Far from being settled, I felt like the last weeks of my pregnancy seemed even more in a state of upheaval than the fall.
February had passed in a blur of family events and the settling of my grandma’s estate. There were now only a few weeks until the baby was to be born and I was still receiving phone calls and e-mails and having conversations in which it was becoming increasingly obvious that there were very few people around me who were at peace with unwed pregnancy in general and my unwed pregnancy in particular. Occasionally, speculation would reach me: “Where is she at spiritually? Does she understand what all this is about? Does she know how hard her life will be?” It was almost as if people needed a place to categorize me (repentant sinner, rebellious sinner, fallen, etc.) in order know how to process my life and know how to deal with me.
This was disconcerting at best.
Not just for me, but this especially plagued me for my unborn daughter. How would they treat her? When she was two and going through the “terrible twos,” would they say, “Oh, that’s so normal, every child goes through that”? Or would they say, “Oh, look at that child acting out! It’s clear she has a non-traditional family atmosphere and has no father-figure.” Would she always carry the weight of my bad decisions? This horrified me!
Yes, a little dramatic, I know, but I really thought about these things!
This was still being viewed a problem. My child was an ISSUE.
I believe that one of the most amazing aspects of pregnancy is the mother’s joy in the feeling of life. Sooner or later, no matter how difficult the stress surrounding a pregnancy, all women (or something like 99.875% of women) begin to enjoy and anticipate their child. However, any impending joy in the amazing feeling of life and my imminent motherhood was interpreted as some kind of disconnectedness from the seriousness of my situation and prospects. How long before it was appropriate for me to feel joy over my baby? Was it not possible to fully realize the gravity of my situation, the grace covering my sin, and still, STILL to feel joy at God’s gift of a child in the midst of it?
I remember one conversation with my mom in particular where I just sobbed to her, “When will my baby get to be a baby and not an issue? Will I ever be able to feel joy at her life?!”
How much time I wasted in worrying …
At the end of February, I met with Daryle (my senior pastor – I think I’ve mentioned him before) again. We talked through several things, and at the end of our time, he spoke of what he felt was the need for the church to hear my heart. He knew where I was, and my close friends knew where I was, but he and many with him felt like the church as a whole would greatly benefit from hearing where God had brought me.
This was not to be a public confession; it was about sharing the faithfulness of God in MY life and also beautiful moment of awareness for those around to support me in prayers and encouragement as I looked forward to raising this child. He said that from that point on (marking the time that I would be sharing), I would be able to look back and point to that day as a day of remembrance – I would look back and see the goodness of the Lord and could direct others to do the same. It would cease to be an issue, and start to be a baby over whom we could all feel great joy!
I remember that my mom and I looked at each other in speechless awe. We hadn’t told Daryle about our conversations.
Looking back, I’m still amazed at how God had all of us arriving at the same place from so many different directions.