When Your Biological Clock Is Ticking, But…

clock

A few days ago I found myself at the doctor’s office, staring at a young woman in her early twenties holding and rocking her newborn baby. I could not help but be a bit envious, as Luke and I would love to have a baby right now in our early 30s.

People often say, “You are never ready to have a baby, so just go for it,” but I disagree with this statement.

There is profound wisdom in waiting for God’s timing and trusting God’s plan, when it comes to reproducing offspring. Being a parent means that you are prepared to sacrifice everything for another human being. It means that career and ministry goals will need to be placed on the back burner for a while.

For a woman, pregnancy might mean that you have to get off medications that you are dependent on to function in life in order not to risk birth defects.

It also might mean 9 months of uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Further, a woman’s job can sometimes be threatened in the case of pregnancy and maternity leave. Also, a woman who wants to nurse her infant has to consider how she is going to do that and also go back to work, if she wants to keep her job.

Before having a baby, couples must ask themselves if they are ready for a lack of sleep and energy. They must also ask themselves if they can afford to take care of another human. Other pressing questions include: who will stay home with the baby? Who will work? Will we seek daycare options?

Scripture speaks to seasons in life:

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).” 

I understand the stress of wanting a baby now, but also knowing that it is not yet God’s timing for this to happen. Many women and men are stressed about finding a mate and reproducing. For those of us who dream of marriage and children, there is often a deep fear that we will miss out on these things due to aging.

Scripture also speaks to anxiety:

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).”

We should never make decisions out of fear of the future. As children of God, we are to run in freedom, taking one day at a time.

A couple of years ago, I had a miscarriage. I was only about 6 weeks along, but it was a painful loss. Since I was a teenager, I have struggled with hormonal imbalance, which causes severe and chronic migraines and a host of other issues. After this happened, I realized that I was not quite healthy enough to manage nine months of pregnancy and then the lack of sleep that comes with a newborn.

I have sensed God telling me to focus on getting healthier first, which is what I have been doing for the past couple of years. I lost about 40 pounds, and I am getting healthier, but I am not quite prepared to have a baby yet.

Further, I have worked non-stop on building a solid and sustainable ministry, and I sense that it’s not the right time to put ministry on the back-burner. In 2017, I will be speaking in several different states, and traveling can be hard on me even without being pregnant or having a newborn.

I have decided that I would be wise to wait another year or two before trying to get pregnant again. This is the decision my husband and I have peace with, even though our hearts long for a child.

Here is what I want to say to my sisters: don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not finding a spouse yet, not having a baby yet, and putting your health, career, or whatever first right now.

Having a husband and children does not make anyone more spiritual or more of a godly woman. As Christian women, our highest calling is not marriage or motherhood, but, rather, to follow Christ.

I have a great girlfriend who has decided that she never wants to have children, and that is OK too. Instead, she wants to dedicate her life to her career and travel. If a woman does not desire to have a child, we should never pressure them to do so. Bringing a child into this world is among the greatest responsibilities that men and women face.

I also know some women and men who sense a calling towards singleness, and that is a beautiful choice, too.

Further, there are some couples who simply cannot get pregnant, which is a painful reality to deal with, and these couples do not need any judgmental comments.

The truth is that having a baby radically changes people’s lives, and that is why we should use wisdom and contraception if necessary, until we are prepared for such changes. There is no fear in Jesus Christ, and God’s timing and plans for our lives are always perfect.

“Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD (Psalm 27:14).”

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23 Comments

  • My take is both spouses should try to make any such decisions jointly while both having eyes fully open, as there are many considerations.

    1. There is a declining fertility and health for a potential mother and baby over time. The decline in fertility for a potential father is very different and can be essentially ignored for the purposes of any discussion, assuming he is fertile.

    2. There is no magic button to push and out pops a baby. The best you can do in that regard is to be open to having a baby, it still may not happen. This needs to be a factor in any mutual decision. To state it more starkly, there are couples that waited and then never were able to get pregnant; so I think this possibility should be a part of any discussion. And contrariwise, there are couples where the wife got pregnant on her honeymoon; so if you are open to having a baby from the start of marriage, realize that this is what might happen.

    3. Do not fall for the myth that one can have it all. Life is about making choices and choosing one path closes off all the other paths that you could have taken at that point in your life.

