you’re just jealous

At church there’s a beautiful baby girl always a row or two in front of us that sleeps and nurses and peeks around over her mom’s shoulder. Her perfect almond eyes and dark hair make me so happy and so sad. I’ve been but won’t be (this time) the tired mom fumbling with a nursing cover in service to feed the baby before she starts squalling. I’ve been but won’t be the mom pacing the back of the room to put her back to sleep, wrapping her up tight in a blanket against me.

Another heart mom asked online the other day, in our private group of heart moms, how to keep from feeling jealous of other moms with healthy babies and expecting healthy babies.

Sometimes I do feel jealous of problems like ear infections and broken arms and snotty noses vs problems like missing pieces of a heart, of a chromosome. I’m still mourning what I expected us to have–another girl, keeping up with the rest, not hospital stays and scars down the center of her chest. I’m not a first time mom–I know exactly what we are missing.

When I feel that gnawing sick feeling creeping into my heart, I let myself feel it for a little while, because it is Ok to feel things, the feeling is valid and true and normal. Then, with a lot of prayer and, when needed, repentance, I let it go.

God calls us to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5)–otherwise the thoughts will take us captive, surely–so I take it captive and replace it with thankfulness. I have four beautiful healthy daughters, a husband who fears the Lord and loves me, a home, and so many other things. Baby Kit isn’t even born yet and I know that I have never been a more thankful, loving and tender mother to my little ones and wife to my husband than before her diagnosis.

I can’t help but sometimes hold one of the girls tight and hear her heart beating so strong and so healthy and thank God for it. I would have never wished for Kit to be born with a broken heart, and if I could change it now, then I would, but God never promised me five perfectly healthy children or an easy tear-free life. I’ve been studying the Psalms with a friend and one refrain it says over and over again–God’s love for us is a Steadfast Love and He is faithful. In four weeks, baby Kit will be born, and Bryan and I will go through the hardest time of our lives; I wish we didn’t have to, but at the same time I know that I need to trust God with my heart as much as I am trusting Him with Kit’s.

“The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.” -Elisabeth Elliot

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Review of the Playful Pioneers homeschool curriculum

This year I used The Playful Pioneers curriculum from Peaceful Press for my 5 and 7 year old girls. Here’s what I thought:

  1. I loved the week at a glance and daily schedules–it was open and go, easy to use
  2. The curriculum was absolutely set for the right ages (K-2nd is the range recommended on the website)–both of my daughters enjoyed it.
  3. It is inexpensive– $49 but often you can get a discount (I think I caught it on sale for around $30?)
  4. It is a Charlotte Mason based approach, which includes much of which we were doing when we did Ambleside Online (Year 1)–poetry, nature study, living books, bible study, hymn singing. What I liked about it MORE than I liked about AO Y1 was that it was so gentle–the readings were age appropriate, the activities were fun, and it made education enjoyable for my young girls.

The few thing I did not like:

  1. Many of the activities were not seasonally appropriate for our middle american town–I know the writer lives in California, so they can go look for ladybugs in February, but we still had snow on the ground
  2. Some of the recipes called for unnecessarily complicated / expensive ingredients–I’d rather keep it simple!

 

All in all, I would absolutely recommend this curriculum for any child ages 5 – 8. We added our own Math (Math U See) and Reading (All About Reading) and did supplement with a Spanish curriculum and of course I had to add my own poetry selections too, but everything else you need is there. At the end of the year, my girls particularly loved looking at the Historical Timeline they made and we plan to finish up the rest of the Little House books over the summer.

They have another curriculum for older kids but we don’t plan on going with it next year–we are taking the plunge with Sonlight!

7 weeks out

Somehow it has been 12 weeks since we received Kit’s diagnosis. No one can prepare you for the emotions you’ll experience with a diagnosis like that–so unexpected, a random chance defect. The first few months I was convinced that she is going to die, but I’ve slowly moved to a position of hope, because I think I need to be hopeful to be able to be there for her like I will need to be when she’s born.

Planning for Kit to live has meant nesting like I nest for all my babies–long to-do lists, organizing, spring cleaning. Except the to-do lists include things like “contact the California surgeons” and “get anesthesiology your records!”.

Finally the weather has become a little warmer and we are spending more time outside, slowly finishing up our last month of homeschool. I find myself savoring these moments with the children more than ever–Kit safe inside my womb, comfortable and growing, the kids happy and playing in the yard. I’m uncomfortable and larger than I would be due to polyhydramnios, but I don’t feel impatient for these 7 weeks to fly by–I wish I could see ahead to what lies after them, but I’m happy to have these days of “normal”.

I feel less frantic now though, more peace about the situation. I know she could die, either immediately or with one of her many necessary interventions, but I’ve settled in my heart that even though this horrible defect does not seem like the best plan for Kit or for us as her family, it IS God’s plan for us, and I need to be submissive to it. Maybe that’s part of what that verse means when it says God has planned out your good works ahead of time–that we just need to keep having faith, even now.

If you pray for us, please pray that she doesn’t come until she’s due, for a safe labor and delivery, and for her to be strong when she is born.