Originally published September 19, 2014
When my husband and I first got engaged we had the talk. You know, the one where you discuss what you want for the future. A house with a picket fence, 2 kids, a dog….all that stuff. At that time, I wanted 4 kids, he wanted 2. We jokingly compromised with 3.
Fast forward, a few years and I have 2 wonderful girls. I’m happy, he’s happy. He’s done, I’m not sure. Baby #2 was colicky, an overall rough baby, but I still want to keep the door open. At this time, I had been running my daycare for a few years and always had a baby to care for. This helped, a lot! I mentioned a few times through the years that I wanted another baby, my husband always said no, we were done.
The Ache Begins
Around the time, my youngest daughter turned 3 an ache kicked in. Like something was missing. I’d cry when I’d see a baby, or when someone announced they were pregnant. Commercials would make me tear up. I’d hold others babies and just cry wanting another one of my own. I didn’t understand why I felt this way. Why couldn’t I be happy for others? Why couldn’t I be content with the 2 healthy children I had?
I began whining, crying, and praying that God would change my husband’s mind. I told him we could “try for a boy”. That didn’t work.
I got the girls on board begging their dad for a baby brother. That didn’t work.
I threw up the fact that when we were engaged we had compromised on 3, and he was going against that compromise. That didn’t work.
I began to pray and asked God to take the ache away. To let me be content with what I had. Or, to soften my husband’s heart. Eventually, after months of the ache, God worked on my husband’s heart, and I became pregnant with my son.
I promised my husband that was it. No more babies. He had given me our compromise child, and we were done. I cherished those first few years with my boy. My girls laughed because I told them we were going to spoil him, he was our last baby. I sold or gave away our baby things as soon as he was done with them.
But, It’s Not Really Gone
But, deep down, I wanted another child. My baby just turned 3. The ache has been back again in full force. Only this time, I know we are done. The ache is different this time because I know it is final. I can’t get my husband to compromise again. We have what we agreed on. Our house is small, money is tight, I should be happy and content with the three kids I have right?
But, the ache is still there. Constant. Every time I see a baby. When I hold a baby. Or look at pictures of our kids as babies. The ache comes. Eyes tear up. And I wish. I hope. I ache. This blogger put my thoughts into words, and I am so grateful:
I don’t know that we ever lose that ache. I don’t know if we ever get rid of it. I don’t know if we should. Maybe it’s meant to be there with us. So I’m learning to live with The Ache now.
The Ache reminds me of the great and terrible beauty I have seen, of what love I have experienced, of the sorrow and brokenness of loss, of all the love that is still here, of the wonder and miracle of life, of the sweetness of co-creation, of the labour and release, of transcendence. ~Sarah Bessey
The ache is different this time, though. I no longer feel “empty” or like “someone” is missing. I’m able to be happy for my friends when they announce pregnancies, and I can hold a baby without crying. It’s different, but the ache is still there.
I have read before on others blogs and talked to other moms, and I know this ache is normal. That makes me feel somewhat better about it, but I’ve had to come to terms with it myself.
Moms, I am telling you that even if the ache is normal we can’t let it eat away at our happiness, our contentment, and even our marriages. We have to find contentment in what we have. We have to learn to live with the ache.
Learning to Live with the ACHE
When the ache for more babies doesn’t go away. We have to learn to deal with it, and it can be hard. Very hard. I would love to say that I magically woke up one day and agreed with my husband’s decision, but I didn’t. I worked hard to be content, and to come to peace with it. The ache was there, but I didn’t let that ache run my life. Here is how I am worked through it.
Choose to Thank God for What You Do Have
I have three healthy kids. We have food on our table and a roof over our head. I have a husband who works hard to provide for our family. We have what has become, our dream home, that fits our family of five well.
When I take the time to thank God for what He has provided us with, it is harder to focus on what I don’t have. My life is blessed, and we are happy. God is good.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. ~Phillipians 4:11
Embrace Where Your Family Is Now
We are out of the diaper phase! Between my middle and my youngest, we always had a daycare baby or toddler. After 10 years of having a baby, we can now go places without a diaper bag or stroller. This opens up amusement parks, go-cart tracks, and much more to the whole family. We have always wanted to try tubing in Tennessee. Next time we are there, we can do that!
When I take the time to focus on where our family is now, and all the things this new stage of parenting has to offer I can try to find peace and contentment in this season of our lives.
To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Respect My Spouse
My husband works hard to provide for us. He has stresses I don’t know about, and as the head of our home, ultimately the decision to expand our family is his. He is content with our family. And whether or not I am, I need to respect his decision as the God-given leader of our home. This is where submission kicks in. Is this easy? No. However, it is a decision I must respect. It is not my job to change his mind. It is my job to love and respect him.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. ~Ephesians 5:22-23
Moms if you are dealing with the ache for more babies, I urge you to pray about what you are going through. Your feelings are normal, but if left unchecked can eat at your joy, your peace, your contentment, and ultimately your marriage. I encourage you to talk to a friend who understands what it is like. A friend who will not give you bad counsel, but one that will listen to you, support you and pray with you.
If you have been dealing with the ache, I hope this encourages you, and I pray that you can find contentment and peace to help deal with the ache. If you have dealt with the ache and worked through it, please share your story in the comments. You may encourage another mom dealing with the same thing.
Four years ago when I wrote this post I did it with tears in my eyes. It was one of the hardest posts I had ever written. It was therapy for me. You guys all responded with heartwarming stories, comments, emails, and encouragement. I wanted to come back and update this and let you know that for me, the ache is gone. Something happened around the time that my son turned 5 that just flipped. I began to see life on the other side of babies. I am so thankful God guided me in ways to get through the ache. And, I do wonder what life would be like had my husband NOT been against another child. But, does my heart ache for one now? No.
So, if you are going through the ache, I want to encourage you that at some point that ache will leave. I also want to add that finding a friend local to you, or even in an online space, who is going through the same thing, or who you can confide in about your bitterness and heartache made a world of difference. Now, don’t choose a friend who will husband bash. Choose a friend who will give you biblical advice, or just pray with you when you need it. I do encourage you to follow the tips I laid out in this post. They truly helped me deal with the ache.
Need a reminder to choose joy when you’re going through the ache? This is a tangible reminder!