I’m not sure how to decide “the right time” to have a baby. If you wait for all the plates to stop spinning or for life to feel calm or the bank account to reach a certain amount, it might be a while. To wait for the perfect moment might mean perpetually waiting, because to have a baby is to start from the very beginning of life. And with that comes a lot of giving.
The woman gives her body for the growing of another. And both parents give of themselves emotionally, financially, and so many other ways. And to think, all of that comes before the child is even born!
You might already know, we are having another baby!
Though I felt peace and a desire to grow our family, I wouldn’t say I felt a deep exhale and surge of energy before getting pregnant a second time. And when it was confirmed we were pregnant again, it took a bit of time for excitement to come around as I mostly felt overwhelmed.
I was overwhelmed by all I had to give up: wine, freedom, normal clothes, a non-pregnant body, energy, etc. It was quite a selfish response, I admit. But, pregnancy and the first year of life with a baby is an incredibly tangible experience of giving, giving, giving physical and emotional resources that often leave me feeling spent.
And that reality of that beginning again overwhelmed me.
Dreams Come True – Sometimes That’s Scary
Before we got married, Jesse and I talked about our desire to have a large family. We don’t have a number of children in mind necessarily. All we know, is that we want to have a brood, for our hearts and hands to feel full, how ever many that ends up being.
We also knew from walking alongside others older than us that growing a family is hard work. If we wanted our kids to be close together in age, then we knew once we started to have kids, an intense decade would begin: the childbearing years.
There are plenty of arguments having to do with health, finances and convenience when it comes to not having children. And many have appeals, and some have merit.
But, I believe there are even better reasons to go ahead and have children, if possible.
A lot of times we make decisions about children based on all that we have to sacrifice, and in some ways lose, as the parents. I mean, you give up a lot; you give your very life for the good of another. You lose a certain level of independence and freedom when adding children, especially in those early years.
But, it is a false reality for me to believe that I parent or provide for my children in my own strength from the very beginning. That is the truth I was faced with as I processed having a second child. I was overwhelmed by the needs of another child, because I was more concerned with myself – the freedoms and enjoyments I give up when growing and giving birth to a baby.
But, as I wrestled that self-focused perspective to the ground, I realized it is good for me to feel in over my head sometimes.
It is good for me to feel that I have nothing more to give though their be a lot more demanded of me.
It is good for me to make sacrifices for the benefit of another.
These experiences aren’t good so that I can feel weak for it’s own sake. But that weakness gives me the opportunity to accept my finite nature, leave behind my self-focused perspective, and embrace something much greater. And in so doing, I gain an understanding that it is better to give than to receive; it is better to concern myself with serving rather than being served.
At first having another baby did not excite me. It overwhelmed me.
However, as I embraced this opportunity to look outside myself, I grew more and more able to celebrate this new life growing within me.
Light + Shadow
Maybe this seems like a weird way to share that we are having a second baby, since there is so much to be grateful for and when having children is not always easy as it has been for me thus far.
Through my first pregnancy, I learned there is a shadow that falls over childbearing for all women. The shadows take different forms in each of our situations, but there are shadows nonetheless.
For some shadows come in the form of difficult pregnancies or complicated labors. Others struggle through the first year when they can’t seem to find a remnant of themselves. Most women experience physical difficulties in one way or another. And others are unable to conceive no matter what they do or how hard they hope and pray.
Childbearing is a shadowed experience.
But, childbearing is also a gift. A supreme and special gift from above – that we can take part in the creation and bringing forth of new life with our very bodies.
And it is that gift I want to receive with a sense of sober gratitude.
After all that, the thought of a second baby excites me! I wait with anticipation for the day I feel it move around inside me. And the day we meet it face to face will be a special time for our family. In another month or so, we find out if it’s a boy or girl. And I can’t wait to know if Benji will have a brother or sister.
New life shines a bright light that can dispel even the darkest shadows.
What a gift to experience firsthand the creation of a new person coming into the world!