We all have a plan for our lives. Maybe it’s to be married at a certain age, have a specific number of kids, open up a business, or make a certain amount of money. Sometimes, more like most of the time, life has a way of making its own path.
We can spend years living our life with a plan in mind and then in a moment, everything changes. Recently this has happened to my family twice.
Before I even got married I planned on homeschooling my kids. Luckily, I married a man who was homeschooled and had the same views as I did. We agreed that if the day ever came where we felt like our kids weren’t getting a good education at home then we would put them in school, but honestly, we never felt like that would truly happen. As a young adult I spent 4 years at college studying early childhood education, so I was and am fully qualified to teach my children, at least until they enter Junior High.
Years went on and we started having kids. Once our oldest was about 3 I started doing regular preschool learning activities with her. Some days were great while others were a struggle. I found my patience to be very thin during school time and I always hated how I felt afterwards. My goal for many years has been to help foster a love of learning for my kids so that education isn’t such a struggle for them like it was for me. I knew that what I was doing was not helping achieve this goal one bit.
Fast forward a year and a half. My oldest is now 4 and a half and we have gone through preschool. Has she learned? Yes! Did I like it? NO! While trying to be a mom, be a wife, cook multiple meals a day, do the laundry, do the dishes, clean the house, run the errands, take the kids to swim and gymnastics practice, I was also playing the role of administrator, coordinator, teacher, and blogger. Imagine a person balancing spinning plates, yep, that’s exactly how I felt. I was trying to do everything and not only do everything but excel at it. I was exhausted and I knew something had to go.
The weekend I approached my husband with what I was going through, was emotional to say the least. We both knew what decision we needed to make but weren’t sure how to process it. Many tears were shed and very few words spoken. We both individually and then as a couple had to process the reality of our decision and how different it was going to be from what we had planned.
About half way through preschool with my oldest I decided to launch this blog. If you know anything about launching a blog, then you know it’s a lot of work. I loved and still love every second of it. This blog has been the best accountability partner in my walk with Christ and my role as a wife and mom. I will eternally be grateful for God’s guidance and prompting to start this blog because it truly has changed my life.
Since we knew God is calling me to continue with the blog, we knew it had to stay. We also knew that in the summer we would be welcoming our third child into this world so trying to manage all my duties plus homeschool a kindergartener and then manage a toddler and newborn was going to be too much. After processing this, praying with my husband, and finding peace we decided it was best for our family if we put our oldest in Kindergarten in the fall.
Luckily, we live in a community of small schools that we can apply for her to go to and our district ranked 20thout of almost 800 districts in the whole state of Oregon, so we feel pretty confident about her education. Our community is also one of those small towns that doesn’t have a “bad” part of town, so we feel at peace about the kinds of classmates she will have.
We realize we can’t control everything, especially in public school where there’s always the chance of her getting exposed to things we don’t like or want. Despite this fact, we have decided to just trust God in this area. We will trust him to protect her and trust him to guide us as parents for those times when she will come home asking questions or telling us things she learned from a friend.
OUR THIRD CHILD
On top of our homeschooling reality changing, life decided to take its own path once again, but this time it was with our third child. My pregnancy with my second wasn’t the best. My morning sickness was 10 times worse than my first, I had potential medical issues, multiple ER visits, and relentless anxiety. I was done. I told my husband I never wanted to get pregnant again. I held tight to this for weeks, that is until we found out the gender.
Surprise, it was another girl. After realizing we would have two girls and no boys I started to feel bad for my husband. Eventually I told him that after some time, I would get pregnant one more time, but then I was done. If it was a boy, then congrats. If it was a girl, sorry, but I’m still done.
After my second daughter turned 19 months or so I found out I was pregnant with baby number three. Once again, this pregnancy brought with it some horrible morning sickness, tailbone pain, back pain, leg cramps, sciatic nerve pain, and more. Very quickly I reminded my husband that this was the last time and I meant it. As much as I love my kids there is nothing in me that wants to get pregnant for a fourth time. Nothing.
Weeks went by and I was chomping at the bit to find out the gender. I just knew this one had to be a boy. Not because of any old wife’s tales or anything, I just had this feeling. I knew there was a 50% chance I was wrong but something in me knew it was a boy, it just had to be.
Our 20-week anatomy ultrasound was finally here. We walked in that room and my heart instantly started pounding. My anticipation was at a full 10. I laid in that bed watching the ultrasound tech take a million photos for what seemed like forever. It was only 30 minutes, but for a woman waiting 20 weeks, 30 minutes felt like an eternity.
Without looking away from the screen she said, “Now don’t shoot the messenger but…” She didn’t even need to finish her sentence. I knew what she meant.
Our third baby was another girl. I laid there in shock. I never dreamed I would be a mom of only girls. I never dreamed I wouldn’t have a boy of my own. The tears began to fall.
I could only see the back of my husband’s head, but he never looked away from the monitor. After a few minutes of complete silence, I hear him say “Ella.” That made me cry harder. This was the moment my husband realized that he would never have a biological son. It made my heart break. Not because it was a girl, but because I knew my husband was sad that he would never have the chance to experience bringing his own son into this world. I know our disappointment isn’t because we didn’t want or love her, because we do, but it was because of our reality being different than what we had always dreamed or at least thought it would be.
Trying to process these two life events taught us some important life lessons.
ALLOW YOURSELF TIME TO PROCESS & GRIEVE
You know the saying, “Time heals all wounds?” Well, it’s true. When life takes a detour, you have to give yourself time to process it. Sometimes you will be able to get past it in a couple days, while other times it may take a few weeks or even months. No matter how long it takes you to process it, just let it happen and don’t try to rush it.
Same goes for the grief process. Most of the time when you think of grief you associate it to someone passing away, but grief can appear after any life event or detour. After we found out our third baby was a girl we weren’t ok the moment we walked out of the ultrasound room. We both knew it was going to take time and look different for both of us.
If you want to learn a little more about the 7 stages of grief and what they can look like read this informative article. “The Seven Stages of Grief”
Just remember your grieving process can and will look different than someone else, even if they are walking through the same life event as you.
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
Processing huge life changes is going to take time and some days you will be ok while others you will be nothing less than a hot mess. You need to give yourself grace during this time. Who cares if your dishes or laundry stay undone or if you need to cancel a date or meeting. Do what’s best for you and give yourself grace with everything else.
DON’T LET IT DEFINE YOU
When we have our hearts strongly set on something, it can be devastating when it doesn’t work out. While we walk through the grieving process we can get stuck on denial, shock, and anger instead of allowing ourselves to move on. This can be detrimental to our happiness and overall health. Just because life isn’t what you wanted or expected doesn’t mean you should let it define you. You need to find a way to help yourself continue processing the new reality without letting the change be what defines you.
FIND HOPE & ACCEPTANCE WITH THE NEW PATH
Once you have walked through most of the grieving process you will start to see the positive aspects of this new path. Hold onto those as tightly as you can. These are going to be what helps you accept and embrace this new path with hope, peace, and overwhelming happiness.
Life changes aren’t always fun, but they can bring us amazing new experiences that will change our lives for the better if we allow them. Just remember to allow yourself time to process and grieve, to give yourself grace, to not let it define you, and to find hope and acceptance with the new path. Just because life changes directions doesn’t mean it’s necessarily negative. Process it, embrace it, and move forward with hope and happiness.