Warning: Vulnerable post ahead, written with love. 🙂
We were done having kids. I had been giving away baby essentials to people who I thought needed them. I gave away the crib, the baby clothes, the maternity clothes, and the stretchy wrap. I wiped my eyes quietly and frequently when my youngest quit nursing. We were saying goodbye to the baby stage.
However, saying goodbye to the baby stage also meant saying hello to a whole new world of possibilities. The kids were old enough that we could all go out together without a stroller or diaper bag. My husband and I could pursue our music business and gigs much more easily. I was starting to feel like my body was my own again.
All dressed up for a friend’s wedding last year.
It was a bittersweet time, but I was coming around to the idea of just having older children. I finally worked my heart into the place when I could say that I was done with having babies. Really, and truly.
At the end of the first week of March of 2018, I realized my cycle was late. I wasn’t overly concerned because we had been very careful in preventing pregnancy. But still… that nagging feeling.
I had an old, expired pregnancy test in my bathroom. I peed on it and immediately two lines appeared. Positive.
To say that we were floored would be an understatement. How did this happen? We didn’t miscalculate. I know we didn’t.
It was a complete punch in the gut. It threw a wrench into all our plans and made our work situation completely impossible. I know that sounds really self-centered, but hear me out.
While I used to be almost entirely a stay-at-home-mom, over the last couple of years I had become integral to our income through my teaching. Without that, we wouldn’t even come close to making our bills, and our family was only growing bigger and more expensive.
What’s more, our schedule had become quite complicated, and I felt that the kids were always being shuffled around. We were stretching our babysitters thin. We hardly ever had time as a family. I had been feeling for quite some time that I should stop working when it was possible, but now it seemed that our hands were being forced far before we were ready.
While in my heart of hearts I believe children are a blessing, we couldn’t stop asking ourselves: How in the world were we going to do this?
I went through the first four months of pregnancy sick and in denial. I told almost no one. We didn’t even tell our families until I was into my fifth month. Meanwhile, Tim began applying to jobs anywhere he could.
This picture was taken at about 20 weeks, when I was in Italy for a study program and we finally announced baby #4 on social media.
Long story short, Tim was offered a job out of the area for a salary that was considerably higher than what we made together. We didn’t really want to move, but it was looking like it was our only option. We held out as long as we could for other jobs to maybe come through, but in the end this was the only really viable one for our budget.
We accepted the offer and began packing our home. We gave our notice to our bosses and students here. We were accepted for a rental and were about to sign a lease. We were working on renting out our own home so that we wouldn’t have to carry our (modest) mortgage while renting in a new place.
Still, we did have concerns about leaving our family and friends here. There were some family health issues and an impending surgery to worry about. And while we know that children do indeed adjust and adapt, we were still fretting about the transition to a new place where they (and we!) knew no one at all.
Beyond these concerns, there were many small doors closing- too many little obstacles to list them all here. It didn’t look like we were really supposed to move. And yet, we felt that we had no other choice. We had to move if we wanted to feed our family. We kept pushing on all the closed doors to try to force them to stay open.
Our kids at a local attraction in our potential new town.
It was just over a week before my husband’s start date when things officially fell through. We found out that our house couldn’t be insured as a rental property without a new roof. We couldn’t immediately afford a new roof, so we would have to take on a loan to get it done. But if we took on a loan, we would be mostly negating our pay raise. On the other hand, if we decided not to rent our house, then we would barely be making budget at the new job.
Finally, it boiled down to this question: Does it make sense to pick up and move our whole family to go to a new job at a really difficult point in our personal and family lives to barely be making budget?
The answer we came to- after endless debate and many sleepless nights- was no, it didn’t make sense.
That same week, my husband was able to negotiate more hours at the day job where he had been working part time already. And while we aren’t (and probably never will be) rich, we are now in a position where I don’t have to work to make our family budget.
I’m able to stay home with my kids and new baby. I’m able to focus on home and homeschool. I can pursue singing and performing on my own terms because I want to, not because I have to. While the job situation isn’t a dream for my husband, it is meeting our needs and enabling us to all be home together in the evenings instead of constantly shuffling the kids.
It has become clear that this pregnancy, while extremely difficult to come to terms with, was exactly what we needed in order to get us in a better place. God knew what he was doing when he laughed at our plans.
While I initially had no idea how in the world it would all work- I can see how it already is working for good. And I am quite sure that we will continue to learn and grow in ways I didn’t think possible as we get to know this little person.
Our newest daughter at about 26 weeks gestation.
For now, I am watching my belly grow large (my due date is in November!), enjoying homeschooling my kiddos, and finally taking the time I’ve always wanted to nest. My heart has softened much, and I am getting excited to meet this new little one.
Needless to say, this summer disappeared. We didn’t plant a garden and I didn’t blog. We kept our heads above water though, and that counts for something!
For now, I am trying to recover my home from years of being over-committed and neglecting regular housekeeping duties. I am having fun de-cluttering and making a mini-nursery in our extra room. And, in my spare time, I am working on the blog and a new project behind the scenes. (More on that to come! You can subscribe to my emails here if you want to know what’s coming up. 😉 )
I can’t guarantee any blogging regularity over the next few weeks as I prepare for the little bambina. BUT I did very much want to share with you all where we’ve been this last summer. I will give you updates as I can!
So, for now, happy autumn to you! May your season be restful and joyful.