Thursday, October 13, 2011

chasing shadows

*originally published 04-05-2008* (this is really cool to see where I was then, and how far we've come now.)

Lately I've been praying fervently that God will either give me contentment with having two wonderful children and not ever actively trying for more, or open both Scott's and my hearts about having more. "Either way," I told God, "I will obey." And I will. Do you notice, here again, that I want to know NOW whether or not our family will be expanded? I want to control! In light of some recent conversations on a dear friend's blog, I'm realizing that some of my motives for thinking we shouldn't have any more kids aren't necessarily what I want them to be.

I was sitting today with my family, looking at their beautiful faces, and I prayed a prayer to God. "No, Lord, you can't touch this - you can't touch this beautiful thing I'VE created." I want to be safe. I don't want death or sickness or sadness to hit my corner of the world again. I was reading another blog and the author just announced she's pregnant. She supposed she should wait until it is safe to announce, but then made the statement that life is never safe.

It may be obvious to others that one of the things that motivates me most is fear. Ugly fear. I am afraid of what going for a 3rd child may mean. You know I adore my children. I love being a mother. Scott loves being a dad. But what I feel drives us both is fear. We don't ever want to revisit that fear we felt when faced with terrifying possibilities the first time around. We both knew we dodged major bullets. Today he was looking at her and said to me, "Sometimes I just watch her playing and wonder what life would be like if she hadn't made it, or if we had made a different choice."

I wonder, too. And then I think about all of the times in my life when I wanted to let fear reign supreme. Honestly? Had I let fear reign we wouldn't have either of our children. My fear nudged me in the direction of terminating the pregnancy the first time around. Yes, there I said it. We considered it. You can call me an evil person, but until you are in that situation, you don't know what you would do.

The second pregnancy, with Asher, I felt like we dodged some bullets - that he came out healthy and "unscathed", and that our family is complete and we shouldn't want or have any more children. In some ways I feel almost selfish for desiring, in my heart of hearts, another child. I tell myself that I don't like pregnancy and I'm not really a baby person, but those are "shields" for the real reasons. The real reason is the fear in me that crouches around every corner of my sometimes shadowed heart. I don't want to be vulnerable again. I want to control.

I want to be safe; I want these walls around me never to crumble. I see them crumbling every time I turn on the news, or see the drug deals going down, or see fear in one of my children's eyes. I feel them crumbling under tissue paper fingers when I hear of someone dying of cancer, or watch a tree lose its leaves, or hear of a friend having yet another miscarriage.

I see these things, and I want to run. I want to run and hide, away from good dreams. I listen to the voice that says, "No! You can't have it. Be fearful. Can you imagine the bad things that could happen were you to try that again? Don't do it! Don't give in!"

And so here I sit.

So, here comes the choice, right? Do I give in to the fear?


Tuimeltje said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tuimeltje said...

Living in fear doesn't sound like much of a life...

I've been playing around on YouTube today and yesterday (witness the expansion of my favourites list...), and this post made me think of Natalie Grant's Held (apparently there's a The Tibe fanvid with that song. Weirdness!), with the thing that whatever happens, you'll be held.

While I'm not that much into worshippy music, I do enjoy some of it and found some really nice SoP and Elly & Rikkert stuff, this song among it. It's in Dutch, but really beautiful.

By the way, I just found this in my RSS reader. Something about a gluten-free chocolate cake.

happy gram said...

i always prayed for my kids when they were driving home from college. and they always made it home! i was so naive to think that i was controlling that outcome. with what has happened with alyssa, i immediately had the fear that oh my, if my prayers for sydney were "not answered" then that means that all the praying i do for all my family is in vain. really? no, but i am more than ever aware that God is in control and that yes, tragedy could be just around the corner so i'd better enjoy everying He has given me on this earth until we are all together in Heaven!

Kiki@Seagulls in the Parking Lot said...

I agree with Happy Gram.

I too sometimes feel like I am waiting for the ole kick in the pants from God, waiting for Him to test my faith. And then I realize that I have to live today and work at my relationship with Him so if/when a trial does come, I can stay firm in my faith and look to my God. And his grace will be sufficient for tomorrow.

Funny, about your other friend announcing her pregnancy, I feel like we announced too early too, but eh, I would blog if I miscarried so why not let people in on my happiness right now?!

Chels said...

I have been having this battle too, as you know. I am the kind of person that needs to make things happen immediately. I don't do well with waiting or uncertainty (you can imagine how I was waiting for 9 months of pregnancy, right?) This time around, with Aiden, I was TERRIFIED. As you know, beyond normal worry about your unborn child kind of worry. It didn't allow me to enjoy my pregnancy much, and now it makes me wonder if I could ever do it all again.

What I wound up deciding is that for now, things are good. Two is good. Raleigh and Aiden are fantastic. Life is, well, good. That's why I did the IUD. I know that if it is in God's plan for us to have more, we will. But right now, I'm not ready. I want time to enjoy Raleigh and Aiden growing up together, enjoying holidays and birthdays. I want to take them places and show them things.

