Friday, May 12, 2017

When Your Doctor Tells You, "Don't Have More Babies."

Our baby girl is almost three and it took this long for us to decide that we would try for another one.

Why Only Two Kidlets So Far

Our two munchkins are 16-months apart, and both pregnancies were not easy. The most pressing concern were the blood clots I got. I only had one with Josiah's pregnancy, around 32 weeks along and which, with some cream, went away. Then, in Rosalie's pregnancy, from the late second-trimester and within a two-week period, I developed nine blood clots in my legs.

It was really frightening. None of them were deep vein ones, but all very painful and would develop with very little cause. One time, I had an hour's nap on the bed, lying on my side and, on the inside leg that was lying on the bed, two blood clots grew. In just an hour.

They were painful and doctors pretty quickly put me on blood thinners. I was monitored for the rest of my pregnancy, especially when preterm labour started around 34 weeks. It was a very trying time and, when she finally came out at 40 +4 weeks, my frist words were, "It's over!"

And I didn't mean the labour! ;)

With all this and keeping an eye on my anxiety levels post-partum, the thought of having any more children made me want to shrivel up and leave my body. I love my children, I love motherhood. But I couldn't face all that again.

And then.


The Lord, I believe, changed my heart. My perspective changed on parenting and children. I could see a bigger picture that was beyond myself and the discomforts and the fear. I could see the risk was worth it. The desire to nurture and raise another wee arrow took hold on me.

It took almost three years, but particularly the last year, I began to think that I could do it all again. Just maybe. When my husband was on board and we had pysched ourselves up to the journey, I went to check with my doctor for the go-ahead.

And he said, "No."

No More Babies

I felt pretty disappointed really. It felt like quite a let down after all the build up to even making that decision - and then, that squeeze of the heart that I would never get to hold a little baby that was distinctly ours. All in a moment, the possibility, gone. It was a let down, a sense of disappointment in my own fallen body that just can't.

But I accept it, readily. I believe in my doctor, I trust him and, more importantly, I trust in Him whom I had asked for guidance and confirmation before I went to that appointment.

In this instance, there was no right or wrong in choosing to have another baby. My doctor said, "If you really, really, really, really want another one we could somehow manage it, but..."

The risk is too great. The risk of blood clots and the worst - death - to suffering - an aneurism. He looked at me gently and said, "If you got pregnant and something happened, I would kill myself for the rest of my life that I didn't encourage you enough not to." I have two beautiful children who need a mother, and a husband who needs his wife.

So, the decision is made. No more natural babies.

Where to Now?

Why did God change my heart only to have it disappointed? I can't say for certain - for who knows the mind of the Lord? - but I know I am in a better place now than before. Instead of not wanting more children, I just can't. Instead of fearing a dangerous pregnancy, I accept it. Instead of always wondering, "What if?" I now know the cannot.

There is peace when a door is closed. But only if I submit my heart and will to Him who loves me and has other good works for me to do.

We have thought of other options, and maybe. Just maybe. But even if not, the work God has done in my heart is beautiful and I'm thankful to Him who knew what fear and - in honesty - selfishness were ruling my heart towards fertility. Now, because of His grace, wisdom is ruling us. 

Hope in Him

So if this is you too, I want to give you a hug. It's not easy. We don't like disappointment, or pain, or our own plans being turned down. But God loves you and has a reason why you can't - whether because of your fallen, broken body or for other reasons - that goes beyond the temporary. His "No" always leads to a better "Yes". Just submit and trust Him who died for you.


  1. Sarah, once again--oh, the perspective! I love reading what you write because you always direct the focus back to the Lord and seeking His will through surrender. This post touched me so deeply--actually, it brought me to tears because I am at a place in my life where I sometimes desire to have another child, but I believe that the Lord is gently saying "No" to me at this point. I am turning 35 in October and starting to think that maybe the Lord wants me to be content with the two precious little ones that He has given me. He has also called my husband and I into a ministry and I want to be faithful with that and also with my children and to be able to devote time to them and also go forward in what the Lord has called us to do. Once again, the Lord is bringing me back to "pondering" that it is not in "how many" children, but in whether I am embracing whatever it is He has given me with all of my heart--children are precious gifts--whether I have 2 or 22. And the Lord knows how many He wants me to handle. I also had two difficult pregnancies that drained me physically and emotionally, and I sometimes feel that I wouldn't be able to give my two children the love and attention that they need so much if I had another child right now. But apart from all of that, I want to do the Lord's will . . . and it always comes down to surrender, truly, whether in embracing or in offering.

    Thank you, Sarah, for writing this post--it was so encouraging to me tonight. The Lord bless you and your precious family! I wish you lived closer to me here in the United States! :-)

  2. Rebekah, I just want to give you a big hug! And I wish I lived near so many like-minded friends, too! But, one day, in glory :)

    Fertility is a difficult subject and can be fraught with assumptions and judgements and misunderstandings. It seems to me that you have a heart set on the Lord's will, no matter what, which is the perfect place to be. At the same time, I believe we have been set free from rules and yokes and burdens, we are therefore free to choose. And I think choosing is a blessing when what is good can become a burden. I will pray for you xx

    Much love :)

  3. I'm so sorry for the news you had, yet thankful for your attitude. I was told the same thing after 4 children and 4 difficult pregnancies and deliveries, though we went ahead and had 2 more children which are such a blessing. I do have some health issues as a result, but this was God's path for us and I am thankful. I did grieve stopping at 6 children and then repented of my discontent. God's will is best for each of us... Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for your submission to Him.

