I'm a horrible Christian.
No, really. It's true. I'm always trying to make bargains with God. As a kid I was a huge test negotiator. Oh crap, I'm not ready for this exam. Dear God, if you help me get an A on this test, I will never ask you for another thing as long as I shall live. Of course, as an adult I realize the foolishness of such a prayer and, most definitely, the stupidity of telling God that I was never going to ask him for another thing as long as I lived. When I managed to escape the evil confines of the Ex Fiance Who Shall Remain Unnamed, and found myself, miraculously held by the arms of Troy, I praised His holy name. (God's, that is. I live with Troy, I see his cluttery messes and they are anything but holy.) Thank you so much for this incredible man. If I never receive another blessing as long as I live, this wonderful love should be enough. At least as a wise, spiritually mature, and, of course, all knowing 21 year-old, I had the good sense not to tell God that I would never ask for anything else. Because then the bargaining really began. Dear God, I want to be a mother in the worst way and you know the desires of my heart and if you give me a child I won't ask for another one. One biological blessing will be enough and please grant me this petition. It was the prayer of a woman completely terrified about the prospect of giving birth. One time through the stretching and mutilating and sheer, unworldly pain would be enough. Thanks. I am so blessed to be able to say that infertility has been my darkest hour. So many people my age have experienced so much worse. And I know that the blackest moments of my life are still to come, but thus far, the barren demon has been the one thing that has shaken me to my very core. I truly believed, with every fiber of my being, that if the Lord blessed us with a child, one child, I would be satisfied.
And then Garrett was born. From the moment I saw that child's face, it was as though my own soul was somehow existing outside of my body. I remember, in a few seconds of sheer insanity, not wanting his umbilical cord cut, because he would be severed from me, forever. Thankfully I didn't express this thought as I'm sure the doctors and nurses would have exchanged glances and started me, right there and then, on Prozac, Wellbutrin and Nardil all at the same time. Every single day with that child makes my heart swell a little more with pride and love and sheer joy. Each night I thank God for answering my prayers. Often, I praise him for the months of waiting that we endured. I am sure that they made me a more patient mother. It took approximately three months, two days, 118 minutes and six seconds before I began desperately wanting another child. Dear God, remember how I told you that one would be enough? Well, um, turns out that other than those four unbearable hours, the other 21 hours of my labor weren't so bad. Turns out that the months of sleep I lost worrying about the giant needle that was going to go through my spine were for nothing. Turns out that, when numb from the waist down, I actually enjoy the experience of giving birth. And now, being a mother is my greatest joy. Could I have another one? Just one more. Please?
So far He hasn't answered my prayer, and it has officially been nine months. And yes, I realize that is long enough for most women to conceive, incubate and then spew forth a child. But I'm trying not to focus on that. I'm trying to remember the lessons I learned from the first time around. I'm trying not to waste tears or Garrett's life worrying about the blessing that may or may not come with the next month. I'm trying to believe, with every fiber of my being, that whether or not we are blessed with another biological child, this is all part of His perfect plan.
I've never had a Quiverfull mindset, I don't have a problem with people who do, it's just that I want two or three, if we adopt. It is at this point in my life that I am so very thankful that it never crossed my mind to have ten or twelve. If I'd wanted even seven, I'd be heartbroken and devastated and on the fast track to the insane asylum where I would happily pull paint from the wall and recite Shakespeare while picking lint from between my toes. Wikipedia says that a quiver can hold between 25 and 30. And I always believe everything I read on the Internet. This is off topic but, that's too many kids, dude. Speaking of a lot of kids, sometimes, living here and passing the grocery carts full of three or four or sixteen children, I have an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. It's a common feeling, this one that my ovaries are hopelessly broken.
So since adopting a quiverfull attitude would mean imminent psychiatric hospitalization, I really do only want one more to come from within. On account of the fact that dealing with this a third time would send me into the loony bin for sure, all others will be bought and paid for. (I have a JetBlue credit card now so, potentially, I could earn plane tickets by adding to my family. Now that's killing two birds with one stone!) But I desperately want that one more. That one more positive pregnancy test, that one more baby moving inside me, that one more warm body laid on my exhausted one, that one more flesh of my flesh. The thought consumes me almost as much as it did when I yearned for the child that became Garrett. I know that I may not receive the blessing again, may not get that one more. Many of the barren in the Bible received only one. Sarah had Issac. Elizabeth had John. When Rachel had Benjamin after having Joseph, she died in childbirth and, really, no thanks. And when I dare to consider myself in the company of these woman, I am honored. I pray that Garrett may, one day, be a John, proclaiming the Messiah, or an Issac, laying himself down upon the altar without so much as a murmur, or a Joseph, showing himself to be a godly man of exemplary character.
The fact of the matter remains, every night and part of the day, I pray for just one more. But here is the truth of it, I have met so many couples along this road of infertility that are still waiting for their miracle. Still waiting for their John or their Issac or their Joseph or their Samuel or their Samson. I know where they are. I know that these women do not want to be Michal. So, if you only have time in your day to pray for one extra thing, do not pray for us to conceive another child, we accept that this may not be the Lord's will. Instead, please pray that these childless couples would receive their blessing.