My theme for this year has made its way out of my mouth more times in the last three months than any other phrase, and I believe it will continue to do so for some time to come. So as I talk about my sixteen-year-old daughter’s pregnancy you will see that “It is what it is”.
We made the decision as a family to keep her pregnancy off social media until the right time. We wanted to make sure all our family and friends knew before “finding out” on the web. Most of you know that we are a ministry family. My husband, Pastor Quill, has been in youth ministry for over twenty years, and we have all served in some form or another during that time. You might be curious, then, how I feel about the fact that my sixteen-year-old daughter is going to have a baby. Well, that answer is not as simple as it seems.
If this was Facebook I would change my status to: It’s complicated. I have no control over what my children choose to do with their own lives and even their own bodies. All I can do is teach them the values they need, and educate and nurture them in a way that I pray will lead to them choosing the best paths based on what they know, what they’ve been told, and what they’ve lived. No matter how much we want our kids to learn from other people’s mistakes, they sometimes have to learn from their own. So in essence, “It is what it is”.
It is so hard to describe that moment – the instant I heard the news my brain froze. My heart absolutely dropped to the pit of my stomach as I struggled to find a coherent thought. I felt I was living in both the present and the future, watching as my dreams for my daughter were disappearing like mist. The only words that would depart my mouth were, “Oh, Kaitlyn, No!”
I struggled with what to do: Do I let her see my anger? My disappointment? Will she let me comfort her? What do I say? My God-given mothering instinct took hold and I found myself wrapping my arms around my little girl. I held her while she cried and wiped my silent tears away trying to pray for us to get through this.
I later joined my husband in our bedroom and let my anger and disappointment find their way to the surface in the form of hot relentless tears, tears that I would cry for weeks to come. I can’t tell you that I had the perfect reaction or that I handled it properly. There is no good way to respond when your teenage daughter tells you she is pregnant. My only hope was to keep her close and do everything I could to show her no matter what happened “It is what it is” and she was loved and so was the baby.
I will tell you that the first days were agonizing. I lived the first two weeks in what felt like constant tears. Our first course of action was to ensure she and the baby were healthy and taken care of. There was not a single moment that went by when the situation wasn’t on my mind.
We made the decision as a family to not “hide” the pregnancy once all was confirmed. This brought so much fear into our lives, because my husband is a youth pastor. We fully prepared for him to lose his position in our church and have to search employment elsewhere. As we put the news out there for our family, friends, church family and work associates, we anxiously awaited the feared judgment.
What we received still amazes me to this day.
We sat back in awe as we watched extended family members open their arms and wrap us in love, and they weren’t the only ones. The most amazing thing was listening as women we knew told us their stories of teen pregnancy, stories that many times ended in the most heart breaking experiences. Watching our church family surround us in love and prayer helped me to heal. It helped me to let go of the guilt for having failed miserably at teaching her to protect herself. I let go of the anger, the resentment, the disappointment, and the fear, as I heard the phrase “It is what it is” over and over again.
Of course along with everything came the doctor’s visits. I will always remember the first ultrasound, standing beside her – holding her hand. I remember seeing that little peanut for the first time and having to wipe tears away as I realized there was a precious life in there and God created it. Fast forward to last week, when we went to the gender scan and I would say I became amazed. Seeing that baby girl on the screen healthy and moving was an emotional time; but nothing prepared me for seeing her precious smile through that machine. I saw a miracle.
Through all of this, our biggest fear was the emotional toll this would take on our daughter as well as her two older brothers. As a parent, the hardest thing to deal with is standing by and watching while your children get hurt. I want so badly to remove the pain and embarrassment that not only has already happened but that is to come. I know that school starts shortly, and kids are cruel. Since she will be going through her third trimester this first semester of her junior year, I want nothing more than to protect her. I’m just thankful she has a good group of teachers and administrators as well as classmates already by her side prepared to support her.
Looking back, I will tell you that as the intensity of emotions subsided, there has been nothing easy about the situation; it isn’t easy now and it won’t be easy in the future. This has led us down some roads we thought we would never travel. In the process; however, it drew our family closer together. Throughout the past weeks, two things have been my comfort: Hillary Scott’s song “Thy Will” and the verse in James that proclaims “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).”
This baby is not a mistake. She is a God-given gift, and He has great plans for her. I am so very blessed to be her Grandmother (we haven’t decided what to call me yet) and I will welcome her with love beyond measure.
Why, you might ask, am I putting this out there for all to see? Because I know there are other Christian families facing the same thing. I want you to remember that the mistake or sin is in the past and has been forgiven, and the baby is a gift, not a punishment. Know that you are not alone in what you are going through, and that God has a plan. Even when that plan doesn’t follow what we want, “It is what it is” and it will be greater than we can ever imagine.
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