Because being open to life means…being open to life

  1. Maggie says:

    Hello, from one crazy Catholic sister to another!
    Been through my own struggles desiring to explain “openness to life” as just that…being open to the bigness,messiness, God-view of life. Those exact emotions – yes, I’m really trying! – only to conceive again.
    I’m expecting #8, actually, and most of those are “oops!” babies…what blessings! Messy, noisy, energetic, frustrating, annoying blessings!!
    We live in something 60-70% of Americans might call poverty: a trailer, lots of farm debt, repeated crop failures, parents who have borrowed from us and not entirely repaid, no ownership (crucial to the average farmer)…the list goes on. My first two are autistic (didn’t know till after #5) then twins, then 3 girls, now expecting a boy April 5ish. I’ve been married 12 years this April. But 3 points: we miscarried pregnancy #3 at 12 weeks in the middle of spring planting. I was angry the entire pregnancy, at the too-close timing. Then discovered God is the author of life when I lost “Emmy”. I promised that baby I’d never be angry at another baby again, no matter how inconvenient. We’ve spent most of our marriage with just a pickup and other earmarks of limited finances, so yeah, I’ve had just cause to avoid conception, but enjoyed blessed confusion about cycle signs! I forgot the other two points (mommy brain!) so God Bless You in your family and your (very real) struggles.

  2. Zoe Campos says:

    As you mentioned, we also feel overwhelmed since we already have five kids and their ages are close to each other. I even remembered the horror on my face and my husband’s when I recently took a pregnancy test and found out that we’re going to have our sixth. Given our current situation, I think it’s time for us to consider early surgical abortion and see if it is the only solution we have.

  3. C. C. says:

    I also experienced the exact same thing as you. I had 5 babies in 5 YEARS TO THE DAY!!! Numbers 4 and 5 were full-term twins. My husband is a very OCD neat-freak, I had his 5 older children at home, most of whom had graduated from high school (he was widowed from his first marriage, and I helped raise his first batch). To say that I was overwhelmed was an understatement.

    When we married, we had agreed on 2 kids (added to his first 5) and we also agreed to do NFP. I cried my way through all of the pregnancies after #2!!

    Then, I had an unplanned pregnancy when my twins were 7. My husband’s adult kids were horrified! They cried and tantrummed. Even though I was also crying and angry, it really hurt me that they responded the way that they did. My husband supported their embarrassment, rather than defend me, and that made me cry even more. People laughed when I told them I was expecting our family’s 11th child, and they saw right through my fake smile as I rapidly blinked my very wet eyes!

    I was sad. Only when I got to 18 weeks gestation, did I accept the pregnancy and begin to look forward to holding my baby.

    At 19.5 weeks, I realized the baby hadn’t moved in a while. An ER ultrasound showed that my baby boy had passed away at 17.5 weeks, and that I had been carrying him for 2 weeks without knowing! It was a missed miscarriage. Even my body didn’t realize he was gone, as the placenta (and my baby bump) continued to grow after his death.

    I was induced, and delivered him on his 20 week gestation birthday.

    Then came the guilt, regret over words spoken, thoughts that I had entertained, etc. To see my 5 young kids attend their baby brother’s funeral in the dead of winter was just the worst.

    It has been a very sad 5 years.

    Last year, I had another NFP surprise… I had the life’s experience to know that having a baby at age 43, with an 11 year age gap between the baby and my youngest living kids (the twins), would be difficult. Yet, I found the strength to rejoice. It was the scariest pregnancy ever. I was terrified of a repeat fetal demise, when the thought honestly never occurred to me with my previous pregnancies.

    Our little girl was born in summer 2016 and has been the light of the family ever since. I am so thankful for this last, unplanned gift, which served as a second chance for everyone in the family. She was an unexpected re-do, and we are thankful for her.

    I pray that you can find peace in your heart, mind and soul, and that someday you are also given a special gift of peace and light, like I was given.

