If you know anything about me or have read very much of this blog, you know that I've been waiting a very long time to hold my child in my arms. Six times before we hoped that our prayers were being answered, only to watch helplessly as we went through one miscarriage after another. We still believe that God gave us those children, if only for a short time, even though it hurt so much that we never saw their faces, looked into their eyes, or even spoke their names.
In a little more than a month, my husband and I will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. Twelve years equals a lot of date nights! Chuck and I have enjoyed lots of time together as a married couple. We've gone on vacations (a few of them spur-of-the-moment) and explored our hobbies and generally enjoyed our life together for quite a while now. In a few days it will be 9 years ago that we moved to our current location and I became a stay-at-home wife. Since I gave up working nearly a decade ago, I've indulged in staying up late and sleeping in, while still having plenty of time to get my housework done and maybe even watching an afternoon movie or spending a few hours on scrapbooking or reading. (The reason I gave up working, however, was to pursue having children. Those years of "staying home" were also filled with our efforts to become parents.)
I enjoy being home. I'm not the kind of person who needs someplace to go every day. My life right now is such that I spend quite a few hours at home in a very quiet house. I truly don't mind the quiet; I've grown used to it by now. Perhaps that sounds wonderful to some of you who may be reading this in a chaotic environment right now! But to tell you the truth, I'm ready for change. I'm ready for the laughter and cries of a little one. And while I'm not expecting the change to be simple or easy, I'm okay with giving up our frequent date nights and my full nights of sleep. Before you think I'm crazy or in denial about how hard life might be with a newborn, let me explain why.
I consider it nothing short of a miracle that we are 19 weeks into our 7th pregnancy. If God has intervened and heard my pleas and cries and granted us this miracle, this chance to finally hold our child in our arms, then I see these as small sacrifices on my part. While I've gotten settled into the life I've had thus far and found things that I enjoy doing during our years of waiting and grieving, I will gladly accept the change. The desire I feel right now to skip past this second half of pregnancy has everything to do with my eagerness to finally reach the point where the reward of our toil and suffering is placed in my arms. This baby girl has been prayed for and hoped for, and our journey to get to her has been the absolute hardest thing we have ever endured. I will carry those scars forever, and I am a different person because of what we've been through.
I'm not at all in denial about how challenging it will be to raise children. I admire those who do it and do it well despite all of its demands (and I appreciate those who speak honestly about the challenges of parenthood!). I don't doubt that this new chapter in our lives will stretch us and change us, but I know that this is what we've signed up for. This is what we've been waiting for and fighting for. Some people make it sound like I will never eat, sleep, have fun, go on vacation, participate in a hobby, or read a novel ever again. It's assumed by some that having a child will be the end of my life, so to speak, but I see it as the beginning of a new chapter that I've been striving for. I'm determined to focus on what we'll consider it an honor to be getting rather than what we may be giving up. I have too many dear friends who would gladly make the sacrifices necessary to realize their dream of having children for me to take anything for granted. Those who have lived through infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth understand sacrifice, too.
So, every time I mention a nap or a restful night's sleep, or enjoying a night in front of the TV, or a night out with my husband, and someone feels the need to remind me to "enjoy it while I can," I'll continue to smile to myself, knowing that I'm just passing the time until I have the privilege of sacrificing some of those things that have filled my years, kept my idle hands busy, and served as a distraction for my aching heart, in order to take care of a child that I always wanted but feared I'd never have.
And it will seem like such a small sacrifice indeed.