Permission for Joy

I once wrote a post in which Fr. D gave me permission to grieve. Grieve the motherhood I was letting go of, the dreams of a child and all that came with it. Not just pregnancy, but motherhood entirely. I shared some of the things I mourned here, and in my journal I wrote the rest. All of the things I hoped and dreamed of that I was accepting would no longer come true.

A lifetime unrealized.

A life unlived.

It was some of the hardest journaling I'd ever done because, you see, I never really let myself go there. Sure, I knew it was always about more than just a positive pregnancy test, but I never really let myself dream the dreams of childhood and growing up. It was a way to protect myself, a way to ensure my heart didn't completely shatter. And so, in writing those dreams down, I not only had to acknowledge they existed, but I had to let them go all at the same time.

And I did.

And then so much happened. (Understatement, I realize.)

And one day I found myself looking at that positive pregnancy test.
And having it confirmed with a blood test.
And seeing a tiny heartbeat in the right place (my history of blocked tubes puts me at high risk for ectopic pregnancy).
And hearing that progesterone was good, so good it didn't need monitored.
And seeing a squirming little person at 7 1/2 weeks.
And again (twice, due to said squirming) during the second trimester.
And kicks.
And heartburn.
And cankles.
And a growing belly.
And the realization that people no longer looked at my face, but at my belly.
And Braxton Hicks.
And a tiny foot in my side.

It all happened.

I cherished every minute of it, but I never really let myself dream. I fought hard to stay focused on the moment at hand and not either 1) wish it away too fast or 2) dare to dream of what would come next.

Infertility takes innocence away from us. I knew that none of this meant that I would hold a living child at the end.

And then my water broke.
And I was in labor.
And I delivered her.
And I heard her cry.
And I held her.
And I fed her.
And I brought her home.
And both my midwives and her pediatrician released us because we are doing so well.

And finally, on Day 9 of her life, it happened.

I dreamed again.

As I fed my daughter, I let myself imagine her growing up.
I pictured her playing. As a toddler, as a child, as a pre-teen.
I pictured her at prom (wha?!?!).

And I let myself dream.

And tears of joy and hope streamed down my face.

And for a moment, despite all that has been over the past 5 years, and specifically in this past year, I gave myself full permission to have joy over this beautiful, tiny, person in my arms.

She was born at 4:06 am on Aug. 7 after about 40 hours of labor that started with my water breaking at home, included cer.va.dil, pi.toc.in, st.ayd.ol, 9 doses of penicilin (thank you Group B Strep positive test :-(.), and 2 hours of pushing. 6lbs, 15 oz and 19 inches long.

Her name in this space will be "Sugarbeet" - given to her by my stepdad while in utero in response to one of the ridiculous weekly "your baby is the size of (insert fruit or vegetable)". Someday I will share the full story of her actual name.

She is amazing.

I am grateful.


  1. She is beautiful! There is so much to look forward too! What a gift!

  2. Rebecca, this is the best thing I have ever read. Even now I am tempted not to give myself permission for joy, permission to dream. But you have a beautiful result of dreaming and joy right there. She is truly amazing, and I'm so grateful for you. With very much love.

  3. What a cutie! Every happy wish.

  4. Congratulations on your baby girl! She is beautiful! Enjoy all of those sweet newborn snuggles!

  5. <3 <3 <3 so much love for the 2 of you. God is so good. Enjoy every moment. She is gorgeous and an absolute dream come true. You deserve this joy and happiness, so take it and run... Sending love and prayers to you and your new family.

  6. Congratulations to you all!
    Soak in the joy ~ long days (and nights sometimes) but fast years!

  7. Ohmigosh! Congratulations on your beautiful little girl! I am so incredibly happy for you!

  8. I am so happy for you and for your little girl. She is beautiful! <3

  9. She is lovely, congratulations!

  10. She is really beautiful, Rebecca! Congratulations! I know you are just going to soak in these newborn days and cherish her. "You cannot conceive, my child, nor can anyone, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God!"

  11. And a sweet little Sugarbeet she is!

  12. Congratulations Rebecca, she is lovely and perfect. I am so happy you've begun to dream again! Beautifully written my friend...

  13. Beautiful, precious child. What joy she will bring you! Congratulations to you!

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  15. She is beautiful miracle of life. You are wrapped in prayer.

  16. I am visiting your blog thanks to someone allowing me to remote access good old American internet. I have been praying for you and everyone else in the Catholic IF facebook group, always wondering how you all are doing and asking God to bless you abundantly. When I came to your page today, I had no idea God had blessed you THIS abundantly. Wow. She is beautiful. I am so fantastically happy for you :D

    Lots of love from far, far away,
    Anna Hudson

  17. Congratulations!
    More baby pictures, please!

  18. Rebecca, I know we haven't spoken since TOB Congress in July 2014, but you have been on my heart and in my prayers a lot over the past several months. When I happened across your blog for the first time in over a year today, and saw pictures of your baby girl, I was overcome with emotion! I am so happy for you, I'm praying for you still, and I am grateful for your witness of faith :)