Last year around this time, our family made some major decisions that would greatly affect the path our lives would take. I have always known that I wanted to go back to school, to finish successfully what my past depression and anxiety robbed from me. I thought it would be much further in the future, once our children were at least school-aged. However, this isn’t what God seemed to have planned for us.
I shared back in 2013 the loss of our little saint, Isabelle Marie. We were heartbroken, but still felt God’s pulling to try for more children. June 2014 brought the loss of our next child, Elizabeth Anne, followed by Francis Jude in January 2015. It took lots of soul-searching and humbling myself before God, and we finally accepted that if it was His will to only have one child here with us on Earth, we would sing His praises and be thankful for our abundant blessings. I stopped obsessing over growing our family. I tried so hard to keep a smile on my face when friend after friend announced another pregnancy. Please let me be clear – I have always been happy for my friends and family to welcome a new life into this world. I truly believe that babies are always a blessing. But when you’ve lost three little souls in eighteen months, it can take some serious grace to not wallow in self-pity.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
– Matthew 5:4
So there we were. Stephen was about to turn two. I was quitting my nanny job and going back to school full-time. I decided to pursue a secret dream of mine and work towards becoming a doctor. I had applied and was accepted to CU-Denver. I enrolled in my first semester’s pre-med curriculum. And then I took a home pregnancy test on a whim, and it was positive. We were so very scared that first week. I remember one night setting my alarm for 3am, so I could call into the 24/7 nurse line and receive the results from my beta-hcg draw. We asked for prayers from those closest to us, and our prayers were answered. After numerous lab draws, immediate progesterone supplementation, and multiple ultrasounds, we finally got to see our miracle baby and his little heartbeat!
So back to the drawing board, and back on my knees for wisdom and discernment. I was due February 1st, 2016, so I could still technically complete my first semester. But is that what I really wanted now that God blessed us with another child? I still don’t know the answer to that question today, but I decided to postpone school for the time being and focus on my vocation of motherhood. I had given Stephen 18 months of uninterrupted Mama time after he was born, and I didn’t want to have any artificial timelines forcing me to go back to school before our new little one and I were ready. So I stayed put at my job until Christmas break, and savored every little (and not-so-little!) ache and pain of this pregnancy. This time around, I knew better than to take it for granted.
Henry Joseph James was born two and a half weeks early via VBAC (woohoo!) My postpartum recovery was a lot rougher than I expected for a “natural” birth. However, none of the darkness of postpartum depression or anxiety managed to overshadow the early days with our new little man. I thank God every day that he spared me that cross this time around. I also know that we would love to have more children, but tomorrow isn’t promised to us. Children are truly a blessing from God, and I pray to walk this road again someday soon.
As far as school is concerned, we are back to praying for wisdom and discernment. Part of me would love to attain my dream, especially following the long and rough road it took me to get there. But another part of me is trying to slow down and stop planning so much for the future. I want to spend more time in the peace and quiet of my soul, listening for the whisper of the Holy Spirit to guide me. And I pray that I always have the strength and courage to say “yes” to His will for my life, just like Mary did two thousand years ago.
“Be it done unto me according to thy Word.”
– Mary (from The Angelus)