    4. There will NEVER be a perfect time to get pregnant and have a baby. There will always be valid reasons to delay just a little bit longer and why getting pregnant right now will totally wreck some other plans you have made.

    5. It is very true that having a baby changes your life in dramatic ways. It is like walking through a one-way door, you can never go back to the old relatively-carefree ways of living.

    I am writing from the experience of being a father. We delayed having kids a couple years after getting married, but then decided to try and had 2 kids. We were fortunate that I had a job that paid well enough to allow my wife to be a stay-at-home mom. I cannot imagine my life without them.

  • Very nice. I am glad that you are at peace and confident that God’s will corresponds with how you are traversing through life. I totally agree with your point here, and it is something that needs to be said. I also have witnessed how some have hassled you online, and I applaud you for sticking with it.

    As someone a couple of decades older than you who didn’t fit in the cultural appropriations of gender roles by the church way back (as in the late 1980s), I know the flak. Lol. In general, I am starting to get flak for choosing to become vegan since about March of this year, which is an another unconventional choice wherein I butt heads with die-hards who think humans are obligate carnivores (we actually only EAT like carnivores when we really need more of a plant-based diet, but I digress).

    The fact that so many people think that it’s their business to evaluate and argue against those who do things differently, yet equally as valid, is astonishing to me. I really am fascinated by folks who see things differently and am usually indulgent in my time with them until they don’t show the same respect. If there is mutual respect, we can disagree and learn from each other.

    Having been shunned in a manner of speaking by one church then another over the past few years, I’m done with it for now. Even driving into the parking lot of what seems like a decent prospect nauseates me. I have suffered with cliquish behavior and superficial evaluations in grade school, college & in places of employment over my 50+ years. Seeing it unapologetically acted out in churches is too much.

    I don’t mean to bring you or anyone down. I totally agree with your point here, and it is something that needs to be said. Keep up with he good work.

  • I completely agree with you Jory. I was raised in poverty and lack and even as a child I KNEW my parents weren’t ready to have us. They would fight pretty bad about finances and my dad cheated on her a lot. I always thought to myself, if my mom had focused on her career and delayed having us she would be more confident, know her worth and she wouldn’t have stayed with him to avoid getting on government assistance and we wouldn’t be going through this right now. But now as an adult I realize she was afraid to do it on her own because she wasn’t well prepared to handle the financial responsibility that comes with raising kids, so she put her head down and “stayed with him for the kids sake”. I would have preferred if she had left him. I learned that If you’re not ready it can send you into poverty. That just makes it harder for the next generation to flourish. I myself have delayed having children because I was lost in depression in my teens & throughout my 20’s, I KNEW I wasn’t ready. My husband and I have been together for 14 yrs since we were 17 and just now at 31 after much prayer I feel that I have reached a breakthrough, in my mental health, my calling and my walk with God. But we HAVE felt pressure from our family & friends and to be honest I hate the phrase “when are you guys starting a family?” because my husband IS my family, we would like to have kids but we don’t need them in order to “solidify” our marriage. And if we get too old there is always adoption 🙂

    • Oh boy. I’ve never been married (and don’t hold out much hope for it), and what you said about “family” is so familiar: “do you have a family?” is a question I have been asked often. For a long time, I didn’t think twice about answering with a description of my family of origin. At some point though, a questioner or two replied, “So, you’re not married and have no children?” Some ladies who asked pursued other topics of conversation after that about my job, how long I had been at church, been a Christian, etc. Other times, that has ended the conversation, though I might ask about themselves. A few times I was sassy and said, “If you know any single guys, let me know.” They never seemed to, at least not single Christian guys.

      Ah, well. Socializing in the hopes of making friends takes so much energy. And it’s pretty much a long shot.

