Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trial by Baby

Two years and seven months ago, I was lying in bed drifting off when a vague thought jerked me into an upright position. That thought was, holy crap, did I have my period this month? I lay there counting back the days, then recounting it like Al Gore because surely there was a mistake. I worriedly told the husband, who responded with his usual panache,"nah, I'm sure you're just a few days late" and then rolled back asleep.

The next morning, I held onto my denial just enough to get essential things done, like feeding the children, changing their diapers, etc. Finally, I could wait no longer, so I dashed off to the pharmacy store, came back, and locked myself in the bathroom. Two minutes later (man those stripes appeared fast) loud wailing could be heard by all. My children, who had never seen or heard me cry like this, ran to the bathroom in a panic, only to be dubiously reassured by their dad. He joined me in the bathroom, where I gave him a good beating for being the cause of my predicament. He was good about it and let me take it out on him, reassuring me and hugging me. Of course it's because he knew it was all his fault. I made sure he knew it because that's about all I said to him for the next 7 months.

There was no way I could bottle up all this depression (my life is so over), so I cried to my sisters, mother, mother-in-law, friends, anyone. I told them,"Normal people do not have 4 children. Only deeply religious and crazy people do." As examples, I cited 6 different pastors we knew, all with 4 kids each.

For the next few months I cried a lot. When I wasn't crying, I passed out on the couch napping. I couldn't go more than 2 hours without lying down and taking a quick nap. My daughter asked,"How come you're always so sad and tired, Mommy?" and the husband had to hire a housecleaner because I did not have the energy to vacuum anymore.

I cried especially in church. Every time there was a song about how faithful God was, how trustworthy He was, or how He helps us overcome our troubles I started sobbing. People around us must have thought I was insane. It seemed to me that there was an inordinate of these songs that spoke to my exact turmoil. I would stand there counting the extra years of diapers and tantrums while willing myself to trust Him. I have never been tested like I was those few months.

The first time I was actually not depressed about the baby was when I saw him on ultrasound. That's when he became real to me. Slowly, really really slowly, I came to accept the situation and was able to stand there and say,"Okay God, I'll trust you like I've never trusted you before (like I had a choice). Your Will be done." It was the first time that I said that and actually meant it completely.

Weeks later, in a coincidentally short amount of time, I encountered several women with fertility issues. One of these women miscarried 5 times in her attempts to have a child (she finally had one); another one had done in vitro twice; yet another had been trying for 8 years without success.

And I realized what a child I had been. Here God had given me a gift, a precious one, and I had acted like a total ingrate. Not only did I not thank Him for His gift, but I acted like it was a curse. It gave me a new and stronger appreciation for Him.

He had tested me so that my faith wouldn't be so shallow. If I were to lose everything I had today, I'm 100% positive that I would be okay, but only because of His love for me. What astounded me is what He used to test me. He could have allowed calamities to happen in order to test me. He could have allowed deaths, illnesses, tragedies. No doubt that would have sent me on my knees in front of Him. Instead He sent a miraculous blessing to convey the same lesson. The tears I have now is not from sadness but from amazement over how much God loves me. He taught me an invaluable lesson about faith and Himself, and he did it all gently and lovingly, without any forcing or pushing.

That was over two years ago. But I'll never forget, despite the fact I'm down to maybe 20 brain cells. Almost every time I look at my baby (not counting when he's throwing a tantrum), I'm reminded of God's immeasurable love.

Now, on the eve of my baby's 2nd birthday, I think what a gift he truly is, not just for me but for the whole family. He has brought out the best in everyone. It's fitting his birthday is near Thanksgiving.


Anonymous said...

Your baby was a blessing in disguise.

Anonymous said...

All babies are a blessing. I only hope that God wil bless us all in that way.

mommyof3tots said...

Well, I felt the same way when I found out that I was pregnant with baby #3. I already had a boy and a girl, so I didn't need anything else. Everyone just looked at me with this horrid look, whenever I said that I didn't want another baby. I trust God implicitly, but sometimes I still wonder "what was He thinking?". I really appreciate your honesty and also sharing the lesson you learned. It is definitely a blessing, but it is also a lot of hard work. People tend to forget to validate that fact.

~M~ said...

I felt like that when I had baby number 11.

Seriously though...(yes I do have 11)all babies have their special challenges and blessing. Your article was spot on about giving God his due and totally trusting him in everything.

While I know not everyone is called to have the amount of children we have(I do believe it is a *special* call,Not everyone can or should "try this at home")I find it sad though our culture ingrains in women such a distaste for their own fertility and for motherhood that they self limit themselves to 1 or 2 babies when it's just so glorious to just dive in and BE a MOM. 4 children is a lovely size for a family and when they are all young together they have a happy childhood full of memories to share together!

I'm actually kind of sad I'm getting to old to have any more. But I had my glory days and now I look forward to when my kids give me grandchildren!!!

One daughter is fixing to get married soon, so I'm just patiently waiting, not saying a word, knowing she is probably as fertile as I am...I can't wait!
God bless your sweet little family!