As a young girl, I was never interested in getting married or having babies – I just didn’t get that same sense of
excitement that some of my friends seemed to have when it came to imagining our future selves and what our lives would be like. I was happy to imagine my life being full of creative exploits, travelling the world and doing what I loved: acting.
I grew up as an only child raised in a single-parent home. I was always more comfortable hanging out with my mum’s friends than with kids my own age. I have a half-sister but we grew up separately. I never really spent time with cousins or anything like that so I guess I just wasn’t used to children, even as a child (weirdly).
When I became a Christian (aged 23), I still had this awkwardness whenever I was left in the presence of a child. I just never knew what to say to them and would end up boring them to death with some useless fact or other. (Conversations would go something like: “So… Did you know that komodo dragons smell with their tongues? No? Well, now you do. Oh, is that the time…? Where’s your mum then, hmm?” )
I just wasn’t the maternal type.
So, no-one was more surprised than me when I found myself helping out in the crèche at my church. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I was willing to learn, albeit with an eye on the time for the majority of each session, willing it to end soon.
The turning point for me came when, one Sunday, a new boy was dropped off at the crèche by his dad (a single dad who’d just started attending the church with his 7 month old son). This gorgeous baby boy captured my attention straight away; he had an amazing sense of rhythm and would happily bang away on a little drum and keep the beat perfectly to every song we sang. I was amazed!
This triggered a curiosity about child development and so I picked up a few books. Before I knew it, I had a real soft spot for this darling boy and would look forward to my shifts in the crèche whenever he was there. That’s when it hit me:
my heart had changed and, for the first time, I entertained and even quite liked the idea of one day becoming a mother.
Fast forward a few years from that point, and I had progressed from looking after that little one in the crèche, to marrying that single dad. That amazing little boy I had grown so close to was now my stepson.
It was a real eye-opener into the world of being a mum as I looked after him full-time when his dad and I got married.
I had to learn as I went, of course, but I found that the more I gave myself to discerning his needs and figuring out the best way to meet them, the more certain things became intuitive. If he was having trouble settling down for a night’s sleep, for instance, I realised that it was because of a slight difference in his bedtime routine, so I knew how to remedy the situation.
He was 3 years old when I started looking after him full-time, so still very young. I took him to his first day at nursery, visits to the dentist, immunisation appointments – I was there for it all, learning all the time how to look after a little human.
If you’ve read my last blog post, ‘Miscarriage & Me’, you’ll know what happened next in my journey to motherhood, so I won’t bore you by repeating it (the title gives it away slightly, perhaps, although if you haven’t read it yet, you totally should #shamelessplug).
The gist is that, after a while, I really had a desire to have a baby but I didn’t anticipate that it might not be as straightforward as it was in my head. I didn’t anticipate having to wait a long time before we finally conceived. And I certainly didn’t anticipate losing babies. I was surprised by the deep longing I had in my heart for King and I to have a child, but it was undeniably, palpably, there.
After years of being indifferent about the idea of having children and even being straight up like: “kids? No thanks!”, there I was, crying out from the depths of my soul to become a mother. And the Lord heard my cry.
I guess the main point I’m trying to make is that God really can change our hearts and the desires they contain. This scripture comes to mind:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
That’s certainly what happened in my case! I never, EVER, imagined that one day there would be all these little people running around me, messing my house up, changing my career plans and making my heart swell. Yet here they are, doing just that. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
By the way, there are five of us in this photo; I was pregnant with team member #5 here!
Here’s to leaving an unknown future in the hands of a known God,