Monday, January 2, 2012


Leaning against the door of my bathroom stall, I closed my eyes tight and counted to 60, 3 times. The box said to wait three minutes for the best results. We’d only been married 2 weeks, and here I was in McDonald’s bathroom in Wisconsin taking a pregnancy test.

 A baby right now would ruin everything;

                   all our plans,

 all our possibilities.

                                                             But somehow I was still desperately hopeful.

When I opened my eyes and saw that tiny pink minus sign, I was shocked at the misery that swept over me.

 “I don’t want a baby” I whispered to myself. “I don’t WANT to be pregnant.”
 I quickly wiped away my tears and went outside to my anxious husband. “Crisis averted!” I joked, but I avoided eye contact. I didn’t want him to see the emptiness in my eyes.

That was the first of many negative pregnancy tests. Every time I bought a box at Walgreens I secretly hoped that THIS would be the time. THIS would be the test that would come back positive. And every time I would throw the negative stick in the garbage and cry on the inside if not for real. I didn’t understand why it made me feel so awful. Until recently, I was sure it was my god-given desire to nurture that made me hate myself for being childless.

In a sense, that is true. But it’s not a god-given desire: it’s just my P/QF programming.  

This is not a post about how Quiverfull taught me to want babies.
 This is not even about how Patriarchy taught me that I didn’t deserve to dream big and reach my goals.
                                                      This is about something deeper.
                                                             This is about identity
                                                                     and value.

Most Christian-raised kids are told that they have no inherent value. I was told to find my identity and value in God alone. I internalized that to mean that God was the only thing that made me worth loving. Without him I was I worthless, useless piece of garbage. As a kid I constantly reminded myself how worthless I was. It didn’t take long for that to sink in. I tried and tried to be close to god, but he was always so far away. I knew he didn’t care about me. And I knew it was because of how worthless I was.

Ashamed, I started looking elsewhere for something to bring value to my useless shell.

“I am valuable because I do my chores faster than anyone else”

“I am lovable because I sing in front of the church”

“I am worthy because I punish myself with a razor blade”

“I am respectable because I exercise 25 hours a week”

I have transferred my sense value from one thing to the next for my entire life. When I got married, it was like all of that was suddenly cut out from under me.
Everything in my life was
                   brand new,
       but I was still the same,
                  and now I had nothing left to bring value to my existence.

I have come to realize what was really going on in my heart every time I took a pregnancy test. I was hoping against hope that a tiny pink plus sign would show up in that window and give me a reason to keep on living.

Every day I am learning to love myself for the first time in my life. I am learning to find value in myself. I am slowly discovering that I have an identity apart from god,

                                              or parents,

                                                         or skills,

                                                              or accomplishments.

                                                                              I am valuable because I am human.
 And so are you.

 I don’t want a baby right now. But someday when I have one, I promise you I will tell them everyday how worthy they are. How precious they are. How VALUABLE they are.

 It seems like a simple lesson, but let me tell you: the older you get, the harder that lesson is to learn.


  1. I can so relate to this! My two weeks after the wedding pregnancy test was positive, by the way. Four kids later and I finally realized my worth really wasn't in how many kids I have. Now I am working on telling my children how wonderful and valuable they are.

  2. Oh, sweetie.
    You are so precious.

  3. I hope the timing is just right for all your needs and wishes. :)

  4. Yes. I know what you are talking about here. I have 4 children under the age of 5 and often find myself overwhelmed by the amount of need and just how badly I want to be there for all of my children, and yet I still feel the pull to have more babies. It's like somehow I will be valuable if I am just pregnant, even when everything else goes badly at least I was making a baby! And yet I value my babies too much to turn them into my perpetual security blanket. My children will never understand their value and worth if I make their existence about their mother's value and worth. And so I wait, and I learn how to care for myself for the first time.

  5. Melissa, that's so beautiful! I too have 4 children under 5 and I could have written that comment, just not as beautifully.

  6. Katy-Anne, good for you!!! Maybe by the time i have kids i'll have actually started believing that i have worth beyond my capabilities (reproductive or otherwise. lol)You're kids are so lucky to have a mom like you!

    Hillary and Pippi, Thanks Ladies :)

    Melissa, "It's like somehow I will be valuable if I am just pregnant" <------ EXACTLY. Like i said, you are valuable because you are human. Lets keep figuring that out together! <3 :)