What I’ve Learned About Unplanned Pregnancies
I guess I know a little about pregnancy, and even what it’s like to face one that isn’t planned.
A lot of women find themselves in circumstances much worse than mine were, but I can understand the confusion and the uncertainty. I can sympathise with women I meet who’ve had to make that ‘really difficult decision’.
My first pregnancy was my first unplanned one; this story is no secret, and you may have read it in the past on this site. If not, you can read it here.
But most people don’t know that I had a second unplanned pregnancy. It happened in quite different circumstances from the first time I was pregnant. This was my last one, my thirteenth baby.
I’ll give you some of the background so you have a picture of what my life was like at that time. It’s difficult to explain just how enormous the pressures on our family were.
Firstly, we had major financial problems. After being rejected for a housing loan by our bank, we rashly decided to build our own home in the country. We reasoned that our small deposit would get us started, and we’d be able to move into the house while it was incomplete, then finish it while we were living there. That kind of plan can work when you are young newly-weds, or perhaps have only a couple of children. But by the time we moved into our incomplete home, we were in our 40’s, and with 11 of our children. The youngest, twins, were 8 months old. The day we moved in, and for the next few weeks, we had no running water, no front door and for the entire time we were there, 8 months in all, there was no cladding on the outside. The house was simply wrapped in insulation-foil. It is still known by the kids as the ‘blue house’.
There were no front steps, only a narrow plank we had to negotiate with the babies, groceries and whatever building supplies needed to be brought into the house. The poor babies spent a lot of their time on their playpen; we knew they were safe there.
Needless to say, our progress was very slow, with more breaks than actual work happening. Our costs started to escalate, and we eventually found ourselves needing to make a realistic decision about our future there.
But this wasn’t the worst of it; none of this can compare to the emotional battle that was raging in our home. Our marriage was basically on the rocks, with terrible arguments and instability dominating our family life. Most of our friends had only an inkling of what was happening to us; it was like purgatory every day. It took a terrible toll on our children, particularly the older ones.
We finally made the decision to sell, knowing that this meant it would be unlikely that we would ever own another home. We faced renting for the rest of our lives, but it seemed preferable to the incessant bills and stress. Perhaps we thought that our marriage would work itself out if we moved.
That is the backdrop to what comes next.
We contacted a realtor and put the house on the market; it sold within 24 hours.
What a relief! I had prayed about the price, and it sold for that exact amount. We would be free of it and could move back to the city and to relative normality.
But that same day, I must have had an inkling to check the calendar, and I took a pregnancy test. It was positive.
I was shattered. Was this God’s cruel joke? Were we to jump from the frying pan into the fire? Surely I had done enough - I had twelve children and my twins were under two years old. God could not ask anymore from me. There was absolutely no way I could have another baby.
Darkness closed in on me - this seemed worse than anything else I had been through. I don’t know if I prayed - I think I avoided talking to God for a while. It was all just too much for me.
I remember the next part very clearly; please accept my apologies if it is a little crass. You see, it happened when I was in the bathroom - this was the only quiet part of the house, and I often stayed a little longer than necessary, just to savour the peace. (Mamas will understand this.)
I started to talk to God, telling Him how unfair my situation was. I didn’t think He could love me very much for allowing this to happen. In fact, I actually thought we were cursed.
Finally, I said the awful words, “God, please give me a miscarriage; I can’t have this baby.”
This was very wrong of me: I can scarcely admit to saying say such thing, but there you have it. It is true.
But what happened next is much more astonishing. I think I was expecting thunderbolts or the temple curtain to be rent. Nothing like that happened, of course.
God did not seem eons away. Instead, He felt very close to me, and very loving.
He showed me that He had visited my home and given me a baby, and in an instant, I repented and accepted that child as if it had never been any other way. I wanted to have this child, because it had been given to me personally, by my God.
That was very real and very special to me.
Time passed; we moved to a nice rental and I had my little girl after a very tiring pregnancy. When she was two years old, my husband left for the final time after a year of coming and going, and I became and have remained, a single mother to my large family.
When people ask me how I’ve coped with separation and divorce, I always answer the same; it is my children that have kept me going and kept me sane. They have given me a reason to get up and stay on top of things, to start my own business and now to study. And my little one, the one I was initially so opposed to having, has been there with me through it all with her soft hugs and kisses, and her tiny hand always in mine.
So this is what I have learned about unplanned pregnancies: there are none.
Every child is willed into existence by the One Who knows us best.
He has a plan for every child, for every mother, for every family.
We just have to welcome His visit.