me and spoke her name aloud: Grace. And so she will be: a reminder of the grace afforded each of us through the saving death and resurrection of Jesus, and the daily grace given to us when we’re scared, or unsure, or feeling ill-equipped.

Amen.

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2 thoughts on “on having babies

  1. lauracrosby says:

    ” it true that when the theoretical is tested, sometimes we’re different people than we aspire to be.” Yes!

  2. […] written honestly about my struggle after learning I was pregnant with Grace. I feel like God has used the difficult, the unexpected to make me more like Him, or at least more […]

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