Sunday, December 15, 2013
For four years I wondered and worried and debated about how to know if our family was complete. Five children felt good. Our last two children were only 15 months apart, so life had been busy. In some ways it was like raising twins. My arms were frequently full. And yet I had a nagging feeling. A feeling of unrest. Not a specific prompting that there was another child that The Lord wanted to send to our family. Just a worry that I might be called upon to have another child when I was pretty sure I didn't want to go thought that experience again. Life was good. The kids were growing and becoming more independent. I had more freedom than ever before.
Ten months ago, just weeks before my youngest turned four I finally humbled myself enough to tell The Lord in prayer that I would gladly welcome another soul to our family if that was his will. Nine months ago I found out I was expecting my sixth child. I didn't think He would take me up on that offer so soon, but I was not disappointed that He did.
My pregnancy started out challenging in different ways than usual. The pregnancy itself was fairly straightforward. Our lives we're what was hard. My mom was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer the weekend I found out I was pregnant. Our family suffered repeated illnesses, including a three week bout with the flu. I was unhappy that pregnancy and illness kept me from being able to care for both my immediate and extended families in the way I would like. I was pretty miserable until I was 8 months pregnant. Then all my unhappy symptoms left and I suddenly felt fabulous. For the next six weeks I had tremendous energy, my body felt healthy, and emotionally I was better than ever.
For nine months we had pondered what to name our child. We settled on Faith when she was one day old. Somehow it seemed appropriate.
For my previous five children, the true challenges of a new baby always manifested in the first two months. For me, those first two months were two months of misery. Breast feeding is a challenge for my body, and takes a lot of physical and emotional pain in the beginning.
With Faith, I wanted to have happy memories of our first couple months. I wanted to avoid the trauma I'd suffered with the preceding children. I made some plans and said a lot of prayers.
Faith is three weeks old now and I have had the best three weeks of my life. I have received the greatest blessing and answer to my prayers that I could have hoped for. Life has been smooth. There have been small hiccups, but emotionally I have felt so good. I have been able to snuggle my child without worrying and fearing the times she would wake up to be fed.
Heavenly Father has given me a gift....the opportunity to see the great blessing it is to have a child, in a way that I have never experienced before. Instead of the pain and fear, I've been able to experience the joy and relish the small sacred moments. I don't want it to end. I don't want her to be my last because it saddens me to think of never having these perfect moments again. I'm afraid that I will forget them. That I will forget the perfect feeling of a tiny body curled up against mine, of the soft, sleepy squeaks at the foot of my bed as she wakes for a midnight feeding. I don't want to forget the powerful swelling my heart made when she was first delivered and we saw her precious face for the first time.
My prayers each day are full of gratitude for the gift Heavenly Father has given me. I'm so grateful that I humbled myself enough to allow this blessing into my life. Every day I feel a renewed sense of amazement that God lets us be co-creators with him. He trusts us with these tiny bundles of perfection and innocence.
I'm not a perfect mom. My imperfections sadden me far too often. I lash out in anger, say things I don't mean, scold too harshly. And yet The Lord sees fit to bless me with another chance to get it right. Children are a gift from God in so many ways. And I have felt more thankful and more in awe of the miracle and goodness of it than ever before.