A Little ‘Crazy’ Doesn’t Hurt

I’m sure you’ve all seen those spouting water fountains where kids love to play. We have a popular one here at our local outdoor mall and my son has always wanted to join in and splash around with the other kiddos. But since I’m a self-accepted germophobe, I’ve NEVER let my son play in that water because I always thought the water was not clean. Who wants to play in recycled water?!?

Even when Evan would plead with those adorable eyes and respectfully ask me, “Peas, Mama, wata peas!”, I always stood firm and told him that he couldn’t play in the water fountain and explained to him that the water was dirty. It broke his heart every time.

But I did something crazy recently. Something totally out of character. Frankly, I don’t even know who that mother is in the picture above, who seems to be having a BLAST playing in that same “dirty recycled water”. Who is that crazy woman?!?

Oh, that’s me : )

When we arrived at the mall that day, my son already knew where he wanted to go. He led me by the hand to the water fountain area where sure enough, there were already a dozen kids playing and having a blast. Evan of course begged me to let him go in. I was feeling especially generous on that beautiful warm day so I thought, okay, a little “toe dip” would be fine.

But as soon as I let Evan’s feet touch the mini water geyser, that was it. I had lost my battle against avoiding that darn dirty water fountain. Of course, some of the water sprayed onto me too and before I knew it, I was in on the water fountain party. Evan was soaked, I was soaked, and we were running rampantly all over that water fountain. We went under the shooting water, over it, through it, around it… and my goodness, playing in that recycled water turned out to be so much fun!

While all the other (responsible and prepared) mothers were sitting on the side, shaded under the tables with umbrellas, prepped with sunblock, towels, change of clothes and sunhats, I on the other hand was running around with my son and playing IN the water fountain with all the other kids.

Even though Evan had a change of clothes and a fresh diaper handy, I myself had no change of clothes. I had to recruit my cousin (Thank you Ninang Mo) to go to Macy’s and find us a towel to dry off. Then I had to quickly shop at H&M completely soaked and dripping wet to buy new and dry clothes. I’m sure just like the moms who were leering at me at the sidelines, the other shoppers and workers at H&M probably thought I was crazy too.

But you know what? I did have a moment of temporary insanity there. But that’s alright, yeah it was crazy, and I’m glad it happened because my son had so much fun and I’m so happy I was able to give him that gift. I learned that day that sometimes it’s okay to be unrestrained, it’s good to be spontaneous. It reminded me how important it is to have fun WITH Evan.

Being a stay at home mom doesn’t always have to be about complying to the daily routine and tedious schedule of cleaning, cooking, laundering, etc… I can’t forget that while cleanliness is important, creating fun memories with my son is more valuable and meaningful in building a close relationship with him.

I love seeing my son’s face when it’s filled with complete joy. But I love it even more, when I have the same look on my face because we’re experiencing that same thrilling moment together.

So mommies, I encourage you next time you schedule a fun activity for your kids, get your hands dirty and join in on the action. I assure you, you won’t regret it : )

DISCUSSION

  • What was a spontaneous and fun memory you had with your child(ren)?

Share your story, your story matters.

Have Fun Instead

Saturday was supposed to be laundry day.

As soon as I woke up on Saturday morning, I was already consumed with having to figure out the logistics of how I was going to do laundry by myself at the laundrymat. My husband had to work so I was left to my own devices to figure out how I was going to haul my heavy hampers into our Jeep, then wash and dry and fold 6 loads of laundry – all with a very energetic toddler in tow. It was certainly gonna be a long, arduous and challenging day. But I’ve grown to accept that laundry days are always tough, especially with having to wrangle my very adventurous son at the same time.

Saturday was supposed to be laundry day.

At least, I thought so….

I was sipping my morning coffee, obsessing over my laundry logistics for the day, when I saw Evan’s tiny fingers slowly open our bedroom door. Then I heard his toddler footsteps running towards me. As soon as he saw me, his sleepy eyes smiled and his entire face glowed. He opened his arms, invited an embrace and said, “Huck Mommy, Huck”. I hugged him warmly and kissed his sweet smelling hair. Then, he took my face, placed both his hands on each of my cheek and kissed me. After, he tucked his head inside my neck, in that perfect space between my jaw and shoulder, and there he rested peacefully for five long blissful minutes.

