Monday, July 8, 2013

Surprise Gifts

I always misspell the word surprise.  I write suprise instead.  It actually is surprising that I can't spell it correctly because 1) I love surprises, and 2) I was runner up in my 2nd grade spelling bee.  But then again, I've been told I have a wee bit of a Boston accent, and so I must want to write it how I say it.

OK, so this thought keeps going through my head about how babies are gifts.  I mean, they really are blessings from God:  

Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth. 
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

And we shouldn't take gifts for granted.  Just because it's my birthday (it's not) I don't expect a gift from anyone, but I'm most definitely happy to receive one.  Even if every single year on my birthday my friend has given me a gift, I still shouldn't expect it.  It's a present, a surprise, not a payment of a debt owed to me.  

A few months ago, I was blog hopping, and can't remember exactly where I saw it, but I read a comment about how crazy it is that married couples who are happily married and having sex without using contraception can still be surprised when they find out they are pregnant.  

I completely disagree.

It's not crazy at all.

We have been surprised with 4 out of 5 of our children.  The one that wasn't a complete "surprise" was Eamon, whom we tried to conceive, were told by the doctor that I wasn't pregnant, and then found out a couple weeks later that I was indeed pregnant, but the blood test had been taken too early to tell.  So even though his conception was "planned" there was still an element of surprise involved with how we found out.  

Say what???

There have been months in our marriage that we have tried to get pregnant and it didn't happen, even though all signs pointed to what should have been a success.  There have also been times when we found out a baby was coming, and couldn't have been more shocked (hellooooo, Maggie!).  

So how can we be surprised when the marital act leads to a baby?  Isn't it like the old song says...First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes an openness to new life with one's spouse (they dropped this  line in the refrain because it didn't rhyme), then comes a baby in the baby carriage?  


Precisely because children are blessings, they can never be expected or demanded from God.  They are always a gift, and therefore they are always a surprise.  I don't care how long or hard a couple tries to get pregnant, once everything lines up right and that new baby is conceived, it's still a miracle.  Still a surprise.  Don't we all get that exciting thrill of the unexpected when we hear a baby announcement?
OMG!  She's married and loves her husband, but she's having a baby?!?!?!

Every day I get in my car and drive, knowing that the only way to get into a car accident is to actually be in a car.  But I don't get in a car accident every day.  Getting in an accident would be an unusual event.  I don't want to relate getting pregnant to getting in an accident, but it's good to show that just because you know what might cause something, and you do it anyway, doesn't mean that it will definitely happen.  Especially if you are driving carefully, and watching the signs, and it seems like green lights all the way.

The surprise gifts are never-ending in our house. So thoughtful.

This post is not an announcement.  But it's so funny that every time my current baby turns two, I really want another little one if I don't have one already.  Xander will be two in a couple weeks, and I keep asking Phil to remind me of all the reasons we are waiting, then trying to convince him otherwise.  I guess what I'm saying is that you all shouldn't be surprised if and when we get surprised with a gift of another Baby Martin anytime soon. 


  1. :) If we always act surpised when something bad happens (ie-why did this have to happen to meee?) Why can't being surprised when something good happens be a natural feeling too? Great thoughts!

    PS-Pretty sure Jessica isn't married yet, but that's not really the point...anyway, glad she chose to have her babies :)

  2. I have always been surprised, wowed, awed, blown away when I find out that I am pregnant. I often sit and stare at the positive pregnancy test saying "" The miracle of a new baby is amazing always.

    I'm struggling right now with whether we should be open or not. our recent pain is still fresh and gosh, Gregory would be due in about 4 weeks, so we keep thinking maybe we'll have a clear sign from God after that due date passes that we should be open or not.

    Yay for turning, 2 though. Vincent just turned 2 and I am reminded I might like to learn what it's like to have a full house of potty-trained kids. :)

  3. Heh! This makes me laugh. Michael was conceived in the first month of us not charting to avoid. We stopped charting altogether and we were kind of hoping for a few months of not thinking about having babies or avoiding having babies... NOPE! So while it was a bit of a "well, what did you expect?" moment, it was also quite the unexpected news.

