21 February, 2014

We Named Him Will

When confronted with that daunting question, "What are you going to name your baby?", Steven and I thought it more polite to say, "We haven't decided yet," rather than, "It's a secret which will not be revealed until the birth of our child." Not that we were trying to drum up anticipation or anything like that. We just felt that both names we had picked out (we let the gender be a surprise this time around) had so much personal meaning that we wanted to keep them close.

When I found out that I was pregnant last May, I was elated. But in just a few short weeks, everything became all fuzzy and weird. The thing is, we hadn't been planning on getting pregnant. I can't tell you how excited I was that our third child would come without lots and lots of waiting, trying, hoping, praying, and all of the other rocky torrents that seem to accompany me and pregnancy. I felt like I was walking on a cloud and then when the ultrasound offered little hope that the baby would live, I felt like an idiot. Of course I was going to miscarry. Why wouldn't I? Why had I ever convinced myself that I could just be "normal" and have a surprise pregnancy?

And so on and so on.

It was June at this point and summers in upstate New York are beautiful and green. There are ripe berries to be picked, blue skies and sandy beaches less than an hour away from wherever you are. But I didn't really exist that summer. I was not only on bedrest, hoping to give the baby a fighting chance, but I was also having a major IC flair-up that took the fight out of me. When I think about last summer, I see myself watching my kids play in the backyard with my mom and sister (who saved us) from my bedroom window.

It was hard. It was stressful. Every doctor's appointment was like a slap in the face and I could barely stand the constant, aching worry inside of me. I knew that I had reached my own rock-bottom when the only thing I could muster enough will to do was to lie on my couch after the kids had gone to bed and listen to "High and Dry" by Radiohead on repeat. Low point. 

In September I was listening to a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland (here, if you're interested) and with just five words, I was thrown out of my pit of self-pity and fear.

"Let will be your reason."

The realization crashed over me that over the past months: my own will hadn't governed anything. I'd allowed myself to be forced into a place where fear and pain dictated my every thought and action.

Was my own will enough, though? Just because I willed it, could I be happy? Even with the burdens that were so very heavy to me?

A resounding yes echoed through my being and just like that, the cold winter of my soul melted into the sweet sunset-orange of fall, and life was good again.

Will, you were given your name so that you would always remember to let will be your reason. Your own will is stronger than any feeling, habit, passion, pressure, physical ailment - the list goes on and on - your will is stronger than all of it.

Always choose what you do, what you think, how you react, who you are. Act, never be acted upon.

Choose your life, Will.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."

My will to choose hope instead of despair reminded me of my own invincible summer. When you are in a place where hope seems far away and unreachable, choose to fight for it until it fills you up.

The thought of you - bundled in warm blankets, sleeping on my chest in the early hours of the morning, curled little fists in your lap - thoughts that I accepted might never materialize but were nevertheless beautiful and real to me - saved me. You were my reason.


  1. Oh Brooke I just want to hug you. Thank you for being so open with this and allowing me to get a glimpse of what that must be like. This is a powerful story, you wrote it beautifully, and I know that Will is going to live up to the name you gave him.

  2. Congratulations on your Will! I am glad you are holding him in your arms!

    1. Paulina, I've been thinking about you! Thank you so much. I hope you're doing well!

  3. Beautiful! I will never think of Will without thinking of knowing that you truly have a reason for living..find it...embrace it...live in it!

  4. Brooke and Steve: Beautiful and inspiring story. My only caveat is that you didn't reach out to me by phone or whatever. I have been down some these roads and would really like to be a support to you both. I have such awesome grandchildren and love and cherish you all from the distance that separates us. Grandpa Watson

  5. I could read what you write forever. You are just a gifted writer. I already loved his name, but now I love it even more! I love that there is so much meaning to his name. Love you!

    1. Thank you so much, Catie! Love you too!

  6. What a lucky boy Will is, to have such an insightful Mother.


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