At that moment, Saturday was no longer laundry day.

I quickly abandoned my obsessions with getting laundry done that day, along with all the other chore-related items on my to-do-list.

I told Evan, “Son, we’re going to have a lot of FUN today.”

Evan woke up so sweetly that I thought, why should I dampen this beautiful sunny day with doing laundry?!? Having clean clothes is nice, but having fun with my son is more important.

So instead of a surely stressful day at the laundrymat, here’s what we did:

  • I took Evan to his cousins’ house for a play date.
  • We took a long morning walk around my in-laws’ serene neighborhood.
  • We browsed through yard sales.
  • Evan rode on the back of his cousin’s tricycle.
  • We ran around at the park.
  • We sat by the water and watched ducks, turtles and geese.
  • Evan went on the swings and said “weeee!” every time I pushed him : )
  • Evan romped all over the playground.
  • We ate noodles, salad and chips for lunch.
  • We visited my Aunt.
  • Evan napped for 2 hours.
  • We ate chocolate oatmeal cookies for our afternoon snack.
  • We had a veggie pizza for dinner.
  • We watched the Laker game with Daddy.

So it wasn’t laundry day after all. It was a full day, a spontaneous day, a perfectly fun day. We didn’t even plan any of these activities. We just set out with the promise that no matter what we ended up doing, we were going to have a FUN day.

I learned over the weekend that sometimes, it’s okay to not have the laundry done as scheduled. It’s okay to abandon chores for the sake of having quality time with my son. I shouldn’t always obsess over having a neat and tidy house. Taking care of chores is important, but having fun-filled days with Evan is definitely more important.

DISCUSSION:

  • What fun activities did you and your family enjoy over the weekend?

Share your story, your story matters.

Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Khristine,

For so long in our marriage, we weren’t allowed to celebrate Mother’s Day. All we had was Rossi, Dixie, and the dreams of one day becoming parents. God knew that in our hearts, we wanted nothing more than to have a child of our own. I remember praying endlessly, lighting the Holy Family statue, and waiting. Lo and behold, He responded with Evan.

Since Evan has been a part of our lives, I have had the privilege of witnessing you grow and change in many ways; the most prevalent being the inspiration you’ve experienced as a mother. I have also seen your heart open up to the love and vulnerabilities that a child can expose you to. I have seen you encounter so many new things since Evan has been here, and as your husband, it is a blessing to watch you handle life as a Mother.

Although I try to thank you every day, even on behalf of Evan, I don’t think we can thank you enough. We want to thank you for bringing comfort into our home; we thank you for prioritizing our family, our health, and our future. We thank you for your hugs and kisses, meals and walks afterwards. We want to thank you for listening to our complaints and for your patience when we are frustrated. We want to also thank you for your limitless love and affection. We thank you for being our best friend.

On Mother’s Day, Evan and I want you to know that we honor the woman you are. We love you more than anyone in this world. God has certainly blessed Evan’s life by asking you to be his Mother, and I am definitely blessed to be a part of yours as well.

We love you, God Bless you, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Yours only and always,

Randy and Evan

Evan giving me my Mother’s Day present : )  What a cutie!

A custom calendar! Just what I wanted : )

A mother’s love liberates.
~ Maya Angelou

DISCUSSION

  • How did you and your loved ones celebrate Mother’s Day?

Share your story, your story matters.

Let Me Play

This is a poster of my son Evan.

Okay, okay… it’s not really Evan in the picture, but the poster description fits him perfectly.

Oh, and by the way, he’s not even 2 yet!

I wonder what Evan will be like when he’s 3. Wow.

My son is very active and adventurous. Sometimes, I honestly have a tough time holding up to all his energy. Thursday afternoon was a particularly difficult day. Evan tested my patience as he “played” for hours by doing dangerous leaps, dizzying spins and defying gravity stunts.

I often want to pull my hair out and say, “Evan, can’t you just sit still?!?”

But then I think of a lady that I met once at a laundrymat who humbly reminded me, “Let’s not ever wish our children to just “sit still”… so many young children are bound in a hospital bed or a wheelchair… we ought to feel blessed and celebrate that our “adventurous” children are ABLE to walk and run and move around freely.

