Or, at least it feels like it.
Brian and I have been married 3.5 years, and we are due with our third at the end of this August. We found out the news in the most uninspiring way. I was around 8 months postpartum with Felicity, our second, and I was taking what seemed like 20 pregnancy tests a month just to make sure I wasn't pregnant again ( a dear friend recommended I get a bulk pack on Amazon to make myself feel better). I was so nervous about having another baby right after our first two girls who are 16 months apart.
Last December, I took a pregnancy test one morning and left it in the bathroom without looking at the results...because you know, running after an almost 2-year old and baby. The day got away from me, and by the end of it I fell into a heap on the bed next to Brian. My eyes popped open and I said, "Oh, wait, I took a pregnancy test today." And Brian evenly said, "I know, I saw it. It's positive."
I jumped out of bed, feeling the heat rise to my face and tears build in my eyes. No, no no, that can't be right. There's no way. That's not possible ( I happened to ovulate 6 days earlier than normal). This isn't fair. We were being so conservative. You cannot be serious.
Frantically, I ran down the stairs to the first floor bathroom where I had left the test on the sink counter. I saw the two lines for "positive," and I just started to uncontrollably bawl. How was I going to be able to handle this new child? Crawling back up the stairs, I continued to sob in bed. "Maybe it's a false result," Brian whispered with his hand covering his eyes. "There are no false positives," I bleakly replied.
"Let's just check on this again tomorrow, we have to get some sleep now," Brian, ever the optimist, concluded. "Ready to say prayers?" Every night we say a simple Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be with open intentions before we fall asleep. I cried some more, and choked out, "No."
I knew I couldn't say "Thy Will be done" with my whole heart in that exact moment.
To be brutally honest, I was angry with God. It's difficult to admit I didn't want to receive this new life, this new little soul. Looking back, I was most upset over the lack of control I felt and how all my "plans" were slipping through my clutched fingers. In reality, I didn't have any concrete plans besides surviving the balancing act with two babies under two. But, I hated the idea of feeling like I was going to drown even more.
This all happened within a day of us traveling to see family for Christmas. I was still numb and in a daze when we meekly told our family members the news. They responded with squeals of joy and delight, which fell upon me like a dead weight. I was embarrassed to tell anyone. In my mind, I projected on other people this judgement that Brian and I were crazy, that we couldn't control ourselves, that NFP doesn't ever work.
My mom at the time had said, "Oh, you two are such good witnesses with your beautiful growing family!" To which I spitefully replied, "Mom, we're the family people are going to point to and say, "You see? That's what birth control is for." We're not witness at all.
But, despite my stubborn and pitiful self, the joy that radiated from my family seeped into my hard shell of a heart. I left home feeling slightly less panicky and more resigned. Brian and I didn't talk too much about it the next few weeks and just let it rest. After a little while, I remember Brian saying one night, "You know what?
At the end of our lives we're not going to wish we had one less kid."
"It's going to be hard for a couple of years and we're going to be tired, but we're going to be OK." He was right, of course. Hearing him say that cracked into my heart the first light of hope. I slowly started to accept reality, praying to remember that this child was an undeserved gift. I literally had to ask the Lord for the grace to be thankful.
After a few months and a lot of acting on faith, I began to realize that this isn't really all about me...a lesson that God, in His mercy, is continually trying to communicate to my selfish self. This little soul is meant for eternity, and my time here on earth with him ( we later found out its a boy), is so fleeting. How am I going to help him become the best version of himself; to be a boy with a heart for Christ, to be a young man who seeks Truth, to become a man who loves Beauty itself?
Month by month, I have come to not only "resign" to God's will, but accept, embrace and welcome it. It has taken me more than seven months to get excited to meet this new little guy. I cannot wait to see his face and hold him close. And, sure, I'm nervous and a bit anxious about the logistics of daily life; like how I'm going to buckle everyone in the car or when I'll ever sleep again. But, I have found that just when I think I can't go any farther or give any more, time and time again, I'm given the grace to do it in the moment. Looking back on times of sacrifice or suffering, I can tell my capacity to love has grown in depth. My heart has expanded and continues to expand, and that is what matters.
Rather than feel shackled or trapped or irresponsible, as some may think about having children so close in age, I have never felt stronger as a person. I'm learning to love outside of myself and to sacrifice for something greater than myself... which I have found is where true, lasting joy reigns.
I know my story is so very different from many others; I have a husband who works alongside me to raise our children, an incredibly supportive family, and a solid group of friends who are trekking along a similar journey. But, my hope is to give a little hope or solidarity to those who do not feel "what's expected" when it comes to welcoming new life.
Pray for me friends, as I near the end of this pregnancy. I'm still not perfect and have an overly anxious heart, but I know that this isn't where my story ends. We're all a work of love in progress.