What’s more, I am the kind of person (and this might be included in a “Ten Odd Facts about Me” meme) that places such importance upon the Liturgical year that I will plan my pregnancy tests around the feast days.
So, for example, I know that I found out about Stephen on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi; Maria, on my father’s birthday. (Okay, so he’s not a saint yet.) Camille we discerned on St. Valentine’s Day, and Avila (who is our little Cajun Queen having been conceived in New Orleans) made Easter Sunday 2002 all the more glorious.
Furthermore, the fun that I have with the pregnancy test is not just the beginning.
Are you ready for full disclosure? Here it is: I am in love with having babies.
I am! I love (almost) everything about it! I love having that little one within me, close to my heart and kicking a hello from time to time. I love the moment, far surpassing any other I have ever known, when the nurses place my newborn in my arms. I love the smell of my baby after his or her first bath. I love my luxurious 2-day hospital stay! (I bring my own coffee with me.)
The real labor starts once I get home from the hospital, of course, but still.
One year later we are always ready and waiting for another because…
Hope springs eternal every time that little test reads “positive.” The appearance of that thin red line is a beautiful miracle, every time.
So it will surprise you not in the least if I share with you a heartfelt sadness: those little tests have been letting this 40-year-old down as of late.
And quite frankly, I’m just not ready.
I’m not ready to not have another baby!
And so I continue to take those little plastic tests on the very best feast days I can think of, thinking that surely these saints understand and will obtain for me the happy miracle that I’m seeking. On my birthday, I took two! (thinking maybe God wanted to surprise me). Yes, I know I’m silly…but can I help it? My arms are aching for a newborn.
It’s a time of waiting and wondering and consummating.
Above all, it’s a time of trust. Can I trust in God’s love enough to accept His No when I receive it?
A very wise woman once said that we do not pray to change God’s mind; we pray to change our hearts. I know for a fact my heart needs changing, in ways too many to enumerate.
I am learning—slowly—that my trust in God’s holy will is every bit as important to nurture as a newborn. I am learning to drink deeply from the cup that I’ve been given and to drain it to the dregs each day.
I am also learning that I don’t wish to go through this change of life alone! (If indeed that’s what it is.) I am so grateful for my friends-of-the-heart and the valuable lessons they are teaching me:
· From my friend Jennifer I am learning the gift of humor. Jennifer, you may remember, gave birth in August to twin baby boys. She and her husband Brian now have six little ones, the oldest being the ripe old age of 7. She recently sent me a St. Gerard medal with the following remarks: “…thought maybe you could use it more than I could. In fact, I’d like you to send it back in about 4-5 years. For now I think I won’t be needing my pin.”
· From my friend Cathie I am learning the gift of generosity. When she found out she was expecting her fifth (and Baby Liam still a baby!) she gave me a bagful of—can you guess—pregnancy tests! In all seriousness, she is one to never stop giving.
· From my friend Tina I am learning the staggering beauty of a mother’s heart. Having just completed round 8 of her chemotherapy (only 4 to go!) she came to me crying–not over the debilitating side effects or the fatigue, but over the fact that she may not be able to have another child! Like myself she has five children, and like myself she isn’t ready to be done. (I told her that we needed to go out and buy shawls & rockers.)
· Finally, from my friend Sarah I am learning the awesome and mysterious power of prayer. Sarah and her husband Brian have a beautiful girl and a handsome boy—both of them are our godchildren so if you should detect a hint of boasting…:) After that, though, no children came for all Sarah and Brian’s trying. For many years, they tried to conceive and the answer was always “No.” Sarah really struggled during this time, saying “How often I have judged other women, thinking they got their boy and girl then stopped. I have become those women!” Sarah’s heart was deeply changed during this time of deep longing—from being judgmental to being merciful. And now? She and her husband have been blessed with a son (due this December) after ten long years of trying. Deo gratias!
God is good. We have to trust in His love unreservedly, the way our little ones trust in us. They just assume that we’ll provide for their every need, don’t they? We need to do the same with God.