  • This article means so much to me. My daughter is 23 and is teaching elementary school English in South Korea. She has no plans at the moment to find a wife and have kids. She is beyond fufilled creatively, spiritually and emotionally in her teaching career and in her band of friends over there who have become a family of love and support for each other. You are right. Some are called to be single and serve God, which is what she is feeling. I had a miscarriage myself at eight weeks two years before she was born. Then I almost lost her at eight weeks again, I began to suddenly hemmorage and was admitted to the hospital for the weekend, because they were shocked to see my daughter still alive in there, her heart still going strong. This had been on a Friday afternoon, and on that Monday morning they did another ultrasound and were shocked again to see her heart still beating away in there. If you knew her you would know this was just the first sign of her fierce strong spirit, and God’s hand on her life. We prayed that morning and gave Him our baby’s life, it was in His hands her whole life. I had lost a whole lot of blood, they think I must have lost her twin. I later had gestational diabetes so the rest of the pregnancy was worrisome. She was born cesarean because they measured her weight wrong. They thought she would be over 10 pounds. She was 7lbs4oz. She then was in the NICU immediately because she developed jaundice and pneumonia. She obviously fought right through that too. It had taken two years of trying to get pregnant with her. Then it took another four years of trying to get pregnant with my son. That pregnancy was more gestational diabetes, I had to stop my antidepressants, plus he would be so quiet and still in there for hours not moving I kept having to get checked out at the hospital for his heartbeat. Sometimes they had to actually use a loud buzzer beside my stomach to wake him up. Now we know he was just busy planning his very interesting childhood. Very, very interesting. My son is beyond description. His autism is only a small part. All if this has a point in saying pregnancy and motherhood are precious things that of course many of us want. But they are also are huge and stressful even when they go right, let alone when they have such serious complications to both your own and your baby’s life. All of that goes into a woman’s decision. A very personal private decision.

  • As a divorced women trying to build her ministry, I can relate to what you are saying. I am not even thinking about dating. Nor do I have plans to. I am too busy with writing, working, and raising the child I have left at home. But society and well-meaning friends try to point me in that direction. Like Paul teaches, I am content in my singleness, and in all things. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • My brother and his wife chose not to have kids. When asked about when they’re going to have kids, my brother’s answer is, “Oh, we’re still practicing!”

  • Hi Jory,
    Another blog packed with wisdom. Deciding to have a baby is a MAJOR decision. It is great that you are taking your time and prayerfully processing this together with your husband. After forty years of marriage, waiting until anne+i both have”green-lights” from the Lord before we pull the trigger on making a decision has provided us with unity and many marriage intimacy building opportunities. We affirm your process!

    And following your blog … it seems you already have many spiritual children-:)-
    Hugs from Colorado!
    tim+anne

  • Some life situations are more unexpected than others.. 🙂 Sometimes a child born at a ‘wrong time’ indeed was born at the ideal time. That’s just so amazing about babies and life in general – we can plan, but cannot really cause anything to happen on our own.
    I never had the baby fever as a younger woman, but I absolutely have wanted to get married for decades. Still, no answered prayers in that area, even though I have seen miracle provisions for many other situations.
    And when people try to tell me it must not be God’s will for me to be married, I say that it *is* His will, because it’s so strongly on my heart – but He does not force anyone. So many false mindsets about relationships that it is indeed rare to find a man who wants to get married and have a healthy, godly marriage (truly sharing and serving, Kingdom-style)! Still, I believe God can create children to himself even out of stones.. so He will eventually have the last laugh 🙂

  • Excellent writing, Jory. I was single until the age of 46. Before my wedding last year I never considered marriage. However, sadly I did notice that marriage and children in the church are positioned above others which forces a lot of women and men to consider to find someone, even if it is not the right person. As for children? Julie and I are happy without children and therefore can focus on our neighbours instead. We do get “advice” from couples with children about our “resposibilities” regarding procreation. After so many years of being single, I thought it was only right to give a speech at my wedding to remind everyone that as an unmarried (single or divorced) you are able to do just as much for Christ as those that are married and one day, married couples will be single when their spouse dies. Which many don’t consider until it actually happens. I will continue to read your online writings. Thanks again. Regards, Shaun, Australia.

  • My only concern is the number of famous women who waited too long and then when they tried desperately they just weren’t able to have children…just be aware of this and decide accordingly…I really feel the pain of these women who now are trying so hard, using all the latest ‘technologies’ and still cannot have the child they finally decided they wanted…if you can live with that then there is no problem with that…but the fact is some people do change their minds when the 11th hour approaches…but God gives wisdom to those who ask, and you know Him…so blessings on you and your future happiness.

  • I love this comforting article! I am teary-eyed with unshed tears of relief and joy at reading these blessed words! I am the birthmother of a beautiful, miraculous daughter who lives with her adoptive parents. My husband and I were unable to conceive, but we are at peace with that as it is God’s plan.
    Thank you for this heart-warming article, Jory!

