I have been thinking a lot about 'Family Expansion' lately, well not so much expansion as the END of the expansion. When do you REALLY know you are done having kids? When is your family unit complete?
I feel that all of my married years have been centered around trying to expand my family. This is normal, right? Well, for me it has felt like such a roller coaster that I seriously am thinking about getting off the ride, putting an end to possibility of expansion. I want a definitive ending, not a 'wait and see'. Is that selfish? Is that unreasonable? I know that there are many women out there who can choose when to be pregnant and when to be done... I am not one of those women.
We tried for 3+ years with each pregnancy. We did adoption paperwork and screening. We went through countless medications and Dr's appointments. We waited and tried and struggled. The whole time it felt unfair and painful when someone commented on my childless state (someone actually told me I couldn't be a Mormon because I didn't have enough kids) or talked about their own pregnancies. I tried to tamp down the ugly feelings of bitterness and resentment. It was very hard to do.
I remember promising the Lord in my prayers that I would endure ANYTHING if I could just get pregnant... and finally I did! I should have been ecstatic, right? Well, I was of course but pregnancy was neither easy nor fun and I complained the WHOLE time! I was incredibly grateful to be pregnant, but I couldn't help but just want to have the baby already. Then my daughter came 2 1/2 months early. She was too early, too small (1 lb. 10 oz.) and it was a LONG road to getting her healthy and out of the hospital. I remember feeling like I had somehow brought this on and I thought 'That is NOT what I meant'. I didn't want to just skip over most of the pregnancy, I just wanted it to go quicker. Classic case of "Be careful what you wish for". :)
I promised myself that I would just enjoy it if I ever got pregnant again and wouldn't complain. More trying, more failing. Jasper started asking us for a sibling. I felt broken. Why could my body not do it's 'Divine purpose'?
When I finally got pregnant with my son I found out I have a clotting disorder. I would need to give myself Heparin injections twice a day to combat this. I did NOT want to endure that. I was scared. It hurt.
I did it though (and I'm sure I complained a lot). I think it is just human nature to complain. I wish I had better control over that tendency. It is somewhat laughable that I eventually got what I asked for but there was still something to complain about.
I think the crux of my problem is my inability to control things. My own body, my feelings, the situations, or other people's tongues.
I always wanted several children. So, do I continue to TRY for more, or do I accept the fact that I was lucky to get 2 beautiful children and move on? I've decided to move on. Then I ask myself "Does moving on mean I have to take the necessary precautions to NOT have anymore children?", "Do I leave it in the Lord's hands and just be happy if I do get pregnant again... even if it's another 5 years down the road?"
I have never gotten pregnant without using fertility drugs. I have never had normal cycles. I have pain associated with my reproductive system that has for some reason gotten worse lately. My Mom having Ovarian Cancer last year makes me think twice about just leaving things as they are. My Grandmother having Breast Cancer also makes me wary of this. All of this factors into my decision to put an end to it and have a Hysterectomy. Yet, I still ask myself, "Am I doing the right thing?". I HAVE prayed about it. I want to know for SURE. I want... to really have a choice, I guess. Not to be acting out of my limitations. I've made the decision. I will have to live with it. But, will I ever be sure of it?
I remind myself each day to be grateful for what I have. The Lord gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want. I needed the experiences I had, for some reason. I hope I learned something from them. I feel like what I've learned most is to accept the things that I can not change... and TRY not to complain so much! :)