Eight months. My husband and I were married for eight months when he convinced me that we should pull the goalie and try to have a baby. I was so nervous about it and he so excited and sure. I didn’t know why we had to rush into it! I had just turned 21 years old. We were still in college. We weren’t anywhere near immediate family. And how would I handle being pregnant and still go to school full-time and do marching band? What if I was horribly sick and miserable? Would I still be able to graduate? And where would we fit a baby in our tiny 1 bedroom 450 square foot apartment? How would we afford all the stuff a baby needs on our crappy part-time student job income? Couldn’t we wait until after we graduated? After my husband (at least) had his first post-graduate job? And seriously, was I even ready to be a mother? Would I be a good mother??
But, my husband was ready. He was 29 years old and wanted nothing more than to be a father now that he was a husband. He told me over and over again to just have faith. To believe that it would all work out. To trust that God would provide a way for us financially. And that he had full confidence that I would be a great mother.
We prayed long and hard about it, attended the temple, fasted, and counted back nine months and figured out the earliest we could conceive and still be able to finish the next school year just fine. We took a giant leap of faith and stopped using birth control and started trying to have a baby.
A few weeks later there it was: my Clearblue pregnancy test staring back at me and my husband in the bathroom reading “Pregnant.”
It was really happening: we were going to be parents! How terrifying and thrilling at the same time!
Every time I have seen that positive plus sign, or that written “pregnant” when taking an at-home pregnancy test, it is so hard to believe what it really means. I go through a bit of denial every time, questioning that I really am pregnant, though completely aware that it is indeed the truth.
There are just so many questions, so many unknowns when you see that word or that sign. So many doubts. So many fears. So much worry! From what this pregnancy will be like, to whether or not I will miscarry, to how the birth will go, and to how another child will affect our family. I wonder if I will be able to love another child like my other children and if my older children will love a new sibling? Where will the new baby fit in the car and in the house and how will be able to afford all the diapers? And how much stress and overwhelm will having another child bring into our lives? Will we really be able to handle, one, two, three, four, or more children mentally and emotionally? Will we be able to be the best parents possible to each of them? And how will this child affect the relationship between my husband and I?
The thing about being pregnant is that there are truly so many unknowns. Despite being healthy or young, complications can occur.
Plus, every child is different, and you don’t get to choose the personality and temperament of your child like you did when you chose your spouse. So, you don’t know how life will be once the child comes. Maybe they’ll have a deformity, disability, or health issues. Maybe they’ll be perfectly healthy at birth, but develop something later. What if they are the complete opposite personality of yourself and you’ll be left not knowing, at all, how best to parent them. The unknowns extend far beyond those initial nine months prenatal!
But, there is one great thing about pregnancy tests that indicate you will be having another baby – they are positive. They are happy. They are sure.
And that is what I strive to be – positive, happy, and sure.
I truly believe that every child is a gift. No matter when conceived, where, with who, or under whichever difficult circumstances, every child is a gift, a blessing, a positive. But, it is ultimately up to us to believe that is true.
My husband and I always choose faith when it comes to expanding our family. We choose to believe that a(nother) child will bless our lives and not condemn it, or burden it, or limit it. And our faith has been vindicated as our children have only expanded our love and our happiness.
And my husband was right from the very beginning about when we should try to have a baby. We both firmly believe that we would not have been blessed the way we were had we not acted upon the promptings we received and moved forward with faith when we did. Because that initial pregnancy test only told us one thing – that we were pregnant. It didn’t tell us that we were pregnant with two babies. Had we waited an extra month or two before trying, chances are we would not have conceived our fraternal twins daughters. And despite all the extra stress, worry, and difficulties that came and come with raising twins, they are two amazing individuals that we could not imagine our life without.
Because being a mother is the greatest calling I have been given, the greatest mission of my life. Motherhood makes me happier than I have ever known. Motherhood is as much a part of my identity as is woman. I am immensely loved by my children and my spouse. I have a fantastic life even if to many it seems messy, or crazy, or frugal, or stupid. I would not trade having my children, when we did, for all the money in the world, for a house, more degrees, better cars, or world travel. Because, parenthood and family is the great purpose of my life, not things or wealth or experiences.
So, despite all the hard realities of parenting, all the expenses, all the stress, heartache, and long nights, pregnancy and motherhood are the great positives of my life. And I hope it is for you too.
Happy Mother’s Day.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Maternity photos by Lisa Jastal. Family pictures by Katie Destry.