Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Healer of pain, the Giver of life

Before Pesach, my husband went to have his hair trimmed; while I was waiting for him, a man approached me and asked, pointing at two boys who were running around the place and playing while waiting for their turn, "are these kids yours?"

I blinked. The boys looked no younger than 7 or 8 years old. Since I'm 22 years old, I didn't quite know what to think – do I look old enough to have an 8-year-old, or do I look like someone who got married at the age of 14? Finally, noticing that the man wasn't even looking at me, probably out of excessive piety – the entire incident took place in one of the more Orthodox-ish places in Israel - I smiled politely, shook my head and said that no, the boys aren't mine.

… I will admit to you that I long for the moment when we go out with our children, and I'm asked, "are these kids yours?" – or even better, "are all these yours?" – and I can proudly smile and say, "yes!"

Some days after that, I met with a friend who did clinical nutrition training with me. After a bit of talking about this and that, she half-smiled, half-winked at me and asked, "well? Are you pregnant yet?"

I blushed and said that no, we aren't expecting just yet – although we are certainly praying and waiting for God's will in this area of our life to be done. She raised her eyebrows, not really understanding, and said, "But I thought you were going to try for a baby right away!"

Yes, I explained patiently (blushing again), we are doing our part – but it can take time. Even if you are perfectly healthy, it's absolutely normal if you don't conceive in the first month. It's also normal if it doesn't happen in the third or sixth months – and most doctors say you have nothing to worry about until a year has passed.

She stared at me, wide-eyed, and whispered, "Are you serious?"

… While talking to many people my age or a little younger/older, I often hear something along these lines: "I'll graduate from college when I'm 28. I could get married while in college, or right after that. Then we'll need to establish our careers a bit, that'll take a year or two. When I'm 30, I will have my first baby, and after two years we'll have another…"

This confidence is then shattered by the mysterious ways God plans the lives of each and every one of us. You might get married when you least expect it, and have a child earlier or later than you originally planned. Some couples – wonderful, loving couples – aren't blessed with children at all, for reasons that are only known to our Creator. The important thing is to remember Who is truly the giver of life.

No couple can truly know if, or when, or how they will be blessed with children. Our bodies aren't functional machines that will set into the motion of conception as soon as we start "trying". If more people realized that, maybe children would be regarded as the precious miracle they are, rather than easy attachments that can be acquired as soon as we decide we want to have them.

My husband and I are both young and without any health problems we know of, and we have only been married for a month and a half. However, we don't take it for granted that we will be blessed with children. I pray with trepidation for this most precious gift of the Lord, and am willing to accept His plan for our family.


Anonymous said...

Goodness, I can't imagine being quizzed about babies only a month and a half into your marriage. My family gave me at least a year. Sadly, it is nine years later and no children. Now I get monthly reminders from my family that they are praying for my husband and me to be blessed. It is bittersweet, those loving reminders... Today, Mother's Day is always a hard day for me.

Many blessings,
Lisa O

Cindi said...

I love you blog. It is so nice to "get to know" you through this. I will be praying for God's will in this area for you. I always wanted six or more children. The doctors told us we would never have any. God blessed us with three miracles and I am so thankful for those.

Terry said...

I love the fact that you are allowing for the providnece of God in when, if amd how many children you are blessed with. This is an area where our culture has become obsessed with planning and controlling and forgetting that it is God who is the Giver of life. Our excessive need for control has wrought disastrous results for many couples and women in particular. Your approach is one rooted in faith and peace. Beautiful indeed!

Thank you for the well wishes. We will try not to keep you all waiting too long for the big news!

Amy said...

The irony being that it *seems* like teens who have sex outside of marriage seem to have no trouble getting pregnant within the first 3 minutes. And married people who try have problems. Bleh. I know many married couples online who would kill to have a baby, and so many teens and young people have abortions out of convenience because of their irresponsibility.

gafnit said...

