Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Resolution, 11 Years Later

For weeks, I've been writing this post on and off. Before that, I debated for months whether or not to write about a wonderful resolution I received to a very difficult-for-me trial. As you can see from my post's title, I decided to publish it! While this is a very personal post, I share it in the hopes that my struggle and happy resolution could help others. :)

It's no secret that I love and adore babies—oh, they are so heavenly, sweet and wonderful! I still claim that statement even when babies are crying or causing distress to others! Ha ha. I love all babies no matter what! :)

My love of babies and children were manifest at a very early age. My earliest memories of how much I love babies go all the way back to when I was a little over two years old. While I couldn't have my own real-life baby, I had a favorite baby doll that I lived with! I literally took her everywhere with me! As my years progressed, I continued to play with all sorts of dolls—including Barbies and porcelain dolls, but baby dolls were still my favorite.

When I was an older teenager, I couldn't wait to become an adult, get married and start a family with my one true love—it was my biggest goal in life! Please let me assure you that no one ever "brainwashed" me into that way of thinking. I clarify my position (again) simply because there are a lot of misconceptions about my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) in the ways it "promotes" motherhood. I say that because a few months ago, I listened to a podcast on that very subject: Motherhood in the Church. The podcast panelists weren't very positive about their views of how the Church presents motherhood to its members—which is why I won't be linking to the podcast from my blog! Ha ha. (I became so riled while listening to those ladies, I was barely able to finish the podcast!) So, yes, I have always loved babies; motherhood was my greatest wish and desire! :) No one put the idea in my head...no one pressured me to want to bear and raise children.
I came to this earth with unconditional love and a true desire to care for every baby—it is innate in my soul and will never go away! :)
Enter the day I knew by spiritual means that I was done having children: I was devastated. You see, I had always wanted to have (give birth to) at least four children. Greg had also always thought about being the father to four children. I love that we were (and are) so in sync with each other! I even planned out our pregnancy timing if Greg and I decided to have five or six babies! :)

The best part of the first spiritual experience I received—of knowing I was done having children—was when I shared my knowledge with Greg. As I was telling him about my spiritual experience that led me to know without reservation that our family was complete, Greg literally finished my sentence! For Greg, too, had had the exact same spiritual experience as me—and it happened a mere 45 minutes before mine! We were amazed at our discovery! The worst part of my spiritual experience was digesting that Greg also knew without any doubts that our family was complete...I just really didn't want to admit that we were done having children!

Our remarkable and identical spiritual experiences should have been enough for me, but I struggled desperately with our answer. Over the next (nearly) two years, I had a few additional significant spiritual experiences that showed me again that Greg's and my family was complete. Each and every time I prayed, fasted, read my scriptures, and went to the temple about my little family (to know if our family was for sure complete), I received the same answer from the Holy Ghost: your family is complete. Oh, our Heavenly Father was so patient with me! :) He continually and tenderly loved and cared for my sad mama soul.

To help me cope with the finality of my reality (That's a nifty phrase, isn't it?!), I had my mom write me a letter. I asked her to help me see the other good/important qualities, talents and abilities I possessed that weren't tied up in my children. You see, my identity was very attached to my desires and ability to birth and raise children well—refer to my second and fifth paragraphs, above. :)

I'm not being prideful when I say that I'm a good mother. I'm not perfect, but I really try so hard every day to be a good mama. :) As I've stated many times before, I view being a mother as my ultimate career! My nannying, babysitting and volunteering years trained me well. I learned through day-in and day-out experience at multiple homes and schools what works best in raising children.

I was definitely prepared to be a mother and was successful with the three children I already had—so I could not for the life of me understand why Heavenly Father's answer was, "You're done having children." (Unlike Shonda Rhimes, I'm really great at staying home and playing with my kids! Ha ha. For clarification, watch Shonda's TED Talk, "My Year of Saying Yes to Everything.") I wondered why my mothering gifts and abilities hadn't been chosen to rear more precious heavenly souls?

But back to the letter my mom wrote me... Now, I can clearly see my qualities, talents and abilities that aren't related to only raising my children, but at that time, my profound grief at not having more children was nearly more than I could handle. I thank my mom to this day for helping me through such a trying time. I needed her kind words so much! I even filed her letter away, in case I needed to read it again for strength. Thank you, Mama! :)

*Lest any of you worry about my husband and his support of me during that time, well, don't. For Greg was always very sweet, supportive and generously loving. He gave me an amazing priesthood blessing to help me deal with my heartbreak. Yet because Greg also knew 100%(!) that we were supposed to be done having children, it was easy for him to never worry about it again. He just loved me through it. I will forever praise My Gregor for his endlessly patient, kind and understanding support!


Eventually, I accepted our truth and moved on in my life.

