I've heard myself say this outloud several times in the last 6 years: I just didn't know or appreciate how complicated this season of life is--when one starts a family. As a kid, even a young adult, I thought you have a plan and follow through with the plan. Find a guy, pick a month, take the test, tell your friends and family, plaster with pink or blue and VOILA! Stick 'em in your pocket and do everything you used to do.
This week I've just been reminded so clearly about how this is NOT how it works. This...this...decision (which in itself is not easy for every couple) to go from 2 to 3 (or more) can lead to things beautiful, tragic, amazing, challenging, horrific and nothing less than life-changing. The online world keeps me connected with a lot of people. In one week, people that I'm friends with--to some degree or another--have welcomed a new baby, have received a referral for an adopted child, have struggled with infertility news, and have lost a late-term pregnancy. One moment I had tears in my eyes with joy--the next I was sobbing with despair. Sheesh--you'd think I was pregnant! (I'M NOT.)
I don't really have a point in my ramblings, other than to just process these thoughts, because what can we do? IT'S NOT FAIR. Why does one couple get to have their family arrive exactly as they've always dreamed and another go through unspeakable pain before their arms are full? But I'm truly wanting to figure out for myself--what can I do? What is my response?
I read an article one time, written by a single mom. She basically directing her thoughts at all of us happily married women who tend to complain about our husbands from time to time. And she was not gentle--it was a good raking over the coals. How dare we complain about the way a loving father dresses his kids in mis-matched clothes? Or that he let them stay up too late while we were out with our girlfriends? Or that he loads the dishwasher wrong? As she pointed out--WHAT she wouldn't give to have a caring husband, willing to dress and love her children while she had a break. She NEVER has anyone else to load her dishwasher or her dryer. Or rub her neck at the end of a long day. The bottom line was: shut up and appreciate your spouse.
Another blog I read was by a young mom who had lost HER mother to cancer. She BEGGED those of us whose mothers were alive and well to make sure that we expressed our love and let our mothers into our lives as much as possible. You could hear the emotion in her writing as she exclaimed how badly her heart ached for just one more day with her mom. How angry and sad she was to see her friends who refused to mend broken relationships with their moms, when she knew all to well the feeling of never being able to speak with hers again.
I've never forgotten the messages from these two women, and I can't help but bring it to my own searching for answers. For some reason, I was blessed with two healthy pregnancies and two healthy babies, and Lord willing will welcome a third baby into my home and heart. I can't change my story, nor those of my hurting friends, but I can weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. I can be grateful and be intentional about appreciating my little blessings, even when I don't feel appreciative at all. I will never, EVER forget that every child's life is a MIRACLE and nothing less. And I will pray for miracles to happen for every family whose hearts and arms are waiting to be filled.
I didn't know, but now I do. And it changes everything about the way I view motherhood.