Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

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 new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Bethany Spragins Lutz

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

A C-Section Mom Simply Needs You to Hear Her Story

In: Baby, Motherhood
Newborn baby crying in doctor's hands

As an expecting mother, I was told all about the sleepless nights. People made sure to give their opinion on whether I should bottle feed, breastfeed, or exclusively pump. I was told which swaddle to buy, which sound machine worked best, and when to introduce a pacifier. They told me about sleep training but that it really didn’t matter because I wouldn’t get any sleep anyway. Whenever I would mention how scared I was to give birth, I’d always get the same response: oh. honey, don’t worry, your body will know what to do. I remember listening to calming meditations...

Keep Reading

Feed Them—and Other Ways To Help NICU Parents

In: Baby, Motherhood
Parents holding hands of premature baby in NICU

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about our reality as NICU parents to a healthy, brilliant NICU graduate. Our child was born very prematurely and spent weeks in the NICU so he could grow and stabilize. My first experience as a mother of a baby was shattered in so many ways. Trauma still lingers, but I am so grateful for all I have learned from our time beside our little baby in his isolette bed. One thing I learned was that some people who really want to help support NICU parents really don’t know how they can. Here are some...

Keep Reading

From Baby to Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy asleep with legs tucked under his belly

The sweet snuggles and sighs are slowly making way for more crawling climbing and exploring each day. And just when I think my baby is gone, you snuggle into my chest, convincing me I’m wrong. I watch as you excitedly chase after your sis and giggle as you share with me your slobbery kiss. RELATED: They Tell You To Hold the Baby, But No One Warns You How Fast He Grows Daytime hours bring playful adventures as I watch my baby leave, but then a sleeping bum curled in the air makes me believe that these cherished baby moments haven’t...

Keep Reading

Having Two Under Two Was the Best Decision I Ever Made

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler and newborn lying next to each other on a bed

My baby was 14 months old when I found out I was pregnant with baby number two. He had just learned how to walk, still requiring me to walk behind him holding both of his hands above his head so he wouldn’t topple over. In other words, my baby was still very much a baby, and I couldn’t believe I’d be adding another baby to the mix. Excited, but mostly terrified, I researched and read more articles than I can count on what it’s like to be a parent of two under two. These articles more often than not use...

Keep Reading

I Thought Failure to Thrive Meant I Was Failing

In: Baby, Motherhood
Baby drinking bottle, color photo

Failure. That’s all I read. It’s all I saw. It was the only thing I could focus on. I’m sure the doctor said it at some point during the appointment, but it wasn’t until it was right there staring at me in black and white that it clicked . . . “failure to thrive.” I was officially failing my daughter. A couple of years down the road, I now realize how irrational and far from the truth that was, but at the time, it was all I could focus on. I wish more than anything that they had a better,...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

New Mama, It Might Not Be Okay Now but It Will Be

In: Baby, Motherhood
New baby looking at camera, black and white image

It was 2:30 in the morning, I was sitting on the bed with tears streaming down my face, my 7-week-old son crying in my arms. Everything hurt—my engorged breasts, my cracked and bleeding nipples, my back where I had taken two epidurals. It hurt to sit, not only from birth but from the stitches, and I was tired. “It’s okay,” my husband said, rubbing my back in small conciliatory circles, but it wasn’t okay. When they placed my son in my arms for the first time I cried tears of joy, made promises for the future, bolstered by the love I...

Keep Reading

“Please Help Mommy to Be Patient, and the Baby to Stay Alive in Her Tummy.”

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Toddler with hand on mother's pregnant belly

“Please help Mommy to be patient, and the baby to stay alive in her tummy.” It was my little girl’s daily prayer during my pregnancy. That prayer for patience—it stung a bit even though I had told her she could pray that I would be patient. It wasn’t necessarily that she or her sisters were testing my limits, but this pregnancy rage had gotten to be a real thing. If there is one thing motherhood has taught me, it’s that I can’t do it on my own. I need the help of my Heavenly Father, and I need others. I...

Keep Reading

I Know I’m Done, but I’ll Always Want Another Baby

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother touches nose to baby's smiling face, close up color photo

I was sorting clothes into tubs to donate, consign, or keep for my 1-year-old, and I came across a newborn outfit amongst a bunch of bigger kid clothes. I had gotten rid of all of my 1-year-old son’s newborn and infant things last year, but he still seems small and baby-like to me, compared to my 5-year-old. But I’m telling you, when I held up that teeny-tiny outfit, my heart broke. It looked too small to be real. To fit anything other than a doll. But, it did. My older son wore it on his first Christmas. I know I’m...

Keep Reading

I Lost You Just as I Started Loving You

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
first trimester ultrasound image of baby

I didn’t know I was already losing you just as I was starting to love you. I didn’t know while I was so excited and hopeful for all the things to come, you were already leaving my body. And my heart. I didn’t know something like this could happen in what feels like both an instant and an eternity. That it would feel like it was just yesterday we saw those two pink lines and yet here we are, eight weeks later, without even an ultrasound picture to hold. I didn’t know how angry it would make me that life...

Keep Reading