Friday, November 8, 2013

On fertility

"Your fourth?"

The question, repeated throughout my pregnancy, was always asked in a high pitch, accompanied by a raised eyebrow and widening of the eyes.  It was followed, with rare exception, by the declaration,

"That's brave of you."


I would smile politely at this two-edged sword, gently stroke my swollen belly, and turn my thoughts inward.  If having this fourth baby was brave, it was the bravery of waking up in the morning.  The bravery of going to sleep at night.  The bravery of kissing my toddler on the head or talking in the evening with my oldest son.

Three weeks before finding out I was pregnant, we gave away nearly everything baby-related in our home:  the crib, the clothes, the bouncer, the toys.  A few things had been loaned to my brother and his wife for their firstborn, and a few things retained by me because I couldn't quite bear giving them away.  Everything else went in the Big Purge that preceded our moving to our newest home.

We had thought we were done having kids.  Not because we didn't want more, but because I couldn't stand the thought of losing another baby.

Such were our thoughts.  Such were my plans.

Yet within a few days of the move, something beyond thoughts and plans, intentions and strategies took place.  I loved my husband and he loved me in the way that husbands and wives love each other the world over.

If that is bravery, then yes, we were brave.  But I think it more accurate that we just were.  We lived in a good and ordinary way as husband and wife.  And as simply as the air enters your lungs or you are granted a night of rest, we found ourselves expecting another baby.

Nine months later we welcomed this little girl into the world.


My Juliette has nothing to do with bravery, at least not on our part.

She has everything to do with grace.

Nothing more, and nothing less.