another, again, anew

When we were dating, then engaged, then married, I used to catch a glimpse of him and think—God, please send us daughters.

Because I had never met a man like him, so strong and gentle all at once, so humble and quietly confident, so genuinely kind and caring.

I watched how he treated his mother, his sister, his friends, and me. And I knew—with all the women who suffer father wounds, who never learn that they deserve to be treated with respect by every single man they meet—that we were meant to have daughters.

That he would be so good to them. That he would leave such a legacy of love to build them up for a world driven to diminish their worth.

Then God gave us a boy. 

And another. 

And another. 

Then we were going to have two girls—two!—but they went home to God as quickly as they were here.

And then we had another boy.

Now we are having another son.

I realized I was wrong about raising daughters. Not that it wouldn’t have been amazing, but that it had to be the way he would change the world as a parent.

Turns out he is exactly the father that these boys need. A man who is loving and tender, who deconstructs everything that is wrong with our culture’s view of men and who builds up everything beautiful about what a father can be.

Nothing takes my breath away more than seeing the impact he has on our sons. They will change lives—of the women and the men they meet—because of how he has loved them.

And yes, we are having one more.

. . .

Our son is due on the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25th.

Nine months to the day before Christmas, when we remember how the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with astonishing news of Jesus’ arrival.

Over the past twenty weeks—half a sick pregnancy spent pondering the prospect of an Annunciation baby—I’ve hearkened back to my art major days. All those medieval and Renaissance paintings of Mary being interrupted by an angelic visitor.

She is shown in the act of reading.

I used to think this was a symbolic trope, a quaint custom. She was reading the Psalms, art historians assured us. Or perhaps Isaiah’s prophecies about a virgin bearing a child.

She is part of the story, goes the explanation.

But this pregnancy and this one more boy have opened up a new chapter in my understanding.

She is letting go of the story she knew. She is turning the page on what was. She is dropping what came before. She is letting God write something new.

He is already and not-yet, this expected Annunciation baby. But he has already taught me the same.

Set down the book you thought you were reading. Turn to a new chapter.

This is not the story you knew, or even the version you thought you wanted. This will be ever better.

Behold. I am doing something new.

. . .

People’s reactions to this pregnancy run the range of ridiculous.

(When someone close to me proclaimed with a smile, “You’re just meant to raise all sons!” and I stared at her and asked, “Did you forget that time I gave birth to two daughters?”—it was then that I realized that I can never expect the world to understand.)

Every day people treat it like a tragedy—to raise all boys.

You should see the sad faces they give me, the consoling hugs, the sighs of disappointment. (Nothing turns a pregnant mother into a mama bear of fierce protection faster than that pity face, I promise you.)

Of all the tragedies in my life, I will never count that as one. I get to spend my life with the best man I have ever known, and I get to build a life raising five more. 

What greater gift could I have been given? What greater gift could I dream to give back?

What better story could I help to write, from a book I never expected?

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  1. Kristen on 15 November 2019 at 8:29 am

    When I was young, I dreamed of marrying my prince charming and having 4 daughters. I’m positive Good laughed at me. My husband and I have 7 sons (plus one in heaven) and no daughters…I laughed every time we’ve gotten pregnant. Of course it will be another boy! prayers and blessings to you. Thank you for your writing.

  2. Maureen on 15 November 2019 at 8:10 am

    So wonderful, perfect, beautiful! Congratulations, mama. ❤️

  3. Sarah J. on 15 November 2019 at 8:00 am

    Congratulations on another pregnancy and the 5th boy. I had 3 boys before a daughter. I would have been fine with another boy. I liked having a girl but being the mom of boys before she showed up made me feel like I was doing something really great to raise good men to be wonderful husbands. It has worked out that way.

  4. Ann on 15 November 2019 at 7:52 am

    After I became a parent through adoption, not the way I had expected to fulfill my dream of becoming a parent. I found this quote from Garrison Keillor, “Some fortune lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” And with your sons, may you experience the same blessing that I have with my daughter–of realizing that if I had only known, this is what I would have dreamed.

  5. Heather on 15 November 2019 at 7:46 am

    As always, I have finished reading your words and my heart feels grounded in truth and holiness. I always thought my story would involve raising 4 boys – it was my dream! Then I became the mama of three girls and that dream vanished and I was so content with our family. After the death of our son, every bit of my body aches to raise a boy, probably because my chance was “stolen” from me. Damn you, new chapter! I really believe God is helping us uncover some very important lessons by intertwining our souls with our beloved children and their gender is only one small element in the grand scheme of life. A million times over, congratulations to your entire family. Thank you for being the catalyst for some much needed inner, personal reflection.

  6. Stephanie on 15 November 2019 at 6:59 am

    Such a powerful perspective! Raising 5 boys on earth and parenting 2 previous and perfect babies in heaven. Your daughters are also shaping your boys into men in their own way.

  7. Stephanie Anderson on 15 November 2019 at 6:59 am

    Such a powerful perspective! Raising 5 boys on earth and parenting 2 previous and perfect babies in heaven. Your daughters are also shaping your boys into men in their own way.

  8. Diana Giard on 15 November 2019 at 6:42 am

    Congratulations! After four years of following your story, I still get weepy and grateful for your posts, vulnerability, and Faith. As it is for all of us, a long and painful journey at times, other times excitement and smiles, hopefully always laced with Joy in its true sense, your Faith is God is such a beautiful reminder to never lose hope. Thank you! After two losses this year, we are expecting our third to hopefully arrive on April 10th – Good Friday. As I ponder a Good Friday due date, I think of all the suffering Mary endured on that day with the Hope and Faith of life renewed. I pray your fifth son remains healthy and you continue to deepen your trust is God. My face is not one of pity, it is a face of gratitude for your willingness to share your story and my heart holds you, your husband, all of your children, including your daughters, Abby and Maggie and the one you didn’t get to meet, in prayer.

  9. Gina FENSTERER on 15 November 2019 at 6:39 am

    I relate to this in so many ways, I didn’t even realize that I would. Oh how I’d love to sit and have coffee with you and share all the feelings and thoughts about being a “boy-mom” and a mom of girls.

    Congratulations, Laura! What a joy.

    And this “She is letting go of the story she knew. She is turning the page on what was. She is dropping what came before. She is letting God write something new.” Can I be so cliche to say “mind-blown”?

  10. Claire on 15 November 2019 at 6:06 am

    Congratulations Laura! I’m so excited for you and your family! I always wanted a daughter, and my only living child is a son. I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

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