    I was secretly hoping for an announcement but I will gladly accept the possibility of an announcement in the near future instead. :)

  4. hahaha I think we're in the same boat. Now that Annamarie is over two I'm getting the "so... when will there be another one?!?" I'm getting there, but at the same time I feel like we need to wait a bit more (just a few factors) but we'll see. Gah, I was watching videos of Annamarie as a baby and I just missed that stage. But there are real hard parts too.

  5. Love this. I feel like I've been surprised by each one of my pregnancies, even though 2/3 were kinda planned. It shocks me each and every time I find out there's a new little life inside of me, even though, hello, I'm married my husband.

    Looking forward to that "surprise" announcement:)

  6. Interesting post that made me chuckle a bit because it is an off and on topic in our household. Even with Gianna who was our most planned baby, she was still a surprise. It was our last effort and then all meds were going to be dropped and serious consideration on a trip to Pope Paul VI Institute. Surprise! We were pregnant. And of course, Greta was a surprise because she really was our surprise!! lol.

    Although I'm not a fan of surprises I've found that God most definite always teaches me a thing or two when I find myself with the gift of one.

    As you know, eagerly awaiting your 'surprise' announcement :)

  7. I was totally expecting an announcement at the end of the post! I guess we'll just be waiting in suspense until there is someone to announce!

  8. I was totally at the "awww, the baby's getting so big! I think I want another!" stage the other day. Then the kids were insane people, and it made it that much easier to abstain.

  9. Great post, Colleen! I was thinking the same thoughts this morning; it's so funny that you wrote about it. I struggle, not so much with secular peeps because they're secular (know what I mean?) but I do struggle with super-Catholic types who are very insistent that we all must aim for and attain big families with lots of kids. Don't get me wrong, that's what I hope and pray for and it's what my husband and I both came from! Tried for a while and waited to have just one, and having Catholic friends who have serious fertility issues, I'm much more aware of what a gift each individual life is. And even if you are blessed with a little soul in pregnancy, there are so many things that can happen when you're pregnant. Hello Dwija!? It's such a miracle, it's such a gift, and I'm really trying to take it one baby at a time and I hate feeling judged because we "only have" one. Everyone should be so blest! Sorry, again, nothing against big families, obviously. But big families all start small, right? ;)

  10. I love this post! I always get baby fever when our current youngest turns 2 as well! We are halfway through our pregnancy with #4 - and we have been surprised with each and everyone. What could be more surprising than finding out you have been blessed with a new life inside you? A baby is always a miracle and always a blessing!! My husband just converted to Catholicism this past Easter - and we are both finally on the same page with celebrating our fertility and always being open to life - we pray there will be more little ones in the future but they are certainly not expected. I pray that your next little surprise comes soon! Thank you for such an uplifting post!

  11. Only 2 out of our 9 were truly "planned":)

  12. Great post! I totally thought this was an announcement.

  13. So beautiful. A pre-announcement announcement? And we have our fair share of surprises around here as well.

  14. I love surprise babies, we don't know how to make any other kind!

  15. I was hoping for a picture of an ultrasound or a stick with lines or something!! Okay, I'll wait a little longer . . . because you know having another baby is all about making your blog peeps happy ;-) Hee!

    And yes, yes you absolutely can be surprised to find out you are pregnant even though you are married!

  16. AnonymousJuly 08, 2013

    Babies are the best surprises!

    And, I always get baby fever when my youngest turns 2 as well...2 is just the perfect age to have another.

  17. we would like another one. But I know I can not demand it. Its all up to God.

    Even when the kids are horrible brats--and they are everyday lol-- I look at them and know they are gifts. I just want more of them and more of us and more of entering into that divine moment of creation with God.

    None of mine were planned. There were two that were very very unplanned and were shocks that become wonderful surprises.

    I know it sounds mean of me to those that don't get where I am coming from...but there really is nothing else. Why store up riches clothes or things---these are passing. Children are forever. I would rather have a 100 children and be poor than be rich and have none. Of course that's just me though and my opinion.

  18. Love this post!!!! Someone asked me recently if we were "done". I always say that I don't know what that means...hoping for an announcement from you!!! You DO have beautiful babies!

  19. I so thought this was going to be an announcement! I hope we do get news of a surprise soon! :) Your kids are too cute, and I'd love to see another little Martin!


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