Have you ever been really surprised by a turn life takes? That is where I am right now. Have you ever looked at your 14 and 10 year old and thought that, after six miscarriages, you had given more children more than a fair try, you had turned the corner of 40, and were really content with the beautiful family you had? Yeah, me too. And then did you find yourself taken completely off guard by a missed period? But then, of course, you figured this pregnancy would go the way of the last five. And then you were hit with something that you had only experienced in the two pregnancies that resulted in your two girls? Morning sickness. Or rather, afternoon to any hour of the night sickness. Retching, heaving, vomiting, digestive misery. And it hit you. This is for real. And isn’t it funny that the one thing you wanted, in your thirties, is something that terrifies you only a few years later?
I am not the only one whose plans have been interrupted by a surprise pregnancy. I talked two of my sisters through it in the past year. One who was busy with an intense graduate school program, the other who had given up on that dream after 7 years of trying and who was in the middle of adopting two special needs kids. Fourteen years earlier we were surprised, but only one year ahead of the schedule in our minds. My second child was carefully planned and conceived on the first try. After that my hormones seemed to crash and burn and no amount of progesterone supplementation could make me keep a baby past 8 weeks. So, once I turned 40, we closed that chapter and found lots of things to look forward to. I started to SCUBA dive again. I was just getting into paddleboarding. I was running 5Ks. We were planning trips to see where the history I love so much happened. My kids had become so independent and I was enjoying some time to myself.
And now? I am adjusting. The prospect of starting over is daunting. But we are not the first ones to do it. Pregnancy at 42 is overwhelming, but many have gone before me and done well. Will this little one feel like an only child, since his or her siblings are so much older? But a 10 and a 14 year old means lots of help for me. My husband has been that little one with siblings 13 and 15 years older. I have little siblings that I love dearly that are 11, 13, 16, 18 and 20 years younger than I! Birth and parenting have drawn my husband and I closer with each experience. Is there anything more precious than life?
At the end of the day, I can only repeat the words of the pregnant teen in much more dire straits than I, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me according to your word (Luke 1:38).” I was made for more than the fun I had planned, the law career I was planning to return to, the traveling, or even the causes I wanted to devote my time to. I find my fulfillment in God’s purpose for me. Whatever that is. No matter how many times it wakes me up in the night. That is the one thing that will bring me contentment and joy. And the joy of the Lord will be my strength.
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