Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wanting and fearing more children

My wife and I have very common interests when it comes to building a family—which, as I've come to understand it, makes us pretty fortunate. We've heard about married couples struggling to find common ground in conversations around the size of their family. But we agree that we want as many children as God sees fit to bless us with. Taking that for face value sounds as though we're looking to populate a small village.

Let me explain.

Consider the fact that God promised not to give more than we can bear. Knowledge of this promise offers comfort to the frustrations of actually trying to conceive or even adopt a child with no success. We've been there, my wife and I—with both of our kids. Dealing with the disappointment of negative test results meant a constant if even brief recollection of God's promise. More than likely, the time wasn't right, we weren't ready yet, and somehow a child would have been more than we could bear.

Today, seven months after the birth of our son, our second child, I'm in a slightly different place with regards to expanding our family. I want more children, yes, but for the first time I find myself afraid at the thought.

The pregnancy of our son had its mild complications, but it had its complications. He was born healthy and happy, but an alarmingly full five weeks early. There were pains, discomforts and concerns that weren’t present with the carrying of our daughter five years ago. I know that every pregnancy is different, but that offers little comfort when you're a husband watching your wife get poked, pricked and prodded to make sure everything was developing properly. I was afraid for her. I was afraid for him. And I am afraid that going through that again may yield different results.

I am afraid that we may be pushing our luck.

The advent of a person growing in a person is an amazing thing. There are so many details that have to be just right to, without incident, create this little human being to whom you'll be introduced at the end of nine months, give or take. As a pregnant mother, you have to be so careful with your actions and activities so as not to disrupt the process of life cycling within you. After the successful birth of our son, I began to consider it madness to ever try our luck again.

Then I was reminded of a truth that, in my fear, I had nearly forgotten; I don't believe in luck.

I believe in the blessings of God. I believe in the plans and purposes He authors to which I am not always privy. I believe in His promise; that we will not be given more than we can bear. I believe, though emotionally trying, the mild complications of this last pregnancy were no surprise to God and that at no point did my son's development deviate from His plan—even to the point of being born five weeks early. I believe that to our Father in Heaven, he was right on time.

So we'll continue talks of preparing ourselves to welcome another little one to our family. It's in our hearts to have more children and in our minds to be as responsible as possible with the blessing of another life. It doesn't mean that I am suddenly without my fears and concerns for the many possible outcomes of another pregnancy, but they do seem smaller in the presence of a mighty promise.

And what a mighty promise it is.

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