Monday, March 2, 2009

"The best laid plans...

... of mice and men, often go awry." (Rest in peace, Mr. Clancey.)

It seems to be common (and perfectly acceptable) to ask a pregnant woman whether or not her pregnancy was "planned". I've been asked this both by people who know we practice NFP, and those who don't, those who are advocates of the method, and those who give it no more credit than the "rythm method". From people within our circle who understand and appreciate NFP, I suppose it's to be expected, as so many couples we know who use it have had "surprise" first babies. I find it's even more common from those who don't know about or understand NFP with this pregnancy - as if people couldn't possibly believe that we'd actually be okay with having two kids under 16 months apart. But regardless of who does the asking, every time it comes up it seems as though people are expecting either "yes" or "no". But the way I see it, there's really a third option.

This is my third pregnancy. I had an early miscarriage the first time we conceived, then (by God's grace) Norah was conceived two weeks later. Both of these pregnancies were, in fact, "planned". When Francis and I got married, we knew that we would prefer to have a little bit of time alone together before we got pregnant. We had a few things we wanted to check off our to-do list first - I'm not talking about touring the south of France here. Our list consisted of things like "buy life insurance". About 8 months into our marriage, we decided it was "time" to try to get pregnant, and we were very blessed to conceive in the first month. After we lost that baby, we wanted to try again right away, and were blessed with Norah.
So we had our "plans", and things seemed to work out exactly according to those plans. But when we declared our marriage vows and promised to be open to life and welcome children from God, we meant it. Had we conceived earlier, it of course would have been different from our plans, but a welcome blessing nonetheless.

So isn't that the third option? This baby in my womb was neither specifically planned nor unplanned. Once Norah was about 5 months old I really felt ready to embrace the possibility of another pregnancy, but my cycle was still not quite regular. We decided we wanted to just let "nature take its course" - in other words, be open to God's plan for our family. Just a couple of months later, we were thrilled to find out Norah would be a big sister.

Earlier today I was watching a video with Norah on one of my favourite blogs, and it made me smile. I so look forward to the beautiful craziness of a house full of little ones and the extra heaps of love they bring with them.

My two babies!


Elena said...

I completely agree with the third option and I had a feeling that those would be your thoughts when you saw the video. There really is a tremendous amount of joy here and the more personalitities, the more joy. I always want to launch into a diatribe about babies not being planned but still not being mistakes or even outside of our plans. The twins were a happy surprise, Ben was planned and Joe made me kick a garbage can in frustration - "What? I have to be sick in 5 weeks from now?" But, Joe is the icing on the cake; the one who launched us into the "Oh, you must be Catholic circle." However, he also proved to me that I can do a lot more than I thought. As one friend says, another baby is a promotion from God. At the time of Joe's conception I knew, in theory, that this was a good thing but, now in hindsight, I see how perfectly planned he was. Also, Ben was probably the only baby who was so easy that I could have another one in such close succession.

Jaclyn said...

Elena I love that thought: "Another baby is a promotion from God." I think that sums it up beautifully! A woman I know says, "A mistake is something you'd take back if you could, but a SURPRISE is something you just didn't know you wanted until you got it."

I also understand your sickness frustration. I've had such a hard time with my never-ending, all-day "morning" sickness this time, since with a busy toddler I don't get to slow down, and I can't take a full dose of Diclectin because it wipes me out. I can't imagine what it will be like to go through that with SEVERAL kids running around!

Helen E.M. Wright said...

I'm more on the since when is it acceptable to ask why you are waiting so long in between children?!?!
I am ready to crack the next person over the head who comments about it!! Sometimes, just to make them feel embarrassed about thinking that it's perfectly all right to give their opinion about how it's better to have children closer together, I'll tell them that we're having problems and have had a miscarriage.
Is that mean?!? Or wrong?!?! Cause I will tell you it does make me feel a little better!!

Elena said...

It's amazing how people's reproductive choices (I hate that term) have become open season for all. I always tend to give unnecessary explanations to people as I just want people to understand whereas dave just says, "it's none of there business." It's a tough line to walk but I don't think that you should have to tell anything so personal to someone who doesn't genuinely care. On a completely different tack (well, not so different and if you are actually rading this comment, Helen), have you ever heard of the Hilgers Institute or the Pope Paul VI Institute? They are a fertility institute whose methods fall in line with church teaching AND they boast much higher rates of success than in-vitro etc. I know of a few people who have conceived little miracles through them. They are (of course) based in the States. Try googling them. I'll keep praying. (Blessings to you - ha, ha, I know you hate Christianese). Jac, thanks for hosting this discussion and I had to take diclectin til the end with Joseph. I actually took it to the hospital with me when I was in labour as I just couldn't believe that the sickness would end. Amazingly it was over the minute he was born. Plus, I always had a strange taste in my mouth with diclectin that was just gross. Also, are you still thinking of a march break visit?