Once upon a time, there were three little girls and their sad little Mummy. Not sad because there were three of them, nor because they were girls, but because they were growing out of being little and there were no more coming behind them. I always felt we were supposed to have five children, and yet all that was happening was one miscarriage after another, usually in the early stages.
After yet another miscarriage, this time at ten weeks, just after we moved to the farm, I finally went to the doctor and she suggested some tests. She ran the tests and called me in to make an appointment. Out in the waiting room, my ever-growing little girls played in the toy section, and I waited to hear my results. She started with a strange question.
'Those three little girls out there - they are yours, aren't they?'
'Yes, they are - you were my doctor for one of them, remember.'
'Well, it's just that these genetic and other tests show that it's physically and genetically impossible for you to stay pregnant long enough to have a healthy baby. You need to go home and enjoy the ones you do have, though it's beyond me how that happened. And don't start with the God-stuff - you know where I stand on that!'
So I went home, sad and grateful. Sad that there would be no more, and grateful that God had performed three miracles that science couldn't account for.
After a time of grieving any future possibilities, God showed me very clearly that I needed to change my attitude and find contentment in who my girls were at their various ages and stages.
Contentment is a hard thing to choose when you're pretty sure the status quo isn't going to change. It's one thing to be content for the time being, with the hope of future possibilities. But it's quite another thing to choose contentment when this is all there is.
But I did choose contentment and I found a new appreciation for the girls, and their ages and stages, and a new appreciation for each of them for who they were, and not just part of my mothering dream. I realised that while I was pining for another baby and then another, I wasn't loving well the ones I had already been given. So, I chose contentment and it brought me a great deal of freedom from many things.
But, I pretty much gave up on my dream of five children.
But, many years later, we were surprised with another miracle and another privilege. By this time, my older girls were 16, 13 and 11 and they were pretty convinced I was either pregnant or had a brain tumour!! They were relieved to find out I was 14 weeks pregnant. We welcomed Raelee Rose the following May, and a few years later, we welcomed Abigail Eloise, 21 years, almost to the day, after her oldest sister was born.
I had my five, the number I always thought I'd have, with doctors still sprouting their negativity and their disbelief and their worst-case scenarios, 'You need to have an abortion, you're too old, you need to get over yourself and get a life, this will happen and that will happen, ....... blah, blah, blah.'
Well, here I am, the mother of five miracles and five privileges. I am still trying to get a current photo of all five girls in the one place at the one time. One day! This one was taken when Abi was just a few days old.
And these are our two youngest miracles now.
And on the hard days of parenting and sleep-deprivation, I need to remember my story of five - and the privilege that I have been given. For many of us, conception and pregnancy and birth are not a given - it's not that easy.
But for all of us, regardless of how 'easy' it is, our children are a privilege and we do well to remember it, on the hard days and the good days.
Children are not just the fulfilment of our dream - they are a gift from God and a heritage - a huge privilege.
Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Linking up with other writers at Five Minute Friday, a writing party on a given prompt. Today's prompt word is 'five'.