Dear Pregnant Friend

A friend, a sister-in-Christ, is having her fourth baby.  My friend is an intelligent, faith-filled woman.  She’s also a medical doctor who has applied for a fellowship for next year; a fellowship that is now tentative because of her pregnancy.  Understandably, she’s dealing with many emotions right now.

In her email, she wrote, ” I am really praying on this now, and begging God to help my unbelief.   I know that eventually I’ll be OK with this.  I’m just facing my issues head on, wrestling with God, so to speak…..I think my faith is strong in the sense that in my head and heart, I know God knows what He’s doing.  But right now, I’m just trying to deal with the fact that my plans were, are different from His.”

The first thing I wanted to do when I read her email was give her a great big hug.  I recognized her turmoil; that email could have been written by me.  I was never one of those mothers who blissfully accepted each pregnancy, basking in the glow of an ever-expanding, large Catholic family.  I envied their seemingly peaceful acceptance but I couldn’t be like them.   As my family grew, especially with the fourth and subsequent pregnancies, I developed a sense of panic at the prospect of balancing children and career.

After my fifth child was born, I had my sights set on a Masters programme for RNs.  God, however, had other plans for me.  When I realized that I was pregnant with baby #6, I became very angry with  God.  One day, as I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink, I began yelling at God, telling Him off for ruining my plans.

In the midst of my tearful tirade, I distinctly heard a deep, male voice say, “to whom much has been given, much will be expected.” (Luke 12:48) There was no one else home at the time and I jumped at the unexplained voice.  I knew in my heart that the voice was Divine and I cried.  In that instant,unknown to me, my conversion began.

When baby #6 was born, my husband and I agreed that I would stay home full-time with our young family; however, at his insistence, I kept my nursing license current with the possibility of one day returning to the career that I loved.  The arrival of babies #7 and 8 caused some faith-testing, fearful moments because of my difficulty in accepting God’s will. God is good, however, and He led me out of my uncertainty.

When I look back on that difficult time in my life, I see how God cared for me in my turmoil and unbelief.  He listened to my rage, accepted my tears and acknowledged my inner turmoil. He forgave me.  Although I mistakenly felt that He had abandoned me and disrupted my plans, in reality, He was preparing me to receive His plans.  In truth, it was only during my last pregnancy that I was able to say, “God, I give You my life, my will.”

Among other things, God used eight pregnancies,  two miscarriages and a hiatus in my nursing career to break my wilfulness and self-centredness.  The slow, painful conversion He began in me at my kitchen sink remains an on-going process to conform my flawed will to His perfect Will.  My life now is not what I envisioned as I plotted my own course, only paying lip-service to God.

What I know is this:  the dark, convoluted tunnel my friend is facing leads to a bright light if she lets Someone Else navigate the terrain.  It’s a painful process, especially for a woman obviously gifted with great ability, intelligence and ambition.

Doc, from what you’ve told me, you have much more than natural talent.  You have faith and it will carry you through, I promise; and at the other end of the tunnel, your faith will have been refined and made even stronger.  That, in my experience, is how God works, if you let Him, and I have great faith that you will let Him.  “He must increase but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)  This can be a painful process, I know, but it’s the Truth.

On a practical note, Doc, don’t abandon your dreams of medicine.  Never having worked with you, I can still tell that you’re a good doctor.  Seasoned nurses have an intuition for these things.  The world needs good, compassionate, pro-life doctors.  Having seen how hard Fellows work in the hospital setting, I know that what’s ahead will be challenging.  Your medical practice may end up looking different than what you pictured.  Leave it in God’s hands and don’t forget to lean on your patron saints for physicians:  St. Luke the Evangelist and Sts. Cosmos and  Damian.

God bless you, Doc, and that precious little baby contentedly floating and growing inside you, safe, loved, welcomed.  Your children are God’s way of molding you to His will, which ultimately, is better than anything you can imagine.

Deo Gratias

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This entry was posted in Catholic, Catholic woman, Christian mom, faith, family, large family, parenting, prayer and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Dear Pregnant Friend

  1. Hey Terry,

    I just wanted to tell you how inspiring I find your blog. You write so well–I really feel like God speaks through your words-don’t stop writing 🙂

    I am struggling a lot right now-with so many things. I have moved away from my friends and family and home city and moved to China with my husband for his work. It has been good for our relationship but has had lots of ups and downs. I have left my job at the hospital (as a nurse) which I loved– to teach ESL.

    I saw your post today “dear pregnant friend;” I continue to experience mixed emotions on pregnancy- I want to have a baby soon but I also don’t know what our future will look like if we do. I struggle with trust among the financial issues and lack of family support issues–I know God’s grace will be enough but its easier in my head than in reality.

    Anyways, pray for me if you get a chance.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    -Cecily

  2. Cecily, thanks for your comment and your encouragement. “but its easier in my head than in reality” How true that is but God is good and knows we struggle. I will say a prayer for you as I head out to work this morning. God bless you.

  3. kimhartlove says:

    Beautifully written. I wish I’d read something like that when I discovered I was pregnant right before beginning my MA program and assitantship. I had a very hard time with that, but of course, it turned out to be such a blessing.

  4. Thank you so much for this post. Once again you make me feel like I am not alone in that I wanted to have my career before I had my babies. I believe God is trying to teach me something by having us become pregnant so early and knowing that it may be several years before I understand it makes me feel a little better. I’m still scared, because putting all my faith in God is much harder than I sounds. But I’ll work on it. And continue I learn from blogs and people like you. Thank you.

  5. Children are a blessing.

  6. lilyboat says:

    I have no doubt you are an inspiration to many around you! God bless you. I see you and I think you have accomplished so much, and I don’t know how you do it! May the Lord continue to give you strength.

