…I knew what I know now, when I was younger…
That’s how the song goes, right?
So this is the third go around with being quite close to baby time, and the truth is, I’m not actually sure I know a whole lot more now than I did the first time. I’m pretty ok with that. There’s no getting around the fact that babies come in their own timing, in different and frequently surprising ways. Isn’t that part of the fun of it all?
There have been so many times this pregnancy that someone has said to me, “Oh, I could never do that!” regarding not knowing baby’s gender, or attempting another unmedicated, natural birth. I have to say, I believe that anyone can do anything within reason, and not knowing baby’s gender (at least for us), is not outside of reason at all. When we were born, moms and dads couldn’t know baby’s gender at all before delivery. Sometimes moms even delivered twins without knowing there were two babies inside until the second one made its appearance. How on earth did everyone possibly survive?!?!
When I’m out with the kids, strangers often assume that we don’t know what we’re having this time because we already have a boy and a girl. Really, we don’t know because not knowing is fun for us when baby time comes. I love to plan, and in this case, I also love the element of sweet surprise.
Here’s what I know now that I didn’t know before having babies: the whole process is, to quote a Disney/Pixar character, “A mysteeeerious mystery.” We just can’t know everything. And we can’t plan everything, and I think that’s the way God intended it. I have great memories of delivering Eloise three years ago, but when I look back on all of the photos from that day, I have to admit there are parts I’ve probably blocked out of my memory. If I’d known all of the details before heading into the hospital that day, I don’t know if I would have had the guts to go through with it.
There’s something about the unknown that’s beautiful.
I’d be lying to say that I don’t want to meet this baby. As in, right now. I’ve had contractions every night for over a week, and each time I think, “Oh, this could be it!” and when it’s not, I’m a little disheartened. Of course I’m waiting with great anticipation, and so is Jason, and so are the kids…I can’t wait for us to be able to call them and tell them to come and meet their new baby brother or sister.
But the waiting is sweet, too. I’m at the mercy of God and nature and baby’s timing, and it’s all out of my hands. How often we’re able to control and finagle things so they’ll go just a certain way–and what a unique circumstance not to control things at all in this case. I can have peace about God knowing this baby’s birthday, even though I have no idea when he or she will actually arrive.
What else do I know now? I know that no matter how much I prepare or fret or fidget or pack, I would do best just to rest–both physically and mentally, and to allow this baby to experience being carried around by a calm and unwavering vessel in these winding down days. I’m not the poster child for this, but I’m happy to say that there are pockets in each day where I’m trying.
Vulnerability is hard, but the alternative is harder. My hands are as open as they can be in this process, despite wanting to have a grip on the details.
One last thing I know…God is writing a narrative for this baby that is far greater than what I can comprehend. The stories he weaves for our lives are always better than the ones we can dream up, and while I’m dreaming up a pretty great story in my head, I’ve no doubt God will craft an even better one.
When I was younger, I always tried to write the story on my own. Nowadays, I’m relinquishing the control I never *actually* had, and a little bit better all of the time. On the days when I’m great at it, I can lean in and laugh and rest and be my fullest self. And on the days when I’m not so great at letting go? I hear words like this whisper in the back of my mind, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” -Ex. 14.14 I may need that message on repeat for a lifetime.
practicing being still, and learning all of the time,