That conversation always humbles me and puts my complaints in clearer perspective. Whenever I feel crazed and frazzled from my son’s rambunctious ways, I am quickly reminded of the lady at the laundrymat’s wise advice.

Although running around after Evan is challenging and oftentimes frazzling, I have to bear in mind that I am truly lucky and I should be grateful that my son is even healthy enough to run around and be active.

Instead of sighing with desperation and exhaustion, I take a deep breath of appreciation for my wild and adventurous and wonderful son.

My Non-Financial Contribution as a SAHM

The other night I read a wonderful blog called Purposeful Homemaking in which Becky, the writer, posted a thought-provoking question that struck me.

In one of Becky’s recent blogs titled, “The Measure of Success” she asks in introspection, “Will I look back on my life someday and feel I was successful even though I didn’t contribute a paycheck to the family?”

The question prompted me to ask the same of myself, “Can I honestly say that I lead a fulfilling and successful life as a stay at home mom even if I don’t have a career outside the home?”

I also reflected, “Do I still provide a significant contribution to my family even though I don’t bring home a paycheck?”

Without any regrets, my answer when I contemplated on these questions is YES, I feel fulfilled and successful as a stay at home mom. YES, I give a significant contribution in my home even though I don’t bring home a paycheck.

I feel fulfilled and successful as a stay at home mom because I get to pursue my life’s calling and passion everyday. Instead of cultivating a career in the workforce, I’m cultivating my home and family life.

I’m deeply grateful to have found God’s calling and that He has called me to be primarily at home for my family.

Tending to my home, my husband, and our son, is immeasurably more important and rewarding to me than earning money. If I’m being honest with myself, the things that I would be working for outside the home, just to earn another paycheck are exactly just that – things.

I measure my personal success by how much attention I give my family, not by how much money I bring home. Moreover, I would much rather place my daily efforts inside my home, rather than any job outside my home. Being always available and visible for my husband and our son far outweighs what a secondary paycheck could ever provide for my family.

Although my responsibilities as a stay at home mom yields no monetary rewards, I am enriched in other and more important ways. I take pride that from the moment our son Evan opens his eyes, to the moment he rests his head at night, I am the one who cares for him. I would never want to place our son in a daycare or have someone else raise our son, just to have another income. Being our son’s main caretaker is profoundly more significant to me than money or the pursuit of a career.

I’m so thankful to my very hard working husband, Randy, for providing for all our needs. He works long shifts everyday so that I am able to stay home and care for our son. I must also note that my husband has never made me feel inadequate for not having a job outside the home. Quite the opposite actually, he is so appreciative and supportive about my role as a stay at home mom.

I’m grateful that my husband makes me feel valuable even though I don’t contribute a paycheck for our family. I never once felt the need to apologize to him for not supplementing our income by going to work. We both understand the greater value in me being a stay at home mom. Randy is so sweet, every night he thanks me for taking care of him and our son and for keeping our family and home life in order. I feel very blessed to have an understanding, supportive and appreciative husband.

I understand that every family has a different financial situation with different priorities, so having a stay at home parent may not be ideal in other family dynamics.

But as for me and my husband, we have accommodated our lifestyle so that we are able to be comfortable on one income. Let me write that again, we have accommodated our lifestyle so that we are able to be comfortable on one income. Not the other way around – my husband and I refuse to accommodate our family life around having a dual income.

As a stay at home mom, I may not earn a paycheck. But I believe I earn something better, I earn the privilege and rewards of being an available and visible mother to our son and wife to my husband. This is infinitely more fulfilling for me and valuable to my family than any out-of-the-home job could ever offer.

I may not provide my family with money, but I am happier to provide my family with attention.

I celebrate all of you other stay at home moms who have sacrificed your careers and earnings so that you may foster a more positive, peaceful and well-attended family and home life.

She asks not how her behavior may please a stranger, or how another’s judgment may approve her conduct; let her beloved be content and she is glad.”- Charles Spurgeon

DISCUSSION:

  • What are the non-monetary values that you get to contribute to your family as a full time stay at home mom?

