We all have a family story, the origins of who we are and how we got to this point in our lives. All of us, no matter what our family looks like or the stage of life we are in, can look back and say “that time changed me.” When we take time to see where we’ve come from and the joy and struggle we’ve grown through, I think it’s easier to see why where we are at is exactly where we need to be. This is my story of why our family of four really is just perfect.
Just the two of us
I met my husband when we were in college, and I remember dreaming with him about our someday family. When we got married, the “When are you going to have a baby?” questions started rolling in. (Which, pause… can we just stop doing that, society! Kind of a personal question, yeah??) We were adamant that we would be waiting about 3 years to have a baby so that we could grow as a couple and travel and enjoy our lives together.
Pretty sure you’ve guessed by now that our family life did not go according to plan. We became pregnant shortly after our first anniversary, though we didn’t find out for several weeks. I was a bit in denial and remember refusing to take a test because I just couldn’t handle the reality of being pregnant. We went to Colorado on vacation (a hiking trip I had trained for) and I found myself having trouble catching my breath and having to stop on the trail to pee about every 30 min. I was also super hungry, kept falling asleep randomly, and the smell of lunchmeat made me sick. Looking back, I had to have been in denial because those are some pretty classic signs of pregnancy! My husband also lovingly says there were some *mild* mood swings that accompanied all this, but we don’t need to get into all that.
The Dark Period
When I finally did take a pregnancy test, I remember knowing it would be positive but praying that it wasn’t. I was so ashamed to admit that for years. Looking back I know I was just scared, and that feeling a bit selfish is normal when your entire reality is changing unexpectedly. My husband was over the moon and I remember trying to get on board but being filled with so much fear that I just couldn’t quite grasp how expecting mamas were so happy all the time. Obviously, I was grateful for this little life and the blessing it was, but at the same time, I was terrified – of being a mom, of the changes to my body and my life, of labor and delivery. I could not have imagined a family of four, let alone imagine a family of four being perfect.
Looking back on that pregnancy and about the first year of our sweet son Logan Everette’s life (you can read his birth story here
), I am filled with all the emotions. I was so caught up in fear that I missed a lot of the joy along the way. I don’t remember many of his firsts because of the darkness that consumed me in my postpartum journey (which I now know was majorly impacted by PPD).
But, I am so grateful that God chose to give us our boy when he did. He was everything we never knew we needed. He made us smile and laugh and taught us how to work as a team. And when my dad unexpectedly died when Logan was about one and a half, I knew for sure that it was no coincidence we got pregnant when we did. If we’d waited our 3 years as planned, we would have just gotten pregnant when my father was diagnosed and gone within a month. Instead, my Dad and Logan got to have time together and my body wasn’t supporting a little life when it went through that intense grief. That little boy brought such joy and distraction from the pain of that season that our entire family benefited from.
My Dad’s death also served as a wake-up call for me. I was made keenly aware of how short this life is and how precious our moments are. When I look back it was a line in the sand for me – a decision to no longer live in the darkness but to step back into the light. To care for my mind, body, and soul. To commit to loving every second of this mom gig.
I write a lot about my grief process here and am passionate about encouraging others who are walking through a season of loss. Go here if you’d like additional support.
Let’s Talk About Having Another Baby
Once I was on this new path, I knew that I’d someday want more kids. Up until that point, I’d completely nixed the idea of growing our family, much to my husband’s dismay. And then, because Logan and I were so close, I went through a phase of convincing myself that he would be fine as an only child. At some point though, I felt a shift in my heart and my husband and I started talking about what would need to happen in order for us to add on to our family. We were living in a tiny apartment and I was still working full time, taking Logan with me to work, so a lot would need to change to make room for a new little one. Just about the time we started talking about having another baby…. you guessed it. We found out we were pregnant.
This time, I remember being excited and happy and thinking “THIS is how you’re supposed to feel when you bring new life into the world.” I was much healthier physically and emotionally (I wrote a lot about that here
) during my second pregnancy and was committed to enjoying every minute, no matter how uncomfortable. I was in a place where I could imagine that a family of four is perfect.
A Redemption Story
My pregnancy and labor with our daughter Loralei Rayne (you can read her birth story here
), were symbolic to me of the freedom I had gained over depression and fear. I actually enjoyed my pregnancy (even though I don’t enjoy being
pregnant). She was our little redemption song, sent to us from a loving God who knew we needed her sweet spirit in our family. She brings out a side of my husband I’ve never seen, she brings out the most loving and gentle side of her wild child big brother – she really brings the best out of all of us.
I don’t know that our family is done growing, but for now our family of four really is perfect. A boy and a girl, who really are minis of my husband and me, that fill our hearts with so much joy even on their worst days. What could be better?
Our family of four–perfect!