When I walk out of my room, the bright light stings my eyes. Mom asks why I’m up so early but she already knows the answer. It’s Friday. I’m too excited to sleep on Game Days. “Like father, like son,” Mom says. She gets me. I love Fridays.
My whole family had been sick with a stomach bug. With four kids, this is the only thing they have shared with each other—and finally they shared it with me.
I went to work feeling exceptionally queasy and left my daughter home with Coach. I felt awful until I came to the cafeteria and they were serving chili dogs.
Maybe eating will help it pass.
And it did. This stomach bug is not so bad after all.
When I came home, I found my daughter had not been able to eat all day. And then I began to realize that I didn’t have the same kind of sickness as she did.
I was off to the drug store. Within minutes, I saw two pink lines (and shed a few tears). I broke the news to Coach.
I was pregnant.
Our lives were already full and happy with three rambunctious boys and one sweet and sassy girl. We thought our family was complete. To complicate things, Coach just accepted a new position one week before. We were making the move to a new state.
I was overwhelmed and although I knew that a baby should be a celebration—the timing was very bad. Then Coach asked the all-important question—“When’s the baby due?”
“October,” I replied.
His response was predictable. “DURING FOOTBALL SEASON?!?” I shrugged my shoulders. What could I do about it? This was not part of the plan.
So if you are facing something as beautifully unexpected as I did, here are some thoughts to help along the way.
Expect to go alone at times.
In my first pregnancy, Coach went with me to all the appointments. He was very involved with the process—appointments, ultrasounds and registries. But in spring, it was easy to work around his schedule. Things are different in season. I was 20 weeks along when we came to our new school. I found a new doctor and made every appointment alone. Every. Single. One. I drove Coach by the hospital a week before my due date. He met my doctor just before I delivered. He was largely disconnected to that part of my pregnancy. And I understood. I decided to make the most of it. I used the long drive to listen to my favorite playlists. I enjoyed the changing of the leaves. I treasured that time alone.
Expect to experience your community in a new way.
In the first weeks at our new school, it was difficult to connect with parents and players. A couple of sweet parents decided to welcome our baby in a special way—they threw a “tailgating” baby shower! It broke the ice in such a unique way as they willingly showered us with diapers and gift cards. Babies tend to bring people together.
Expect to make some plans around Coach’s schedule.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could anticipate exactly when baby will come? I imagined myself going into labor in the middle of a football game. I could visualize the scene: the cart would pick me up and drive me off the field. As they put me into the ambulance, I would give the thumbs up; and Coach would just keep on calling the plays. But that’s not how it went. I had a planned C-Section. Doc gave me a date and it was a Wednesday. It only took a minute to realize that it was the week of our cross-town rival. “No good,” I told her. “My husband’s a football coach. He says I should pick a Monday, and that week will not work.” She gave me a blank stare and put me down for the following Monday. She didn’t understand (most people don’t) and that’s ok. Coach was able to enjoy his newborn so much more when that game was out of the way.
Expect to take your newborn to a few games (if you want to).
Of all the “Baby’s Firsts” this one is my favorite. Most of my babies made their debut at the spring game. But a baby born in season would be more like a new team mascot. She was two weeks old at her first game. I was still dealing with a handful of postpartum issues, but I bundled her up on that chilly night and truly enjoyed the game. She was no trouble—everyone wanted to hold her and she slept through everything. Weeks later, I was holding her as I ran 40 yards down the sideline to see the game winning touchdown of the championship game. So add a onesie in team colors to your registry or find something perfect for baby here, and go to the game! But if you decide it’s too much, don’t feel guilty! You’re the mom.
Expect your life to be imperfect and messy and beautiful.
There will be late nights, early mornings, cluster feedings, tears, hormones, and laundry. So. Much. Laundry. Some days you will be so happy and others you will be so overwhelmed. Ask for help. Reach out to your tribe. Or head on over to Friday Night Wives for advice. Please hear me—we know and we understand. You will adjust to your new normal.
Remember this—God has already had this in his perfect plan for you. Psalm 18:30 and 32 say, “As for God, his way is perfect…and (he) maketh my way perfect.” Whether or not you expected this—God did. So lean on your community, love your Coach, and trust God.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on February 3, 2020, and has been updated in February 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and completeness.
I go because that’s how I show up for him, my Coach. Because our marriage isn’t all about me, it’s about us. Loving him means loving football. So, I will travel to all the games. Because it matters to him that I am waiting for him at the end of the game.
When your unranked team faces a top ten team—hope sees the underdog come out on top.
When your team has never beaten a certain opponent—hope brings the game to end that losing streak.
When you are facing your cross-town rival in your State Championship—hope makes that unexpected victory so much sweeter.
I knew it would be sad to lose a game. Or many games. Losing is never fun. Sure there would be sad times. But I didn’t know that we would always keep disappointment in tow. As a coach’s wife disappointment follows you like a flatbed truck and manifests itself in so many ways that can be hard to breathe.