  4. Liz says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I experienced a very unexpected pregnancy and cried so much after I found out that I was pregnant. I felt like I needed a break after two babies back-to-back, and we were trying so hard at nfp and abstaining a lot. Then we too lost our little baby, and I felt awful. I felt guilty that I wasnt more joyful during the short time I had with my baby, and I just wanted my baby back and felt like it was somehow my fault. But I’m starting to realize these crazy emotions are so normal and that I need to work on trust. Being open to God’s plan means being open to God’s Plan. <3

  5. Christiana says:

    I’m reading this after having read your email about your very recent loss. I can’t imagine what you are feeling right now, after such an emotionally complicated pregnancy, after so much struggle to accept God’s will, and after so much hope.
    I think being open to life also means being open to loss. It really means being vulnerable and accept God’s plan for our family and God’s timing: as much as we plan, He is still the Lord, the Creator.
    I’m so sorry for your loss, but I can see that this baby was a true blessing for you and your family in so many ways. Praying for you.

  6. Lindsey says:

    Congratulations, Nancy! Just think: in many years, when they all come home for Thanksgiving, you’ll be so happy to have them all there at the table. You are such a great mom and are giving your children a wonderful life! Thank you for your witness and for eveything you do!

  7. Fiona Carolan says:

    Hi Nancy, Thank you for posting your honest and open thoughts. I first came across your craft , but have been reading your blog for about 3 years. I especially loved your thoughts on miscarriage as it closely echoed my own experiences years earlier. I am totally with you on being open to life and coming to learn what this means. God always gives us the grace we need at whatever stage of life we are at. When we have 1 child we have the grace for 1, when we have 10 we have the grace for 10! I know because we have 10 from 18 years down to 2 years (3 girls and 7 boys) . I spent the first 3 months of my 7th child’s pregnancy crying every morning. We named him Benedict Dominic, I couldn’t have given him this name at the start of the pregnancy. The grace came during the pregnancy! God is SO GOOD. Keeping you in my prayers and wishing you and your family all the best from Wollongong Australia, Fiona Carolan

  8. Ania says:

    Dear Nancy!!!!!!! Thank you for this post! Thank you for what you’re sharing! I will pray for you and your Family!!!!!!! ) I’m also pregnant with Baby number 5 :))))))


  9. Elizabeth K says:

    Thank you! And yes, this sounds very similar to my jouney with NFP, too. My kids are 7,5,4,2,1 and due in May. I can totally relate (my one year old is also working on all 4 of her molars). about 2 years ago just before we found out about #5, I was REALLY not wanting another child. We had just move to a new state, I was coming out of years of depression, finances, and other children with behavioral issues just seemed like way too much already. One day I was at adoration and God just whispered to my heart, “Do you trust me? Are you willing to let go of what you think is best and believe I know what is best?” A week later I found out I was pregnant and I knew God was preparing me for that news because otherwise my attitude would have been rather worse (than I already was struggling with) :-/ Hang in there, momma! Each year gets a little easier (because each kid gets a little more independent and reliably helpful). =)

  10. I had tears rolling down MY face as you talked about telling the sisters you were pregnant. I just want to hug you (which is saying something because I am a very introvert non-hugger!)

    When we first got married, we were contracepting. My husband was deploying for a year in Afghanistan just 12 days after our wedding. It was NOT a good time for a baby! At least that’s what I thought. My wise MIL just quietly said “There’s never a good time for a baby.” And with that we decided to be open to life. We got pregnant on my husband’s mid-tour leave, and baby was born a couple months after he got home. It was hard. PTSD, ppd, financial struggles.

    Now we have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old and 1-year-old. And my husband usually works 12+ hours 5 days a week. It’s still hard. But when people tell me I shouldn’t have had the kids so close I gesture at my family “Alright, so which one do you think shouldn’t be here?” That changes the perspective! ?
    Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share your heart. It help to know we’re not alone in the open-to-life struggle!

    All my kids are sick today, and one is cutting 4 molars at once… I’ll offer my snot-filled day for you and your family! ?

    • I’ll take that hug! and yes, there is never a good time for a baby–at least not that we can see with our eyes. God knows best, and he is always there with us.

      Blessings on your family (and feel better!). Struggles come in so many different forms. But God’s love is endless and so is his mercy.

  11. Samantha Gonzalez-Muralidharan says:

    Hugs Nancy!!! I can imagine how worried you could feel on thinking your 24hrs won’t be enough… God will definitely provide, and He will continue to bless you all… I have had 7 pregnancies and I have 3 successful children at home… I can’t imagine how would my life be with more children, but reading you, I trust the Lord He is by ny side. Thank you for sharing.. you are an awesome mom of 5 ❤️

  12. Jenny says:

    Beautifully said, esp. the parts in bold near the end. God bless you!

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