In 2020, I was pregnant with my daughter Amelia. It was my fourth pregnancy, but my third baby (my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage). Cory and I had our doubts about whether we should even get pregnant again, because we already had a son and a daughter, and our family felt like it could be complete at that. But, some part of me didn’t feel done, and we ultimately decided to go ahead and have a third kiddo. We’re both so glad that we did, because life is better with Mia in it!
Throughout that pregnancy, though, as I suffered through my typical pregnancy sickness and heartburn and general discomfort, I vowed many times that it would be my last pregnancy. I felt very confident and at peace with that decision, and so did Cory. During Amelia’s birth, I vowed “never again.” After she was born, I started seriously considering adoption, which I saw as our only path to adding another child to our family one day. Cory and I weren’t sure if that’s what we even wanted, but we did know that getting pregnant again was not on the table for us.
So many times, I said that that pregnancy was my last. And I really meant it. So then how is it that I find myself here, three years later, pregnant with my fourth child?
Well, as it turns out, there are the plans we make and then there are the plans that God makes for us. Or, if you prefer, there are more potential futures for us than we can ever really know. Sometimes our path in life changes dramatically in ways we could never have imagined or foreseen. That’s basically what happened to me.
Now obviously, it wasn’t all just “fate.” I made choices, and those choices are what led to me being pregnant right now. I don’t regret it—I am thrilled to be having another baby, and this time, another boy! Finley is very much wanted.
But looking back, it’s funny to see all the things I wrote and truly believed at the time.
By the time Amelia turned one, my life was already beginning to change dramatically. Cory and I had opened our marriage to polyamory, and I had fallen in love with a new partner, RJ. Only a few months later, Cory and I decided to end our marriage.
Divorce was always something that I believed wholeheartedly would never happen to me. I was determined to make my marriage last. It was practically my biggest life goal since I was a little girl—and yet, here I am now, divorced. So how did that happen?
Well basically, I realized that I wasn’t in love anymore. And while I always believed that love was a choice, and I could have continued to love Cory as my husband if I was determined to, the change was that I was no longer determined to. I realized that there was more available to me—more passion, excitement, and romance. I realized that sex didn’t have to feel like an obligation or something that made me feel icky. I realized that I could choose whatever I wanted to in life, and I could change my mind about things (even big things), and that it was okay to do that. I realized that divorce didn’t have to be a negative thing. For me and Cory, it wasn’t.
Really, giving myself the freedom to choose and change all started with my religious deconstruction. Because my beliefs about God and the Bible and church were my bedrock. Yet, I was able to change those! If I could change those, then what else couldn’t I change? Everything was a possibility at that point.
And so it happened like a chain reaction. I deconstructed my faith. That allowed me to become polyamorous, something that I feel was always a dormant part of me. Being poly allowed me to understand how I really felt about Cory, and it introduced me to RJ. Being with RJ changed how I felt about having another baby. Which has led to me here and now: unchurched, spiritually questioning, divorced, and pregnant again. If someone had told me a few years ago that this is where I’d be, I wouldn’t have believed them.
So, what do I believe now? The truth is, I’m still trying to figure that out.
I still believe in God. I don’t believe that God is a male—how ridiculous of us to put God in a box so small as gender! I believe God is our creator (through scientific means, not magic). I believe God is good, and present to those who seek, and powerful, and mysterious. I believe God is everywhere and in everything good, and that God goes by many names.
I was taught to believe that the God of the Bible is the only true God, and that he can only be known through believing in Jesus. Yet, I found myself unable to believe that a good and loving God could refuse to be in a relationship with anybody who didn’t guess correctly out of a vast number of options for religious and spiritual “truth.”
I was raised as a Christian, but what if I had been raised Hindu, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Atheist? How could I be reasonably expected to believe that Christianity was the truth while my own religious foundation was made up? Even more ridiculous to me was the idea that one had to be the right type of Christian to find salvation—Catholics, Mormons, and Jehovah’s witnesses were out, and even some types of Protestants weren’t quite on the right track to be certain of their eternal fate (according to my Evangelical background, that is).
I began to ask myself, could it really be true that a good and loving God would condemn people who believe differently to an eternity in Hell? There is so much context behind what a person believes or doesn’t believe. And why, in the first place, is it even necessary for us to be saved by Jesus? Simply because we’re not perfect? Being perfect is impossible! How can we be punished for not doing the impossible? For me, it was equally impossible to make sense of all of that.
Beyond my theological concerns, there were my objections to the teachings and practices of the church as a whole. The sexism, homophobia, ableism, and nationalism that are taught and encouraged within the church; and the ignorant and irresponsible responses to huge social issues like COVID, gun violence, racism, and sexual assault were all huge problems for me. The weight of these social issues and the church’s role in them became too heavy, and I had to leave.
I have spent over a year now not being a part of any church, and not having really any spiritual practices in my life at all. I guess I needed a break to sort everything out. But now, I am at the end of my deconstruction period and beginning to feel ready to rebuild something spiritual in my life. I may even start going to church again—but if I do, it will be a church that is progressive and therefore in line with my own moral compass, rather than aggressively opposing it.
Anyway. My point with all of this is that there are things that I thought I knew, and as it turns out, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. If anything, the past couple of years have taught me that nothing in life is certain or permanent. Things change, and we change, and that’s just life. We can all only do our best with what we know at any given time.
My life has changed so much, and truthfully there are times when I still mourn for my previous life. I had a good thing going. Everything felt certain and settled and neat. I didn’t feel adrift in a sea of unknowns, wondering how I got there and where the hell I was going.
But I know that I can never go back to that life. For better or worse, I am on a different path now. I am doing my best to live a life that has purpose, love, and joy woven throughout it. Does it always feel that way? No. Especially not when I’m in the middle of an ongoing depression and an uncomfortable pregnancy. Nevertheless, that is my goal and I am doing my best, which is all any of us can do.