Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

For a few weeks, I thought I might be pregnant.

I already have four children, ranging in age from 12 all the way down to two. I change diapers in the middle school parking lot and listen to trumpet practice while supervising bath time.

My hands are full.

Actually, everything but the checking account is pretty full around here. Schedules are jam-packed, closets are filled to the brim, the minivan sits a little lower than it should and long-legged preteens argue daily over that coveted front seat. In just a few years, we will be making college visits and awaiting ACT scores. We have had four babies and who could ask for more?

When I found out that I am for sure not pregnant, I should have been relieved. Certainly, the first feelings that flooded when I glanced at the calendar and realized something wasn’t exactly as it should have been were fear and anxiety. I immediately started crunching numbers in my head, trying to find some way to squeeze another medical bill and another unpaid maternity leave out of our tight ship monthly budget. I spent a week or so flip-flopping between disbelief and dread.

And then around the two-week mark, just like I have a half a dozen or so times before, I started imagining tiny pink fingernails. That’s always where it starts.

Then I started thinking about the white onesies I finally put away a few months ago, the warm weight of a fresh baby on my chest, and the holy hush that follows the final moments of labor.

It didn’t take long for my dread and panic to fade into a familiar longing. And then when all of a sudden it was clear that I am not pregnant, I cried for a day.

I wasn’t planning to have another baby. I don’t know if my body can even get in line and do the job as it has before. I am 35, I’m stressed, I’m tired, I’m busy, I’m needed for a heck of a lot by a half dozen or so people already.

Labor is no joke. Postpartum is scary. Feeding babies is a big task, no matter how you serve the meal.

I don’t even know if I want to do all that again.

A lot of my friends are taking control of the tail end of their fertility and scheduling little procedures and avoiding the “Am I?” and “Do I want?” questions altogether. So after this strange three weeks of wondering what the HECK is going on with my body and WHAT IF I’m pregnant again, of course, I consider the same appointment.

But I don’t make the call.

I will never not want another baby.

I will never get over the sacred nature of ushering life. But I don’t know if I’ll get the chance again.

RELATED: 10 Awesome Reasons I Love My Big Family

And I know how lucky I am to have been able to hold living, breathing life in my shaky hands four times over. I know it might even sound selfish to say I want more.

I am tempted to slam the door closed because living in the tension of maybe but probably better not is really painful. It would be easier to adjust to the hard no than have to make the decision every month that no, I can’t do this right now. And at 35, I think I have to face the fact that every time I say not this month, I could be walking toward never again. Wouldn’t it be safer to just remove all question and end this now?

But I don’t think I can do that, at least not yet. There is a chance I will have some fertility left when all the stars align. So I hold on to maybe, hold a little funeral every month, and live with the ache of maybe someday.

And now, here, in the midst of all the unknowns and the potential for heartbreak, I am holding space today for all the women in my life who know what it is to ache for what isn’t and what might never be.

Women are a lot of things. We are the bringers and sustainers of life; we till and plant and water and tend and none of it is without its cost and none of it guarantees a harvest in this life. I can hardly think of a woman in my circle who hasn’t had her plans upended and her hopes deferred at least a time or two, and some of them have lost more than I can speak of.

I am reminded today that in some ways, to be in this world is to know suffering. No amount of money, intelligence or influence can protect any one of us from the passing of time. I know that I can set up fences to give myself the illusion of a tightly controlled future, but I think I have to ride the waves of what might still one day be.

I’d rather live with the ache of not today than close off my heart to the possibility of maybe someday. I want all of us to be able to live brave, even if it hurts sometimes.

It just might be our only path to no regret.

You may also like:

10 Awesome Reasons I Love My Big Family

We Had a Lot of Kids (on Purpose)

We’ll Never Bring Another Baby Home Again

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Bethany Spragins Lutz

Bethany Spragins Lutz is a thirty something mother of four from Tennessee, writing at bethanyspraginslutz.com on faith, doubt, family life, feminism and culture.

It’s More Than a Crib Once It’s Held Your Babies

In: Baby, Motherhood
White crib in baby's room, black-and-white photo

It’s just a piece of furniture. Maybe. But to a mom who has laid three babies down in it over seven years, it is so much more. It’s everything. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I didn’t know yet what we were having, but I knew I could start planning the nursery. I didn’t want to paint yet . . . until we knew. So we started looking at furniture, the chair you would be rocked in, the books to adorn your ever-growing collection, the dresser to house the ridiculous amount of...