Share your story, your story matters.

Children’s Books For Mommies

Hi Mama Bears,

With Mother’s Day around the corner (already? I know, this year is flying!) I wanted to share with you my favorite children’s books that celebrate all you wonderful mothers.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

A young woman holds her newborn son
And looks at him lovingly.
Softly she sings to him:
“I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”

And so begins the story that has touched the hearts of millions of mothers and sons. I weep every time I read this book. It’s difficult to read this book so often because it’s just as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming. This book really does inspire me though to treasure every second with my dear son.

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Because I’m a stay at home mom and the main caregiver to my son, he is especially attached to me and battles with separation anxiety. Reading this book with my son helps to comfort him whenever I have to be away. My son gives me the widest smile as soon as the Mommy bird and the baby bird are reunited. This is a great book to read with any child struggling with separation anxiety.

Thank You, God, For Mommy by Amy Parker

This is a really sweet story with wonderful and affectionate illustrations. I really like this book because it’s from the point of view of a grateful child. A panda cub thanks God for everything his Mommy panda does for him. He thanks God for his Mommy’s patience, for her nurturing ways and for always loving him no matter what he does. This is a great book to guide children how to express their thankfulness for their mommy!

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren

This book is actually where the idea of Mama Bear Matters started : ) This is a great “where did I come from?” story. It’s about a Mommy bear telling her baby girl the story of how she came to be. The Mommy bear chronicles her pregnancy, delivery, and their first moments with their newborn daughter, repeatedly telling the young bear, “God gave us you.” My favorite part of the story is when the Mommy bear is praying for her unborn child.

I want to thank my late Auntie Esther Ibarra for giving our son Evan this wonderfully heartfelt and God-centered book. May you rest in peace Auntie. You are missed by so many.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

This was the first book I ever received as a new mommy (thank you cousin Mo!). It’s a powerful story about a mother’s unconditional love. A mother (symbolized by a tree) willingly gives everything of herself to a little boy so he can achieve happiness, even if it means she has to go without. The story is not only about a mother’s unconditional love, it’s also about a mother’s understanding, patience and selfless giving. This is a timeless story and a must have book for all mothers.

DISCUSSION

  • What are your favorite children’s “mommy books”?

Share your story, your story matters.

Weaning a Toddler

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in several days. I’m in the middle of weaning our 20 month old toddler and it’s been quite a fitful week!

BREAK FROM BREASTFEEDING

As I mentioned in a previous post about expanding our family, my husband and I would like to get pregnant again, and we decided it would be best for my son to wean from breastfeeding before I get pregnant with our second baby.

I really want to give my body a rest before getting pregnant again. Although extended breastfeeding has been a positive experience for both me and my son, I’m looking forward to regaining my body back.

I JUST WANT MY MOMMY

My son has been nursing on demand ever since he was born, even through the night since we co-sleep with him as well. As an infant, Evan was never interested in bottles or pacifiers, he just wanted to nurse exclusively.

As Evan started eating solid foods at 6 months old, he received other forms of calories and nutrition aside from breast milk, but he still relied heavily on nursing for comfort and closeness with me.

But now that pregnancy is back in our family plans, I want to wean Evan from breastfeeding now, before I’m pregnant, rather than traumatizing him by abruptly forcing him to “quit cold turkey” once we’ve conceived.

I’ve known other mothers who continued to nurse their older child throughout being pregnant with another baby, but I don’t want to nurse while I’m pregnant.

TECHNIQUES

So that’s what I’ve been doing this whole week, trying to at least, weaning my very attached toddler from his beloved breastfeeding.

To wean Evan, I’ve eliminated his mid-morning and mid-afternoon nursing sessions. I take him on long walks and play a lot of silly games with him to distract him from his “comfort” feedings. I also give him plenty of snacks, offer him water and milk in sippy cups, and entice him with Big Bird apple juice boxes to keep him hydrated. If he really resists and becomes inconsolable, then I let him nurse, but no longer than 5 minutes on both sides.

So far, despite the battles, I’ve successfully been able to delay each daytime nursing session to at least 4 hours apart. Yesterday, he didn’t nurse for almost seven hours!

