“There was once a time when I thought that my husband and I could plan out how many children we’d have. “One isn’t enough. Two might not be enough, either. Do we want three or four? Wouldn’t it be crazy to have five? Maybe we should just go for a whole bunch – have a Pinner orchestra, take up a whole row at church, and drive the biggest SUV. Our kids can be friends with our friends’ kids.” Etc. Etc. It seems ludicrous now. The idea that we can choose. The idea that we control anything at all. The troublesome observation that it actually, maybe, really does work that way for some people sometimes, and do they know how amazing that is?
It’s very easy to lose hope and to feel cosmically ill-treated for not being given the same gifts at the same time and in the same way as others. But optimism and hope are not the same. I am not optimistic; experience and repeated loss have taken that away. But I am hopeful, because I believe God is writing a good story. It absolutely is not what I would have written for myself. But it will be better. Someday, we’ll be able to say that if we knew what God knows we wouldn’t change a thing.
I wrote down these thoughts a year and a half ago after five rocky years of trying to start a family. Five years of miscarriages, failed fertility treatments, tears, and unanswered questions. My journey into motherhood has been one of holding tenaciously to the hope that someday, I would hold a child and call him mine. I didn’t know how that child would come to us, whether biologically or through adoption, but I knew that forcing it to happen was out of my hands. So after so much effort, time, and money pursuing our desire for a family, I decided to focus on doing work that lit up my soul instead. And that’s when everything changed. I decided to switch careers. I went back to school, and I surrendered to the truth that the path to motherhood looked different for me than most others I know, the timing was totally unknown, and that was all ok. During this process, I had vowed not to take any more pregnancy tests — I didn’t need the layered grief and distraction of receiving yet another no, month after month. But last October, something felt different. The hope was back and it was unquenchable. I knew the answer would be no, I knew it was a bad idea, but I took the test anyway. Except it wasn’t no, and instead of fading into nothing, the tests over the next week became more and more affirmative. I was definitely pregnant. I thought I knew about hope at the beginning of my pregnancy, but over the last ten months, I’ve learned so much more. As one who experienced multiple miscarriages, being pregnant was just as terrifying as it was joyful. Every day was infused both with incredible gratefulness for the life I carried as well as the fear that it could be taken away any minute. Hope was just as vital through those nine months, and even now that I hold my sweet baby in my arms, I still depend on it. The journey of motherhood – of holding tight, of letting go, of loving hard… it has just begun.” Tessa, Expectant Mother