Beautiful post. I married at age 18 and had my first baby at age 32. God's plans. :)

tales_from_the_crib said...

I do believe that it was already celebrated on Shevat 30 over in Israel, but over here in the United States today is Mother's Day, so your post is quite appropriate...and as you said it is all in God's timing and a blessing. Certainly it was quite a blessing to be able to surprise my mother and mother in law earlier today with the news that they can be expecting a second grandchild in the coming year.
Have a blessed week!

Coffee Catholic said...

It takes time to get pregnant, that's for sure! It took us over a year and then TA DAH! it happened!! Just like that! And now I'm like, "Good gravy... I wish I knew I'd be this ill while pregnant" hahahaha!

I keep you in my prayers! May God bless you with children!

Bbowzwife said...

Praying right along with you for the same blessing for you and your husband!

Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

Many thanks for sharing this truthful post. Sometimes I wish it was fully realized & understood that such matters cannot be "planned," allowing God to be the One who "plans" your family size does not necessarily mean you will have many, if any, children. But no matter what your in-progress story might be, the story He is writing for you is beautiful and the "right" one, even if it might not be the one you would have liked, or may not always feel that way.

This reality was something that took me such a long time to even begin to understand. When we first married, I wondered *when* we might have children, but have come to realize *when* was never the right question to ask, but *if* would have been the far better one. And this is true not just for matters of childbearing, but for everything in life. We may never have more living children, may never accomplish all of our dreams, or see our lives play out exactly how we might have wanted, and instead of asking God when, we need to truth Him, remembering everything is "if God so wills." This realization while difficult, brings about a special sort of joy into my heart, and lifts some many agonies. To know that we are not in this life all alone, to know that we have Someone to turn to for guidance is a special sort of comfort to which nothing else can compare. :o)

Karen said...

I didn't even know until I was probably 13 that a woman can't get pregnant every day of the month. So much for public school education!

I do wish more people would see children for the wonderful blessings they are! I've had times where I got pregnant easily and other times we tried for many months with no luck. It's all God's plan.

zetor said...

All these things are in God's hands, he knows when the time is right. I think your thoughts are very close to mine.
Best wishes.

Buffy said...

It is providential to see you wrote this when earlier today I was reading Psalm 127 reminding us that children, like many other things in life, are gifts from God and not something we should take too much credit ourselves for creating.

Greg's Wife said...

I really appreciate this post. We did conceive just a month or so after marriage, but our son ended up being stillborn and we've been infertile ever since (5 years now). And stories like ours at not uncommon. They are as much a part of His perfect plan as families He blessed with 15 children.

People just do not believe that the Lord opens and closes the womb, even thought it's all over scripture. Children, despite what our culture at large seems to think, are not the automatic result of people's choice to stop using birth control. It pains me to hear people plan their lives out (usually along the lines of 1) career, 2) marriage, 3) nice, big house and 4) children) with the expectation that God will bring little ones as soon as they've achieved all their other, more important goals. I am glad you and your husband are so open to the tremendous blessing of children and that you are not overly concerned with worldly gain & achievements.

It is big of you to be willing to accept HIS plan when it comes to family- even if that means NO children. Should that be His will for you I pray He will give you the strength needed to endure such a great trial. That said, I pray with a hopeful heart that this will not be the case and that your quiver will be chock full of arrows! Be blessed.

Mrs.KAOS said...

Anna, Thank you. I am wholly wanting of the blessing of children; but may not yet be deserving of or able to care for such a gift. And sometimes my selfish want of a child, to care for a rear, blinds me from what I do have. And it is nice to have a gentle nudge and reminder that God knows what he is doing. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

How very, very true! I understand my body somewhat (though at times I am certain only God knows what is going on!) and last month all of the "ingredients" were in place to concieve again even though my youngest was but 6months old! :) I would have been delighted, but it was not God's will.

