The Baby I Didn’t Want

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The Baby I Didn’t WantMy hands had just started to feel empty. 

Four children who could feed themselves, wash their own hands, put on shoes and walk across a parking lot with minimal assistance. People still made the comment about my full hands, but I had hit a good stride for the first time in three years, so I would just smile and nod, and get on with my business. Of the four different sizes of clothes I had stashed away, I was finally in the smallest ones I had saved for “someday.” Kids were sleeping, I was sleeping and it looked like I might have survived the years in the trenches, as the baby and toddler mothering years are often described. My husband and I talked often about whether we were done, but did everything in our power to make sure we were only talking about it. 

Four days late from my very regular cycle and my hands felt the tightening and the heaviness that would be coming.

Five days late and the darkness of the two years of (undiagnosed) postpartum depression came looming in my western sky. With the growing soreness in my chest came the dread of months and months of breastfeeding, days and nights of constant attachment of a new body to my own, never more than two and a half hours of untethering from the leash that linked life and health to a helpless babe.

One week late and I was in tears and rage. 

“You are just really good at having babies,” my doctor told me when I asked if I should be concerned or if I should permanently break my high functioning organs that continued to produced blonde haired, blue eyed, Energizer-bunnies-in-human-form that populated my every waking hour. “You could have a lot more.” I tried to bribe her into a different diagnosis, but it turns out she is a reliable, honest doctor who wants to keep her job. 

We have a beautiful, healthy family. A loud, full and lovely home.

Our marriage has its ups and downs, but we are committed to raising these kids together and always. We have room in our hearts for more, but I didn’t want to make the space. I did not want to make the space in my finally normal hips and worn out tummy. I did not want to make the space in the bed I share with any or all of the residents of this house, or in the time during my full days, or in the little left of my sanity, or in the fragile emotional state we had slowly rebuilt from the years after my fourth baby. I wanted my own space more than I wanted a baby, and I was enraged that God would ask me to give up more of myself…again. 

We told no one for a long, long time. I was sicker than ever before, yet trying not to let on, because what kind of mom tells you she is pregnant and then bursts into tears? Well, there are those kinds of moms, but I wasn’t one of those. I was a good mom, who loved her babies, her family and her life. I am a believer that life comes miraculously and only through the work of the Creator God and without mistake; how could I tell anyone I was believing this and yet hating my body and my God for betraying me at the same time? 

The reality is that I could only pick one way; all mothers can only pick one: the way of welcoming, hoping and dreaming of the life we are allowed, yet never promised to help create, or the way of only seeing dreams crushed, life ruined and hopes put off. And if allowed to stay in my own mind, to follow my heart and believe in myself, I would have stayed in the later way.

But there is something about the human race that cannot react that way when hearing of new life. There is something inside the heart of each person that cannot help but leap and rejoice with news of an expectant mother. It is a beautiful and life giving (literally) quality of the human connection, one which gives strength and courage to a mother who is so clouded by the lies in her own heart that she cannot see beauty or hope or truth. 

So while I tried to not want this baby, this one pound 23-week-old unborn baby girl with four excited brothers, I could not help but catch the excitement and the joy that she is bringing to all who know of her coming. Many, maybe even you who are reading, have pulled my eyes away from what may happen to what is happening — new life and a daughter that I now know I will never wish that I had traded for size 8 jeans, more hours of sleep and a little less space in my heart.

They can’t wait to meet you, Baby Sister!
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Hi, I am Elizabeth! I am married to a Chattanooga fire fighter, and mother to four boys and a princess who test my sanity and patience on an hourly basis. To keep my head above the waters of parenting, I get lost in books and try to articulate my thoughts into words with meaning. Our daily activities include playing outside, wrestling, sword fighting and trying to time everything to produce the most sleep at night. Follow me on Instagram @BossMom_247 for insights on living with boys, possibly a few rants and definitely an overabundance of baby girl pictures.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Unexpected pregnancy is a special kind of grief. I was so mad when I found out I was pregnant with Joshua. Like you, apparently.my body just really likes to make babies. With Hannah, we weren’t really trying but we had that age gap and it was so much easier. Having helpers who are actually helpful makes a huge difference. Sending my love because I definitely get it. And also believe in six months you won’t be able to imagine life without her! 💗💗💗 And given that I am DONE, I am always looking for tint babies to rock and hold while Mama rests.

  2. This situation is where I found myself a year ago. Had my fifth daughter. It was planned but reluctantly planned and my kids and husband were thrilled and I was just not really there. Now I have a wiggly 5 month old and I love her every minute but boy I still dream about how nice it would have been this coming fall when my 4th starts kindergarten. Now I’m 5 years away from that kind of freedom and it’s joyous and hard at the same time. I’m trying to treasure every moment with her but I also am exhausted and overwhelmed and feeling rather old to be doing this again. Hang in there! Thanks for letting me feel not so alone in this journey of baby #5! 🙂

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