When I was a newbie mom, I remember hearing many women saying after they had 2 or 3 kids that they were D-O-N-E!! I totally respected their ability to know their limits, but I wondered how they knew, how they could possibly not want another soft downy bundle to snuggle, and most of all I wondered if I would ever feel that way. I have always had such a strong, perhaps even ferocious, yearning for children, and my children are one of the greatest joys in life, I couldn’t imagine the desire for more going away… and it didn’t! Not even after #4!
However even though my heart was not done having children, my body seemed to most definitely be. After 4 c-sections, my body has been through quite a bit in the child-bearing department, and, without going into detail, was showing some wear and definite tear! My caring husband decided that, enough is quite definitely enough and that we are not going to be taking the health risks that would be associated with a 5th pregnancy after 4 c-sections, no matter how pouty I get about it, and how strongly I feel that 6 kids would make for the perfect family size (and just think of the cute photos). I know this is the right decision, it’s wise, prayed over, it makes absolute sense. Sense, however, does not do a lot for my emotions, it would seem, and to put it all out there, I have cried nearly every day since Levi was born 15 months ago, knowing that he is my last. The tears, I believe, are healthy, and I know that grieving the end of this season of life is a great way to make way for a new season. I am thankful that I have friends who are as ballistically maternal as I am, but yet through their own medical issues (or to keep peace with their husbands) have to limit their family size to one smaller than what they were hoping for. We moan together, we groan together, sometimes we cry, but occasionally we even look on the bright side… a day will come when we don’t have to buy diapers, and, who knows, one day we may even sleep through the night.
This life is full of limits, and coming to terms with those limits is a process that seems to come with growing up and growing older. We cannot do, be, or have everything we want, but I am learning through this grieving process that peace comes quicker when we are thankful for what we have, and not focused on what we don’t have. I have 4 of the most amazing kids I could have hoped for, in fact they are all above and beyond my dreams and bring me great joy every day. I am truly blessed and rich with what truly matters. Trusting that God gives us what we can handle means sometimes letting go of our dreams and embracing his plan.
I was recently at a conference at the Courtenay Northgate Church, and after the evening session the speaker offered to pray for anyone who was interested, and gave most people prophetic words. I was waiting in line for ages, and because I was driving someone home, I figured I would just skip receiving prayer so as not to get me and my friend home too late. As I was leaving, a lady from my church came running up to me and told me that she really felt like really felt God wanted me to stay for prayer for some reason. Not needing too much persuasion, I went and stood with her in line… which just happened to get me to prayer a lot faster (felt like I was cheating). I am so glad that I stayed because the word I was given was really timely. The speaker, when he came to me, put his hand on my head and said “Hmmmmmmm…. I don’t know if you have children, but I sense a very strong mother’s heart in you. I am not sure if you have wanted to be a mom since you were a little girl, but I feel like you have a very powerful maternal drive, and I feel like that is something that God put in you, he gave it to you on purpose. I feel like God wants me to tell you that as well as having natural children, you are going to have spiritual children, and that you are going to nurture them and mother them…. don’t smother them… I sense you can be a bit over the top (actually I needed to hear that!), but love them and pour into them.” It definitely wasn’t the word I was expecting, but I realized that a part of me was set free with that word. As I realized that my strong desire for more children could be channeled into others who were not my own, I had a great sense of peace, and I started to feel like perhaps my grieving process is coming to an end, and I could gladly embrace the next season of my life. Not that I would necessarily stop feeling sad, but that I could learn to live with the tension. The tension of not having more of my own, but knowing that God would always give me someone or something to nurture. An older mom confessed to me, the desire for more children never went away from her, that she always felt sad about not having more. Somehow that confession made me feel normal, that my feelings were ok, and I didn’t have to reach some point of completion where the desire was gone.
This spring I have done a whole body nutritional cleanse sort of thing. My friend, Chanci, kept telling me how great it would be for me, particularly because I had become very run down and burnt out in 2011. I am so thankful for her coaching me through the cleanse and helping me modify and fine tune it for my personal health needs. I am feeling better than I have in a long time, and all the ailments that I struggled through last year with have disappeared, including the excruciating daily abdominal pain, the knee pain, the leg pain from my pregnancy induced varicose veins. I am bursting with energy and mental clarity, and one of the best things has been that I have been able to progress so much faster in my exercise and fitness. Before I did this cleanse it seemed almost impossible for me to get more fit – there was a giant plateau that I never seemed to be able to overcome. I feel like this has been a great way to thank my body for all the hard work it has done producing these precious babies, and maybe undo some of the wear and tear that came with the process. (BTW, a lot of people have been asking me about this cleanse, feel free to message me if you want more info).
I am writing this in the hopes of encouraging other women who are going through a similar grieving process. It does seem like a bit of a taboo, and especially when there are women who are never able to have children, (and I can’t even imagine how hard that is, and feel deeply for women in this position) it does seem kind of ungrateful to be sad over not being able to have a 5th or 6th. However I have never thought taboos to be particularly helpful, nor have I found that stuffing feelings of grief has served me well, they usually surface in physical symptoms of tension and stress for me. Sharing what’s really going on in me, seems to have been a better way for me to deal with things. So here it is, a glimpse into my journey the last fifteen months. I open my heart to you, because other women opened their heart to me, and in the mutual sharing I found a lot of comfort. And hey guess what … the baby slept thorugh the night last night… unfortunately the toddler did not 😉