My heart shook. I contemplated the thought of feeling like I had let go of any one of my children, at any given moment, for the sake of my career. I weighed the true complexity of that choice...against each of their lives. And I knew, almost immediately, that when I had been presented with that choice, I had laid down my career, and not the life of my daughter. I am not "proud" of that choice, really. Honestly, it didn't feel like my choice to make at that point in the choosing, and that's a gift. The choice I'd made was earlier - intimacy with a person I love. Either way, now that another person's life was growing within me, my personal power didn't bear more weight than hers to live. However, still, I was also again rocked with deep empathy for women in impossible circumstances, without the support of a loving partner or with pressure for this culture’s version of success from every side. I have known the shock of what I see as poor timing, and I have known the hardships of pregnancy. I make a lot space in my mind and heart for women faced with the direst circumstances, who have bought into that lie that they are not enough to bear their child, who feel the only choice is obvious/made for them... As I took to social media to process my heartache, yet lacking the words to share my position of compassion, another woman I admire greatly, Leah Darrow, set out to inspire millions with her #BabiesandDreams hashtag and empowering Instagram post - from the hospital bed where she was literally in labor with her 5th child! This was the answer: the #BabiesandDreams movement!
I wanted to cry out...House of Royals, my biggest “career dream” in life, hadn’t even occurred to me until I gave life to my daughter. Perhaps there are millions of unrealized dreams and successes because the other choice has been made. “It’s a lie!” I wanted to tell women... "You don’t have to choose one or the other." You can permit yourself to undergo the current, temporary pain for the unexpected plot twist blessing...because it will come! So, I joined Leah in sharing my story, witnessing to a different outcome...a choice of hope in possibility of future goodness. Babies and dreams are not as opposed as we assume...sometimes they evenspark our biggest dreams.
Somehow, the moment after I pushed "post" on my Instagram caption for #BabiesandDreams, I felt an odd sensation bubble up in my heart.
“Oh no,” I thought, “There’s no way that - no, that’s impossible.”
Yet something inside me just knew.
Sure enough, two familiar little blue lines stared up unmistakably at us: (can you guess it?)pregnant. I laughed out loud at the irony. Here I am swearing by "babies and dreams" while facing that surprise all over again. Those two blue lines invited us to grab hold of our courage once more and lean into the truth we’d been sharing.
Just as our first little girl showed up at what seemed like an inconvenient time, this time too felt impossibly daunting, with months of school ahead for four other siblings and multiple creative projects planned months in advance. We were in a pivotal time of entrepreneurship, yet we were now confronted by new grace laid out before us: a fifth season of baby life. We felt a huge weariness at the prospect of the season to come...months of nausea (this definitely came true, lol!) and exhaustion while juggling all the other needs... Well, a surprise pregnancy shakes our plans and schedules. We have had to make way for this tiny human and let a lot of things go.
It's okay to wrestle. It takes courage. But what matters is that we strive to willingly lay down our dreams at Jesus' feet and hope that what His Grace brings out of it will prepare us for the next, better dream. Let’s be honest: I was shocked, and I wrestled, AGAIN! (You’d think I’d be used to it by now?!) I know a lot of women can relate to this. Women in poverty, teen moms, or those without the support of their partners, and also women in happy marriages who are open, but hoping for a bit of spacing. It took a long time to recognize that there doesn’t have to be a choice between our babies and our dreams. In the end, since I believe in a Love greater than my small love, surrendering the “perfect” timing and circumstances has blessed me with the ability to lay down my life for a person outside of myself. And that's an incredible gift. A gift called LOVE. Someone needs to give mothers an award for that.
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