I Wasn’t Ready to be a Grandma
Facing the unexpected? Don’t do it alone, talk to a confidential email mentor.
It’s been several years now, but I can still clearly picture the day I found out my teenage daughter was pregnant. I remember her standing in the kitchen saying, “Mom, embrace it!” My initial response to Amber’s words were, “Yeah, right, that’s easy for you to say.” But within seconds I thought, “She’s right. I really don’t have another choice.” That “embrace” came with anguish as we grieved but also much joy as we came to see God’s blessing in both the journey and the arrival of our precious grandson.
The journey begins
Our journey began with a phone call and a voicemail message. From these pieces we learned from Amber, that she was pregnant. Amber had just turned 18 a week earlier and was in her second semester of grade 12. As I left her bedroom with news of her pregnancy, tears engulfed me as I struggled with a multitude of feelings.
When Amber was a little girl, I could kiss it and make it all better. Now, to my despair, I couldn’t make it better. Wishful thoughts filled my head. Perhaps the test was wrong … maybe she’ll miscarry. But when a blood test came back positive and the days became weeks it became evident we were on a journey with a destination.
Grieving what we had lost
The previous fall, Amber had turned her life around. The once delinquent student became serious about graduating. The girl who loved to party worked hard to land a job and leave many of her old friends behind. Our hope had been renewed! But now this. . . what went wrong? I had so many questions. Midway into her pregnancy my husband and I attended a ‘respite’ retreat. While there I began to understand that what I was going through was a grieving process. I was grieving not only the losses Amber was facing, but also my own.
- I grieved the loss of seeing my daughter fall in love, get married and eagerly wait the birth of her first child. The special dreams every mother has from the moment her daughter is born!
- I grieved the loss of joy, in responding to the words, “Mom, I’m pregnant.” Instead my heart was filled with intense sadness, guilt, anger, disbelief, hurt and confusion.
- I grieved the loss of announcing to family and friends that I was to be a grandmother. Instead I felt like the news always had to be presented with some kind of parenthesis around it.
- I grieved the loss of excitement in planning for a baby’s arrival as Amber flip flopped from considering adoption to wanting to keep her baby. While I expected her emotions to go up and down, I hadn’t anticipated my own emotions to follow as I became increasingly attached to this new life.
- I grieved the agony of watching Amber experience her losses. I’ll never forget the day she broke down sobbing in Bryans as we looked at all the beautiful grad dresses she knew she would never be able to wear. Meanwhile her twin sister was picking out ‘glass slippers’ to go with her ‘Cinderella’ dress. I agonized for Amber as her sister made plans to go to college to follow her dreams while Amber had to lay hers aside.
Being able to put words to these losses and having them validated helped me immensely in dealing with my grief.
In the early days of Amber’s pregnancy we had to work hard to see the silver lining in the proverbial cloud but as the months went by we were continually awed at God’s goodness to us. When Amber said that she wanted to go to her high school grad I inwardly groaned. “They don’t make grad dresses for pregnant teenagers. Won’t she feel even more singled out without a fancy dress?”
But God took care of us in an amazing way. One Sunday morning I was approached with the words, “All week, I’ve been feeling that I should offer to sew you something. I’m a professional seamstress.” She sewed a gorgeous dress. When Amber put it on, she exclaimed “I feel like a princess.”
Finding the joy in our situation
As I picked out baby pictures for Amber and Natasha’s grad celebration, tears came to my eyes as I realized my dream of seeing them graduate together was coming true. When I first heard the news of Amber’s pregnancy, I didn’t see how it could ever happen. But God in his sovereignty provided an amazingly supportive teacher who gave her total freedom to work at her own pace.
What a blessing to be part of Amber’s journey from day one. Not only was I able to share in every doctor’s appointment, in every ultrasound (what a thrill to watch her little baby kick and wiggle!) but I was also able to support Amber as our grandson entered the world.
When the time came, I was totally ready to be a Grandma
Those early feelings of overwhelming sadness, guilt and fear feel like a bad dream as we hug our precious grandson or watch his mother tenderly care for him. We can’t imagine our lives without him. Have our lives changed? Dramatically!! All the toys I had packed away plus numerous new ones clutter our living room. Peanut butter finger prints again grace our walls. When Amber rushes off to work, I now have a preschooler to mind – a stage I thought I had left behind. And then there are the emotional challenges. Since Amber and Hayden live with us, there is the challenge of learning how to let our adult child be a parent and how to be a grandparent to a grandchild who feels like our child. It’s a learning process for all of us. But just as God enabled us to adjust to her pregnancy, He’s enabling us to not only cope but to enjoy this new stage of life.
The journey that began with an unexpected pregnancy is far from over. It’s not an easy road that Amber has chosen. But we rejoice in God’s continual provisions for her, the wise choices she is making and the awesome job she is doing in parenting Hayden. God’s faithfulness encourages us all as we look to the future.
After taking a year of maternity leave, Amber enrolled in a Para Educator Program. This past fall, she was hired as a Special Needs Teacher at a local private school and continues to be involved in a young mom’s program where as a participant she encourages and serves as a role model to many of the younger moms.
I don’t know how we would have made this journey without the knowledge of God’s love and faithfulness. I know that God loves me, my daughter and my grandson. Nothing can ever change that. Do you know how much God loves you? He gave up his son so that we could know him. The Bible tells the story of God reaching down to us, loving us before we even knew him, redeeming us from our circumstances, from our own choices and from the things we didn’t choose. God does love you very, very much and you can know the peace that comes from him today.
There are some things in life that we feel can never be mended again. If you’ve ever felt this way, there is hope. Jesus can bring healing to anything. God gave us his Son Jesus Christ on the cross to die for our sins so that we can be made new again and have a relationship with him.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.