Getting (and not getting) answers

 

We got another negative pregnancy test today, and I found it easy to feel negativity about it.

We went to the temple in hopes of finding some clarity and peace.

Although I didn’t get a loud-and-clear answer that yes, there’s one more! And he’s comin’ soon!

Maybe I felt a soft whisper version of that.

And I realized something.

Sometimes, answers don’t come as clarity or confirmation.

Sometimes, the answer itself doesn’t come at all.

Instead, God sends a sense of calm.

A godly admonition to chill a little. Because He’s got this.

Tonight, I didn’t get the answer I went in for.

But I got perspective.

And permission to stop worrying about the future. To just enjoy all I have right now.

Everything will fall in place how it will.

I feel like I need to stop expending energy on the things I can’t control and instead hand those over to God while I focus on other important things I do have influence over.

Tonight, I also got strength—that intangible, but very real sense of power that stays with you when you walk out of the temple doors. Strength to keep going a little longer. At least until the next time I need Him to pat me on the back and say, “I’ve gotcha,” as I say to my little baby when she falls down and cries. She repeats “I’ve gotcha” back to me in her sweet little voice, and everything is OK again.

To read more about our journey to baby number four or no more, click here and here.

Should I have another baby?

I originally wrote this in August, 2017, just shy of my third child’s 1st birthday.

 

Should I have another baby?

I don’t know why I feel like I have to know right now.

Can’t I just enjoy my baby for a couple more years before I answer the big question?

She has been such a joy to have in our family.

And if our family is just the five of us, I’d be the luckiest girl in the world.

But what if?

What if there’s another one who is supposed to join our family?

What if we close the door to more but I live with guilt that we were supposed to keep it open?

Is there such thing as a baby “waiting in heaven” to join a family? Or does it not work quite like that?

What if I do have one more and it breaks me? What if it means I’m not as attentive of a mother to my other children?

What if one more does me in and tips me into a spiral of depression? The one I got a little taste of and don’t care to revisit in any measure?

Will I live the rest of my life wondering?

Is someone going to tell me what to do? Is He going to?

Or is it just up to me? Just like the shoes I pick to put on my feet?

Then there are the friends who don’t have the choice. The ones who would give, who have given, everything to have a baby of their own. Maybe they find my indecision ungrateful.

How can I tell my body to stop creating babies when it still can?

But how could I go through it again—the pregnancy, the possible complications (like last time) and the roller coaster of emotion that comes with that? The birth, and the uncertainty and pain that comes with that?

Can I physically, emotionally go through that first, newborn year again?  The one that literally has me crazy from sleep exhaustion and fluctuating hormones?

Can my marriage go through that again?

Can my other kids go through that again?

Can my body go through that again?

Do I want to go through that again?

Is it a matter of wanting?

Or is it just a matter of doing it? Jumping off the blind cliff . . . because there isn’t a big sign with “No. STOP!” written in bold red letters?

If I’m not sure about no, does that mean yes? Or no? Or will I never know?

I hold a newborn baby and I have no envy of his mother. I feel a sure sense of relief when I hand him back.

But, during those simple magical moments with my own children, I think, “How can I ever let this end?”

I realize, it will end. It has to. That is beyond my control. The when might be up to me within a few years, but in the whole scheme of things, it still ends.

Is my desire to maybe have one more a ploy to hold on to my control of these tiny years?

This stage when my children love me so innocently, so wholeheartedly, so dependently?

My greatest fear is forgetting.

Does my mother really remember? Does she feel that same pure bond of mother-to-child that she felt when she rocked me to sleep on her chest thirty-two years ago?

Where is her fulfillment now?

I can’t imagine ever feeling this loved, this needed, this fulfilled.

I can’t imagine feeling at peace with never having a baby again.

Is that an ache mothers carry around for the rest of their lives?

Is it akin to the ache childless, would-be mothers constantly feel?

The blessing of motherhood is unmatched. But the aching is too.

But I have three healthy, beautiful children.

That is nothing short of a miracle.

So I will rejoice in that.

I will let that be enough, for now.

Because they need me.

They are mine,

And I am theirs.

So I will hold them tighter.

I will sing to them longer.

I will play with them and take pictures in my mind of those simple, magical moments with them.

I will do that for my children. Not the ones I may or may not have, but the ones I have.

I will do that for the would-be mothers.

I will do that for myself.

I am enough,

And they are enough.

 

Other posts in this series:

The problem with “How many kids do you want?”
Getting (and not getting) answers
On good days and bad days

 

30 reasons I love my 30s

I remember when 30 sounded old.

When it was my turn to turn the big 3-0 , I was a little sad to leave those 20s in my past.

But now that I’ve been in the Land of the 30-Somethings for a few years, I’ve decided I really like it here.

Like, more than any other decade of ages I’ve dwelt in.

30s are the new 20s, I say.

