I am 17 weeks pregnant.
First of all, I needed to let that sink in. I'm almost halfway through this pregnancy. That kind of freaks me out. And it's not just the pregnancy going by fast that freaks me out. It's that the pregnancy is here at all. Yes, I am still adjusting to the fact that I am a mother of five children.
Truth be told, when I married my husband, I was fairly certain that I would never have any children. And honestly, I don't think that's totally unheard of. I think when young people get married, it's not always a foregone conclusion that children will follow (anymore).
A woman planning to be a mother of none, became a mother of five.
Don't get me wrong. Five kids in a family doesn't freak me out. I love larger families. I am from a large family myself. My siblings are like my air and water...I don't think I could exist without them.
I just never fathomed myself the mother of five.
The first four, I could picture easily, once I got past the having no kids part. When I had Sarah, I saw it as necessary that we'd have at least another because I couldn't imagine growing up as an only child so I feared that outcome for my daughter. When we had Dani, again, I knew we'd have another one. I knew fairly quickly and rather certainly that our family was not complete. When Helen came along, after about 18 months or so, I was still feeling a nagging in my heart. I didn't feel like we were complete. There was a yearning to continue to grow our family.
I believe the decision to try to conceive our fourth child was a more difficult one. Going from two children to three children had been a huge challenge. It was harder than going from zero to one. Going from one to two was a walk in the park. But having three children age 4 and under was not something I was willing to undertake ever again. Even though I yearned for another baby, it was easy to say, "not yet" for much longer than we'd ever done before.
But, as God likes to do, he worked on our hearts and ultimately, we were open to another blessing and Dominic came along.
But it's so strange as I think of how we came to be open to number 5. It was quite unintentional on our parts, I believe. We had a month where we did not follow our NFP rules. And in any other month of our marriage, we would have become pregnant. I remember as I took my ovulation test the morning after we had "broken the rules" and getting the PEAK reading on the test, indicating that ovulation took place/would take place within 24 hours of that test. My heart started beating fast. We hadn't really decided together that we were ready to be open, we'd acted on human hormones and urges without considering the consequences.
Over the course of that 2-week-wait, I grew to enjoy the idea of another baby. It broke my heart when I wasn't pregnant. The next month, we went back to our avoiding rules. We just weren't sure we were ready. Then the following month, we broke the rules again. This time, I wasn't nervous when I saw the PEAK indicator within the 24 hour frame of time of us "breaking" the rules. I welcomed it. I asked Craig whether he was hoping for a positive or negative pregnancy test. He replied positive and I was floored. Was it possible that we were both really ready to embrace being a family of 7? Were we ready to receive another blessing in our family? And, then when I wasn't pregnant again, I became concerned. Obviously having another baby wasn't going to be a given. We might actually have to work at this. Were we ready to do that? We were getting older...was it worth it to really TRY to have another baby? Hm.
The following month, we followed no rules. No tests. No avoiding. No achieving. Just let it all be. And here I am 17 weeks pregnant with #5.
I am pleasantly surprised at how I feel regarding this new baby. I feel some apprehension that I haven't really felt before. I ask myself a lot more questions. But the questions are good...they keep me grounded. The keep me focused on the fact that I can do nothing without the Lord and to keep my eyes toward Him and all things will fall into place.
There's a sense of peace, that perhaps this little one will give me the feeling of completeness...the feeling that we're all finally here, that God's plan might truly be a family of 7. Time will tell, of course, but it's a peaceful feeling, whether it's accurate or not.