When Christian music artist Natalie Grant and her husband, Bernie Herms, got married, they put off having children for five years. They were happy in their careers and wanted to enjoy married life without kids. When they decided to start a family, Natalie was in her mid-30s and they had no idea they would struggle with infertility.
"I'll never forget the moment I got the call," Natalie wrote in her newest book, Finding Your Voice. "I was backstage getting ready to perform with Wynonna Judd in Nashville's Ryman auditorium — a lifetime achievement and dream for any music artist — but I wasn't going to ignore a call from my doctor's office."
The nurse told Natalie that her test results were in, and she and her husband had a minimal chance of getting pregnant.
"I was devastated," she wrote. "I wanted to go home — to hide, to scream and cry — anything but get out there in the spotlight just when I was feeling at my most helpless, my most vulnerable.
"But I did. I sang the words 'He's gonna bring it all together for good' over and over again. That night I struggled to believe what I was singing. But how I felt in that moment didn't change the truth of what I was singing."
Natalie and Bernie decided to pursue fertility treatments, and God gave them a surprise — twins!
"Isn't that just like the Lord?" she wrote. "Just when I doubted Him, He came through, times two!"
When the twins were just 5 weeks old, they started traveling with Natalie on her tours and never missed a show until they were 4 years old.
Natalie felt content with her life. She and Bernie were happy with their routine of managing a music career and two children. Because of their earlier struggle with infertility, they never considered having another baby — until God decided to shake up their life a bit. Natalie talks openly about how crushing an unplanned pregnancy felt at the time.
"We were blessed with a miracle — Sadie," she said. "A child we never asked for was born, and that started to complicate things."
Postpartum depression set in after Natalie's second delivery, and she soon became overwhelmed trying to balance her already-full schedule with a third child.
Remembering this season in her life, Natalie explains, "I had so much guilt because there were so many women who were still begging for a child. Here I was, so depressed and overwhelmed, in such a dark pit. I can't explain that feeling of utter darkness. As a woman of faith with a faith-based platform, how could I tell people I didn't want this child? I suffered silently for so long. Giving a voice to the struggle was the beginning of my healing."
Natalie cut back on her touring schedule. Additionally, she sought counseling and medical intervention to help heal from her depression. The journey wasn't easy, but Natalie found her way out of the darkness to a place of joy in being the mother of three.
Three precious daughters
Today, in the midst of singing and touring, Natalie enjoys life as a wife and mother.
"When I'm home, I really try to be home," Natalie says. "I think I'm different in the fact that I find joy in the mundane. I enjoy doing laundry because it means I'm actually home."
The twins, Gracie and Bella, are now 9 and in fourth grade. Natalie says their personalities are as different as night and day.
"My firstborn, Gracie, probably kicked her sister out of the way. She's a leader. She has an incredible gift of communication. She's funny and smart and an absolute joy."
The second twin, Bella, is quiet and nurturing. "She's an angel with invisible wings," Natalie says. "She is long-suffering, patient, understanding and slow to speak. She is really a beautiful soul."
Then there's Sadie, who is now 5 and in kindergarten. "She's just a firecracker," Natalie says. "She's life-giving [and] she grabs ahold of life with everything she has."
Now that Natalie's girls are in school, touring with them has become more difficult. "They come with me 25 to 30 percent of the time," she says. "Their school is understanding."
When she's at home, Natalie's family tries to function like any other family. All three of her daughters take dance and piano lessons, and Natalie says she's like a taxi service for her daughters. Bernie, a songwriter and producer, has a studio at home, so even in the midst of deadlines, he can come to dinner and tuck the girls into bed.
Natalie stays transparent with her fans on social media. Because of this, her fans, particularly women ages 24 to 45, connect with her not just as a singer, but also as a woman, a wife and a mother. That unique relationship with her fans motivated her to write her new book, Finding Your Voice, as a way to encourage and inspire her fans.
She was also looking for a way to connect with her growing daughters, so Natalie started writing her "Glimmer Girls" book series. She first got the idea for the series when she was looking for chapter books that would appeal to her twins. Gracie and Bella were 7 at the time, and Natalie wanted something for them that would offer foundational lessons of faith.
So she and her girls wrote the "Glimmer Girl" stories together. "[My daughters] came up with the concept, the names of the characters and the cities the books were set in," Natalie explains. "These are as much their books as they are mine. It's been an incredible thing for us to do together."
Natalie's career has been a way for her to make a difference in the world, but her family is her way of influencing the next generation with faith and love for Jesus. In a Facebook post about her three daughters, Natalie wrote, "Of all the wonderful things I'm privileged to do and be a part of, loving and leading these three is the greatest privilege of all."Andrea Osmun is a freelance writer, editor and professional blogger.