Motherhood was something I never sought after growing up in the culture that I did.
I was adamant that we would not have a baby until at least two years after Ben and I got married, and he agreed. I never grew up around kids or in a big family so it was never an urgent passion of mine, and I wanted ‘us’ time for a while. Plus, Ben was an unemployed full-time student; he would have hated to be expecting while he’s in his first semester of school without his share of income to provide as the patriarch of our house. We’d wait and that was that
Then right around our first month of being married, Ben told me he feels like we should have a baby.
Wait, what? He’s kidding, right?
He wasn’t. I laughed and laughed until a week later we were in the temple and Heavenly Father told me that’s what He wanted us to do. I was mad at first actually.
Once I finally accepted that it was God’s will, it was nothing but excitement! We had never been more pumped in our lives! We spent all our time talking about the fun traditions we’d start, names that we liked, and I’d fantasize how cute I’d look with a baby belly. Pregnancy, however, brought a level of humility that never seemed to go away or get easier. Being pregnant was literally the hardest, most consistent trial I have gone through to date, and yes I do view it as a trial. I hated it. I hated almost everything about it. It was a struggle throughout all of it and I hated that not only did I not feel like myself, but that I couldn’t seem to do anything about it because of how sick I was. Those pregnancy perks never came for me. My hair never became silky, my nails never grew faster, I never felt like I had that glow. I was in and out of the hospital most of my pregnancy, experienced a 70 lb weight gain, was induced early, had a 43 hour labor, and the list could go on and on. I hear you forget most of it afterwards, and how lucky you are if you are one of them because I remember vividly everything, haha.
Ben and I were listening and singing to a Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson song when Gracie was born 43 hours after being induced. At first, all I could see was Ben when he first saw our daughter and he didn’t just cry. He wept. He collapsed on my shoulder and wept. I had never felt the spirit as strongly as I have than I did in that exact moment.
Ben told me soon after that he didn’t believe in God anymore. He knew Him.
Ever since my baptism nothing has gone the way I had in mind. Things I really wanted and prayed for usually didn’t ever come to pass. Things were unquestionably difficult and more times than not, hard to understand at the time. I often feel like I have a good idea of how I want things to go in my life, only to find out that, although they are righteous desires and goals, God usually has something very different in mind.
It is hard when nothing goes the way we planned. That’s when we have those fleeting thoughts of, “Does God really care about me? Is He even listening? Is He even there at all?” But how grateful I am that things haven’t always gone my way, because they have been profoundly better than what I ever could have imagined on my own— greater than I ever knew existed and was available for myself. And that’s how Heavenly Father always works.
Though there were a million reasons why having a baby would be difficult or bad timing, things are just right. I would hate to imagine them any different than how they are right now. It breaks my heart that I almost avoided getting pregnant because of my own narrow vision of how I think my life should go. What we think is a sacrifice today will prove to be one of the greatest investments we’ll make for our life. Gracie is my world. I have an incredible feeling of fulfillment in my life when we fall asleep on the couch with her, and when she holds my finger and smiles. When I look her in the eyes, I feel the spirit. Time freezes. I see a glimpse into heaven. I have a better understanding of the love God has for me because of the love I have towards her.
God’s way, though usually more difficult, always leads to the greatest things life has to offer. I wouldn’t have anything I do now without my faith and without strength from my Father in Heaven. I am weak without him. Happiness is fleeting and fake without Him. We must never forget whose hands we are in. When we do, fear can never be an option. With God life is perfect. Perfect to learn from. To grow from. And to receive the greatest there is to ever exist.
I am Al Carraway. I am a convert. A blogger. A wife. A new mom. And I just launched a Christian clothing company with my husband this past month, Believer Clothing Co. We both just left our callings in the youth presidencies and are now singing and coloring with our new sunbeams. I really can’t pick a favorite apostle because they all speak to me so differently, but Boyd K. Packer I always love because I love and admire his boldness and bluntness.