I rest in the knowledge that God is, and always has been, in control. Now that we are trusting Him with the size and shape of our family, living as husband and wife has so much less stress - we enjoy each other and let God open and close the womb as He sees fit. We don't stress about "making" or "preventing" a child.

You are so blessed to begin your marriage with such faith. This is something that I had to learn the hard way.


p.s. I had a friend as if you had ever been a part of the LHF. I showed her a few pictures while she stayed with me and she is so certain she has seen your hair before. (The topic came up because her family thinks when she marries she should cut her hair and I told her that you thought you would but your husband enjoys it. She was happy and encouraged!)

Anonymous said...

LOL, a few weeks after getting back from our honeymoon, my bridesmaid looked directly at my stomach and with a "knowing look", commented "putting on weight Lillian?" I laughed and told her I had put on 5Kg while on the honeymoon and no I was not pregnant.

We have now been married 4 and a half months and, (as far as I know) I am still not pregnant. Admittedly as we are both older and with each month that passes we get sad and wonder if/when it will happen. God however knows what he is doing and looking at our tiny one roomed studio appartment, I can see that it would be good not to have a child in such a restricted space (not for long at least).

All the fuss about birth control is such a waste of energy, even without bc many people only have a few children. At my age 2-4 is all that is likely (without multiples). People have been so indoctrinated that they think they will have a football team or larger without bc, - yes they may have more than two, but most will not have such large families.

Keep waiting and praying.

Thursday's Child said...

Wonderful post! You are so right. No matter how we think we'll do things, God certainly has His way, doesn't He?

Anonymous said...

How I would love to have had children earlier in our marriage (I was 25 when I married), but was 32 when our first child came along!! Those were seven verrry hard years. Endometriosis turned out to be the cause of my infertility, & was easily remedied, but I wonder if our family would be larger had there been no problems to deal with early on. I am so thankful for our three blessings...


Kacie said...

I'm somewhat amazed at people who think it's their business to ask if a couple "plans" to have children, and when that might be. I'm sure if a friend or relative were expecting, she'd tell you if she wanted ya to know!

Also, it is incredibly liberating to entrust your fertility with your Creator. He's the one who gave it to you, in the first place, and he knows what you need.

Anonymous said...

Children *are* a great blessing :) I have two, but am very thankful for the 5yrs that I had with just my husband beforehand. It's nice to have gotten to know him and established a firm foundation before adding the chaos that children bring. ;) Good luck- whatever your God has in store for you! :)

All things bright & beautiful... said...

For a lady of 22 you are very wise. God bless you and your husband.

I love reading about your early days of marriage - gosh it takes me back - and it has only got better!!


Mrs W said...

I was one that the Lord blessed with a child right away. I conceived after two weeks of marriage. Six weeks after giving birth to my precious son, I conceived again. I am so happy about that but I also know some women who have NEVER used birth control and have NEVER gotten pregnant. The thing is that we need to trust God with our families, even if that means no children or one. My husband and I desire at least seven, but it is in the Lord's hands.

Elizabeth said...

This is a beautiful post, Anna!

Laura said...

I love reading about your life as it changes, and I hope that whatever god has in store, you will share with us. It is so exciting to imagine the future, for myself and people I know. I thought I would mention though, in response to many of your comments, that even couples who can't conceive have the option to adopt. While the experience of pregnancy and giving birth is precious, being a loving parent to a child that needs you is also so important, even if it isn't your biological child.

Andrea said...


what a lovely post. I think even people who allow God to plan their family often do so with the mistaken assumption that this automatically means they will be blessed with an abundance of children, when of course that is far from the usual case, and I am so glad you touched on that. It also seems to be an assumption that the family that only has one or two children, or the family that has none, must be using birth control or suffer from infertility problems, and neither need necessarily be true.

