When I was pregnant with Leo, my most repetitive prayer was for a feeling of completion, finality, peace…that when Leo was born, I would know that he was the missing link, and I wouldn’t want to have any other children.
But completion, finality, and peace were the furthest from what I actually felt. As soon as I saw his face, I wanted to have another baby. As the weeks, months, and now almost 2 years since his birth have gone by, the desire to add to our amazing crop of kids has grown exponentially.
Adding another baby to our already busy group of four children felt a little crazy. We already get side-eyes and raised eyebrows when we fly on a plane, go out to eat as a family, or simply try to go grocery shopping (thanks to ClickList, we don’t have to do that as a group much anymore).
Thankfully, one of the most freeing parts of being an adult is not caring what other people think.
In February, we began planning and praying for another pregnancy. We actually really wanted to have a small age gap between Leo and his younger sibling (18 months was preferred). I also was hoping to have the baby long before my 35th birthday, so as to avoid the “geriatric pregnancy” label on my chart (35 is far from geriatric, but I don’t make the rules!).
I can’t remember exactly, but I believe the longest we ever had to “try” (that phrase makes me cringe) for a baby was 5-6 months.
So now, as we rapidly approach the 1 year mark without a pregnancy, and no chance of a baby being born before I turn 35 this summer, I feel confused. I feel sad. I feel frustrated.
I feel foolish.
I am so aware of other couples who have yet to have chance to bring one baby into the world, and I have four beautiful children already. Am I being greedy? Do I have any right to complain? Shouldn’t I just be thankful for what I have and accept that another pregnancy likely isn’t part of our plan?
I feel alone.
For the above mentioned reason, I don’t want to offend or upset anyone who has been struggling for a longer amount of time. I also think about how silly it would be to say to a doctor, “Yes, we have four children already, but we really want a fifth and it’s just not happening — so can you help us?” I am aware of how ridiculous that sounds.
So I have bottled it up, only confiding in a few friends. Which has lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and incredible anxiety. It has been a painful way to spend nearly all of 2018.
I feel like a failure.
I think it goes without saying that it’s easy to place blame on yourself when something like this happens. What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? If I lost 30 pounds, would that make a difference? If I ran marathons or stopped drinking Diet Coke or prayed more, would that help?
And even though an overall healthier lifestyle obviously wouldn’t hurt, the overwhelming sadness I feel always pulls me in and holds me down, perpetuating bad habits and making things worse.
What I do know is that the enemy thrives in isolation. If you can be alone with your thoughts and fears long enough, you can convince yourself that you are a loser. A failure. Unworthy of love and happiness. That you are being punished, that God doesn’t hear you or care about what you want. That other people are more deserving because they are better fill-in-the-blanks.
So by expressing these thoughts and feelings, even by way of this blog, somehow, I am less alone. I am less inside my own head. I am less isolated, which means maybe I am less susceptible to taking the blame for something that is likely beyond my control.
There are many of us out there — women who want just one baby, or more babies, and for whatever reason, it’s harder to get there for some than for others. We put on brave faces and go about our daily lives. We laugh and smile so people don’t think we are upset or down all the time, but inside, we struggle. We struggle to live in the present when we desperately want to see the future. We struggle to trust in God’s plan when we just want to peek at the blueprint. We struggle to practice what we preach – what we know to be good and true – to stay positive, to have patience, to practice gratitude.
To love the lives we have right now while we wait – we struggle.
May 2019 bring what it brings, but mostly, may it bring acceptance.