This weekend we dedicated our last baby at church and I was asked to share the story of how he got his name. If you are 1. Convinced you know exactly what you will name your children, and 2. Haven’t had a discussion with your significant other yet, then trust me, you don’t know what you’re naming your kids. I don’t care if you’re the one that pushed them out – the daddy will still most likely want a say! Nick and I have VERY different ideas on what tiny humans should be named. He loves stuff like Alexander, and I like stuff like Airily. You see the problem. We managed to get it down to a short list which was no small feat. (Side note – another feat – getting 3 under 3 up on the stage. It went about as well as you would imagine it could, especially the part where my toddlers started giggling and chasing each other in circles while I was trying to talk).
Anyway, back to the story. One evening, my counsellor and I were talking about my past pregnancies. I was sharing with her that after we lost our first it didn’t hit me as hard as it could/should have. People tend to operate under the assumption in life that joy and pain are two separate dials that can be adjusted. I have learned that they are one dial. I turned down the pain dial so that I couldn’t get hurt in life as easily, but my joy was also turned down simultaneously. So when we got pregnant with our first, I was cautious and not overjoyed, and when we lost him it didn’t hurt as much. I thought I had a pretty good system going, not realizing what it was costing me. It cost me joy and excitement with our next pregnancy – Micah. I struggled to bond with him until he was born and barely bought anything because we might lose him, too, so better to not get overly attached or overly invested I thought.
By the time I was pregnant with Levi, I was turning my pain/joy dial back up again and the emotions of THREE pregnancies finally hit me all at once. But I still couldn’t be super excited because I hadn’t walked through my grief yet from Toby, our first. So Levi was a time of fear, and tears, and sadness, and also healing. His birth was amazing – the most amazing of the three – and was so integral to my journey back to emotional health. I had night terrors of birthing him alone and broken in the bathroom like I did with Toby, but he was born in my own bed with zero complications and wonderful midwives. Such a contrast from my miscarriage and such a contrast from the highly complicated hospital-induced pregnancy and NICU stay I had with Micah.
Then along came Theo. Everyone else was not “quite” as excited by the time I was pregnant for the fourth time in 3 years. But I was! This time was how I imagine a first time should be. I wanted to buy all the things (I didn’t need any of the things so restrained myself). I would burst into the bathroom in the morning to inform Nick that our baby was the size of a bobby pin and how exciting that was. All of the joy, all of the anticipation, all of the excitement, and miraculously almost none of the fear came along with this baby. My counsellor said to me, “Wow, this pregnancy sounds like a real gift.”. I went home that night and looked at our shortlist of names and Theo meant, “Divine Gift.”
He was Theo from that moment on. Until 5 months when we discovered he was for sure a boy, and Nick decided he liked Benjamin. Then he was Benjamin for about 3.5 months. And then about a week before the birth he was unnamed because Theo came back into the mix since I just couldn’t attach to Benjamin even though we had been using it for some time. Nick said that he liked both names and I could choose. I wrestled back and forth for a while but ultimately “my gift” won out and he became Theo Benjamin Nicholas Froese. You know… just in case I wanted to change my mind again later ;). (I wont!)