So three hours into a first date, with a guy that you just met on Match.com, you probably shouldn’t say, “I am not going to have a baby.” Especially if he put on his profile that he wants to have kids. On my profile I said I was open to having kids because I did not think it was acceptable for women to be completely honest on a dating website. But, the truth is, ever since I saw the birth video in our health class at my Catholic high school, well, I have never dreamed of the day I would give birth.
Three hours into my date with a guy named Randy, though, the words just flew out of my mouth, “I am not planning to have kids, just for your information,” which at the time just seemed like a fair disclaimer. He just smiled at me and said, “Ok, good to know.” Our date continued. So, I thought to myself, “Well, I guess that didn’t scare him too much.” I became concerned, however, because I found myself liking him quite a bit, which was unexpected. Recovering from a recent breakup, I had decided not to sit around my house depressed, but instead try online dating and maybe get some free meals. Little did I know that my very first date would turn into a love story.
Randy took me completely by surprise. He was not like any of the scary men that women tell you about when they try online dating. He was sweet, kind, funny, respectful, and apparently, absolutely taken with me. Seven hours after our first date, he invited me on our second date. And so, we began our love affair from the first night we met, and we have not looked back since. But, let’s get back to the baby thing. Randy has always wanted children. My feelings about having children were complicated for our relationship. I shed quite a few tears over the subject.
As a couple, we had to unpack the many layers about my reticence to have children. One night, about two years into our dating relationship, I just broke down. I let all my feelings out. I told him that I knew I was supposed to want to have children. I told him that I knew he and our families wanted me to have children. I told him that I longed for him to be happy and have a child of his own. Yet, I told him, there was still so much that prevented me from wanting to have a child. My parents were divorced when I was young, and I was scared that might happen to my children and me. Also, I have always struggled with my weight, and I feared losing control of my body because of a child. In addition, I was terrified what it would mean for my health. I struggle with chronic daily migraines, and I will have to go off all my meds just to try to become pregnant. There is no guarantee what will happen to me without medication, how the pregnancy will go if I get pregnant, what will happen during delivery, or how post-pregnancy life will be for me. I also told him that I was terrified he would leave me if I did not agree to have a child, and that if he did, it would absolutely break my heart. I confessed all my fears about having children. I did the ugly cry. He sat silently, listening to me share the deepest parts of myself. Then, he slid over to me and just took me into his arms and held me. He did not try to make it any better; he just held the space for me to be honest, open, and scared with him.
After a while, I also told him about the reasons I do want to have a child. I told him how much I loved him, and how I would like to see him in a little person. I told him that I believe he would be an amazing father. We talked about all the wonderful possibilities. We did not come to a resolution that night. But a few months later, something did shift for us and we found our way to a middle space. We agreed that we wanted to be together children or not. My husband loved me enough to marry me without the promise to give him a child, and that has been the greatest gift of my life.
Every day Randy puts me ahead of himself. He is the epitome of how I define an amazing husband. He loves me with the love of God, and because of his love my no has become a yes. Yes, I am willing to try to have a child. I am willing to push through all my fears and to trust that somehow, should it be God’s grace to us, I will be able to have a child. I am not any less afraid. However, I love my husband and my heart’s desire is for him to have the deepest desires of his heart. So I enter the sacred space of surrender, trusting God and trusting my husband’s love.
Lauren Santerre is the founder and owner of Sacred Spaces by Lauren, a spiritual consulting and design company that helps people to connect to God in their hearts and homes. She is a spiritual director, chaplain, and designer who loves to help others develop their relationship with God and others through prayer, intentional living, and spiritual home design.