People say “time flies when you are having fun,”—so we must have had the most fun of all these last ten years. In one sense, it seems like yesterday. But in another sense, it’s hard to remember my life before Daniel was in it (and I lived 25 years before he was in it!). But if I could think of one verse to capture our life these last ten years it would be Isaiah 55:8:
A year ago a friend looked me in the eye and said: “Make that appointment I’ll watch your kids.”
I had been referred to counseling months prior by my OB/GYN, but had cancelled two appointments already, once out of fear and once because I didn’t have childcare. She knew my struggle since bringing Ben home from the hospital. I knew my struggle. I have had post-partum depression after all of my births, but it took me until after Seth turned one for me to realize it. But this was another level of darkness.
Every year, as Mother’s Day rolls around, we are met with a number of posts ranging from honoring mothers to exhorting mothers to manage their expectations of the day. There are posts that acknowledge that the day is hard for many women. There are posts that work to be inclusive. I’ve even written a number of these types of posts over the years.
Mother’s Day can be a tricky one for Christians. On the one hand, we want to honor the blessing of motherhood, both as mothers and as children of mothers. Every person was brought into the world by a mother, so we all have some stake in this day. But it also can be an incredibly painful day for many women, so for the Christian, the call to “weep with those who weep” rings truer than ever.
“Your uterus is no longer a safe place for these babies,” he said to me.
And with that statement, we were quickly sent to the hospital. It was February 4, 2013. I had a round of steroids, settled in for a few day stay in ante-partum, and waited and prayed that all would be well when we delivered a few days later.
A little after midnight (on February 5) my nurse came in and said “is today your birthday?”
I’ve heard it said that behind every good man stands a good woman. I get the sentiment. Marriage is a partnership. You don’t do anything in isolation of the other person you have joined to in covenant marriage. Your decisions, your work, your interests—everything—impacts your spouse. When people make that statement, they are usually complementing both the husband and the wife. The husband is successful, but only because his wife stands by him and supports him. She is a help to him.
I pray people say that about me.
But I also think you can flip that statement and it is still equally true. Behind every good woman is a good man.
In a moment that is sure to force any parent to eat humble pie, my son (unaware of my desire to keep up parenting appearances) threw his cup on the floor and stared me in the face. “I want more juice,” he said defiantly.
“Well, you definitely aren’t having juice now,” I said.
After a conversation about the behavior, my friend looked at me with a sense of relief. “It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one whose kids act like that sometimes.”
My twin boys started kindergarten this year, which has been an adjustment for our entire family. But in the months leading up to their first day, I spent a lot of time reading and researching educational options in my city (as well as the options from a biblical/theological perspective). I was helped by thoughts from all sides in the discussion about how we educate our children. But in nearly every article I read, or message/interview I listened to, one thing was absent (or at least not talked about much).
The further removed I am from the events of last year, the more I see what happened as a gift. I wouldn’t call nearly dying, or nearly losing my infant, a gift. But the fruit that came from it is one. Like Joseph in Genesis, life in a broken world meant our suffering for evil, but God meant it for good (Gen. 50:20). He wastes nothing. It always serves his purposes—even in the darkness.
One of those gifts is seeing the world through new eyes, particularly regarding platform building and the world of self-promotion (especially in Christian publishing).
Like millions of parents who have gone before us, we rejoiced at the faint pink line that showed up on our positive pregnancy test in the early morning hours. We went to work as different people that day. We went hopeful. We went excited. We went with a smile on our faces, knowing we had a secret that no one else knew yet. I remember making my first OB appointment in my car while I was on my lunch break, lest anyone hear my conversation and know that I was pregnant. I wanted to tell people on my terms, in my way.
I never got that chance.