Reflections on Motherhood & Fertility

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This is just a sentimental, reflective type of post… just my random thoughts on my journey of motherhood at this point.  This morning I woke up with our newborn and was able to spend alone time (LOL if that counts as, “alone,” when theres a little one attached to you!) with God, reading His Word.  Then our 2 year old daughter woke up so I brought her down to be with me.  She loves reading her Bible in the morning.  She’s been doing this, waking up with me and, “reading,” her Biblefor a couple of years now!  I’d gotten out of this practice after we had the baby almost 2 months ago, because he wakes up every 1-2 hours all night long.  But it really is better making sure I spend that time in the morning with God.  Plus, it shows her (and the other children) that it’s still important, even if I don’t feel like it and would rather be lazy.  It’s not always possible, sometimes I’m just too tired, but I can feel a difference in my day when I’ve given Him my, “first fruits,” and cast my cares on Him (instead of carrying them into the day ahead).

This morning my oldest also came down and read aloud Pslam 139 – so beautiful to hear him say those words about being knitted in the womb (MY womb – wow!!) and hearing him proclaim to God how my son already knows how much God loves and cares about him, that he knows God will never, “let him go,” –  the meaning of that passage.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Our other son came in later on, and seeing them all together again, all four of them there with me in the little room with dimly lit light cast against the increasing sunrise outside, makes me just feel so joyful.

It’s hard to believe that my husband and I have finally met our goal of having four children.  There’s still something very surreal about it all, that the effort to meet that goal is over.  Every time I see all our kids close together, I can’t help but count them 😃 because I almost can’t believe it, and it takes me back how wonderful it feels seeing all of them here.  We made it. ❤️ I feel both a little sad, as well as a great, satisfied relief knowing we’re, “done.”

I had our first at age 23.  It’s been 10 years of fertility and having babies, from 2010 to 2020.  A beautiful decade.  Those 10 years are now over, and we’re on to the next chapter of our life where we can fully focus on raising them well and pouring our love and guidance into them to prepare them for adulthood. There’s a part of me that just can’t believe it’s been 10 years.  It feels both long and short, probably due to how hard it was (the pregnancies and breastfeeding and toddler days) as well as how fast it went by. 

Child-bearing at the same time as you’re child-rearing is just hard, as well as wonderful.  I remember distinctly one time my husband and I survived two weeks straight of diarrhea from almost all three of them a couple of years ago.  It was so horrible, we were surrounded by so much poop and the smell of it, but we hugged each other tightly in the middle of the kitchen and jokingly said, “only seven more years to go!” (in reference to having another baby and going through potty training again), and as we held each other, we were able to laugh and actually feel joy.  Joy, in the midst of 2-weeks of diarrhea!  There’s been no doubt the days have been long and the years short.  Now the definitive action of deciding we’re done, that I’m no longer fertile, has an effect almost like what I assume empty-nesters must feel as they embark on a very different and defined new chapter of their life.  There’s sadness in a way, but also excitement that we’ve made it!

When we had our firstborn son, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being ill-equipped and just in general, not ready yet for having a child, or being a mother.  My own mother waited until she was 32 to have her first child, and while I knew I didn’t want to wait as long as she did, I still wished back then that I had had more time.  Thankfully, I don’t usually feel envy, but back then I envied (a little) women who were older for having more experience, more spiritual maturity, or even more money than we did at that time (we were SO poor).  My best friend (who had a great, stable job and lots of excess money to spend on lavish travels around the world) candidly told me that she could never do what I did – marry for love before we were financially ready, and this was part of why, because having children when you’re not really financially ready IS hard, but looking back, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Looking back, I’m very glad we started that young, because knowing what I know now, how hard pregnancy is in your 30’s for one, having our first so young was a blessing!  Going through those hard times forced us to grow resilient and resistant to hopelessness.  Our marriage is so much deeper and stronger in mysterious spiritual ways that I don’t think many people get to develop, because we had to rely so much on God.  We’ve now seen so many friends and family go through divorces, many people who looked down on us, or tell us how they pitied us, or outright told us we were doing it wrong, many of them haven’t lasted.

I was reading Pslam 73 this morning, and it fit with those thoughts,

1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression…
12 This is what the wicked are like— always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children
16 When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies…

23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

Recently, when I was out running with my almost 10 year old, it occurred to me how in 10 years, his youngest brother, and our last child, may be be doing the same thing (being my running partner) and yet my sweet, oldest boy will then be 20!!!   It’s sad and strange how fast time flies, and when I think of him being that much older, it mostly makes me sad to lose him (yet excited he’ll grow up).  It’s the strangest paradox I’m sure most parents understand.

We can’t see into the future at all, but I LOVE seeing how much our family has grown… I love how God’s guided our path when we trusted His ways.  I feel so often I don’t deserve all this, it feels surreal to finally see the fruits of our long-awaited efforts.  I love seeing how making even just tiny decisions early on in our marriage, like getting up early in the morning to read the Bible, has influenced them to want to do it on their own.

It’s amazing to see something like this – to actually see our children seek out the Lord.

1 Comment

  1. i love this, Stephanie 🙂

    i think there’s a period of transition for women at the end of child bearing … a season of acceptance … of wondering … till we get to full contentment that we will not carry anymore children in our womb. i was actually surprised i went thru this b/c i only wanted one child, but God saw fit to give us two … so having more than i planned and originally desired, i was surprised to go through an extended season of wondering … is this it? am i sure?

    🙂

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