When we moved into our beautiful home in Colorado, I sorted through all of our baby supplies/clothing/necessities. I made keepsake boxes for all three of my children and myself. We then had a huge garage sale of most of our baby items. It was nice that we made a good amount of money, but even more, it was greatly therapeutic for me to see that my precious babies' gear was going to good homes. I loved watching the darling babies who were going to benefit from my smart and frugal shopping! (I find the best clearance sales!)

I held onto all of my maternity clothes and some of our baby clothes because I just couldn't let go of all of it at right at that time—I kept those things in storage for two more years. When it was time for our family to move back to Utah (from CO), I finally gave away all of my maternity clothes and most of the remaining baby clothes. That was a humongous step for me!

As the years passed, I continually longed to have more babies. Don't misunderstand, I wasn't thinking about having another baby 24-7, but it was definitely at the back of my mind on a regular basis. I teared up every time someone close to me became pregnant. I was SO happy for them (Truly!), but I always secretly wished I could join in the pregnancy fun. It was especially difficult when ladies I knew weren't thrilled to be pregnant...those moments were little daggers to my mother heart! *Don't get me wrong, for I'm not judging them in the least. I wasn't in their situation; I didn't live their reality. It was just really difficult for me to hear that a pregnant mother wasn't fully interested in my fondest dream!

Enter October, 2015. One day, my body began acting strangely. I had symptoms I hadn't experienced in years. I couldn't figure out what was going on because my body felt like it was working on preparing a baby—which I knew was nothing remotely close to my realm of possibility.

I had quite a bit of time to wonder if the miraculous had occurred? As I sat there pondering our situation, I instantly realized how utterly difficult it would be for our family if I were to become pregnant at this time in our advancing timeline. I absolutely could not believe how I was feeling. I panicked while thinking, "What would we do? How would we pay for another baby? There's no way we could do it without going into significant financial debt, or having me be employed outside the home—which is never going to happen unless a tragedy befalls our family!"

My mind raced, thinking of our super high high-deductible insurance plan (at least we have insurance—I'm so thankful for that! It's just not the great insurance plans of 15 years ago...); the barest of bare minimums we had in savings; paying for Greg's two university student loans; our growing children attending college in a few short years—and possibly going on missions for our church; orthodontia; contacts/glasses; various dental/medical/prescription bills; clothing/shoes for fast-growing teenage bodies; car insurance for teen drivers; expensive gluten-free food (and more of it because of my darling children's quickly-growing bodies); 18-year-old cars with needed repairs...and on and on.

Budget freak-out aside, because I was spiritually shown/told on multiple occasions that our little family was complete, it was completely foreign to me to think of adding another baby—even though my fondest dream was suddenly staring me in the face! Ha ha.

In that moment, the strangest thing happened: I suddenly realized just how much I really and genuinely like my current station in life! I can't explain it exactly, but it was like my mind was in one of those movies where a protective fairy sprinkles magic sparkles to change a situation! Because my mind was full of those happy twinkles, my heart slowly changed from despair that we weren't having more children, to excitement and happiness for where I am right now. :)

I spent quality time thinking about all of the good, great, and awesome things in Greg's and my life of married with older children! (Ha ha.) I like the fact that we can leave our house anytime, and we don't have to worry about hiring a babysitter. (We don't leave our house very often without our children, it's just nice knowing we can go if necessary.) Greg and I have so much fun together and with our children! Our family is so tight! While our family members aren't perfect, our family relationship as a whole is amazing and wonderful—it's everything I could have hoped for!

I thought about the implications of Greg and I essentially starting over—especially considering the fact that our years are edging closer to the empty-nesters category than that of having young children. (That's a crazy thought to my eternally 25 brain!) In reviewing all that goes into pregnancy, the baby years, preschool age and beyond, I suddenly felt very tired! ;)

Eventually, I meandered back to the idea of me possibly having another baby. I decided right then and there that I would immediately welcome another baby into our family if that was Heavenly Father's will, but I just really didn't believe that was the case because of all the amazing spiritual answers I received years ago.

A few days later, my mind was put totally at ease. There was no doubt about it, I was most definitely not going to have another baby. It was in that relieving moment that I was finally able to say,
"I'm happy Greg and I are done having babies! I know our little family is complete and I'm 100% okay with that!"
To some, my realization might seem shallow, silly, or cruel (even more, others might not be able to fathom my feelings in the slightest!), but for this mother heart—that previously longed for 11 years to have more babies—my happiness was (and is!) such a welcomed relief! I'm utterly jubilant that I was finally able to be free of longing for a baby that would never be mine.
No one but my darling Gregor will ever fully understand how beautiful that miracle was and is for me.
My positive feelings during that experience were strong enough for me to know they are permanent—hooray for that! I love knowing I'll never be in that sad wishing for a baby place again! :)

I'll continue loving, caring for, and enjoying babies for the rest of my life, but it will be in the roles of awesome Aunt Adrie; volunteer-baby-holder; or... grandmother! Yes, it's difficult for me to even write the last word of that previous sentence because I can hardly believe it! Yet when I really think about my life, becoming a grandmother could technically be just a decade away! Seriously, whoa. Of course, it depends on what my children decide to do with their lives, but it's possible!

