In case you haven’t heard, my husband and I recently announced to my congregation (and to the rest of the world, aka, Facebook) that we are expecting a baby, due in January. We know it’s a boy already because we chose to have some genetic screening tests done, and are happy to report that the results came back healthy, and also with the early news of the gender! With all of the craziness going on with this huge life transition ahead and the comments and questions rolling in about us or our child’s future, it has been on my mind to share our journey to parenthood because I am constantly reminded that on this journey, everyone has their own story.
I have friends who conceived right away, some on accident, and some who tried for months or years. I have friends who are struggling with infertility and grieve the frustrations and challenges that come with that. A part of me was sad or reluctant to place our happy news on facebook, knowing that for some, it may be a reminder of their own struggles. I also have friends who conceived via IVF and now have beautiful children. I also have wonderful friends who have adopted, are foster parents, or are caring for miracle babies that were born premature and after several miscarriages and countless times of heartache. I think there is beauty, love, and heartache that I have witnessed in each of these stories as I watch lives of the people I care about unfold around me.
So, of course, Corey and I have our own journey that began several years ago when we were asking ourselves if our journey would include children at all. When we first got married at age 25, we were both content in thinking that not having kids would be okay, and it was not up for discussion often. As I reached age 29-30, I started to wonder if living a child-free life was really what I wanted. So we started having tough conversations. VERY tough conversations. There were tears, sleepless nights, and even one time where I went shopping for a Mother’s Day card for my mom and started tearing up in the greeting card aisle! Frustrations came, disagreements were hard to overcome, and there were days when I wondered if I could live my life without children, knowing that I would always be asking myself, “But what if?” For awhile, I had to be content with the fact that I just didn’t know, and I struggled with the ambiguity of just not knowing what I wanted. See my blog post about this from several years ago HERE.
But eventually, Corey and I, after awhile of struggles, conversations, and some counseling sessions, decided that the journey to have children was not off the table. That was a start. So after a few years, we decided that we would at least give it a try to see what would happen, not knowing if I would be able to get pregnant easily, not knowing what would happen, etc. As they say, once you decide to actually do something like try to have a baby, you want it to happen right away. This is where my heart breaks especially for those who struggle with infertility. It took us 6 months to get pregnant. And let me tell you, it was a long 6 months. I can’t even begin to imagine what some women feel as months and years go by and nothing is happening. My heart breaks for them.
Sometimes we feel that our bodies fail us, that we are inadequate, and ask ourselves if it’s just not in the cards. And not many people talk about these feelings and these struggles, but believe me, they are real, even for someone, such as myself who is fortunate enough to get pregnant after 6 months. The struggle and emotional aspects are all there, regardless of how long or how much a woman goes through to have a child. Many struggle immensely. We need to be okay talking about it with each other and offer support.
Regardless of how long it took us to reach our decision to have a baby or how long it took us to get pregnant, I am both grateful and terrified that we are continuing on our path to parenthood. For me, it was not an easy decision to make. I spent most of my life not seeing children in my future. I was not the kind of person who always dreamed of babies or being a mommy, and being around young children does not come naturally to me. But I do know that I have a desire to nurture, love, and care for something that is an extension of myself, yet is beyond myself. I do know that I have a desire to shape a life and watch someone grow and change and be a part of that process. I do know that I look forward to the many seasons of childhood and the adventure, challenge, and journey that it will be. I do know that I look forward to sharing it with Corey, who I know will be an amazing dad. I also look forward to passing along the love and lessons that I have taken from my own parents.
I also think it’s important to respect the choices that women make in their lives, whether a woman decides to have children or not. It’s a personal decision. It’s not society’s decision, your parents or in-law’s decision, or your friends’ decision. It’s YOUR decision. It’s OUR decision. Life is too precious to make the wrong choice for you and/or your spouse. Overcoming our obstacle of making this difficult decision was a huge part of our journey that we need to honor and lift up. It doesn’t come easily to everyone.
All this to say, we covet your thoughts and prayers as our story continues. I wonder how moms do it all! I’ll be seeking and finding ways to balance life as a new mom, a pastor, and a wife. It will take some time, but I know that I am not alone. Thanks be to God!