  • A little food for thought from my own experience. I was 29 when I married and my husband was 34. We’re best friends and very happily married. We didn’t want to have a baby right away, but we also wanted to be open to what God might want. So very early on we left it up to God. I thought for sure we would get pregnant right away, but we didn’t. I had a miscarriage when we had been married about seven years and finally discovered I was pregnant with our daughter on our ninth anniversary. We had pretty much come to the conclusion we weren’t going to have a child so it was a surprise. I was 39 when she was born after a very difficult pregnancy, c-section, and recovery.

    All that is back story to say that I’m an older mom of an only child. Being an older mom is challenging. I’ll be fifty next year and it really is shocking how you slow down and change around the time to you hit forty and throughout your forties. The energy you have in your twenties and thirties makes it hard to fully comprehend how different you will feel as you progress through your forties.

    I don’t have any regrets because we left it up to God and this is how it turned out. I don’t have to second guess myself or wonder if we waited too long and I’m thankful for that. All that said, I would never encourage anyone to put off their childbearing until their mid to late thirties and beyond if they have a choice. This is especially true if you want more than one child. We chose to have only one because the pregnancy and delivery was so hard on my body. I honestly cannot imagine having our daughter (almost ten) and another one or two or three younger than her.

    This is a long post I wrote about it. I also have written about our decision to have an only child which was another faith tester. 🙂

    http://sallieborrink.com/our-experience-with-childlessness/

    Best wishes with whatever you and your husband decide!

    • I know what you mean. It took us two years of trying again after we lost our first baby, we almost lost her, and then four years of trying until we were blessed with our son. I worry about my daughter ever having children, to myself, of course. OK, I may or may not send her a little too much of what I call “More Blatant Grandchild Propaganda” with cute baby videos on Facebook. But I also have to add as a mother of a 23 year old daughter who has just begun a surprise teaching career the last two and a half years in S. Korea, teaching elementary school kids English, I say surprise because her Bachelor’s degrees from a prestigious art college are actually in Fine Arts and Fashion Design, and this was supposed to be a one year thing to start paying her loans and see Korean culture. But she has found out that she has found what she feels God in His Plan for her right now, she is so very deeply creatively and spiritually and emotionally into teaching these children, and she has also just naturally somehow found a small group of friends that are now so close that now they are each others family. So for now she’s just letting God call the shots. Especially since she is such an intense, powerful loving person all on her own, she feels really led to be single right now.

  • There is no conflict between following Christ with marriage or being single. We only really only have two choices of being married or single. To remain single is a very high calling to serve the Lord which is at least equal to, or even greater than marriage. However, to be single in order to work and travel the word is the calling of consumerism, not the higher calling of Christ. The single person is to be fruitful and multiply by spreading the gospel and filling up the world with people who love God.

    The rest of us who are married do it the slow but more steady route: by having children. However, marriage has also been transformed from being the higher calling of God, into a call for consumerism. The divorce of procreation from sexuality is a recent teaching that cannot be found in scripture, nor the life of the church until the last 100 years. When this is understood, the prohibition of premarital sex, same sex sexuality, bestiality and adultery will become crystal clear.
    God created Eve as a helper for Adam in terms of sexual relationship and reproduction in order to make the man more than a singular entity and form a community. The post modern idea is centered on philosophical romanticism. In fact, every argument on this subject can be highlighted by the acceptance of non Christian philosophies of Philosophical naturalism, Relativism, Hedonism and Romanticism.
    Romanticism and hedonism is the lens of which much of the west forms their spiritual worldview.
    When something feels good and produces powerful emotions, then it is often seen as a spiritual experience. This is why the most successful churches are the ones that put the most effort towards creating an emotional experience-if the audience walks away feeling emotionally stimulated, therefore, they feel spiritually stimulated.
    In the case of sexuality, if the sexual act creates emotional feelings, then the sex act is seen as a spiritual event. The sex act has no more intent to please and worship God as sharing a piece of cake. The sex practiced by Christians is primarily for Christians where God is pleased because we are pleased with our satisfaction.
    Like consumerism produces powerful feelings, shopping malls have replaced schools and churches because it is seen as a spiritual event.
    If God’s design for sex is primarily based on the pursuit of pleasure for pleasures sake so we can pursue consumerism and a sense of experiential spirituality-this makes God into hedonist.

    Give it a try, every reason to divorce sex from procreation will fall into one or more of these philosophies, This is why churches are collapsing to feminism, same sex sexuality and premarital sex

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