From the time I was about 12 years old, my dreams for my life revolved around family and the roles of wife and mother. I have the best Mom who devoted her life to my sister, brother and I. Now, when I say she devoted her life to us, I don’t just mean that she was a stay-at-home-Mom (although she was). She was so much more than that. She was our teacher, our playmate, our friend. She was on our side and watching out for our hearts. She was the one to send us outside to play and bring us inside to snuggle. She showed us how to love each other and our amazing Dad, too. She was helping us grow in every single way possible – emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It was no wonder as soon as I understood the concept of “what I want to be when I grow up”, I immediately chose “Mother”. (Well, maybe I chose secretary first. Then I quickly raised my expectations).
With motherly instincts set loose on the kids I used to babysit at the ripe age of 12, my teenage years only confirmed my aspirations. I always loved being able to take care of little ones. My first job was at a daycare. I chose to work in an in-house preschool as one of my high school electives, and another was peer tutoring for 2nd and 4th grade classes. I loved kids.
When I was 19, I became an Aunt for the first time. And my heart fell in love with my sweet nephew. I was in Turkey at the time and had little communication with family – but you better believe that black and white computer printed picture of my nephew travelled the globe with me as one of my most prized possessions.
A year later, Arundel and I were married and we were insanely happy. Between the two of us, we had 4 nephews/nieces and 2 more on the way. We loved seeing our siblings become parents and we especially loved the role we got to play in their children’s lives.
Being only 20 years old, we weren’t expecting to have kids right away. But, we did feel passionately that we wanted to let God build our family. We wanted to let go of the (perceived) “control” and be open to our good God having HIS way in our life.
What if that meant we started having kids at 20 years old? So be it.
What if that meant we had 6 kids all close in age? So be it.
What if that meant we would have to stay in our teeny little 450-square foot apartment and live off of one part-time salary? So be it.
We were ready. We would do whatever we had to because we knew that God was in control of our future.
But, what if that meant that we would give up our expectations, lay them at the feet of Jesus, and truly allow Him to have HIS way in our life?
What if that meant He never allowed us to get pregnant?
So be it?
That was definitely not our first reaction.
We stopped using contraception in November 2011, just 4 months after we were married. A few weeks went by, and then we started counting. 1 day late, 2 days late. 3 days late. We were convinced. This was IT. Laying in bed one night, I couldn’t get it off my mind. I told Arundel, “We have to go get a test.” “Honey, it’s so late and we are already in bed. Do you really want to go now?” I couldn’t wait any longer. We jumped out of bed and drove to the grocery store. When we got back to our little home, we actually took pictures of ourselves before taking the test. Because we were so sure that this was when we would find out we were having a baby.
Well, as I’m sure you can guess, we didn’t get two pink lines that night. Or the next month, or the next. Months became years and suddenly we found ourselves 2 1/2 years into our marriage and each month was a disappointment. Each month was hope deferred. Each new niece and nephew brought overwhelming joy and misplaced pain. Maybe we hadn’t started our marriage thinking we wanted to be pregnant right away, but that changed very quickly and our hearts were put through the ringer over and over again.
In March 2014, we felt like God told us it was time to go see a doctor. We hadn’t done any medical research into why we were not getting pregnant yet, and we knew we needed to find answers. After 7 months and several doctor’s appointments, we got the final word.
You won’t be having kids. There’s just no way. Fertility treatments don’t work in your case. And IVF is not an option. We don’t know why it is the way it is, and there is nothing we can do about it.
Even typing those words today and I find myself holding my breath, and letting out a big sigh once they are out there.
Arundel and I were devastated. We didn’t even know how to respond when the Doctor told us. He was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing and moved on quickly. He offered no space for us to process, no words of consolation. It was just the cold, hard facts. And it sunk down into our hearts, like a cold, hard mass.
As we drove home (to our new house – with 3 bedrooms waiting for our babies), we were in shock. We were both quiet, tears leaking down our faces without pomp. As I leaned on Arundel’s shoulder and we cried together, he so bravely said through broken voice, “All I keep hearing are two words: But God.”
These two words became our vision statement, mantra, whatever you want to call it. They represent the HOPE we have in Jesus. Not just a hope that someday, someway, we might amazingly find ourselves pregnant, but an all-incompassing hope that affirms the truth that HIS way is the BEST way. That He has purpose in our pain. That He has not and will not leave us. And, that He has children for us.
With those two words, the cold, hard mass of disappointment and hopelessness began to fade.