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It was right around two years ago that I found out I was carrying around an unsuspected visitor in my abdomen. Having just returned from a vacation to the Outer Banks where I was in my best friend’s wedding, in the weeks prior I had: drank wine, taken Aleve and muscle relaxers for my back problems, been in a hot tub, and probably 18 other things you’re not supposed to do pregnant. After spending a whole day in bed sleeping – which I chalked up to recuperating from the trip – I woke up the next morning after having a vivid dream, the kind I only have when I am pregnant. And I knew, right away.
I didn’t tell Mr. V until I took a test that afternoon, and you can read about the very subtle way I announced it to him here. It was a manic day anyway, and I was upset. Angry. With my PCOS, it SHOULDN’T be that easy to get pregnant. We were practicing natural family planning, but my cycles are kind of crazy, not to mention I was still nursing David when we got pregnant. Only a few cycles in, I was still trying to figure out how NFP worked for me.
Everything about Joshua has been a surprise, from his conception to his gender – I was SURE he was a Katie – to his relatively easy birth compared to my other two. I’ve been surprised by his personality, how he is like and unlike his brother and sister, by his unwillingness to eat solids until 9 months, by the way he used mommy like a teething ring. As a third child, you may think there wouldn’t be much left to surprise me about parenting … but you would be wrong. Because when they say each child is different, whoever “they” are, they’re right.
Nothing about him, though, was an accident.
I’ve written before that I’m not sure we would have taken the leap willingly into three-child territory. But Joshua’s place in our family has been perfect. He is a laid-back, extremely happy little guy. He entertains his siblings and lets them entertain him. He naps well and often, and sleeps at night. While Libbie is an extreme extrovert and has zero attention span and David is an introvert and very focused, Joshua rests in the middle. He embraces activities with enthusiasm, sometimes playing with cars for half an hour and sometimes listening to three words of a book before bounding away. He is mischievous in a way neither of my other two have been.
Looking at our Joshy’s sweet, smiling face, I find it hard to believe that at one time I wasn’t at all excited to hear about his presence. Joshua makes our family better, happier, sillier. I know that his existence is no accident but a gift from God, whose timing far supersedes my plans.
What I want to say to other moms who might be facing unexpected pregnancies is this: pregnancy may be awful for you, or maybe you think you can’t handle another child, or afford one. But no matter how this baby was conceived, in love or hate or with perfect timing or what you find to be the worst timing conceivable … he or she exists for a reason. You will get through it, Mom. And I’m pretty sure some day you will sit back and realize what a blessing this unexpected child is to you.
(And if you’re in an impossible situation, I hope and pray that you will consider adoption, the greatest gift you can give another couple and that child.)