The following is a guest post from Heather.
I don’t often admit to friends and family what I’m about to confess to strangers now.
It’s best to rip a bandage off fast, right? Well, here goes.
I have a four-month-old and I’m already thinking about having another baby.
You might be rolling your eyes right now, thinking I must be one of those starry-eyed moms blessed with a baby who sleeps all the time. On the contrary, my four-month-old is a high-needs baby with acid reflux. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since the week before he was born. And I’m nursing, which means I run on energy boosters such as low-fat milk and, um, water.
Still, I am convinced that what I have is a blessing. I’m sleep-deprived but, more than that, I’m blessed. We wanted children for a long time before our son was born. Ours is a culture that doesn’t always value children. We have daycare and after-school care. We buy TVs and video game systems for our kids’ rooms and portable DVD players for our vehicles. And, as someone who bookmarks YouTube videos for my infant son, I’m not pointing fingers; I’m confessing.
The practice of actively caring for our children is in direct opposition to what our individual-focused culture promotes. We’re encouraged to pursue the self above all else. Reality programs like “The Biggest Loser” applaud a contestant’s desire to lose weight for herself first, family second. Expanding our families is inconvenient; laying aside the desire of the self is all but impossible.
Because it is such an impossible thought that we as sinful humans would choose parenthood, we know the longing comes from the Lord: “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'” (Matthew 19:26). With Christ, there is no such thing as an unwanted pregnancy.
Though it’s difficult to admit in the middle of the night, it truly is a blessing to wake up to care for my baby. I know there are many mothers-at-heart who long for the aching body and sleepless nights that a child would produce. Adding to our families through the blessing of pregnancy and adoption is a gift, pure and simple. It reveals our own helplessness and nakedness before God, our total dependency on His willingness to hold us in the palm of His hand, to save us even when the cost to Him is death (John 3:16). Parenthood is, I believe, both the dimmest possible representation and closest possible example we have of God’s love for us, His children.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
Heather is a stay-at-home mom and writer. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks and blogs at www.thencomesmercy.com.
All Scripture references from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible