Towards the end of the pregnancy with my ninth child, I was really struggling. I was so exhausted and despite being in great physical shape, the pregnancy was so hard. Somehow, I thought after running a marathon at fifteen weeks, the rest of that pregnancy would be a piece of cake. It wasn't. I knew in my heart that there was at least one more child to come to our family, a boy, but I did not want to even think about climbing that mountain one more time.
As it turned out, the post-partum period after Cami was born was my worst yet. My thyroid levels went crazy and I ended up with major physical and mental health issues because of it. Though the intensity of those problems lasted only a few months, it took a long time to get my thyroid levels adjusted and to heal physically and emotionally. I didn't write a lot during that time because it was all I could do to keep up with the very basics of running my home. And though I love to write, I also like to wait until time passes and I see a bigger picture before writing about the hardest things. I'm not one that writes to process emotion.
And so it was that we had quite a large-for-us gap between Cami and Benjamin. For a time, despite my strong feelings that there was a boy to come, we wondered if it wouldn't be best to call our family complete. I grieved, not because I especially love pregnancy or even babies (I love MY babies, but babies in general? meh), but because I didn't know what to do with the dream I'd had years ago where I met my son and knew his name was Benjamin.
And so it is that last Sunday, when my husband blessed Benjamin in front of our church congregation, I bawled my way through the entire blessing. It was powerful to hear the special promises made to him and to feel of his powerful spirit and the love our Heavenly Father had for him.
This is the son we might not have had.
|We blessed Benjamin wrapped in this blanket, made for my mother's baby blessing by her grandmother nearly seventy years ago. Each of our children has been blessed in this blanket. So I proudly put my son on a pink flowered blanket for photos!|
This past year has really been a season of joy for me. My pregnancy wasn't easy, sure, but it was a great blessing after my miscarriage last summer. With great physical health and the absence of morning sickness for the first time ever, I'd even call my tenth pregnancy my best and easiest one ever. That's amazing to me. And humbling. I've been greatly blessed.
Perhaps it's too soon to say it, but it is so far true that my post-partum adjustment and healing has also been my best yet. I've been able to quickly get back into running, I'm sleeping better than I have after any prior birth -- a nap every day those first six weeks because all my children were home (teenagers and old-enough-to-be-responsible 11-year-olds? The. best. thing. ever!), short naps most days since school has started, and the best sleeper I've had yet. The last two weeks he has slept until 3 or 5 in the morning every single night. It's been wonderful.
Perhaps God is telling me something?
A few years ago, my husband and I took an evening class on the book of Revelations. It was fascinating and one thing I particularly enjoyed learning about was the significance and symbolism of numbers used in the Bible. Now, I don't know that God is superstitious about numbers, but I do know that He teaches His children according to their understanding, and because the ancients attached meaning to various numbers, He used that to teach them His ways. As our teacher explained it, each number had a pattern and meaning -- forty days, seven trumps, etc.
The significance of the number ten was a witness. It also means a completed cycle. There were ten generations listed in the bible from Adam to Noah, ten plagues in Egypt, one-tenth is a tithe, ten virgins, etc. The number four represents the earth and it's four corners, so the number forty represents a witness or a complete overcoming of the world and mortality. Hence, Christ fasted for forty days.
|My ten favorite people.|
Now I don't pretend to be an expert on this and I know there are many different interpretations and meanings we could assign to numbers, but I do think that for me personally, this tenth child represents a witness to me that God is watching over me. It is a witness of my restoration to good health and of the promise that God really is a High Priest Of Good Things to Come.
I love the words in the last chapter of Job (not that my own trials were anything like his): "So the blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning"
Benjamin is a great blessing. It's so sweet to watch the whole family adore him. My older kids come home from school and immediately ask, "Where's my Benjamin?"
I'm loving this stage of my life, where I get to watch and enjoy the growth of all the different ages and stages of my children. From the college prep and academic work of my junior in high school to my three-year-old enjoying her first days of preschool. From watching the smiles of my newborn to accepting piles and piles of love notes drawn by my five-year-old.
It's a good life, and I am happy.