The perks of getting married later in life are that you get to watch your friends do it first. I watched my friends one-by-one, get married and start families. They have kindly invited me into their homes and into the lives of their precious little people. This honor holds a deep, aching place in my heart.
It’s been fun to be the pseudo-aunt, the one who gives them cuddles, buys them gifts, and watches them grow inch-by-inch. I parrot their adorable anecdotes and cherish those little arms wrapped around my neck. In the midst of the kisses and snuggles, I’m aware of my friends’ exhaustion. They have given up themselves for their children. There is a costly sacrifice inherent in parenting. While watching as mom’s best friend, the sacrifice feels outright terrifying.
And sometimes I am just paralyzed there.
I get stuck in the “what if’s,” fearful that my sanity will fall apart, and that the tightly trained three-ring circus will crash with a roaring halt.
For the longest time, I felt like the single outsider/ observer. It had been over a decade of bad and/or awkward dates, wondering what was “wrong” with me. My heart barely hoped that marriage, much less motherhood, would be a possibility for me. That season was filled with the inherent struggle between hoping for more and comfortable complacency in singleness. I cherished my freedom and independence.
It may have been that more than anything, I cherished my control.
I wasn’t living my dreams, but I also was not risking and was not disappointed.
It kept me living a manageable, albeit small, life.
I chose to deaden hope with control instead of risking kindness and life.
Fast forward to my current stage of life, and much to my delighted surprise, we are newlyweds of 6 months. We are enjoying and figuring each other out. Our story is just starting. But as a woman who is already labeled as “advanced maternal age,” I am feeling the desire (and self-induced pressure) to get this show on the road.
When are we gonna have babies?
My inner eye struggles to foresee our future life. I automatically kick into high gear, overanalyzing and naming the imaginable dilemmas. What if we can’t get pregnant? What if our child gets really sick? How will I wear the hats of wife, mother and physician well? How do I model Christ to our child? That all feels like a lot.
My response to the mini-panic attack is to plan and fix it, to control. Can I work part-time? Would I want to stay at home with the kids? What would this do to our marriage? I’m running hard. My anxiety is palpable, and my insufficiency is laid bare. I am not enough here.
This onslaught of emotions is ultimately about risk and control. My unsaid mantra was, “If I can’t win, I don’t want to play.” Now it occurs to me that if I don’t risk and play, there is no possibility of winning… or living fully for that matter.
In this whirlwind of fears and questions comes the still, small voice of the Lord reminding me, I’m not alone and I am not always enough, but He is. He calms the storm with His presence. He offers Himself in the darkest of places.
Although it is often not as dire as I predict, I know there will be times of deep disappointments. And, I am finding that my tight grip on control is loosening as I continue to reach for Him and begin to play.
Aimee is an Asian American physician, recently married to the love of her life. She loves deep, honest conversation, being silly with her husband and pondering God’s presence in this broken world. She is honored to contribute to Red Tent Living, but requests anonymity in respect for her personal and professional privacy.
Aimee, thank you for contributing to Red Tent Living! Your questions and concerns are SO normal. We all wondered whether or not we could do it – be a wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter, daughter in law, employee, stay at home mom, etc. Some roles we’d not assumed before, but of course we wanted to do well. There will still be times you question your ability to do it all well, but as you “get the show on the road” you will fall into a rhythm of comfort and delight.
God’s grace – always sufficient. Even in the hard times of doubt and fear. I wish you and your husband well as you delight in each other and look towards your future together. My husband and I have been married 42 years. Not all of them good or easy, but all worthwhile. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Three amazing children – again, not always easy, but certainly worthwhile. You’ve got this girl! With God by your side, there is no doubt you’ve got this!! Please keep writing!
Thank you for your kind words. They are certainly an encouragement as we embark on this journey. Your wisdom and experience remind me of God’s faithfulness and kindness. Thank you again,
Aimee, thank you. Oh my! What a new place of life you are in! I loved this phrase: “I chose to deaden hope with control instead of risking kindness and life.” So well said. I will pray for you! as…I hear your desire for children…and may that be granted! With Admiration….you go girl!!!
We hope for a family and to trust the Lord when we are not in control. Control is a seductive idol. Thank you for your prayers and your encouragement. They mean a lot to us.
Thats a label that should be burned. If you choose to embrace a pregnancy, may it come with sweet grace, knowing that you are just the right age. And may you find folks to walk it who trust that too. Some of my favorite first time midwifery clients have been “advanced”. They enter it with such intentionality and joy. 💚
hahaha, as someone who has been guilty of using those labels… I can’t really talk. However, I do tell my patients that no one is “old” until they are 80 and use a walker. Much of life seems related to perspective. Thank you for your encouragement and reminder that God’s timing is always right and good.