One upon a time, we were perfectly content and happy with our four kids. Had no real intention of having more. I could go into birth control methods and such, but really, as much as I love you all, that is none of your business. *Said with the sweetest smile I can conjure*
So we were not expecting to have more kids. Our house? Very full. Our lives? Finally in a good place with the kids. Survival mode complete. I had even just been encouraging my sister-in-law that the physical part of parenting does get easier as they get older.
Then Christmas came and the foreboding feeling that something was amiss. So I run to one of our local stores to get a test. Call me paranoid, but I like a fancy test. Something about them make the result feel more official. More power to you if you get the Dollar Store ones. To stay incognito, I left for the store after the kids were in bed. We do live in a smallish town, but I figured no one I knew would be out at 9:30 at night on Christmas Eve.
I was wrong. Dead wrong. As in, the most wrong you can be.
One of my dear friends was finishing her Christmas shopping. I like to be sure of things before sharing. I also like telling the truth. Somehow I was able to accomplish both, but let me tell you, it is not fun trying to dodge friends in the store because you have a HUGE secret. I’d rather shop with my friends than against them.
I made it out of the store successfully. Home. Bathroom. Test. Positive. Shaking. Tears. Disbelief.
Husband? Shocked. Just shocked. Somewhat comforting, but it is hard when you are… shocked.
I’m not going to lie. Finding out about number five was a struggle. An honest to goodness struggle. I am as pro-life as they come. I believe that God has a purpose in every life He creates. I believe that God gives us what HE can handle. My feelings were telling me I was a fraud. My head said these things-true things, good things- but my heart was overwhelmed and afraid.
My biggest fear? People’s thoughts. Really. I usually could care less, but in this instance I did. I cared about being put in a box to be stereotyped.
“Oh she’s one of those Christians.”
“They must be trying to be like the Duggars.”
“How can she handle another one when she can’t take care of the ones she has?”
Our family homeschools. And yes, we are conservative in our values and practices. We are unashamedly Christian. But we do not fit a mold. Five seemed to be fitting that mold.
My fears did come true in different ways. The lady in the store who saw my kids being kids and said in a very unkind manner, “And you’re having another?” There were the other comments that usually are said as well. They don’t bother me as much.
You know what the predominant response was though? Support. Friends, family, even our pediatrician was supportive. There were offers of baby sitting. Affirmations of my parenting. Edification. It was unexpected and delightful.
Now that I think of it, I shouldn’t have been surprised. My circle of acquaintances is mostly pro-lifers and those that see life as a gift. So when birth announcements are made, it is always a celebration, not a problem to be solved. Life is welcomed whether expected or not. Babies are embraced. This child would be loved and cared for – not just by her mom and dad, but the small world about her.
This realization would change my perspective. When fear would creep back in, I would remember this simple yet profound truth: God never makes a mistake, and life is always a gift. A gift. And you know what? It does not matter if the world validates that gift or not. Truth is truth and the truth is that every life is a gift.
I have a little girl who brought a whole ‘nother level of joy to our family. What a gift.