For the first time in years I was beginning to feel in control of my life. Our new home felt like a palace. Nathan was finally potty-trained. At last I was able to return to work as an occupational therapist for one day a week. My first book was almost completed. Everything in my life seemed to be coming together perfectly. I felt exhilarated and free. After five years of intense mothering, my life and body were just starting to feel like mine again. I felt full of inexpressible joy and peace, somehow like the sensation of rolling down a grassy slope on a warm summer day. My heart seemed to be singing to God all the time. I hadn’t felt so wonderful in years! Now that I didn’t enjoy babies, night feeds and nappies, but it was wonderful to feel that now I could have more time and energy to be with my children, and do exciting things with them. We were planning to home school for a couple of years, and I was looking forward to sharing the fun of finding out together.
The incredible sensation of blissful freedom lasted about a week. Still, it was good while it lasted. But then I started to feel a bit strange; sort of tired and sicky, and I started to buy grapefruit again. No, I can’t believe this, I thought We had always been as careful as we could be. But we’d always joked about having “two children and an accident”. A couple of days before realizing I was pregnant, we’d had a house-warming party, and almost the whole church had been there. One lady asked me if we were planning to have any more children, and I’d said a very firm “No!” Soon they would all know I was pregnant again, and they’d know it was an “accident”. I felt so humiliated. At first I didn’t want to tell anyone, not even my Mum!
I was in a stunned state of shock for several weeks. I didn’t mind another baby so much, but the thought of another pregnancy was enough to send me crazy. I am nauseous, and vomit frequently, for the entire nine months. All those romantic notions of glowing and feeling rosy, and enjoying the incredible experience dissolved rapidly, even before I unwrapped the pregnancy testing kit! Each pregnancy is worse than the one before. Nothing takes away the horrible feeling of sickness except sleep and, eventually, delivery!
One thing I was sure about, I never wanted to feel that a baby of ours was in any way “unwanted”, or even an ‘accident”. I was sure that as far as God was concerned, my baby was no “accident”. We had gone to such lengths trying not to conceive that God must have performed a miracle to achieve this conception!
But there were so many things I’d wanted to do! I’d been longing for a time when I could write more freely, work on a parenting seminar with Bernie, sew a quilt, create a flower garden, travel without buggies, high-chairs, cots and nappies, and wear dresses that didn’t have front openings for discreet feeds. I’d been six years, “breeding and feeding”, as Bernie once stated so succinctly, and I felt I deserved a rest. But now, another baby, another three or four years of intense mothering, caring, and watching. It would sap me of all time and energy to spend doing all the great things I wanted to do with Bethany and Nathan. I was fighting depression for weeks. I felt guilty because we had so many friends who were having problems having babies, and my problem was that I couldn’t seem to stop having them!
One thing I learnt, as the depression began to lift, was that God’s timing was different to mine. Another three years or so of pregnancy and babyhood seemed like an eternity to me. But then I stood back from my life, and began to look at it God’s way, and the way I would look at it myself, one day. Nine years of babying, out of a lifetime, didn’t seem that much. One day I will look back on my life from an ancient rocking chair, and remember the baby years with great fondness, and yearn for them once more. Maybe I will even wish they’d lasted longer than nine years, which isn’t so long out of seventy, is it? The book, the back-opening dresses, and the quilt would just have to wait a few years. I’d always found God’s timing to be perfect, in retrospect, so I would be able to trust His perfect timing for this baby, too…
Now, a couple of years later, I think God helped me write this book because I had a baby, rather than in spite of having a baby! I realize that most of the manuscript has been written while I’ve been sitting up in bed, feeding Joel. Maybe, just maybe, if I hadn’t had him, this book might only be a few ideas scratched on the back of a shopping list…!
Dear Father, thank You that You know the end from the beginning, and that Your perfect timing in my life can surprise me with Your perfect joy. Amen.
List all the joys you have had, and dreams that have been fulfilled because you had children, rather than in spite of having them.
Think of a time when God’s timing was perfect, although it might not have been a part of your original plan.
Spend a few moments praising God for His timing, even in those circumstances where you are still unsure about His plans for you.
From “Please God, Make My Mummy Nice” by Karen Holford