My husband was a surprise baby. He was not planned, he was not supposed to come into existence, and he was born when his parents were … older. However, I and many other people are very thankful that he was born. (He also wasn’t supposed to live once he was born. His mother prayed a “Hannah’s Prayer” over him, “Lord, if you spare this baby, I will give him to you.” And, wouldn’t you know it, JJ has never wanted to be anything except a pastor. Isn’t that interesting! Anyway…)
Over the years, my husband and I have met many more people who were also surprise babies. They’ve all been dearly loved by their families, and those families can’t imagine life without them. For example, my parents told me about the pastor at our church when I was a little girl. He and his wife had two children, then seven-ish years later, had a surprise baby. Ten-ish years after that, they had another surprise baby! I like that story.
Years ago, other acquaintances of my parents had four grown/teenaged children. They went to a party one night, after which the wife complained of bad stomach cramps. The husband took her to the hospital, where (you know what’s coming!) the doctor told her she was having a baby. She was stunned; somehow, she had had no idea. (I guess she was a larger woman, so she didn’t really gain any weight. Plus she was in her 40s. But still — how would you NOT know??) Regardless, they didn’t know, and she gave birth to a baby for whom no preparation had been done. Wow! That must have been a huge surprise!
I also know of at least two families who adopted a number of children, only to later on in life have a baby of their own! Those stories are so … magical, as well as being beautiful examples of God doing everything in his own good time.
I love the idea of surprise babies. I love the idea of God sending a child to a family at an unexpected time. I love the idea of God taking over control of this aspect of life and proving that his timing is always best. I agonize over big decisions, and I’ve always felt relieved that both of my babies were somewhat surprise babies. Both were definitely wanted, but neither was exactly expected. (Well, Curious J was certainly hoped for. We had been trying for a long time. But then I had some medical issues, so we took a month off from trying. Of course, wouldn’t you know… ;)) So, I like the idea of getting unexpectedly pregnant, because it’s as if God’s writing a piece of your future in big letters in the sky. People always wonder what’s the best thing to do, and getting pregnant is as if God is saying, “I’ve decided that it would be best for you to have a baby right now, and I know exactly the right baby to send you.”
With all that in mind, it bothers me that so many people in the world today want to have a high level of control of their lives, especially in regards to childbearing and fertility. It’s even called “birth control.” And, it bothers me that so many people, in their desire to be in control of their lives, take such final steps to ensure that a baby will not come when a baby is not expected. I know, I know, sometimes there are good, medical reasons to take such final steps, and I’m not arguing those situations. But, I believe those are the exception, not the rule.
Neither am I advocating the “Every Sperm Is Sacred” viewpoint. Women shouldn’t feel obligated to spend their lives barefoot and pregnant. That’s not healthy for a mother, and neither does it make healthy babies. A mother has a duty to take care of herself as best as she can to be able to care for the children God has given her. And I also disagree with the “Quiverfull” religious movement, that says that by having more children, you obtain more blessing from God. Children are blessings, to be sure, but blessings aren’t measured in amounts.
But, it seems that there is less and less of an understanding for the middle ground between those two extremes. In the Lutheran church, the official stance is that it’s not always wrong to use birth control. However, what’s not talked about as frequently is that it might be wrong in some circumstances, and I don’t feel that there is a good understanding of what those circumstances might be.
Perhaps, as one who is not a “Fertile Myrtle,” it’s easier for me to take the position of being opposed to the easy use of permanent birth control. I don’t get pregnant at the drop of a hat, nor do I have a houseful of little people with drippy noses and dirty bottoms loudly clamoring for my immediate attention. But, without divulging details, I’ve … had reason to ponder permanent birth control lately, and I find that (exceptional cases aside) — I’m not comfortable with it. It seems like it’s telling God, “No, thanks, I don’t want any more of those blessings.”
I know, I know, kids cost money and time and sleep and energy and personal fulfillment and blah blah blah… I know all of that. But in the end, children are a blessing from God, and I can’t imagine saying a definite “No, thanks” to a blessing from God.
Maybe I’m biased. Well, I know I’m biased. And I’m not saying I want to be Michelle Duggar, pregnant with baby #19. (Wow!) But I absolutely believe that God sends the right babies at the right times, and who is anybody to say when that time is up? It bothers me that so many people I know have (with selfish and un-Christ-centered motivation, in my opinion) said “No, thanks.”
I’m not saying I’m hoping to have a surprise baby in my later childbearing years. But, at the same time, if God wants to send me a baby at that time – or any other time – I would absolutely accept it with open arms.
Because, I like surprise babies. Especially the one to whom I’m married. 😉