By the end of May, my goal is to only nurse Evan when he wakes up in the morning, before his one afternoon nap time, and finally before his bedtime at night. I imagine the nighttime feedings will be the most difficult to take away, but I’ll just have to cross that very long bridge when I get there.

RESISTANCE

Just as I expected, weaning has turned out to be quite a challenge. As a result from this new restrictive weaning schedule, Evan has been very grumpy, defiant, and irritable.

I feel terrible that my decision to wean has caused Evan to be so miserable. He must be so frustrated that he can’t nurse as often as usual, which was pretty much as often as he wanted!

NURSING AND WEANING AS SAHM

As a stay at home mom and his only caregiver, I didn’t mind nursing him on demand. I take great pride that I was able to nurse Evan so much, well past his first year. But now that I’m ready to stop breastfeeding him, it’s a really bittersweet period.

Another added challenge to the daytime weaning is that my husband is at work from 6 am to 6 pm. So I’m home alone with Evan all day, battling with no relief all the flaring temper tantrums filled with screaming, crying, arm-flailing, back-arching, pleading, and worst of all, the heartbreaking lip quivers : (

It’s so hard to refuse him repeatedly, especially because he’s my first and only baby. I hate seeing him cry : (

Weaning a toddler that’s so deeply attached to nursing will never be easy, I suppose.

There are many discouraging moments when I feel like giving up and I think in desperation that maybe I should just let him nurse on demand again.

But I know that it’s time to detach Evan from breastfeeding; my mother’s instinct is telling me it’s time to wean. 

IT’S GONNA BE OKAY

Seeing Evan so unhappy breaks my heart, but I have to remind myself that Evan will be okay. I have to just find other ways (cuddling, singing, reading, taking long walks) to comfort him and bond with him besides nursing.

Like during any major life transitions, I have to face this new chapter of parenthood with plenty of patience, persistence and grace. This difficult period requires a lot of adjustments for my entire family. Though I am confident that one day, Evan will eventually adjust to weaning, and he won’t have to be comforted by nursing.

I am so grateful that I was able to nourish Evan and bond with him through nursing for so long. Breastfeeding has been a beautiful experience in my motherhood journey. However, the time has come to end this chapter. I look forward to discovering new ways to connect and bond with my dear son.

“From the time you were a tiny seed inside me, you were fed from my body.
When you were born into this world as a baby, you were fed from my breasts.
Now, I give you this cup, so you can feed yourself.” ~ Shea Darian

Recommended Readings

DISCUSSION

  • How was your experience with weaning?
  • What were some of the most effective approaches to weaning your child?

Share your story, your story matters.

How To Lead a Meaningful Life…at 105!

My husband’s paternal grandmother celebrates her 105th birthday today! Our family calls her “Apo” which means grandparent in our Filipino native language. Apo is a wonderful and sweet woman. She is gentle, hospitable, caring and adores her grandchildren and great grandchildren. We are very happy and thankful to celebrate her 105th birthday today.

Five years ago, when she turned 100, we commemorated the special occasion with a huge birthday party at a fancy dance hall. When asked what she wished for her 100th birthday, she replied, “I wish to live to be 105!” Well, thank the Lord, here we are today : )

Despite her very old age, she maintains a relatively good bill of health. As expected, she needs help getting around with a walker and sometimes she is forgetful, but otherwise, Apo is amazingly more healthy than one would expect for being 105 years old!

Apo’s doctors are in awe that she doesn’t suffer from any chronic health problems. Apo doesn’t have any heart conditions, diabetes, or hypertension – the common culprits in our family’s health history. She doesn’t take any medications nor has she even had any surgeries! It’s truly amazing.

So what’s the secret to Apo’s long life? How can someone living beyond her second century still live such a defiantly healthy life?

