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Aren’t You Terrified?

Years ago, when I had only three children (in three years), I attended a Baptism. An elderly woman approached me. She eyed my three little ones and in broken English commented, “Beautiful children. But make sure no more for you. This is good enough.”

I laughed lightly and commented that I’d be happy to have a few more. Her eyes bulged as she shook her head vehemently and said, “No, no, no, too much pain. Your heart can no carry so much pain.” I smiled sympathetically. I understood her fear. Each yes to life can mean making your heart that much more vulnerable to disappointment, to heartache, to loss. To love deeply is to risk profoundly. I was aware of that, as I had lost a four-year-old sibling when I was nine years old, and also, unbeknownst to the elderly woman, I had just experienced my first miscarriage a few weeks before and would have given anything to have my baby back.

Now, with fourteen children on earth, I still encounter those who share her sentiments. How can you be open to so many children when each child means the possibility of greater challenges, hardships, fatigue, stress, or even soul-wrenching pain? Aren’t you terrified?

I don’t regret being open to life, even though it has meant being open to loss. Our children exist—our unique, unrepeatable, beloved little ones—and I am so grateful for that!

I’ve often conceded that parenting is not for the faint of heart. It’s a vocation of intense trial, growth, and refinement. The understanding of the weight and magnitude of welcoming another child has never eluded me. But this journey has transformed me. I am not who I was before and that’s a really wonderful thing! I know now what it’s like to give without measuring the cost, to fully pour myself into others, and I have discovered that this vocation can enshrine a soul in a state of joy, trust, and inexplicable peace.

The cost is great, but it is more than worth it.

Last week I learned that I was pregnant with twins, but sadly, their hearts had stopped beating. It was so heartbreaking to realize that I had not lost one, but two little ones. Thanks be to God, my husband and I have been blessed with a peace that defies understanding, and we have an undeniable hope that all of our children whom we have lost prematurely, will be there to greet us at the end of our lives.

I don’t regret being open to life, even though it has meant being open to loss. Our children exist—our unique, unrepeatable, beloved little ones—and I am so grateful for that!

I’m also not afraid because there is too much evidence of God’s goodness in our lives.

My heart goes out to everyone who has experienced loss recently: mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, children, babies. I know journeying toward Christmas can intensify the longing for their presence. May Christ fill that void with the wonder of His love and the promise of a heavenly reunion.

“We shall find our little ones again up above.”

~ Saint Zelie Martin

Stay with us Lord! 

Mane Nobiscum Domine



Carissa Douglas is a Canadian author and illustrator, known especially for her Little Douglings brand—a series for kids in which a group of children is sent on a mission by God with the assistance of a Saint. Carissa is the mom of 14, and a passionate promoter of the culture of life and all things related to this: our awesome Catholic faith. While her kids are busy with school work and projects, she spends her downtime writing stories and illustrating. To follow the adventures of the Little Douglings, visit them here.

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Sorry for your loss, Carissa and Patrick and family! As always…you inspire! Blessings for Advent and Christmas!

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