Welcome Alright, this is the post I’ve been planning, yet dreading at the same time. There’s going to be some people out there that will be able to identify with what I’m saying, some will not understand and criticize my feelings, and yet some will feel anger or frustration when I have the nerve to complain while being so blessed. But it’s an important topic for me to share and it will also answer the question some readers have wondered…why does this Christian lady, mom blogger only have one child? Also, today, we have more healthy food choices for the week. Today’s recipe is for pan-seared garlic and herb salmon with rice and spinach saute’. Note-I may receive a small compensation from advertisers and affiliates seen in this post. For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.
Food For Thought In many Christian households there are several children running around, making messes and noise wherever they go, and blessing the lives of their loving, yet exhausted parents. Not all Christian families choose to have lots of children, but many Christian faiths are “known” for having big families with lots of little ones running around. A couple decades ago, I thought this would be me too. I dreamed about it, planned for it, talked about it, and prayed about it. After being married a couple of years and feeling settled and somewhat secure financially, my husband and I decided it was time to grow our household. Luckily for us, God’s timing matched our own, and approximately nine months after having the discussion, our daughter was born. Blessings!!! Just like that, we were parents and on our way to having the full little house I’d always dreamed of. I had a very healthy pregnancy with no complications. In fact, baby and I were both very healthy until some complications at time of delivery. My blood pressure was very high and I was ill throughout the delivery, but praise God, our daughter was born without harm and very healthy. For this we are grateful beyond words!
After bringing home our baby, like all parents we were tired and overwhelmed, and I had some post-partum depression, but nothing serious. We faced challenges like all new parents, including me going back to work when I no longer wanted to work outside the home, and my husband working nights, leaving me feeling like a single parent some days. In one heated discussion, we said maybe we shouldn’t have any more kids, maybe we didn’t know what we were doing. Of course we didn’t know what we were doing, but we figured it out, but those words later came back to haunt us. You see, those words were spoken in the heat of the moment and we really hadn’t intended on them being true. But in 2011, the choice, more or less, was made for us.
In the spring of 2011, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my abdominal and pelvic region. Because it was getting close to the end of the school year, I ignored it, thinking I would deal with it in the summer. One Sunday morning in May, I woke up to the worst pain I had experienced in my life (including childbirth) and was crawling to wake up my husband to take me to the ER. He quickly took me to the hospital that’s only a couple of miles from our home and everyone there expected to find kidney stones. Nope. I had large ovarian cysts on both sides. The ER doctor’s decision was to give me pain medication and send me home. “Call your OBGYN and set up an appointment,” he said. I took off work the next day to try to get in to the doctor. No such luck, they’d see me in June! For the next month I took a lot of pain medication, cried a lot, and spent my free time curled up in a ball. When I made it to the doctor in June they did an ultrasound. Yes, I had tennis ball-sized cysts on both ovaries. The doctor said they hurt so bad because they were twisting and pulling on internal parts. So what did they decide to do? Nothing. Come back next month for another ultrasound and we’ll see if they’ve shrunk. So, I had another month of terrible pain. The day I was supposed to go back to the doctor in July for my ultrasound, I was in so much pain I couldn’t even get out of bed. My husband was afraid to leave for work (he worked days by this time.) He said he was calling my doctor. What a good husband, calling the gynecologist for his suffering wife! He talked to my doctor’s nurse, explaining I couldn’t even get out of bed to come in for my appointment. She asked what number I was on the pain scale. I said 9 or 10. She told my husband, “Oh, honey, if she’s a 9 or 10, she needs the emergency room, not the doctor.” So here we went again, being the third trip to the ER in three months. I was in agony and begged that they not send me home without trying something. When a high-powered pain medication was not effective, they finally agreed and another ultrasound was done. I will spare you the personal and disgusting details, but what they found was one of my cysts had grown to the size of a softball and was twisted and pulling on my fallopian tubes. They called my doctor, who said I needed immediate surgery before the cyst ruptured. I was sent by ambulance to another hospital and was prepped for surgery. Not the most life-or-death scenario, for sure, but still very serious. My doctor now realized that my reproductive health was in jeopardy. He explained that he was going to remove the cysts, but he could not promise that damage would not be done to my ovaries in the process. At this point, I promise you, I was in so much pain, I didn’t care what they did, as long as the pain would go away.
Wow! Immediately following surgery I felt better. Yes, there was some soreness from the incisions, but the difference was dramatic. Then my doctor shared some information from my surgery with me. The one cyst that had gotten so large had completely engulfed one of my ovaries, and basically that ovary rotted away. Eww, gross, right? When that cyst was removed, that ovary had to be removed as well. The second, somewhat smaller cyst was also removed, and while the ovary was not, the doctor said it likely was not going to function properly. My doctor told my husband and I that while pregnancy was not 100% impossible, it was highly unlikely. Additionally, during the surgery, a lot of scar tissue from endometriosis was found, adding to the difficulty of getting pregnant again. But, due to blood pressure issues that remained since the birth of our daughter and family history, I was considered high risk and my doctor discouraged us from having any more children. Our daughter was 4 at the time, still somewhat young, and we were so relieved that my pain was gone, we thought we didn’t care. At the time. For the next couple of years I embraced my new health and feeling so much better that I focused on losing weight, getting in shape, and enjoying our daughter as much as I could.