  • A lot of LOVE: Apo’s health and well-being can be attributed to her two daughters who tirelessly care for her. I believe the loving way in which her two daughters care for her is the reason why Apo is still thriving at 105.
  • Diet: Apo’s two daughters prepare her home-cooked meals daily. They have several meals throughout the day but their meals are always well-balanced. What is worth most noting is that they almost never ever go out to eat in restaurants.
  • Simplicity: Apo and her daughters lead a very simple life. They enjoy simple activities such as gardening, cooking, cleaning their home and watching their favorite TV shows. Apo doesn’t have many stressors in her life. She values her humble way of living.
  • Activity: Apo gets light exercise daily with her stationary bike pedal. She also walks around the house regularly to keep good circulation in her body. She keeps up her motor skills by coloring! Also, when the weather is fair, (which is pretty often here in San Diego) Apo goes outside and gets fresh air.
  • Faith: Apo attends mass every Sunday. Even though her legs are frail and it can take up to 10 minutes for her daughters to help Apo get from the church parking lot into the pews, Apo is determined to get her weekly Sunday blessing. Apo even loves to clap and sing along with the gospel choir!
  • Positive Attitude: Apo is still cheerful and loves to smile!

What I gather from Apo’s 105th birthday today is not just celebrating the advantage of getting to live to be 105. The true lesson is in understanding how to live a healthy and meaningful and purposeful life, at any age.

DISCUSSION:

I invite you to ask yourself:

  • How can I ensure not only longevity, but also a great quality of life?

Share your story. Your story matters.

A Fantastic 32nd Birthday

To My Amazing Wife, Khristine:

First let me wish you a wonderful and blessed birthday! I pray that you have a beautiful and memorable celebration with me and Evan. I also hope that this day brings you happiness, because you deserve it.

Thank you. There are thousands of things I can thank you for, but I am especially grateful for you as a wife and as the mother to our son. When we first had Evan, I had no idea how we would learn to raise a child, but day after day you prove to me that we’re doing a great job – you make life a beautiful experience for all of us.

I pray that in the next year, you continue to find inspiration in the simple life that we have. Evan loves you more than the world, and I love you in the same capacity.

God bless you and your SAHM dreams, God bless your health and happiness, and God bless you with many, many years to come.

I love you!

Happy Birthday,
Your Husband Randy

Thank you to my husband Randy and my son Evan for giving me such a lovely birthday morning. My life is rich because of you.

“There are two ways of spreading light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”  – Edith Wharton

DISCUSSION:

  • How does your partner express gratitude for your role as a stay at home mom?
  • In what ways does your family support your “SAHM dreams”

Share your story, your story matters.

We’re a family of three, I mean FOUR! Why we changed our minds about having only one child

When anyone asked me and my husband if we planned on having another baby, our answer was always, without hesitation, “No. We are happy to be a family of three.” Friends and relatives often teased us by hinting, “Time for another one!” But Randy and I always remained convinced that Evan would be our only child.

Here are some of the reasons we wanted to only have one child:

  1. Taking care of an infant is so difficult! Especially the first three months, the sleep deprivation is just brutal! I have no desire to go through those foggy and zombie times again.
  2. We finally feel like we could manage our lives now. We currently have a good setup in how we share our parenting responsibilities.
  3. I now have my pre-pregnancy body back : ) Thanks to yoga and my healthier eating habits, I feel even more confident with my body after having a baby.
  4. Although we have a tight budget, we feel financially stable. We don’t feel like we’re rich, but at least we have a good handle on our bills and savings.
  5. As part of our sacrifice and downsizing in order for me to be a stay at home mom, we live in a studio. How are we going to fit a family of four in a studio?!?
  6. In addition to working 50 hours a week, Randy is back in school getting his second Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. What time do we have to take care of another baby?
  7. We could give Evan more resources and more one on one attention as an only child. Saving for two college funds?!? Yikes!
  8. I read this very convincing article which highlighted the benefits of having only one child. See, even experts agree that one child families may be beneficial.

After reading this list, it seems evident that physically, spatially, logistically, financially, and regarding timing, the “wiser” decision is for us to have only one child. Totally makes sense, yes? It would definitely be more prudent for us to “quit while we’re ahead.” We’re doing great now, why change our family dynamics? It’s not like we feel as if our one son is “not enough.” Evan has already given us more joy we could ever imagine! We couldn’t possibly be any happier than this. Right?!?

So why in the world did we change our minds?