Even worse than that, though (in my own humble opinion) are those people who believe that the more children you have, the more blessed you are! This is not to say that children are not a blessing, as of course they are, but I speak of people who relate the number of children a family has as being directly proportional to how blessed they must be. The woman who has six children is _not_ automatically more beloved of God or more blessed by Him than the woman who has "only" one, yet I see this attitude popping up all over the place. I don't think blessings can be tallied up like matchsticks, and yet that's the point of view so many people seem to take, and it breaks my heart.

Coming from a family with a history of infertility and, subsequently, a history of adoption as well, I am all too aware that my future husband and I may possibly only be able to have as many children as we can afford adoption fees. Yet I am no less thrilled at the idea of being a mother to one than I am at the thought that I might be a mother to five or six (six is the number of children that I, as a little girl, used to tell any and everybody I met that I wanted to have when I grew up!)

If it turns out that I am called to be a mother to none at all, I'd be lying if I said that my heart wouldn't break, but in any and every case, no matter what that might prove to be, blessed be the name of the Lord :)

elena rulli said...

Anna, as usual, you have wise and sweet words towards those well-meaning people that sometimes make 'embarassing' questions or statements :)

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your lovely post. We are currently miscarrying our second precious baby - leaving our home empty but our hearts full. Like you I pray for this most precious gift. I never thought that after 6 and a bit years of marriage I wouldn't have little ones at home with me.

May you continue to trust in the Lord in all you do.

Love Michelle

neuropoet3 said...

Anna, I too am amazed at how many people assume that children can be "planned" - that somehow they will just automatically come when we decide the time is right. Even without bc my husband and I have only two little boys (with many little blessings in heaven) - and even with those boys we didn't just "get" pregnant - it took quite some time. We are very thankful for the children that we have - if we had "waited" until others believed we should have children then we wouldn't have any at all since I haven't been able to carry a child past the fifth week since I was 22. Sadly, my brother-in-law and his wife - who did everything right - they had their careers, married in their 30s, but then they found that when the "time was right" to have children it was too late. The fertility problems they are going through as a couple are just so sad - my brother-in-law has even told my husband that all the money they have, all the big career hoopla, none of it matters now. It's sad that he is envying us now, when for years he thought we were fools - and wouldn't even send the boys birthday cards or anything like that.

I will be praying for God's best for you family - and may many children be in His plans!!! :)


Gina Marie said...

Thank you for touching on this important issue. My fiancé and I are to wed in a few weeks, and we have no idea what God may have in store for our fertility. I pray to be blessed soon into our marriage, though, but who knows? I will keep your family in my prayers as you wait for God's providence and timing in this matter.

Jan Hatchett said...

Amen to you!
When I graduated High School, I swore that I would never marry, have children, etc.

I married at 19 and tried for 9 years to have a baby. Finally, we adopted a wondeful baby boy (who I know was God's will for us). Then, I unexpectedly got pregnant.

God's timing is perfect (and sometimes humorous). I so wish I had been more mindful and prayerful about my potential children in my younger years.

You are so wise beyond your years, Mrs. T. I am sure that God has blessings in store for you!

Margaret said...

I haven't commented before, but I stumbled upon your blog a while back and really enjoy reading it. This post was beautiful, and I love that this is a opinion that we, as Orthodox Jews and Catholics, can wholeheartedly agree on. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Thank you , Anna, for your precious words of honor to the Faithful One as the opener and closer of the womb. Although I am not yet married, I am still praying for His blessing on this part of my life (when a husband arrives). What freedom it is to walk in His ways and fulfill His purposes for us as helpmeets and mothers (Genesis).

Mrs. R said...

Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I have been married for five months and just recently started trying to have a child(we had been waiting, but decided we were tired of being brainwashed into it and wanted to do things OUR way). About a week after I told people, they started asking if I was pregnant... and they still do. Do you ever get annoyed at people asking? Right after we started trying I had to have a surgery that will keep us from trying again for another month, and I just want to tell people to mind their own business! I'm grateful for this post and knowing that I'm not the only one who deals with people's questions.