Burden or Blessing?
I was nervous, so nervous! Twenty-two years old and the mother of three little girls, 25 months, 14 months and a one day old baby! Had we stayed in Illinois I wouldn’t be laying on the gurney heading for surgery that would change my life, the surgery was illegal! However, in Alabama where we now lived, it was legal at 22 to decide this huge life decision! So, here I was, with a funny hat on my head, my baby in the nursery, my husband at work and our two older daughters were with someone from church. As I was being wheeled to my fate the fire alarm sounded sending the nurses scurrying! I was alone in the hall! Before long there were firemen running past! 22 years old, alone, wishing I could get up and just walk away! It was a living nightmare!
A few years earlier my parents sat us down before our wedding for “the talk”, wondering what our plans were for the future! So ready to be married but without a clue about what was ahead, we told my folks, “I will work so James can finish school! We will then take a month off and live in Hawaii as “beach bums!” I will finish college and James will work to put me through!” It made perfect sense to us then, but now that I’m a parent I don’t know how my folks sat there without bursting! James did finish school, however, God’s plan was for me to become pregnant four months after we married! James graduated from college with a nine month old baby and a wife seven months pregnant!
Our sweet little red head was born a few months later with a congenital heart defect! Those next few years were full of doctor’s appointments, digitalis twice a day, many physical problems and waiting for the day when her fingers would start turning blue. That would be a sign that she needed open heart surgery! As we waited we were very surprised to find out five months later that we would be parents once again!
Four short years out of high school and we were parents to three of the sweetest little girls! Far from home, far from grandparents, far from our support group of friends, we were living a life we never could have imagined!
Being a mother was what I wanted to do! I loved children; I pictured myself with many! I had planned and studied to be a teacher! So, when Arne asked me to end my dream by having a tubal I didn’t answer right away, we negotiated! I told him that I would ask three older women we respected for their opinion, and then we could decide the next step. I assumed these women would agree with me, so I was astonished to hear similar answers from each one. “Do it!” “You will have three teenagers, three in college, three of everything!” “Do it!”
Finally, as a last resort, I asked my mother, who said, “Julie, think about this before you decide!” My mother lost her dad when she was pregnant with my youngest brother who was a surprise baby. I remember mother saying many times, “God knew I was going to need this baby. Mom knew. Mom was wise! We didn’t listen!
In the first 38 months of our marriage I was pregnant for 27! Poor James, he could see us having a baby a year for the next ten to fifteen years…yikes! Reluctantly I agreed!
That’s how I ended up in the hallway of a little hospital in Hartselle Alabama, on a gurney as a very frightened young mom!
Through the years this became the biggest regret in our marriage! As our girls grew we realized that they were a blessing, not a burden! Years passed and James came to regret this decision and in 1987 I had a reversal! I became pregnant, miscarried and never became pregnant again.
Longing to be blessed with sons-in-law and grandchildren, our daughters were approaching their 30’s and not married! We began to wonder if this was a consequence of our decision made years earlier! Would it ever happen? Did we pass up a blessing?
God is good! In the last six years we have had three weddings and are blessed with six grandchildren and one blessing on the way! Today we thank God daily, and expectantly wait with thankfulness for any new blessings He brings our way!
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