It began with a month of prayer for new life.
For a baby, or for a child, or for a new dream of what life could be without. Not for me, but for my dear friends.
I knew the blessings of children myself and so I pleaded for this hope for them. I reminded God of the joy of children. The pride, the happiness, the sleeplessness, the creativity, the drama, and the beauty they bring.
And I felt that something was about to change.
At the end of that month, a peace had come to my friends about their future. In that time I had also become a surrogate of change for my own family. It was undeniably our fourth (earthly) baby on the ultrasound monitor.
And I was full of fear.
Fear of starting over.
Fear of 'parenting' taking longer.
Fear of Zeb no longer being the baby.
Fear of having less time for my children.
Fear of more clothes to wash.
Fear of a messier house.
Fear of labour and afterbirth pains.
Fear of damage and wear to my body.
Fear of sleepless nights and exhaustion.
Fear of the additional years of homework, lunches and school runs.
Fear about finding a baby name.
Fear about a new baby being 'old news' in our family.
Fear about finding a nursery space in our house.
Fear of the sacrifice.
Fear of not feeling joy.
Fear of my plans and dreams being changed.
Months later, the surprise has worn off. And though I still feel these fears, with each baby kick, each heartbeat heard, and each extra centimetre added to my girth, something else is slowly growing.
Hope that my plans and dreams will change.
Hope of a new perspective when the baby arrives.
Hope that my kids will love having another sibling to grow up with.
Hope that I will embrace each cuddle, feed, laugh, and dirty nappy as I care for this child.
Hope that my heart will expand to lavish more love than I can now.
Hope of God-sent courage, strength, and peace.
So for now I am thankful, and will rest and wait for the baby that I told God would be a blessing, and bring pride, happiness, sleeplessness, creativity, drama, beauty and joy.