In the four+ months since my heart has changed (in regard to not having another baby), I've felt such blissful peace! It's been marvelous to have that gloomy weight (hiding in the corner) completely lifted from my soul. I believe Heavenly Father gifted me that experience so I could fully realize that my life is exactly the way it's supposed to be! For that, I'm overflowing with gratitude! :)

I'm very pleased that Greg and I followed (and continue to follow) the inspiration we received from the Holy Ghost. Even though my heart was secretly leaning on the sad side for many years about not having additional children, we heeded the Holy Ghost and did what Heavenly Father said was right for our family. We've received great comfort because of our faith-filled actions, which is worth a lot! Looking back over our lives and noting the blessings we've received because we listened feels better than wonderful! :)

To close, I'd like to share my thoughts for anyone struggling...
  • If you are in a sad place—wishing and hoping for something that just might not happen—be patient and please hang in there! :) I can't guarantee when it will happen, but there will come a day when you'll understand the reason(s) why that particular "no" answer or extended trial came to you. Faithful patience is needed for every struggle.
  • Give yourself time to adjust without an expiration date. Even though my spirit and rational brain fully understood the whys of my I'm done having babies trial, it took my heart 11 years to fully process that answer, accept it, and be happy with our outcome. Yes, the passage of time really helps so much!
  • Find other ways to be happy. Even though you might not have everything your heart desires, there are still so many ways to be joyful in this world! Seek out the finer things in life—i.e., kindness, learning, service—and steer clear of negativity.
  • Work on yourself! Be good! Analyze your personality and find ways to improve. Most importantly, don't beat yourself up about your shortcomings. Instead, simply change those things that need changing and be positive every day! You'll never regret becoming a better person! :)
  • Surround yourself with excellent people. If you don't currently have that option, seek to create and bring excellence to those around you! :)
  • Internalize that you are valuable, important, special and lovedregardless of the situation you find yourself in. Everyone has something to contribute to this world! Even if your contribution doesn't fit the mold, figure out what your mission is and go for it!
  • Never lose sight of what is most important. Returning home with honor to our Father in Heaven—so we can be with our families forever—should be at the forefront of our minds! Of course, that includes all the wonderful things we are taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ—He truly is the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Him]! (John 14:6)
  • Remember that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are always on our side. There might be times when you feel unloved/unlovable, but nothing could be further from the truth. They are continually there for us—they're just a prayer away! Heavenly Father is the grand orchestrator of our lives, we can and must trust that He will do what's best for us! :)

5 comments:

  1. Adrie...I just LOVE your writing!

    You took me on that emotional journey, and from your talented "emoting" of words and phrases, I was easily connected with each phase, including the acceptance.

    As a guy, it may be more rare, but I too have always loved babies, and babies have always loved me. Even when I walk in malls, babies quite often not only smile huge when they see me, but they lean waaay out of their strollers to continue to watch me and smile at me when I walk by.

    I come by it honestly though, the same thing often happens to both my Dad and my Mom.

    And my brother. (I pause to take a moment to delight the fact that my YOUNGER brother is already a GRANDFATHER, courtesy of an older adopted child!) My brother is the "baby whisperer". As in, the baby stops fussing when he picks her up. And, so far, between "grandpa" and "grandma"..."grandpa" is the only one who rates kisses!

    You entire post is so heartfelt and filled with warmth and love, not only for babies and your husband, but also for your Savior.

    It is also well thought out and carefully considered ...actually beyond well thought out and carefully considered...it is inspired!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this post - I like the fact that it took eleven years to get to this place you are at. Too often we think that we should get answers or explanations immediately and are quick to doubt when the time table is much longer than we anticipated. And I appreciate the fact that you continued to be faithful and trust in the answer you got, even though you weren't ready emotionally to accept it. These are both things that I have thought a lot about and appreciate that I'm not the only one having these experiences (of waiting and being faithful).

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    1. Thank you so much, Johanna! Your comment means a lot to me—especially considering what you've been through in your life and continue to face on a daily basis. You are an amazing woman, I truly look up to you! :) I hope and pray you continue to have the strength needed to press forward in your beautiful life. :)

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  3. Thanks Adrie. I too have had spiritual confirmation that there will be no more babies in our family, even though sometimes I find myself doubting it. I still struggle with feeling like I haven't "replenished" enough. But I am grateful for the irrefutable spiritual confirmation that I am doing what is meant to be.

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    1. Denita, I totally understand the feeling of not "replenishing" enough! Yet, multiplying by three is still an increase that's better than zero!! Ha ha. Yes, we are both "enough"! :)

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