Keep Reading

Never Forget How Much I Love You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding nursing newborn, black-and-whte photo

I see us here. In our spot. You and me. And I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness. A gratitude that grows because I have what I’ve watched others long for. And even for some who I love, I’ve watched them lose. Two times now, I’ve become a mama. Two healthy pregnancies, two drama-free, full-term deliveries, and two perfect princesses, we’ve welcomed into this world. In utero, they voiced concerns. Yet with every ultrasound and appointment, we got good news. You were perfection. Just two short months after this photo was taken, I found a spot in that very breast nourishing you. I...

Keep Reading

This is the Bittersweet Goodbye to the Baby Years

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Little girl pushing toddler brother in baby swing, color photo

Last August, I had my last baby. Oof. Even typing those words makes my heart ache. There’s something so final, so sad, so unreal about acknowledging the end of having babies. Maybe it’s because I’m the type of person who likes to keep all the doors open. I love possibilities. I hate goodbyes. And this, my friends, feels like a very hard goodbye. When I think about being done having kids, it feels like a goodbye to the baby years. For six years now, all I’ve known is the baby years. And while the baby years can drain me and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God Sends a Double Rainbow

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Two sacs as seen in early pregnancy sonogram

I lay on the ultrasound table prepared to hear the worst. While this pregnancy wasn’t totally expected, it was a miracle for me. I knew with the current stress in my life and the symptoms of a miscarriage, I may have to face another heartbreak to my series of heartbreaks over the last two years. I questioned what I did wrong to deserve it all. I prayed I had been stronger in my prior life: to have made better decisions. So I lay there, I held my breath, and I waited as the tech put the cold jelly over my...

Keep Reading

When Your Baby becomes a Big Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy smiling with hoodie on

My son recently learned how to climb out of things, so I asked my husband to take the side off the crib to convert it to a toddler bed today. I snapped one last picture of my son in his crib before I hurried off to get him dressed for school. As I got to work, I saw my husband had sent me a text of the transformed crib, and it just about killed me. I know, I know . . . what even changed? It pretty much looks the same. But it’s more than just the side of the...

Keep Reading

I Know This Baby Is Our Last and It’s Bittersweet

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Woman snuggling baby by window

Three is our magic number. It always has been. It feels like the perfect number of kids for us. Everyone who belongs around my dinner table is here. Our family is complete. And yet even though my family is complete, I still find myself grieving that this is our last baby just a little bit as I pack up the teeny, tiny newborn onesies and socks. I’ve folded up swaddle blankets that saw us through the all-nighters of the newborn phase, ready to be passed along to a new baby in someone else’s family. But they won’t be swaddled around...

Keep Reading

I Wasn’t Sure You’d Be Here To Hold

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on her chest in hospital bed

I stood naked in my parents’ bathroom. Even with the tub filling, I could hear my family chattering behind the door. I longed to be with them, not hiding alone with my seven-month round belly, sleep-deprived, and covered in pox-like marks. For three weeks, I’d tried Benadryl, lotions, and other suggested remedies to cure the strange rash spreading over my body. No luck. By Christmas Day, my life had been reduced to survival. Day and night, I tried to resist itching, but gave in, especially in my sleep. At 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., the feeling of fire ants...

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

My Second, It Only Took a Second To Fall In Love With You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on chest, black and white image

You were the second. The second child who, as a mother, I wondered if I could love as much and as fiercely as my first. It’s true, I’m ashamed to admit. As much as you were so desperately prayed for, I was scared. So, so scared. I was scared I was going to fail you. You were the second. And already so loved. But, you see, your brother was my whole entire world. My everything. He made me a mother and gave me all the firsts. My lap was only so big. My heart was only so big. There was...

Keep Reading

Dear Helmet Mama, It’s Not Your Fault

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mom holding baby with helmet, color photo

I’m a helmet mama. It’s something I never thought I’d say, but there it is. And I’m not going to be ashamed of it. Of course, at first, when the doctor referred us to see a specialist for “flat head,” I thought, “Oh, please no. Not my baby.” I’ve seen those babies, and I’ve always felt bad for them and wondered how their heads got that bad. And I’ll be honest, I’d usually pass judgment on the mother of that baby. So how did I end up with my own baby having a helmet on his head? It’s called torticollis—and...

Keep Reading