It was six months of waiting before we found out baby jackson one would be joining our family. At the beginning of the waiting we had an early miscarriage. I was devastated, depressed, despondent. I fell into a routine: Andrew left Provo at 5am for his 2.5 hour bus/bike commute to Sandy to teach. I got up shortly after to go running. I ran longer and harder than my body could handle so that I would be too tired to think or feel the rest of the day.
Over and over, Andrew pulled me off the floor and I slowly learned that good things keep coming. Then then waiting ended and Emily was on her way.
It was eight months of waiting before we found out baby jackson two would be joining our family. I was determined to be more patient, but the familiar emotions quickly bubbled up. I tried to hold it together during the day, but I spent sleepless night crying and pleading with God for another baby. I thought that once we had one child the waiting would be easier. I was so wrong – it was harder. I watched my childhood dreams of large family with kids 18months-2 years apart slipping away. I saw every month as a set back. Not only were we not having another child, but Emily wasn’t having a best friend and playmate.
The begging, pleading, and crying continued until the day we found out Nathan was on his way. I was overwhelmingly grateful and joyful. I thought it was nice the kids were only going to be 25 months apart, my dream not actually shattered. I quickly learned that the painfully developed gratitude would carry me through a physically difficult pregnancy. The physically difficult pregnancy developed my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in deep and meaningful ways. This relationship with God and my trust in the Savior is what carried me through the bouts of c. diff and long road to recovery after Nathan was born.
The trial prepared me for another trial which prepared me for another trial which truly changed me and our family. I have a growing trust in God that “he will guide my future, as he has the past.”
It is nine months (and counting) of waiting for baby jackson three. This has been a humbling and instructive period of my life. Some questions that have been festering in my heart the last few years were answered early on in the waiting:
Am I going against God’s will for wanting a baby if he isn’t sending one to our family? Do I have to give up my desire to align my will with his? The answer came in a surprising place, “Peaceful Parents, Happy Siblings“, an excellent book about emotional coaching. In talking about the parent/child relationship Dr. Laura Markham said something like: The goal is to have your relationship strong enough that the child cares more about his relationship with you than in doing what he wants.
My focus was on doing what I wanted, not on my relationship with God. I also realized that my feelings had no moral value assigned to them, no right or wrong. They were just feelings and desires. They key was for me to feel them, tell God about them, and then move forward focusing on our relationship, not staying stuck in the feelings.
If the answer is no should we stop trying or else he will send us a child and we really weren’t supposed to have one? I had a lot of sleepless nights worrying to come up with this one. A story from “Glimpses into the Heart and Life of Marjorie Pay Hinkley” helped to assuage my fears. For years the church had been trying to preach the gospel in Greece without success. The prophet joined other church officials with the goal of finally having the church welcomed in. Sister Hinkley was convinced this would be the moment, but at the end of the day was discouraged when the answer was still no. When talking with the prophet she asked:
“Aren’t you discouraged?…President Lee replied, “No, I am not discouraged. All this means is that it is not yet the Lord’s time to open the work in Greece.” Then he went on to explain that they had to keep trying, so that when the Lord’s time had come to open the work, we would be there knocking on the door. (p. 22-23)”
With righteous desires, keep knocking so that you are right there when God opens the door.
I’ve also learned this gem about patience from Simplicity Parenting. “Anticipating strengthens will and sense of self. Tremendous power can develop through waiting.” If it is good enough for the children it is good enough for me.
With all these little inspirational gems I still found myself anxious about the timing of our children. I also felt a little pang with every baby announcement – someone else living my dream, again. A few months ago received this gentle correction as these words came to my mind: stop kicking against the pricks.
I’ve been doing some soul searching. I realized that some of my pain was coming from comparison and social expectations. I don’t have to feel sad/depressed/anxious/left out just because those feelings are talked about by those who struggle with having children or are mentioned in sensitivity on social media. That doesn’t mean I don’t or shouldn’t experience those feelings – but I don’t have to buy into a stigma and stay in that low place.
I also needed to just let go. Let go of my dream. Let go of comparison. Let go of the anxious feelings. Let go of things outside of my control.
I found great instruction in President Monson’s counsel: “We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude” (Living the Abundant Life). I’ve been working on adjusting the sails.
In one of the many conversations Andrew and I had, we discussed the principle that we can’t mess up God’s plan for our family. We need to trust him completely in all areas of our lives, but especially this one right now. I need to believe, and I’m finally starting to truly feel, that his plan is greater than ours. That his plan is and will be absolutely perfect for us.
Oh it is so liberating to turn things over to God. Now I get to focus on my circle of influence. Things that I truly can impact and change. Everything else I can let go. I don’t need to spend my time and energy fretting about things that I have no control over.
I love this recent blog post, You’re Not Messing Up God’s Plan for You. What is God’s plan? “A journey of joyful discovery that begins where I am.”
This is where I am. A little more patient. A little more trusting. A little more willing to surrender my will and dreams to God’s will and plans. A little more curious about the adventure that awaits each day. A little more hopeful. A little more grateful for the trials that have led me down this path of learning. A little more excited about the joyful discovery within daily life.