A big family was always part of the plan. We had a pattern going, with our kids each spaced about three years apart. We didn't necessarily plan it that way, but it worked for us. We knew if a fourth child was written in our journey then we would gladly accept it's blessing. We didn't, however, expect it to surprise us and nearly knock us right on our ass. I was on a trip out of town with my kids as my husband stayed home to work. I knew something was off and failing to ignore my inner voice, I tested. I sat there staring at that little stick, my body still, standing amongst the waves that rushed over me in patterns. We wanted this, right? I mean, this was part of the plan. I glanced at my 16 month old, staring at me with wonder, and I thought how we have come so far. I scooped him up, kissed his sweet face like I had every day for 16 months, and I cried. I held him and sobbed, mourning the baby I saw in him still. He can't possibly be an older brother already. I wasn't ready. I didn't 'feel' ready.
The guilt washed over me like an incoming tide. The water lapped at me, barely allowing time to catch my breath. Why wasn't I happy? Why was I having doubts and second guesses about this? This was a blessing. There were people out there who would give anything to be in my position, and here I sat, shocked and terrified. What the hell is wrong with me? I tried to process my emotions, I owed myself that much. I held in my news for a couple days until I could tell my husband in person. His reaction was much like I thought it would be. He was shocked. We let it seep in that week, allowed it to weave it's way into our hearts. And soon it became a part of us. 'It' became a 'he' or 'she,' who was already entangled in our family story, wrapping around our waists and intertwining our fingers.
I laid back in the chair and stared at the ultrasound screen, my stomach churning with anticipation. I saw the familiar mix of black and white clouds appear and as the wand moved about, I suddenly saw it. A tiny flicker. I stared for what seemed like an eternity, for that flicker was everything. It was relief. It was love. It was life. It was a miracle. Everything I had been worrying about, everything I had questioned, disappeared. In that moment, I was reminded of what brought me to this moment. Hope. You see, before I even imagined the children I may have one day or the husband I would share my life with, I had hope for myself. To overcome my obstacles, to reach my potential, to achieve my goals, to be successful. To give back to this world, to find what pushes me, what lights me. I have accomplished more than I could have hoped for, I have seen so much more than I could have wished for. But my children, they will forever be the best of me. And it started with that flicker on that screen. The one that provides all the hope in this world. The one that ignites excitement, anticipation, and fear. The one that allows me to nurture, to love, to grow. The one that makes me a mother, yet again.
We can hope for a good day, a good night's rest, for sunshine or rain. We can hope for peace, for happiness, for equality. We can hope for miracles. Hope has no boundaries, no limits. Hope can send us to the stars, to the abyss. For some people, hope is all they have. And for others, it is all they will ever need.