So, I have allowed myself to be at peace with a 5 year plan. In 4 years and some months Chris and I will discuss a third, if we still feel like that is something that would be right for us.

Anyhow, if it is meant to be, it will be. I have always believed that God guides our lives in certain ways for reasons we may not understand. So maybe you can try to just find some solice with waiting to make a decision? You don't need to say "we're done!" or "lets make a baby!" today, do you? (I know, it would be nice to know once and for all today) Make a plan with DH about when you'll discuss it again, and then put it out of your head until then. Reevaluate your situation and feelings'll be amazed what a little time away from the dwelling can do for your perspective on decision making!

Emily said...

Only you know the answer. Don't ask me. My biggest fear became my sweetest dream come true. ;)

Kether said...

You can't be scared.
I can't be scared.

I'm trying to learn a lesson from my mother in law, who faced fear head on.I don't know if she was scared or not, but I can tell you she was far braver than I imagine myself to be.

But if the awful months I've been through since December have taught me anything, it is that life is resiliant. And I am resiliant.

I'm still scared of trying again. My last m/c was so horrifically, physically, graphically awful. But in the midst of it, I held tiny Io and went to the newborn nursery and knew that I have to keep trying.

blog nerd said...

Why do we fear life?

This is a great post, Rach. This question is so bizarre.

Why do we fear life in America?

We have the greatest standard of living known to mankind, low infant mortality rates, excellent health care, incredible educational opportunities, and the most comfortable living conditions since man began roaming the Earth.

And our response? Reduce our family size. Be REALLY careful with how many children you have. We have a house with heat, hot water, and access to an incredible variety of food and unlimited clean water. We have two cars and live in a town with a park and a decent school. What we do?

Stop life. Control it. Keep it MANAGEABLE.

Why do we fear life?

We take risks every day, risks that have small rewards like getting in the car to get your hair dyed, boarding a plane to go on a vacation, or putting in a swimming pool, to have family fun time.

(For every house there is a swimming pool, 1 in 11,000 will have a child die by drowning. Compare this to a house that has a gone which is one in 1,000,000+. Google it. It's true.)

But when it comes to our families we don't want to risk becoming too tired or too overwrought or too economically challenged.

Why is it that today's American families fear the blessing of a child so much that they are willing to take hormones and insert devices with a multitude of health risks attached to them.

Why do we fear life?

The average number of people per household (this includes parents) has shrunk in the past 2 decades from 3.14 to 2.57.

In the Muslim world it is 4.13.

Why do we fear life?

Sharon said...

Hey rach...haven't checked in in a while. I struggle with the same fears...its hard because then I say its a lack of faith...yet at times I can't overcome them. I hide it well...I think it started when my Father died, I was 17, he died in a boat accident at sea and ever since then I learned to protect myself by always thinking the worse. Its not an easy thing to undo and I am not sure if I can ever undo it. I can lie in bed, hear a noise and then in less than 1 minute imagine burglers coming in and working out an escape method for me and the kids...all in my head! We can't let fear rule us...we have to trust the Lord. I do rest in knowing He will never give us more than we can handle. I would like a 4th, Bill is done:-)...yet doing nothing about it...I will not take anything I figure if he is done its up to him to get snipped:-) I wrestled if I could handle going thru another preg after the 2 mis' and then Dominic, I was so obsessed with having a 3rd. Now I do feel content and have come to the conclusion if God wants me to have a 4th I will, if i only carry him/her for 3 months so be it...if I lose him or her young I just have to be blessed with the moments I am giving...None of us are promised another day. You are very strong...just got to stop thinking for a bit:-) I can totally relate...but don't let fear grip you and lose out on all the fun and amazing blessing through out life!

Blair said...

I'll say for us, #3 has been wonderful! I've heard several people say just how much fun and how much they've enjoyed their third child. After 2 c-sections and 2 miscarriages, the pregnancy and delivery were still stressful and scary...oh, but he is just the sweetest thing ever!

I've never heard a parent say they regretted having another child. I've never heard a (grown!) sibling say they wish their brother or sister was never born. I've also been touched by the quote, "one of the best gifts you can give your child is another sibling". I've seen it true in my own family.

But it's still hard, especially with health concerns. What does your hubby think? Praying for you in your discernment!

Seraphim said...

the life model:

How to live from the heart the Christ gave you.

Become an expert...

LucyLu said...

Did you repost that for me?? That was like a sermon at church where you look around and think - well, obviously no-one else is getting anything out of this because it is so specifically targeted at me....I know you know that my situation with previous babies/pregnancies was not as serious as yours, but my fear still hangs around. I know exactly what you mean about wanting another and thinking why, when it could be even worse next time....

I feel like I should end with something spiritual/scriptural/inspirational...but tonight, it's just nice to know someone else knows what I am feeling.

Sheila said...

Oh Girl, you know my feelings about fear- FACE it! Stare it down and make it back away!
Fear has a way of making us realize what means the most to us. Take it as an opportunity to hone those muscles!

MamaFoster said...

you have said a time or two that we were meant to be friends...well, this post proves it in a "I think we may be leading the same life in two different parts of the world" type of way.

so glad we found each other friend.