Brian and I didn't get married until we were fully ready to accept children lovingly from God. We promised that on our wedding day and really meant it. We didn't exactly have finances completely lined up, we knew that the house we were in wouldn't grow with us very well, and we were just barely learning how to live with each other as husband and wife without the added adjustment that children would bring. But still, we knew that we wanted a family, hopefully pretty big, and the sooner we could start that the better. Because of our faith, we made the decision to put issues of fertility, and children fully into God's hands and keep ourselves open to new life. As part of our marriage preparation, our church encouraged us to learn the workings of Natural Family Planning and we did our best on a home study course. We knew that we would never use artificial birth control, but accepted the possibility that we may one day need to postpone pregnancy or actively try to conceive using NFP methods. Early in our marriage and even before my friends and family and even some people I didn't know all that well would ask when are we going to start having kids, or how many will we have. I know lots of yall get asked that too. Somehow I don't think that the men get asked that though, do they? I would give vague answers letting people know that we didn't feel that was in our control and didn't want it to be. "Oh however many God gives us." "Whenever God sees fit."
As it turns out however, I hadn't given that control to God completely. I can look at my actions and motives along these past 8 months of marriage and see that I was holding on and asking for God's will to be done but promoting my own. Somewhere in the back of my mind I assumed we would be the kind of couple that comes home with a honeymoon baby and that was a-ok with me. In the first 2 months of marriage I was sure I was pregnant about three times. After that we started looking at some practical complications and avoided pregnancy for a few months. But recently we've been feeling readier than ever and have begun actively trying to conceive. That stage brings me to this weekend. Over the last several days I've been picking up on symptoms and putting them together to build a really convincing argument that I'm pregnant. There are a few that I'll just skip over as unmentionable but my favorite is how full and lovely my breasts had gotten even if they were tender! I'm pretty sure that was hubby's favorite too! Unfortunately, I was mistaken. All of my happy signs of pregnancy amounted to a bummer of a case of PMS. I'm telling you, PMS combined with dashed hopes and a rainy ugly weekend makes for a miserable woman that no one ought to have to be around. I could hardly hold a conversation the first half because I was so excited and "am I or am I not" was seriously the only thing I could think about. And the second half it's all "woe is me, honey will you rub my back?" Ever been there? It's not much fun. It's also unpleasant to be experiencing feelings that you feel guilty for having. After all, I realize that I'm not in a bad situation by anyone's definition. I have a husband who loves me and is eager to create life with me. We have only been married 8 months and really not trying to conceive for long at all. So many women, maybe even some of you, have faced so much tougher circumstances and struggles that I don't begin to know. God forbid that I ever should. But I always try not to diminish a person's pain just because someone else has it worse, and that's exactly where I was this weekend.
One thing is for sure though, God has this whole timing thing figured out! He's had eternity to be working on it and as it happened there was a really poignant lesson scheduled for our teens this week and I was in charge of the teaching for it. The theme was "No Matter How Small" and was focused on life issues that our society faces, the 5th commandment, and Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who. It is our mission as Christians, like Horton, to protect and defend life that is unable to defend itself especially the unborn, the severely handicapped, and those at the very end of their life. I was preparing the lesson with the belief that I was taking care of such a life, maybe only a few cells big, but it gave special meaning to it for me and I embraced the assignment. By the time I delivered the lesson though I knew I wasn't pregnant, very sad about it, and it seemed awfully unfair to have to be talking about baby baby baby. The prayer service at the end though was prepared by another member of the core team and provided a chance for healing for me, and growth for the teens. Our whole parish is participating in the spiritual adoption of unborn babies right now and last night was the teens' chance to "adopt" their own babies. Even as I found out that I wasn't pregnant, thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of women found out that they are. For many that was joyful, blessed and welcome news. For many others though, it was terrifying, unwelcome news. Some of those tiny, brand new lives are at risk of being aborted over the next several months, or may face, along with their mothers, complications, developmental diseases, or other trials. It is those babies that we all chose to spiritually adopt by giving them a name and praying for them over the next 9 months. I chose the name Gloria for my little baby and plan to take seriously my role as intercessor for her. You'd better believe I'll be praying like a crazy woman for this baby that's not mine, and asking for one that is at the same time.