A few things that have me thinking I’ll stick around for awhile (or at least for, I don’t know, seven more years or so):

  1. Self-confidence. If I had this much when I was in high school, I totally would’ve sung that solo. And maybe kissed more boys (sorry, hubs).
  2. Permission to be weird. I’ve always been a bit quirky, but I feel like we get more permission to be so with every year we age.
  3. Wisdom and experience. I’m pretty much a sage now. Ask me your soul’s questions, young grasshopper.
  4. Nearing the end of the baby stage. I loved my sweet newborns. And I’ll have moments when I’ll miss that phase. But for now, moving on from the days of haziness, craziness, diapers and tantrums sounds nice.
  5. Marriage. We’ve passed the 7-year itch, the 10-year whatever, and we’re in a happy place.
  6. Dirty 30s. They’re real, people.
  7. Fearlessness to adventure. I’m less scared of saying yes to new things and adventures.
  8. More financial security. And house-owning is less scary than I thought.
  9. Things I’ve been looking forward to my whole life aren’t too far away now. Like that trip to Europe when kids are grown. Doesn’t pretty much everyone have that one on their bucket list?
  10. I take pleasure in simpler things now. Nature, good books, solitude. Even five minutes. Heck, I’ll take two, if it means I get to use the bathroom without a tiny person asking for a snack.
  11. Having an older child who is so helpful with the younger ones. Not too long before she can officially babysit! I can smell the freedom.
  12. True friends. The longer I live, the easier it becomes to know which ones are. And I feel like I need less friends, but deeper connections with the ones I have.
  13. I’m in a good place with food and health. I know how to keep my body healthy and it includes room for indulgences now and again. I mean, I still need to have at least 1,000 more ice cream cones before I die. How else am I going to get them in?
  14. I think I’m finally getting the swing of being the mom I want to be.
  15. I’ve learned what I’m good at and what to let go of. (Writing? Always. Sewing? Sayonara.)
  16. I feel like I’m married to an older, more seasoned man. And I think the white starting to pepper his beard is ultra sexy.
  17. More perspective.
  18. More gratitude.
  19. More memories.
  20. I know what makes me happy and what I want to prioritize in my life.
  21. I haven’t seen a gray hair yet (knock on wood, knock on wood). Wait, if you say it twice, does that undo it? Crap.
  22. I like to think that my life practice has helped me become kinder, more genuine and more patient. Maybe just the smallest bit on that last one.
  23. I’m in charge. I’m an official adult. I’m the Mom! I call the shots. Skip the dentist. Dessert for breakfast. PJs all day.
  24. I’ve left the not-so-fun things from my 20s behind. Like my first big break-up, my first GYN appointment (are those the miniature jaws of death?) and finals week.
  25. I’ve been able to experience a lot of things and places. I’ve had plenty of blissful moments in my life. I could die happy.
  26. I made it to 30! That’s a huge feat in terms of the middle ages, where life expectancy was somewhere around 31 years old.
  27. I’ve accomplished some fun things. Wrote a book, taught pilates and yoga, traveled lots, and Goga. Google it.
  28. I’m old enough to relate to the more seasoned crowd, but young enough to be crazy with the 20-somethings.
  29. Someone will always be older than me. Age is all about perspective.
  30. I have thicker skin. I’m still the sensitive soul I always was, but I’m better at letting things roll off my back. I live in my own little bubble of self-confidence and contentment with my choices.

I’m still scared to get old, old. But I feel young and free and I’m happy where I am now. Aren’t the 30s universally considered the prime years? Add it to the list.

Here are some fun facts about when we peak at everything throughout life.

Happy aging!

A letter to my children

A letter to my children:

Maybe when you get a little older, you’ll start noticing my imperfections.

Maybe you’ll wonder why I get so impatient with you sometimes.

Why sometimes I’m too tired to make a fancy meal or read one more book.

Maybe you’ll start to see where I fall short as a mother, as a wife, as a sister, friend, a would-be follower of Christ.

But maybe you’ll also see me trying.

Trying to show you my love for each of you, individually—a love that is so expansive that it overwhelms me sometimes. And gives me anxiety. Fear that something should ever happen to you.

Maybe you’ll see me trying to feed you wholesome foods and saying no to the sucker because you already had an ice cream cone that day. Maybe you’ll thank me for it someday?

Maybe you’ll look back and realize that all those chores and all that homework I made you do was to help you learn to work and to progress.

Maybe, when you have a child of your own, you’ll realize how tired I was waking up with you night after night, tending to your needs day after day.

Maybe you’ll feel that overwhelming love for your own child and cry as you realize that’s how I love you, too. How I’ll always love you.

Maybe then, you’ll forgive me for the mistakes I’ve made and continue to make as your mother.

On good days and bad days

Today feels heavy.

Funny, because just yesterday, I felt like I was on top of the world.

Not actually funny, because my female roller-coaster emotions are sometimes annoying and exhausting.

Yesterday, I was thinking about how I am happier in life than I ever remember being.

I feel like I’ve crawled out of the trenches that life as a mom of three young kids can drag you down into.

Finally, the last lingering traces of the funk that hit me after my 2-year-old was born are history.

And I have felt like me again.

The me that dreams big.

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Top 10 book recommendations for moms

One of my favorite questions my mom-friends ask me is “What should I read?”

We all know how challenging and sometimes isolating motherhood can be. Reading a great book can be such an uplift and needed escape amidst the diaper changes, tantrums and other non-glamorous parts of young motherhood.

Here are some favorite books (both fiction and non-fiction) I find myself telling fellow mamas they have to read:

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