One of the many principles I learned from years of church attendance is the idea of being a climber and not a camper. I remember hearing our pastor preach a message on moving forward in life and taking on new challenges many years ago. I reflect back on it often, especially when the road ahead looks uphill.
When Jensen and I found out we were both carriers of the same rare genetic disease, the thought of having more children – well, it almost felt reckless. After Brody died, we knew we could not risk going through that again; we could not raise another child with that disease. Camping at one kid was looking like it might be the responsible choice.
But, for us, not trying again felt like its own kind of death. If we tried, at least there was a 75 per cent chance of adding a new member to our family. Yes, there was a 25 per cent chance the baby might be affected, and for us, that meant losing another child. But if we didn’t try at all, then the chance of another baby was zero per cent.
And this is not to say that there is something wrong with having one child, because there certainly is not. We just had to confront the truth that it wasn’t what we wanted, even if it was a perfectly reasonable option.
So, we tried. Well, we decided we would try and then we found out we were already pregnant.
I have moments when I don’t know if we made the right decision. Not because we don’t both enthusiastically want another child, but because we risked so much. And even now that testing has confirmed the baby is normal, it still feels like we are risking a lot.
I am 15 weeks today. I have a long way to go before my June 25th due date, and there is no guarantee that things will go well. I don’t know what I am moving towards. Will we get to enjoy new life or have to endure another loss? Maybe I have taken the climbing versus camping metaphor too far and I am just running up the rocks in the dark.
Pregnancy always comes with immense vulnerability, but for moms who have lived nightmares and faced life’s worst surprises, the fear becomes something much more than false evidence appearing real. Still, I’m glad we were brave and I know we will never regret that.
This New Year’s Day, I look behind me and I look ahead, and I wouldn’t change a single decision. I certainly wish I could change a number of things outside of my control, but I still can’t. I never imagined the road would get this grey or this rocky, but we got here by choosing hope and walking in love. And I have to believe that eventually – hopefully soon – love will lead us where we want to go, even if we’re climbing in the dark.