No such thing as an ‘oops.’

***This blog entry was saved to my folder, ready to be published when I was announcing our third pregnancy. For whatever reason I was too exhausted to edit it and make sure it was ready to go. The irony is that a few weeks after writing this we learned that we were expecting baby #3 AND #4. I thought it was time to share what was going on in my mind the few days and week before we knew we were expecting our twins. And the obvious reason why I haven’t blogged in a while.

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Have you ever heard parents talking about their kids and refer to their third or fourth child as an ‘oops?’

“This is my son, the soccer star and my darling daughter the spelling bee champ. And *sigh* here is baby Henry. *whispers* He was an ‘oops.’ I told my husband it was time to make the appointment to finalize things but he didn’t listen….”

I don’t normally pay this sort of thing much attention. After all, these parents clearly love their children and are by no means intending to be malicious. Calling their baby an oops is just a cute way of saying that this was an unintended or unplanned pregnancy, right? Well it just took one conversation with a mom whose child had been called the ‘o’ word by others to learn otherwise. I won’t name her in this blog to respect her privacy but she did give me permission to use her story. I will call her Monica.

Much like myself, Monica struggled to conceive. But after years of miscarriages she was blessed with two daughters very close in age and a son about 4 years later. Though she had been given much she continued to prayerfully ask God that He would again bless her with a child if it was His will. She was getting older and she knew that with her history, this was medically at least, not likely. But she knew all things were possible with God and she trusted His will would be done. 4 years after the birth of her son she had another baby. Her friends chuckled when she told them she was expecting. “Hope the valentines day was worth it because you are going to be up to your elbows in diapers, AGAIN!” and from her family “you do know how you get that way, right?” She was shocked. These were fellow believers, those who know that children are a blessing from God, a cherished creation from a loving creator King. She was hurt but she kept it inside. That is until an older lady from her church noticed her struggling to wrangle all of her kids into her minivan one Sunday after service. Her ample baby bump was obvious and not at all intending to be cruel, the older lady said, “my, my! You should have been more careful. I got through my ‘oops,’ you will too.” Horrified and hormonal, Monica unloaded every hurt feeling she had. She knows her reaction was wrong and she has since apologized to the older lady.

But this story really made me think. It’s such a casual thing, to call a baby an ‘oops.’ If the kids are really close in age, we assume it wasn’t planned or wanted by the parents because who would choose that? Or when we see a significant age gap, the youngest must have been unintended, a night away from their preteens with a bottle of Merlot. So we call it an ‘oops,’ a kinder, gentler way of calling the child a mistake or an accident. We don’t mean any harm when we make the comment about ourselves or about someone else. But I think there is harm. I think we rob our creator of His deserving credit. Babies don’t just happen by chance. I learned the hard way that no matter how badly one wants a child, it’s not in our hands. Only God can give and take life and if we believe that, we believe that He is sovereign over all things then we have to trust that, even if the pregnancy was not in your plans, it was in Gods plans before the world began.

Our culture doesn’t revere children and parenthood the way scripture does. So the world is often hostile to children. Restaurants don’t want them, people on airplanes complain about them and you can rid yourself of your pregnancy if it’s not something you think fits into your plans. So I think the ‘oops’ terminology is a quiet creeping in of our societies disdain for what God created and called good. Very good. And I think that, as Christians, we should gouge out this way of thinking and refocus on Him.

So, why blog about this topic now? What spurred on this subject in my heart? Well, I am pretty sure it’s because I am announcing my pregnancy. When this baby is born, Lord willing, my oldest will be 3 and my middle child will be 20 months. And I will have a newborn. I am well aware that I will be busy (FYI, I am busy NOW!) and I know that my life will be a vaguely managed chaos. And though this pregnancy was unplanned by us, it was known by God from the beginning of time. And it has been the most incredible surprise and I am so excited. So this is fair warning, I don’t think it’s a good idea to call my baby an ‘oops.’ My God is sovereign over all things!!!

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