So, we’ve changed our minds about having a baby.
No. We’re not pregnant. Calm down, but get a beverage and settle down. This is going to be long.
If you’ve known us for any amount of time, you know that husband and I never intended to have children. With both of us being only children, neither of us grew up with other kids around. I’ve changed one diaper in my life, babysat exactly twice, and as of this writing, husband has never held a baby. I used to only think babies smelled funny, looked weird, and gross stuff came out of them all the time. Young children talked a lot and asked annoying questions. They threw tantrums and often had snot on their faces. I found very little redeeming about children. Clearly, I had developed a well-rounded view of children and parenting. Don’t even get me started on the ideas I had about being pregnant and giving birth.
So here’s how I went from the above idea to deciding I was ready to do this.
I think it all really started for me back in December of 2010. We were in Florida visiting some of Husband’s family. His aunt, whom I love dearly, mentioned the fact that part of parenting as believers was raising children in the Lord and the kind of people you helped to raise. Of all the people who gave us grief about choosing not to have children, this was the one argument that I could agree with, but I tucked that idea away for later. Kids were still definitely not for me. Then in April 2011, I wrote this blog post about being childfree. If you read the last few lines, it’s clear that God was at work then. After the decision was made to move to Boulder, we were hanging out with a couple who we know well and were talking about how kids were definitely not for us during grad school. She, who was finishing her PhD at the time, informed me that she’d actually heard of grad school as a great time to have kids because of the flexibility in schedule. Again, thanks, but no thanks, but the conversation was God planting seeds.
Fast forward to our move to Boulder. Still no plans whatsoever for kids. Enjoying our new life in Colorado and exploring all the new wonderment of it all. Life is good. We’re happy being just the two of us plus the dog. During the first six months or so, it comes up from several people, across several states, that people like Husband and I are the people who should have kids and that we would make great parents. I say this not to brag on us but because these conversations really meant something to me. These were comments from people I love and respect, and it was more than just an off-handed “oh you guys would make great parents.” These were more serious comments about who we are as people, the strength of our marriage, and how great it would be to have a little member of Team Alzen. Likely some of you who had these conversations with us are reading this now.
During this time, I continue to walk alongside two of my closest friends from CA, who happen to be single and struggling with who God has for them. I begin to feel this conviction that my child is someone’s “someone” and me not having that child will leave a single believer without the one whom God has for them. A few weeks later (sometime around January), Husband tells me after church that he felt God tell him we should have a kid. I freak out and retreat to talk quietly to God about it. A few weeks after that, I feel God say the same thing to me, gently and quietly. I journal about it, but don’t say a word to anyone, including Husband. I was unwilling to go there publicly, but God and I venture into conversations about it.
Enter March 18, 2012. Another Sunday comes where God speaks to me about being a mom. This time it’s different. It’s a booming voice. I have no idea what church was about because God was talking so clearly to me that there was nothing but to talk with Him. After church, I quietly tell Husband that God told me we should have a kid. I’m still not willing to commit 100%, but I’m at least willing to open up to my partner. I also confess that God told me this a few weeks prior, but that I was too scared to openly admit it. Husband laughs, hugs me, and proceeds to say “a baby, huh?” We laugh, and I tell him I can’t handle talking about it right now. We pray about it and bring it up in brief conversations throughout the next week.
The next day I get a text from a friend asking to pray for some big life situations. I e-mail her a list of questions I would consider if I were in her situation. The questions were specific to the decisions she was facing, but in the process, I make a similar list for myself and begin to pray through it.
In the end, here was where I ended up:
Arguments against having a kid:
I don’t know what our future looks like with kids
Kids are expensive
Kids are a lot of work
My field is more difficult for women with children
I’ve never really wanted kids
We’re happy without kids
Arguments in favor of having a kid:
God is calling us to do this, and to have a kid would be an act of obedience
Really, that’s all that needs to be on this list. There are obviously other arguments in favor of having kids, but that’s all it takes for me. I knew this that first Sunday when God talked to me. I just needed some time. God blessed me with some great conversation about the blessings that will follow, and the privilege of being entrusted with raising a child. At no other point in my life have I thought this way. Before, any “in favor” arguments I had were completely selfish. It’s the complete opposite now. It’s clear that God waited until we were in the right place for this. Funny how He does that.
If we had a kid in California, I don’t think we would have moved to Colorado for grad school, and grad school in Colorado is clearly God’s plan for us. The timing seems to be great. We can have a kid, and the flexibility of grad school (and hopefully a post doc afterward) will allow me to spend time at home with our child before s/he goes to school.
In a very brief time, God has clearly changed our hearts toward children. This is more evidence to me that having a child is God’s plan. Infants and toddlers no longer immediately gross me out or make me angry. I’m terrified and excited about being a parent. Despite the roller coaster of emotions I know every parent faces, I rest in knowing that this is obedience, and I know that there is no better place than obedience.
So I know now everyone is wondering when. Don’t get excited. Again, we’re not pregnant now. I have a nice timetable I’m very comfortable with that includes having a kid sometime after the end of my third year of grad school. Husband and I have talked about it, and I’ve prayed about it quite a bit. God is either fine with my plan, or He’ll just make things happen in His time. Either way, I’ll be ready. The world spins and floats in His hands; I know He’s got this under control. (NOTE: I’m about to finish my first year of grad school, so this is 2 years from now. Please don’t start asking me if I’m pregnant when you talk to me. If you do, I’m going to unfriend/unfollow/be annoyed with you. I promise. When we know, you’ll know shortly thereafter.)