There is a condition that most mamas have experienced at one point or another in their lives, and we call it Baby Fever. Its symptoms vary, but often include: googling baby names, searching Pinterest for nursery themes, obsessively calculating ovulation windows on internet baby sites, and strolling through the Target baby aisles just to look.
The worst part about Baby Fever is that it is extremely contagious. Once it arrives in a family or a group of girlfriends; it often spreads to any potential new mamas one by one, right down the line, like dominoes.
Other than occupying an overwhelming amount of your time—Baby Fever is usually harmless. It presents itself mostly in excited energy; running its course over months which are filled with anxious anticipation. And as for the poor women who have it—all they can think about are babies, and everywhere they look, they see babies. Even mamas who have already had a baby aren’t necessarily immune; they can surely catch another round!
Sadly, though, there is a more serious condition that some of us experience, after Baby Fever wears off, and this one doesn’t have a cute name. I know, because I experienced it myself for about ten years.
I call it The Wait.
The Wait is the period of time when your life is on hold, because the Baby Fever that consumed you never materialized into a pregnancy like you (and everyone around you) expected it to. It is the black-hole of time when you feel stuck; frozen, almost; and you can’t make any more major life decisions until the PLAN kicks in and the baby is conceived and motherhood becomes a qualifier of your own life instead of just everyone else’s.
The Wait happens when you finally give up on the Baby Fever; you finally quit circling days on your calendar, and finally quit taking pregnancy tests that you know won’t come up with a plus sign anyways.
The Wait happens when you have prayed so hard on so many nights for that gift of a child, that you quit directing your prayers to God. You finally decide to pray to Mary instead, figuring she might be more of an authority on the matter.
I did; and I wore my sterling silver Virgen de Guadalupe pendant every day during those hard months, drifting off to sleep each night saying Hail Marys over and over until my brain would finally shut off. Those long months that turned into years. But I kept praying. Asking her to hear me and send me my family, some day.
God made me wait about ten extra years from the time when my Baby Fever hit, but my prayers didn’t go unanswered. I didn’t know it at the time, but He was busy putting all the pieces into place for me, before my Wait could be over and the child I had dreamed about all those years could arrive.
As it turned out, I had some pretty major life changes that had to happen before I got to become a mother! I had to wake up and realize that my first husband—the one I had spent years trying to start a family with—was NOT the man I was supposed to be with for the rest of my life. Once I left him, and got back on my own two feet, I finally digested the fact that being a divorced 27-year-old who was happy and healthy was better than being an unhappily-married mother-to-be. Who was about to spend $15,000 on IVF for a baby God obviously didn’t want us to have.
He did finally bring me my perfect family, but it happened when I was 32, not 22 like I had originally planned. And the funny thing is, I laugh when I think back to myself at 22; how ridiculously un-prepared I would have been, if I had become a mother then.
I didn’t know how to be the best version of myself like I do now.
I didn’t know how to forgive like I do now.
And I certainly didn’t have the patience I do now. After a decade of waiting, I have the patience of Job.
So to my fellow mamas and mamas-to-be, if you are stuck in your own Wait right now, like I was, don’t give up hope. And certainly, don’t quit praying. (Maybe just re-route some of those prayers up to Mary, she seems to have a little pull in this department!) Your family will happen, on the timeline it is supposed to have, even if it isn’t the timeline you think it should have.
And for some of us—the family God has planned for us may not even include the family members we originally thought it should have. Do not make the same mistake I made, and stay in a bad marriage because you have too much time invested in “starting a family,” and you think you won’t have another chance if you leave. If it isn’t meant to be, it simply isn’t meant to be.
As hard as it is to trust in what we cannot see, the flipside is also true. If it is meant to be, it will be; you simply have to wait.
Good things do come to those who wait.
My handsome little blue-eyed blonde is living proof.
Don’t mistake God’s patience for His absence. His timing is perfect, and His presence is constant.