About the time our daughter was in second grade, my husband and I started feeling an emptiness of not having any little ones in the house. We discussed trying to get pregnant anyway, adoption, and what other options we may have had. At that time, I had a coworker experiencing infertility and taking treatments so she could have her first baby. I felt so guilty. Here I was, blessed with an amazing child and had the joys of experiencing motherhood, yet I was feeling bitterness for not having my full little house that I had always wanted. Now, that former co-worker has a beautiful little boy and expecting her second later this year. I praise God for their joy. But wonder what happened to our extra little bundles of joy. In the past six years, I think I’ve attended two baby showers, and was miserable at both. They’re the worst for me. I want to be so happy for the new mom-to-be, and I am, but I get very selfish, jealous, and then guilty. I just choose not to attend baby showers anymore. I’ll go in on a gift and send my blessings, but I just can’t bring myself to sit in a group that are talking about nothing but babies and having to fake my joy. Women unable to have any children are probably saying “shame on you” considering that I have been very blessed to have a child of my own. I can’t help it, it’s how I feel, and I’ve been working with God through prayer and study on how to resolve these issues.
I’m about to finish my fourth decade and occasionally my husband and I talk about more kids, but we’re getting a strong sense now that it wasn’t meant to be. The window of opportunity is closing. In our recent restoration of faith, we now recognize and accept God’s plan, knowing that He may very well have known a reason for us to only have one child. It may have something to do with the level of stress I experienced during the past couple of years, and what happened with my health. There may be financial reasons. Maybe the reason hasn’t even been revealed to us yet, or maybe it has and we just haven’t recognized it. Whatever God’s purpose, we know when He does not answer prayers the way we would like, it is His protection for us from something that would be harmful, either physically, mentally, or spiritually. I believe that and I trust that.
Today’s Scriptures I know my circumstances are very different than the following passages in the Bible. All of us have unique circumstances when it comes to having babies and growing our families. I understand that having one healthy child is a blessing beyond words and I am thankful for her every single day. But in questioning the reason for only one child in our lives, I have spent a lot of time reading the passage in Genesis 18 and the story of Abraham and Sarah. The level of faith they needed to see God’s miracle become their reality was immense. It is an amazing story of believing God’s word, even when in despair. I believe one of the reasons this story is in our Bible is for encouragement and comfort for those families who share Sarah’s difficulty. Here are some other verses that offer wisdom and encouragement, as well.
1 Samuel 1:11, 26-27 “And she made a vow, saying, ‘O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” “and she said to him, ‘As surely as you live my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.”
Judges 13:2-3 “A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, ‘You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son.”
Psalm 128 “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel.”
Today’s Recipe When I was experiencing my health issues, I asked the doctor about causes and remedies. My doctor’s answer focused on genetics, and there was nothing I could have done to prevent what happened with my cysts. I do know, however, that women who are trying to conceive can use nutrition to their advantage. Basically a healthy diet for anyone is a great diet for a women trying to become pregnant. Focusing on whole grains, eggs, salmon, beans, olive oil, broccoli, almonds, and avocado, to name a few of the big ones. In an effort to be healthy in general, I prepared the following meal this week for dinner. You may find yourself in a situation where the nutritional benefits of this meal are very “productive.” This is a pretty quick meal to prepare, so I’ll go through the steps start to finish.
Garlic and Herb Salmon, Brown Rice with Herbs, and Spinach Saute’ with Onions and Mushrooms (serves 4)
- 1 1/2 pound salmon filet, skin on
- 1 TBS olive oil (for fish)
- 1 TBS minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp EACH salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme, and basil (for fish)
- 1 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups instant brown rice
- 1/2 tsp EACH salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme, and basil (for rice)
- 2 tsp olive oil (for vegetables)
- 1/2 large red onion, sliced
- 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
- 16 oz fresh spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat nonstick skillet to medium high. Mix olive oil, garlic and seasonings for fish in small bowl. Rub on salmon and place skin-side down in skillet. After 5 minutes, turn and allow to cook another 3-5 minutes depending on thickness of filet. Meanwhile, place stock and seasonings for rice in medium pot; bring to a boil. Once stock is boiling, add rice, place lid, and remove from heat. Allow rice to stand 8-10 minutes. Remove fish from skillet to plate and allow to rest and finish cooking. Using same skillet from salmon, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and heat for one minute. Add onion and mushrooms, tossing gently in oil. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until browned and aromatic, then add in spinach, salt and pepper, tossing with other vegetables and oil. Cook until spinach is just wilted. Cut salmon into four portions and serve with a side of brown rice and vegetables. This meal offers nutritional benefits to everyone and is mindful of carbs for those who follow the ADA diet.
Products that you may find helpful for this post (and yes, I actually use these products):