  4. Wow, good for you for going ahead. You were very brave. I know that if I happened to get pregnant the doctors would work something out for me. I would be thrilled. But, I know it's wise - and loving - to not pursue it. It's hard. I was snuggling a newborn the other day and felt that heart pull. But I get to bless my friend's who need help and, as a reward, I get baby times :)

  5. I was almost 40 when I had my first child. My husband was 43 and we had been married almost ten years. Needless to say, she was a much anticipated baby. But I had many problems during pregnancy - gestational diabetes, inability to deliver naturally, a complicated c-section with a failed epidural, etc. My staunchly pro-life Catholic doctor encouraged me to not have any more babies because my body had struggled so much to get me through one pregnancy (as he put it). My husband was firm that he did not want me to go through another pregnancy and delivery after watching me struggle so much.

    I, too, realized that my daughter needed a healthy and alive mother more than she needed a sibling. She's almost 11 now and I still wonder what it would be like to have more, but I believe we made the right choice and we would make the same one again. :-)

  6. Wow, thank you Sallie. So many mothers need to hear stories such as ours to know that the Lord leads all families differently. Some have one, some have ten. Some are all biological, some are adopted. It's what makes the Kingdom family so beautiful and unique, and each family will be used as a witness in their own sphere for His glory.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have been fortunate to have uncomplicated pregnancies and births but I know that it is not the same for everyone. I can't imagine all that you have been through! I am so selfish with my body during a healthy pregnancy! I can see that God is doing a great work in you as you submit to his will! I know I love looking forward to things and get so disappointed when my plans don't go as planned. But I have learned that God plans are best and I know he has the best for you! You have a beautiful family!!!

  8. Aw, Rebekah - you're so lovely. Embrace those awesome pregnancies and deliveries! God uses us all and our family make-up's for His purposes and glory.

  9. Oh friend <3. I'm sorry for your news, but so thankful for your perspective and surrender. You have a beautiful heart! And a beautiful family <3.

  10. Thank you, friend! So happy for you and very excited! :)

  11. It is so difficult to be told that you must stop having little ones when you want to continue, but it is the best thing for the planet, even when it isn't for health reasons. Our earth can barely handle what we've done to it with the population that we have. Plus, we can't guarantee how our children will treat this precious place as they grow up. We can hope that they reduce, reuse, recycle and vote for people who believe in the fact of climate change and work hard to do something about it. We can certainly lead by example, but they may go down unfortunate paths that we'd never steer them toward. The future is so unknown.

    Two parents... two children... seems perfect!

  12. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Penelope! I so appreciate it, and your sympathy. In all honesty, I have never thought about the overpopulation issue as being a blessing to not having more children. In some ways, yes - it is a good thing. We're one more family that isn't adding to an issue like that. {Although, in New Zealand, that issue hasn't reached us yet. We're still only around 4 million people.}

    Having to limit the number of our biological children is a blessing because it opens the opportunity of, maybe, giving a family to a child who doesn't have one.

    Truthfully, I care very much about the overpopulated orphanages and foster care systems, certainly more than any worries I have about too many people on earth. That may be because I live in a small country with a small population where we are blessedly secluded from many of our world's problems. I grant that this is probably so. Yet, at the same time, because I am a Christian, I also believe that children are a blessing - not a burden to the world - and that God always provides a way for a family, individually, and the world, collectively.

  13. You are so fortunate to live in New Zealand! I would very much like to visit your country. I am an American, who wishes she were an expat, but is still living in the United States. Much to my dismay, conspicuous consumption is a huge problem here, as I'm sure you've heard. The more kids we have, the more we affect the planet - I mean Americans in particular.

    It's different for me because I don't believe in God or religious doctrine in any way. I think that humans beings are definitively a burden to the world and would like there to be a mandatory cap on kids per family. It's a radical notion, but we've nearly destroyed the planet, so I think that radical reform is in order. However, I understand that you believe very differently and we share the earth together! Peace mama!!

    : ) Penelope

  14. Penelope, thank you so much for your conversation and your candour. I really am grateful for discussions on such topics, especially when we come from different backgrounds and affiliations. And you have been so gracious, which is a beautiful characteristic in this day and age on the internet!! :)

    Perhaps oneday you may be able to come to New Zealand, it is a beautiful place here. Not perfect, and not as "clean and green" as we used to think. But it is definitely behind the times compared to other western countries, which I love and appreciate, and which I think makes us uniquely Kiwi. We even have a government party called the Green Party, which has numerous seats in Parliament, and who I am sure you would appreciate very much!

    I believe in taking care of our world, very much. As a Christian, we believe God gave people that mandate in the very beginning. Unfortunately, too many have forgotten that. And I am certainly not perfect.

    Thank you for finding your way to my little blog. These sorts of conversations are why I love the internet!

  15. I love these sorts of discussions too! Thank you for your blog. : )