Monday, February 4, 2013

There and Back Again -- a Tale of Decision

I come from a family of 12. Yes, I am the second of 10 children. And I always swore I would not have an enormous family! But, by today's standards, and the comments I get at the grocery store, my family is already enormous with 4 kids. Sooo, we've decided to add another bundle of JOY. That's right, we'll be adding a new member to our family in October. It was a weighty and somewhat difficult decision for us to make, but we're excited about it. Want to know why? Read on.
When my youngest son was imminently expected, I was ginormous and miserable! There's a picture of what I looked like. I promise, that is NOT a basketball under my shirt; it is a 8 lb. 9 oz. baby boy.

 We had been transferred with the Railroader's job and were living in a tiny apartment, that felt hopelessly cramped with our too-big furniture and half our stuff was in a storage unit. And even though I had already done this twice, I felt completely overwhelmed! COMPLETELY! I was scared out of my mind about money for some reason, despite the moving package we get. I just knew we weren't going to have enough to move and our house in MS would never sell and we would be pinching nickles and pennies. I spent a lot of time crying, but I can't honestly say I was crying out to God most of the time; I was just in tears -- emotional and hormonal, and stressed about not getting enough homeschool done, and how I was going to contribute financially from home.

I felt like a "bad mother". Especially after Wyatt was born, and I had PPD for the first time, and came THIS CLOSE to giving up on breast feeding for the first time ever. I desperately wanted to be a good mother. A "super mom" who has it all together and never has an off day or loses it with her kids.  ( I have since realized that those don't exist this side of heaven. And really, would I be any less emotionally thin with no kids, or even one, without leaning on my God?)

On top of that, I was tired of feeling fat, tired of the cycle and the zillions of different sizes of clothing in my closet that I didn't even like hated -- all so that I could go from preggo clothes to non-preggo, back to my "skinny" jeans and then back again.

And in that state, that emotional, spirit empty, worried, frazzled state, I made a decision. A big decision: I would not have any more children.

The Railroader and I have stood by that decision for 3 1/2 years, but in those years, the Lord has been doing a work in our hearts. Individually, then together.

I began to think about and hear more and more stories of extremely difficult pregnancies, with terrible morning sickness, dehydration, placenta previa, extreme weight loss, and other miseries, while the most difficult thing about any of mine has probably been the heartburn. I have friends who want babies with all their hearts, but aren't able to conceive, or had extreme difficulty conceiving, while here I am, evidently "Ms. Fertile", and not willing to conceive again. I've shared before that I'm motivated by guilt ... well ...

Then there's the command to multiply and fill the earth in Genesis.  We've both been mulling this over quite a bit, since we learned that our race literally cannot sustain itself at the current rate of birth. If every person were to get married and have two children, who were guaranteed to get married and also have two children ... the population would just barely stagnate. But not all couples CAN have two children, or even one! Some people God chooses to remain single. The command to fill the earth is given to married couples. Now, we could really say we've done our part; We have 4! And we were inclined to do so, at first, but it just kept coming back to us as something we couldn't ignore. As if God were imploring us, specifically, to do more. And we began to wonder if it was really our decision to make. And so began to bathe it in prayer. Please don't misunderstand me. I still believe in responsibility and timing children appropriately, but I think sometimes we get caught up in US and WE and our PLANS or what is exactly the right time and we miss the bigger picture. We miss the calling that is parenthood, sometimes until it is too late. And we get caught up in the work children make for us, or how they interfere with our work, when really, they are our most important work!

We also hope and pray that another baby will be good for Wyatt. He is our only mama's boy. He is attached to me at the hip,and while I love it, even thrive on it, I think he might need a wake up call. He needs to learn to help take care of someone more helpless than himself. Besides, some of the other boys have been asking for quite some time for another baby. You know, the Lord often speaks to use through our children.

Lastly, we simply enjoy our kids. They're fun, and funny, and sweet, and precious memory makers. They cause us to get outside of ourselves, and teach us daily more about ourselves, and the love of the Father. In particular we are enjoying our 3 year old in a way I think we have never had the opportunity to enjoy the others, because there is no baby to distract us from him, but our enjoyment of him makes us desire another. So we decided to go for it. In fact, this is the first time the Railroader has been really, truly excited about a pregnancy. I think he actually may have gotten a case of baby fever (which is curious, since he doesn't do that well with them until they're old enough to interact with him) That gives me confidence that we made the right decision. And if this one is a girl, so much the better! :D

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