I'm going to try and convey a lot of deep, confusing feelings in this post. I find that when I write things out or when I speak them aloud, I do a much better job of figuring out how I feel (and what to do about it!).
In other words, I'm going to navel-gaze and comment upon my current feelings. You've been duly warned, dear reader!
(And trigger warning: it's about pregnancy and childbirth/children. I'm truly sorry if this is a painful reminder to you, dear reader, whoever you may be, if infertility has been a part of your life. I don't mean to exaggerate or exacerbate your pain; I'm only able to speak about my own experiences, you know? But I send you much love. I promise.)
It took me about two years to come to peace about being finished having children. Many temple trips (praying in the temple is so sacred, so peaceful), conversations with my husband, questions posed to my friends, and silent pleadings were answered in a contented way. We were finished. Our family size was acceptable to God, to my husband, to me, and to our children. I can't say I ever felt it was totally complete, but I knew that no matter when the time to stop having children came, I would still be sad. Having children has been one of the greatest (maybe the greatest?) experience of my life. Pregnancy has not been difficult for me. Maybe if it had, I wouldn't be so sad to see it end...? I don't know. I just know that having children has been my main identity for 17 years. To be finished felt... weird. Just strange, somehow.
But I felt peaceful that we were finished. I was even happy with the idea! Suddenly, I could see a future without diapers and where I could start to do things for myself in a more permanent way. It was exciting!
Brandon and I prayed to know if we should do anything permanent. For us, we felt strongly we were not supposed to do anything permanent to prevent pregnancy. So, we didn't. And now we know why!
I know some people will laugh at our shock in finding myself pregnant, again. How could we not know this could happen? Well, of course it could. I believe that any time a man and a woman come together in that way, it is possible for a pregnancy to occur. No birth control is 100% accurate (except abstinence, obviously). My mom had a cousin who found herself expecting a baby sometime after her hysterectomy!! Not even making that up. There is always a possibility!
I'm 14 1/2 weeks. The excitement and rush of discovering I am pregnant has died down, a little. I've found a provider I'm mostly contented with (that's another story), and I've heard the heartbeat twice. My strong feeling of twins has been proved wrong (sigh... another story). I look like I'm 20 weeks (or more) and I've already had 2 people ask me when I'm due --visibly shocked when I tell them December. I may have lost a lot of weight, but I still have all that stomach skin (my glorious apron) hanging around, and with a short torso, I need to kind of squish everything together --thus making me look significantly further along than I am. And that's super fun. 😜
I'm finding myself completely off-kilter. I was so excited to find out I was pregnant! And then I was immediately sad, too. I felt so conflicted. I wasn't sure what to feel! I wasn't expecting it; I had already put the possibility behind me. I had moved on and made future plans. I saw the next 10 years and knew what to expect (well, as much as anyone can expect anything). And then suddenly, in that one moment, my entire future changed.
I'm not angry about it. I'm not even really sad, either. I'm just... adjusting.
My friend told me it's like I just took a really big, sharp U-turn. I had gotten used to one path, and now I'm going back. Not necessarily backwards, but back to the start of another new life. Back to nursing, diapers, late-nights, and another baby to raise. Back to 18 more years. And I already gave away all the baby stuff. Ha!
Every life is precious, and I feel grateful I get to bring another life to this world. But I'm also kind of upset about it. I'm upset because I don't understand how God could give this baby to me when so many of my beloved friends have not been given any. Within the first few months of this pregnancy, too many women have miscarried their precious babies. Dear friends who have prayed for years; dear friends who have prayed for decades --why isn't this miracle being given to them? I honestly don't know the answer. I just mourn for them and feel the sting of their sorrow every time I remember I'm having my eighth child.
But I also know that God knew that we would all face very individualized challenges in this life. Perhaps my challenge is to be the mother of many children (which isn't easy, just in case people were wondering). Maybe my challenge is to give charity and empathy to those who wish they were me. Honestly, maybe my challenge is to be willing to do what God asks, even if it's hard and doesn't always make sense (I'm pretty sure that's everyone's challenge!).
One lesson I've learned (and it's incredibly precious to me, so I'm going to be vague): Sometimes, God tells us exactly what is going to happen and what we are going to face, but we are so decided against the impossibilities that we completely miss the message. That happened, here. The experience was powerful and exquisite and very personal --but I missed the message until it was staring up at me with two pink lines. Hindsight can be both enlightening and embarrassing, sometimes. 😊
Dear reader, deep inside my soul, I feel the ferocity of my love for this unborn baby. I know he or she will be greatly loved by all of us. And I will get to the point where I cannot imagine my life without them! I know this. I already love this baby; I just don't feel as elated as I have with new pregnancies in the past. It's something that confuses me and leaves me feeling slightly guilty, too, because I've never struggled with this, before. It must be something I need to experience. Only God really knows why.
I think I've just needed to work through these new feelings to get to a place where I can feel peaceful and excited. There is so much work ahead, so much to do, so many souls relying on me to love them! I don't want to resent any of it. I love this precious family of mine and I'm grateful for each and every one of them --even this tiny surprise growing inside of me.