Well, about a month ago, on the morning of March 19 to be exact, Randy and I woke up and revealed to one another that we both just had a dream that I had given birth to a baby girl. But that wasn’t the first time I ever had a dream about having a second baby though. So what’s the big deal? I mean usually, we would scoff at such dreams, they were just silly fantasies, “Hah, what a funny dream” we would often say.

Then I realized, March 19 was St. Joseph’s Day! St. Joseph is the patron saint of families. Randy and I have always had an affinity and adoration for St. Joseph. We realized that it couldn’t be just a coincidence that he and I both had the same dream, on the same night, and to top it off, it happened on the Feast Day of St. Joseph.

Those signs were too powerful to ignore. We were then summoned to discuss the possibility and so we asked each other, although jokingly at first, “So what do you think now, do you want another baby?” When normally, we would say, “Haha, very funny! What a wild idea. Of course we’re not having another one!” This time, Randy and I similarly said, “Well, actually…Yes.” We mutually agreed that we would love to have another child and that we now wanted to expand our family! It was an unexpected shift, and although it felt scary and overwhelming, it felt right.

Just to be sure that we were making a thoughtful decision and not just an emotional decision, Randy and I referred to our one-child-only-list above, highlighting all the “smart and obvious” reasons why it was better that we have only one child. And after reviewing the list over (and over and over and over again), we still ultimately decided that we were definitely going to try to have a second baby.

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

“The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the mind cannot understand.”
Robert Valett

“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.”
Blaise Pascal

Although all the reasons didn’t completely make sense to us, God somehow led us to the decision to have another baby. God placed the desire in our hearts to expand our family, rightfully and perfectly aligned with St. Joseph’s Day, the patron saint of our family, to whom we always offer our prayers and intentions. We had to respond to this calling, and although this sudden decision didn’t match up with our previous plans, we concluded that we would be even happier to have an addition to our family. We had a sudden change of mind, but more important, we had a compelling change of heart.

The most striking part of our comprehensive conversation was when Randy said, “It’s like our future baby is knocking on our hearts.” That profound sentence quickly ended our discussion. We looked at each other with tears welling up in our eyes, and held each other reassuringly. We knew at that very moment, our family is meant to grow.

Our baby was knocking on our hearts, how could we walk away? Randy and I wanted to open the door, answer our next baby’s call and together, take that leap of faith. We decided that no matter what happens, we were going to find ways to make it work as a family.

The following evening after dinner, we announced to Evan that Mommy and Daddy wanted to give him another sibling. Evan smiled widely, not really understanding what our statement implied, but he was still happy (probably because Mommy and Daddy looked so happy telling him!) We then asked Evan to help us finalize our family decision. I handed him the plastic compact case containing my pills, he willingly took it, and ceremoniously he placed it in the trash bin. The three of us cheered and clapped jubilantly. It was such a touching moment for our family!

Evan rejoiced with me and Randy, again, not fully comprehending the implications of what just happened, but nonetheless he cheered along with us. Evan knew that something great, a joyous moment, just took place for the three of us.

Now I don’t want to create an itemized list of all the benefits of having a second baby. The benefits of having adding another beautiful soul into our family are truly endless and intangible anyway. So instead, here is a proactive list that I compiled to help me prepare my body for a possible pregnancy:

  • Referring regularly to my wellness list
  • Finding ways to de-stress and unwind everyday
  • Refraining from watching violent and disturbing shows on TV
  • Listening to easygoing songs that make me feel relaxed
  • Refining our space and minimizing our possessions to make more room
  • Enjoying every single moment with Evan even more
  • Reciting the following prayer to St. Gerard, the patron saint of expectant mothers
  • Having fun trying to conceive again : ) (No obsessing over fertility calendars and ovulation kits this time!) We want our second pregnancy to take place naturally

Randy and I know that the power of conception is not up to us. We can only prepare our minds, create space for another baby and make the decision to try again. In the end, whether or not we are blessed with another pregnancy, we just thank God everyday that He has already granted us with a healthy and happy family.

DISCUSSION:

  • How did you and your partner decide on the size of your family?
  • How do you prepare your life (mind, body and surroundings) for conception?

Share your story, your story matters.

Note: Email me (mamabearmatters@gmail.com) if you would like a copy of my collection of prayers for conception.