Thursday, January 31, 2013

Asian Babies...for real!

+JMJ+

The time has come when I can officially share with all of you that...

...Michael and I are having a baby!

Yes, I'm pregnant and we are happy. The baby is due August 10th and we are sooo close to being out of the first trimester with no concerns, so we appreciate any and all prayers. Initially we wanted to wait to tell the "world" until we made it past the 3 month mark, but here we are now in week 12 and unable to hold it in any longer. Although our family and a few close friends already knew, we posted a Facebook status notifying the "online world" this week. So the cat's out of the bag...and the way I see it, now we'll have far more people praying for us no matter what happens (though let's pray for no complications - deal?).

Some of you readers may find the timing of my last few posts to be ironic given that I wrote all of them knowing I am pregnant. Rest assured, I still mean every single word I said about the fact that NFP does work. In fact, I'd say now that Michael and I are living proof. And for those of you that can't do math, no, this child isn't a "honeymoon baby" (why are people so obsessed with knowing this?!). Because we are newlyweds and most of our friends thought we planned to wait a year it also hasn't been an uncommon question of, "were you guys trying?"

The answer: not exactly. But because we practiced NFP we did know exactly what we were doing. As I quoted recently from IuseNFP's website,

"NFP is just as or more effective than typical contraceptives. Also an important difference between using NFP and using contraception is that a couple using NFP almost always knows when they are taking a chance. Couples using contraception have been sold a false bill of goods. One that says if they’re ‘smart’ they’ll use protection and a pregnancy won’t occur. True empowerment is full knowledge and being able to act accordingly."

So in short, for all the people that asked us if we were trying (as if that would somehow change our feelings of joy about this child anyway?), we didn't necessarily plan 100% on getting pregnant when we did but we both knew it could happen and were fine with it. One of the beautiful things about NFP is that it helps you understand the natural gift of life and what a blessing it is when God gives it to you through a child. So in our eyes, if God wanted us to have a baby now then I'd get pregnant when we knowingly took our chances. Clearly God has made His will known to us and we do embrace it.

I think one of the most common things that scares women away from NFP are women who practice it and get pregnant early on (like me) or couples that have lots of children. To someone unfamiliar with NFP, it can appear from the outside as if these young women already having lots of babies (so soon!) must mean that NFP does not work - but this couldn't be further from the truth. There are couples out there that have practiced NFP for years and don't yet have children (because they've discerned it's not the right time emotionally, financially, or because of their careers and grad school, etc.). However, a beautiful side effect of practicing NFP is that you inevitably become more receptive to the idea of having a child. I'm speaking personally here (not scientifically) when I suggest that so many women who practice NFP have children early on because their use of NFP opens them up more to the truth and love of conceiving a child. I recently read this post over at Catholic Cookie Jar about Caitlin's journey from using contraception to practicing NFP and how one result of this switch is that she and her husband find themselves increasingly more open to life, rather than fearing it. 

This is an important message to note about NFP: it doesn't teach us to fear what can happen to our bodies when we are intimate with our spouses. It does not teach us to fear pregnancy or children as if they are some kind of disease. Rather, NFP helps us respect what can happen to our bodies when we are intimate with our spouses and to be aware of the amazing things that could take place naturally if we do this knowing the woman is fertile at that time. It helps us to love our children when we discover we're pregnant and to embrace pregnancy and children for the beautiful, natural blessings they are. I've never heard of a woman practicing NFP and being completely horrified by a pregnancy. Sure, the thought of being a first time parent can be a tiny bit scary, but that's normal. What's not normal or healthy (in my opinion) is to be terrified by something that is not by any means a disease, a curse, or unnatural...yet this is where contraception leads most women and their partners. Instead, NFP helps us learn to abstain together when the woman is fertile if we feel strongly that we aren't ready to be parents.

For Michael and me? We're ready. And that's why we took a chance. That's all there is to it. After all, God doesn't call the "equipped." He equips the called and I trust Him to guide us.

If you followed my previous blog you may remember my post about Asian babies. In case you missed it: it summed up how later in my college years I, for some inexplicable reason, became enamored with Asian babies. Not just any babies (although I think pretty much all of them are cute in their own ways), but specifically Asian babies. When this happened I had never even dated an Asian man so I have no idea how or why this began. But as I reflect on this odd obsession I can't help but smile when I realize that it's probably just one more mysterious way in which God prepared my heart to be with Michael. I used to say that I would adopt an Asian child if I didn't marry an Asian man because I thought the babies were so cute...and for those of you that don't yet know: Michael is Asian.

So not only are my prayers and dreams of living out my vocation with Michael coming true through our marriage and now a child, but in a funny way God has made a silly dream of mine come true. Although considering my husband is half Korean and half Chinese I hardly think it silly any longer to say that I want half-Asian babies...because that's exactly what I know we'll have and that's all I could ask for - to have children with the man of my dreams.

Also, it's apparently a Korean tradition superstition that a pregnant woman should frequently look at pictures of beautiful children (i.e. you should cut out a picture from a magazine and stick it on your mirror or somewhere you look every day)...because that will make your child healthy and beautiful. I've been told numerous times by my mother-in-law to do this and I feel bad ignoring her, but Michael and I (as religious people that are certainly not superstitious) find this to be absurd. Besides, I'd rather not fill my head with images of children that aren't mine when I'm preparing myself to love this little boy or girl for whoever God created them to be. So perhaps this montage of Mason Moon pictures (who is a half-Korean model and baby actor) will somehow make up for my blatant disregard of my mother-in-law's advice. Enjoy!


So here's to the joys of love, marriage, and half-Asian children! I feel beyond blessed.

"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."
-Carl Sandburg

8 comments:

  1. Congratulations!!!! Many blessings to you , your husband, and the baby! Be assured of my prayers :) it was rather fitting that January's Magnificat monthly prayer intention was for the unborn in the womb :)! There is a lovely prayer for expectant mothers that I can send your way...thank you again for also shedding some more light on NFP.

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    1. Thank you for your prayers, Celeste! I do admit the timing has been wonderful - we found out the first week of Advent and knew through all of Christmas season. Then everyone prayed continuously throughout January,as you said, for the unborn...and we participated in the March for Life knowing about our own unborn child. :) God is good!

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    2. You're very welcome!! This is absolutely wonderful and I am sure that the experience at the March for Life carried even greater depth this time for you!! :) The prayers continue..p.s. I have quoted you in my recent blog entry..b/c of a very powerful statement you made- I was sure to give the "shout out" to you and am hoping this is okay. Blessings.

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    3. That's perfectly fine! Thank you again for all the prayers. :)

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  2. Steph! CONGRATULATIONS!! So happy for you guys, and I'll be praying for you and your baby (the Asian thing, by the way, is hilarious). You write so beautifully about trusting God's will and being not afraid when it comes to NFP =)

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    1. Thank you thank you for the prayers!!! :) I truly appreciate it. I think so many of my friends used to tease me about the Asian baby thing that I almost had to convince them I was NOT dating Michael because of his ethnicity, lol. It just happened to be the icing on the cake. ;) God works in mysterious ways!

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  3. Congratulations! I love growing families. You remind me very very much of my sister. She had to answer the same annoying questions of "Were you guys trying or just not careful?" She always responded positively "Well thankfully we're married and we have decided those questions together"

    I am thrilled to see/read your progress throughout pregnancy and I am just as excited that you will have half asian babies, haha!

    Andrea

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    1. Thank you!!! :D We are sooo excited! I'm sure it's going to be quite the journey. :)

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