Tuesday, July 7, 2015

All The Terrible/Wonderful Reasons to Have/Not Have a Third Baby

I never really liked children before I had a couple of them. I sort of prided myself on not really being "into" kids, unlike my sweet freshman roommate who only included small children in her wedding party. She was a kid-whisperer while I was afraid to keep the nursery at church once a year. A psychiatrist would probably chalk my issues up to being single until I was 29 and harboring a secret fear that babies were not ever going to be a part of my story.

But, then, someone tall, dark, and handsome swept me off my feet and married me in my parents' front yard almost eight lovely, hard, and full years ago. And the possibility of children suddenly became a real thing and the desire to have them unexpectedly became an overwhelming, heart-rending need that nearly consumed me for about a year and half.

Literally, the week my OBGyn wrote "infertility" on my chart at her office, we found out Sam was being woven together inside my middle and subsequently in my heart. He's five and a half now and possibly the complete opposite of what I ever imagined a child of mine would be like and also the perfect version of any son I could have ever have conjured up.

About four months after his first birthday, we were pregnant again and a teensy bit overwhelmed by that fact because Sam had about the same amount of energy as a pack of wild monkeys, if monkeys traveled in packs, which according to Wild Kratts, they do not.

That summer we lost that baby to miscarriage (you can read that story here) and the following summer we lost a second baby (you can read about that here.) And, I thought that might be the end of having babies for me, which was more than a little heartbreaking.

But, if you have any connection with me in person, online, through a second-cousin four times removed, then you may have heard that those two summers were not the end of our baby-having. Mae made her sweet way into our family two summers later and I'm not sure if I can ever begin to put into words the deep, deep hope fulfilled that she is. She is a tangible representation to us of God's redemption of suffering and hard things.

Unbelievably to me, it's been almost two years since Mae made her debut, and we are loving this crazy, exhausting, beautiful life with our two sweet babes. And, for the most part, I feel content.
But, there's something stirring in my heart lately that's keeping me awake at nights and distracted during the day. Every baby picture uploaded to Facebook instantly makes my eyes water and the chance to hold a friend's beautiful ten-week-old last Friday almost put me over the baby fever edge.

And yet, there's a lot of fear intertwined with all these happy thoughts of snuggly newborns. I could make you a pretty ominous list of the litany of reasons why I'm scared out of my mind to do the baby thing again. At the top of the list is the fear of losing. Losing a baby, losing my freedom, losing normalcy during the season of pregnancy, losing sweet time with Sam and Mae, and figuratively (or maybe actually) losing my mind.

I should also add to this list the fact that twins run in our family like you would not believe. And I'm 37, which puts me over the cut-off age for having a "normal" pregnancy, according to the medical community (who also used to refer to pregnancy after 35 as "geriatric pregnancy." Let that sink in for a minute.)

However, the thought of a new little one joining our family, adding to the faces at our table, giving Sam and Mae a brother or sister to love, having one more chance to live out a baby story and see our hearts stretched to the limit with love and then stretched a little more, all these are reasons I can't stop wondering if maybe it's time to let my heart unfold a bit and move toward the possibility of another small person in our family.

 To add to the baby frenzy going on in my head, I'm also reading Adopted for Life by Russell Moore right now and have been for, oh, about three months. I finished off a novel in three days this weekend so I'm obviously running a little slow on Russell's beautiful treatise on adoption. But, it's hard, y'all. I love it, but it's pulling on the strings of my mama-heart in ways that feel a little uncomfortable. I'm drawn to his depiction of adoption, both spiritually and practically, but I'm not sure what it would look like to add to our family in that way. I want to more than I have words for, but, I'm afraid. That's a theme here, have you noticed?

So, I'm laying awake at night lately trying to sort all this out and, to be honest, it's beginning to unravel me a bit. The thought of a third child feels like a necessity at times and at other times I wonder if we should just get a dog. Don't be scared. I totally realize this is not the same thing. But, adding a fur baby to the fold feels a lot less daunting than a real baby who could turn out to be the rebellious one who sends me to an early grave over tattoos and body-piercings.

But, the questions still weigh on me. And so does the longing and, maybe even some fragile hoping.

Are we supposed to extend the boundaries of our family and welcome in one more, either the usual way or the adoptive way? OR MAYBE BOTH? For the love (a la Jen Hatmaker), I am all sorts of angsty about this question and Matt keeps calmly reminding me that none of this is up to us. Thank goodness for him or I would be on twelve different kinds of anxiety medication. Instead, I'm just on a regimen of dark chocolate.

I have no way to sum any of this up or come to any helpful conclusions. Only that Jesus knows if we need another person (or two?) in our family. I realize that the issue here is that I need to pray more. (You were planning on writing that in the comments, weren't you.)

And so I wait. We wait. And wonder if we're supposed to be a family of five. Or not.

Waiting is hard.


  1. Hey old friend. I am having this very conversation in my head. We have three and lost one this summer. Trying now to decide if I can be geriatric pregnant or we should adopt 1-2. I have no answer either. I do find it funny that after all the years and miles between us that God brought us down the same road. -Amanda Miller Buono

  2. loosing. and gaining. isn't that what this is all about? We loose what we held so dear, only to discover that it was well worth loosing it for what we gained. but then, I do hope to someday get back some of my mind, full nights of sleep, and the ability to exercise regularly. until then, I'm praying for lots of wisdom for you guys and that he gives you exactly what would be best for you. whether that be contentment with two, or another child. And I'm so excited to see you soon!!



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