How can you bring a child into this world right now?

Photo by Daniela Rey on Unsplash

 The deadliest mass shooting in US history happened exactly one month before my baby's due date.

"The world is such a scary place. Why would anyone intentionally bring a child into it right now?"

This was a question someone asked online that day. A question that bounced around in my head until it was echoed back to myself in my own voice.

The chaos and destruction in our world has been overwhelming these past three months: The senseless violence that takes place in our own backyard and across the world. The multiple devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires. Plus, the constant background of political and social intolerance and hate.

Many people have responded to these tragedies with fear. Fear for their family's safety, and fear for their future.

But a few people have chosen to respond to these tragedies with acts of love. Individuals who risked their own life to carry injured strangers from the danger. First responders, doctors and nurses who worked non-stop around the clock to save the dying. People who sacrificed their life by using their own body as a shield to protect their love ones from bullets.

Many people believe that the state of our world will get worse before it gets better. So the question again is, “Why would anyone intentionally bring another innocent life into the chaos?”

The simple, yet complicated, answer is because of a belief that love is the only thing that will overcome hate.

If we are headed for a dark and dangerous future, then we need a future generation that can bravely stand toe-to-toe against the hate and chaos. 

I hope we teach our kids that the destruction caused by Mother Nature or other people’s hateful and violent actions is usually out of our control, but it doesn’t mean we need to be afraid. We may not be able to stop or change these tragedies, but we can always choose how we will respond to them.

When we talk to our kids about tragedies, I hope we focus on the stories of those who sacrificed their time, and even their lives, to save others.  I hope we talk about those courageous acts of love more than we talk about our fear. When we discuss these tragedies, let’s remind them that for each act of hate there are hundreds of people who choose to act in love.

And that they too can choose love over fear. 

A Unique Being

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As a parent-to-be, it's difficult not to conjure up dreams and expectations of what your child will be like once they're actually here in your arms.

"I hope he has your hands and your smile." I tell my husband one night.
The next day my husband says, "He'll love watching football me with."

I keep trying to remind myself that kid's are almost never a "mini" version of their parents. They are entirely unique individuals, and that we shouldn't have expectations of  what kind of personality our son will have or what his likes and dislikes will be. But it's difficult not to.

"He'll love country music." I tell my sister.
Or my husband will say, "My son won't be afraid of things like that."

But the honest truth is, we have no idea what he'll be like. He is a mystery that will take years to discover and reveal.

I'm convinced that recognizing, and even being surprised by, your child's own unique traits and qualities is one of the most wonderful things about being a parent.

One day we will ask each other in awe and bewilderment. "Where did he come from??"

Will our son always like the things we like?
Will he always make the choices that we think are best?

Will we love him anyways?

Baby Groberg - Gender Reveal

J.R. said he had a feeling we were going to have a boy the first day I told him I was pregnant. He's the only boy in his family, so he's been hoping to have a son of his own for years. Someone who could carry on his family name, and be his little buddy.

I also come from a family of all girls, so the thought of having a boy made me more anxious. How would I ever learn to raise a boy? Having a girl seemed easier because I know all about the specific challenges girls face growing up. So I would gently reminded J.R. not to get his hopes too high about having a boy, and that we had a fifty percent chance it could be a girl.

Unlike J.R., I never had a "feeling" about what gender our baby would be. And honestly it didn't really matter to me either way.

When I got tired of people asking me, "What do you think you're having?"
I would smile and say, "I think it's gonna be a human baby."

J.R. and I had decided that we weren't going to do a "gender reveal" party. We wanted to find out our baby's gender together, privately, at the ultrasound appointment.

A few days before our ultrasound, I asked J.R. whether or not he'd be disappointed with a girl. (If we were having a girl, I didn't want her to start her life as disappointment or to be unwanted. We all know how common that is with girls in other parts of the world.) With a very serious expression, he looked me in the eyes and said, "I will honestly be happy either way. I'm just happy to be having a baby with you."

On the day of our 20 week ultrasound appointment, we climbed into our truck and Carrie Underwood's song "All American Girl" started playing on the radio. I looked over at J.R. and laughed as I told him, "It's a sign, we're gonna have a girl." He just rolled eyes.  But I could tell it made him a little-bit less confident in his prediction about us having a boy.

At the appointment, the ultrasound technician first started looking at the baby's head and chest. Everything was measuring at the correct size, and the heart and arteries were all developed correctly.

It was absolutely amazing to see our little baby's body inside and out, and a relief to know that they were healthy.

All of a sudden I saw one of our baby's little hands, and I knew! Those were J.R.'s hands. We were having a boy. I didn't want to say anything though - just in case I was wrong.

I looked over at J.R. and could tell that the anticipation was crushing him. Finally the technician said, "Let's find out what gender this little person is."

As she moved the wand over my stomach, another angle of our baby appeared on the screen. She paused it and with excitement in her voice said, "Here's a little butt cheek, another little butt cheek, and here's the scrotum and a penis."

J.R. started laughing, "I told you." He whispered to me with the biggest smile on his face.

Seeing his pure excitement and joy made me feel like my heart would burst, and one little tear slipped down my face. "You were right." I smiled back to him.

A boy. We are having a boy.

It might be asking to much, but I hope he turns out to be exactly like J.R.