After Rondel was born, we struggled a lot with the transition from “couple” to “family.” I had PPD for months, my husband was exhausted from being up with a sleepless baby and trying to encourage a miserable wife, and Rondel was becoming anxious and easily overstimulated. We were all on edge and our margins were just about the lowest they’ve ever been. And so, clearly, we thought it was the worst imaginable time to have another baby.
Although at that time I didn’t quite grasp the theology of the body that informs the purpose and ethical applications of sex, I had an instinctual dislike of contraceptives, for various reasons: I didn’t like having to take a pill everyday with hormones that were going to influence far more than just my reproductive system, barrier methods felt awkward and incomplete, like we weren’t actually coming together in the one flesh of marriage, and we obviously weren’t at a point to consider permanent sterilization as a means of contraception. So we were charting and tracking and being really careful – and then we found out we were pregnant, just 7 months after Rondel was born.
It wasn’t our plan at all. Looking back at the charts, it makes no biological sense that we got pregnant when we did.
But you know the beauty of it? Because it wasn’t our plan, because we were walking through the tension of stewarding our resources well while remaining open to God’s plan for new life, we were relieved of the constant fear that we’d made a mistake every time that things were difficult. This baby wasn’t our choice – he was God’s choice, and God is someone we can trust.
And as the months went by, we saw the profound good that Limerick brought to our family: the pregnancy hormones that snapped me out of PPD, the reevaluations of my lifestyle and parenting choices that made me a gentler and less anxious mother, the small and vulnerable baby that showed Rondel how to care for someone weaker and more needy than himself, the bold and mischievous toddler who is helping Rondel learn to share, negotiate, and adapt even as he learns those things himself.
If we had made it about our plan and our wisdom and our choices, Limerick wouldn’t be here, bringing his incredible blessing into our family – and that is a huge reason why, now, I would not choose to contracept or sterilize. Who knows what other unforeseen good God wants to bring into our lives? Why would I want to close myself off to that blessing, just because I cannot picture it clearly in my mind now?