July 26, 2011

How We Ended Up With A Bear-Setting the Record Straight

In the ten years we've had The Bear, only one person has ever had the bravery to bring the subject up. No one has ever asked us how, or why we have a Bear. No one has ever come right out and asked, "What on earth were you thinking?! Why did you have a baby at 40?! Are you nuts?" Even the guy who mentioned The Bear quoted The Bear's big brother. "Now, Barrett was a surprise wasn't he?"

Good grief. If the boy's big brother doesn't even know the story, and is assuming Barrett was a "mistake"...a "surprise"...it's time to set the record straight. If nothing else, that kid's brothers ought to know why he's here.

In many ways Barrett was a surprise. One doctor even called him a miracle. I was 39 when he was conceived. I have one ovary, had endometriosis, and a "damaged" falopian tube. That doctor said the only reason we were able to conceive a baby is because God wanted that baby conceived. (which is true in all cases but you get the point)

But, there's more to this story than that. He's way more than a miracle. He's an act of surrender, trust, submission, and hope.

It began really, about 19 years ago to the day. (give or take a few) I was pregnant with our 3rd baby. That pregnancy was a nightmare from the git-go. I'll spare you all the details, but it began with me laying on the couch throwing up if I even moved my head and ended with me spying the words, "Judy may need psychiatric help" on my medical chart during one of our prenatal visits.

We'd often wrestled with the whole birth control issue. Is it biblical? Do we, as Christians, have the right or freedom to tell the Creator God how often He can use our bodies to create? Sometimes we looked at birth control as a modern day gift, at other times a curse. If we really trust God and believe He knows what He's doing, can't we just trust Him to determine if and when we have babies?

Well, after that pregnancy I didn't care. I told my husband I was never going to ever have another baby again as long as I lived. And I angrily, fearfully looked God in the face and told Him the same thing. No way are you going to use this body to put another human on the planet. I'm done.

Those words became a wall between me and God. I don't think it was the idea of being pregnant that was the wall; it was me wanting control and telling God what He could and couldn't do with my life. But I was so afraid. Those words, "psychatric help" haunted me. I just couldn't face feeling that crazy again.

Finally, after 8 years of living with that wall between me and God I caved. I knew I had to surrender my will and let God have His. If I "went crazy" again, so be it. We really did want more babies, but my fear had held us back.

To make a long story shortish, I told God, and my husband, I was sorry for taking control and living in fear, rather than trust. We asked God for another baby, but told Him it was completely up to Him whether He gave us one or not. Let me tell you, I was shivering in my boots while this was going on. After one year of waiting and praying Mike and I had a chat. We decided that we'd waited a year for another baby and that was long enough. We weren't getting any younger and maybe we should just be happy with the 3 we had. We decided to go back on birth control and be done. But, it was too late. The Bear was already there, growing inside, we just didn't know it yet.

One doctor, when I was 38, had told me, "If you get pregnant now you'll have a nightmare pregnancy and a down syndrome baby." All through this pregnancy those words haunted me. I kept waiting for the nightmare to begin again and wondered if this baby would indeed have down syndrome.

The pregnancy turned out to be a normal one and so did the baby. The only glitch came when we actually had the baby. He weighed ten stinking pounds! That was a fun experience, let me tell you. And, btw, that's why we named him Barrett. His name is German and means, "Strong as a bear."

After this pregnancy we wondered about birth control again. Should we use it? Do we have the right to use it? We've finally concluded that it's between each couple and God. The bible doesn't seem clear on it, at least to us. So, this time we humbly prayed and said, "God, if it's ok with you, we'd like to be done having babies. We're old and we feel it...." And He said, "OK."

I"m not sure how to end this post...it did help me to write it out. As I re-read what I wrote I noticed there's a pattern in my life. I want control, I wrestle with God, He wins, good comes of it. I want control, I wrestle with God, He wins, good comes of it.
So anyway, that's how we ended up with The Bear.


  1. Judy, you are such a great writer! I love how you express things. It's good to see you writing again. I gleaned some good tips from your losing weight episodes... I'm not sure about eating only 1/4 of what is on my plate, though. Still, it's time to get serious.

    BTW, I don't think 40 is old to add a new baby to the family. And you've done a great job!


  2. Judy,
    It has been good to see you return to your writing. Only today did I discover this fact. I have always enjoyed reading your posts and frankly, I read so few blogs regularly these days. As I sit at my lunch table today I've come this far in reading past posts without commenting. I found I wanted to post a comment because I too have a story I have never shared on my blog, but I do have a title for it in my brain..."Surprised by Charlotte". I was 46 years of age when Charlotte was born...speak about a surprise! She has been one of my greatest joys, yet being an "older' mother has been one of my greatest challenges too. Realizing I could still possibly have another baby is humbling and frightening...I like what you say..."God if it's ok with you, we'd like to be done with having babies. We're old and we feel it." I too suffer with a control issue.


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