When we first got married (3 years ago this past August), my husband, Matt, and I had been instructed in depth how to chart my fertility cycles and were prepared to follow the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning to space our children. We were pro-life and never had a question of how we would plan our family, knowing we would be adherent to the teachings of the Church. Matt, who comes from a family of 12, had communicated to me, since before we were married, that he was truly looking forward to the prospect of being a father, sooner rather than later.
Somehow, though, I was missing something.
I knew I wanted a (big) family, but I was also afraid to mis-chart and get pregnant in my first year of marriage. Those charts which had seemed so clear before, weren’t so clear after all.
Why, when I had longed for a family and children, was I afraid?
Because I had subtly bought into the idea that having kids right away was something shameful, that it showed a lack of “responsibility”, that a couple was foolish not to wait until they were financially stable/used to the idea of being married.
I clung tightly to my idea of waiting. I had just been through one change, and I didn’t want to lose my identity yet, or fall into that category of newly-married couples who have a “honeymoon baby.” It sounded so embarrassing. We lived in an apartment. We didn’t make “enough” money. I liked having my coffee everyday. I didn’t want too much change too soon.
I quickly realized that these weren’t reasons enough for waiting. Sure, we’d have to rely on God and trust in Him, but we were not destitute. And being afraid of losing my figure was NOT reason enough to delay life.
One night, in front of our huge crucifix, I finally surrendered my fears and literally gave them up to God, embracing the possibility of having a baby.
Two months after our wedding, we found out we were pregnant with our son, Alejandro. I never knew such joy and such deep worry for a life, which far surpassed any worry for my own. Pregnancy was a struggle in and of itself, with constantly changing hormones and a complete body transformation. I struggled with the pain. I struggled with the worry. I struggled with birth and the recovery afterward. I struggled with breastfeeding. But the fierce love that transforms a woman through motherhood far outweighed the struggle. I wouldn’t have traded my precious baby boy for ANYTHING.
Then, 6 months after having him, while my body was beginning to regain composure postpartum, Matt and I both shared a mutual desire for more children. Were we crazy?? I had been so afraid of having another child immediately after the discomfort of pregnancy and the intense pain of childbirth. Yet, I wanted more.
When Alejandro was 7 months old, we found out we were pregnant with his sister, Marielena. We were elated. I was also panic-stricken. I was still exclusively breastfeeding and had fought hard for it. I was so attached to Alejandro and he was such a young baby. Would I be able to do this? Would he get enough attention? Would Matt and I be judged? Why did that even matter?
Again, we trusted. Again, we fought hard against sly comments (from complete strangers!) about how we should space our family. We were fighting against a whole culture that condemns us for wanting to be parents early and for wanting more than one child.
We were prepared for the difficulties, but I realized as time went on, that I wasn’t as prepared for the rewards and the graces God would grant us as we were serving Him in our YES to life.
God provided good jobs, miraculous healthcare (when insurance companies said I couldn’t qualify), and He worked within our hearts, growing them and expanding them with an unquenchable love and fire for our growing family.
Now, Alejandro is two and Marielena is 10 months (they’re 15 months apart) and I can honestly say parenting is probably the hardest thing I have done in my life so far. But it also carries the most intense, heart-brimming joy. It has strengthened Matt’s and my bond to each other and caused us to work harder than ever on our relationship. Having two babies close in age has given me the amazing privilege of allowing God to mold me from the inside out – which has stretched me in incredible ways, yet brought the most joy I have ever experienced. I have witnessed my babies form a closeness that has both surprised and humbled me.
Would I do it again? Yes, a million times over. And please, Lord God, if You see fit, bless us again and give us the opportunity to say YES with arms open and hearts ready to love all the children You desire to give us.
Bianca is a deeply Catholic mama to two sweet babies: Alejandro and Marielena, and a wife to my husband, Matt. I love attachment parenting, following the awesome teachings of our Catholic Faith, working out while baby-wearing, leading the Choir as Music Director at Church, and keeping my family healthy.