  7. Obviously, the situations you describe are commonplace in the lives of women and have been commonplace for as long as people have had the capacity to reflect on their own lives. I’m part of the ‘Baby Boom’ Generation and, even as a boy, I heard enough from my mother and her friends to understand what a hardship an unplanned pregnancy can be. The women in my mother’s coffee group were more likely to offer each other condolence than congratulations when news from the ‘Stork’ was announced. In addition to what I could observe directly were the reports I saw on the TV from newscasters and commentators and scientists keying us into the fact that overpopulation had gotten out of control and we’d probably exhaust all the world’s resources in my own lifetime.

    So, is it any wonder that the “gospel” of Planned Parenthood became attractive to both females and males growing up in the ‘sixties and ‘seventies? Women began to describe themselves as ‘slaves’ to their own biology and started to see contraception and abortion as the means to emancipation and equality with men. I remember watching all of this as it played out. My family was Catholic, but it was also socially progressive. I grew up in the midst of the culture wars.

    For a long time I bought into the idea that the moral questions associated with pregnancy were ‘special cases’, issues surrounding abortion or contraception had no parallel in any other aspect of human behavior. A new paradigm was required, one that was uniquely female, uniquely modern and uniquely scientific. Old teachings on ethics weren’t going to cut it — or so we thought, and so I thought.

    I see something now that I didn’t then, something that you wrote eloquently about. Turns out that women’s issues, and reproductive issues, and pregnancy issues and family planning issues actually do have something in common with other issues. Turns out that ALL the issues in our lives pit our plans against God’s plans for us, our desire for power and control against our willingness to allow God to shepherd us, our obsession with what’s ‘good for me’ against the call to sacrifice on behalf of the ‘good of others’. Viewed from that angle, the struggles of women facing motherhood can be placed in the context of other struggles, even those we men can understand.

    Choice advocates are correct when they point out that motherhood isn’t always good for a woman, and that children aren’t always a blessing — but we’d all do well to realize that the strategy of piling up good things for ourselves, of gratifying desire and avoiding suffering, of striving at all costs to make our ‘dreams’ come true isn’t really a recipe for joy — in fact, it actually leads to misery and destruction.

    The philosophy of ‘Choice’ allows me to put myself at the center of my own life. I can assert that my body is mine and my life is mine. The philosophy of ‘Life’ requires me to put the cross at the center. To follow the teachings of Life is to renounce the goal of self-satisfaction, and to eventually be revolted by it.

    At it’s core, the abortion controversy isn’t about babies. It’s about who’s in control.

    Paul

    • admonsta says:

      Thank you, that’s very profound, Paul, although perhaps I disagree with you on one point – I do believe that all children are a blessing if we allow them to be. It’s our choice what we do with what God gives us. We may not see the blessing, but it’s there for us to take or discard.

  8. genericmum says:

    Your words are true – those little ones that, at first, we couldn’t accept, turn out to be angels sent to console us in the very trials that made us hesitate.

  9. Hi Terry! I went through something similar to what you describe, only for me it was accepting that I couldn’t have as many children as I wanted. In fact, I had to accept that I might never be able to have children at all. Then, the Lord blessed me with my precious two. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Powerful post!
    So similar to my experience! I too heard the Lord’s voice in the midst of turmoil at the beginning of my fifth pregnancy. God bless both of you. I believe that mothers of large family’s share the same vocation and we do NEED support:
    This is your call
    This is your vocation
    This is your witness to the world.
    http://melaniejeanjuneau.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/why-did-you-have-so-many-kids/

  11. blondpidge says:

    Oh I can really identify with this. I have had 3 kids in 3 years. (I’m the mother of 4 beautiful girls overall).

    My last two pregnancies were unplanned child 3 was conceived when child 2 was 8 months, child 4, when child 3 was 7 months.

    I have started my BA degree twice and had to give it up. At the same time as discovering I was pregnant with child 3, my husband, a former Anglican clergyman resigned his vocation to become a Catholic. We lost our home, our income, our circle of friends and support, our job security, you name it. We had to go from a 4 bed house to a tiny 2 bed bungalow whilst my husband worked long hours as a funeral services operative, doing some truly harrowing work.

    We’ve come through most of it now, but people think being Catholic pro/life that traumatic pregnancies or unwanted pregnancies don’t occur. They most definitely do, I suffered from horrendous sickness for the duration of both pregnancies coupled with phobia of childbirth and a fear that I couldn’t cope and would be a terrible mother.

    I should be graduating now,but my life is blessed in other ways. Hang on to Romans 8:28

    • Thank you so much for sharing your comment. In my experience, many women feel either afraid or ashamed that they experienced ambivalent , fearful and even angry feelings when they realized they were pregnant. I’m thankful for the women who have commented honestly. I think our witness is helpful to women who need the support.

  12. reneebarrett1 says:

    Children are a great blessing. When you become grandparents in years to come you will realise just how wonderful it is to to have had your children. I don’t have children myself. Treasure the time with your little ones. Women retire from paid employment outside the home but a mother never retires.

  13. Valerie says:

    Stumbled upon your blog right after finishing reading ‘My sisters the saints’ from C. Colleen. Both this book and your post resonated with me as I am now a stay at home Mom of 3 young children who was once an aspiring ‘rocket scientist’. I have a doctorate degree that I have no clue if I’ll ever going to ‘use’ (as so many people still wonder and inquire). Not knowing what will be is part of the cross I have to carry now. I am praying that God will give me the strength to surrender to his will one day at a time.

  14. Pingback: Blog of the Year 2012 | Catholic By Choice

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