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192 pages
Dec 2003
Jossey-Bass Publishing

Prayers for New and Expecting Moms

by Michele Howe

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Chapter 1

He or She?

Everyone at the office had been pestering Renee to find out the sex of her baby ever since her obstetrician informed her that the optional procedure was her call. At thirty-five years old, Renee had jokingly told her coworkers that she’d already waited a good number of her adult years just trying to get pregnant. Another four months she could handle. Still, Renee wondered if she shouldn’t go ahead and just get it done regardless. Her physician had explained to Renee that she was at a higher risk now due to her first pregnancy coming after age thirty. When Renee explained that even if her unborn baby had physical problems she would still carry her child to term, her doctor relented. But her physician advised Renee that ultrasounds were helpful in detecting unseen potential problems that the delivery team could be made privy to and prepare for prior to the actual birth. After she discussed this information with her husband, Tim, they decided to go ahead and have the ultrasound. “Just don’t tell us the sex of the baby,” Renee implored.

On the afternoon of the ultrasound, Renee and Tim sat waiting nervously. Suddenly the import of what had seemed to be a simple enough decision loomed large before them both. Renee started wondering about how just knowing a problem existed, if it did, would forever change the final months of the pregnancy. How would she handle the knowledge that something was wrong? Could she relax and enjoy the remainder of this long-awaited pregnancy? How would she respond to others’ questions and their proposed solutions to such an emotionally charged situation? Just when Renee was about to get up and leave the waiting room, her name was called. Tim took Renee’s trembling hand and gripped it tight.

    Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
    Thou hast relieved me in my distress;
    Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
    —Psalm 4:1

Dear Lord, I am afraid. I am honestly frightened that I may not handle the news that I might be called upon to hear. Suddenly, I am worrying about all the “what-ifs” again. This entire pregnancy has been such a gift to me. You know the long years I waited to become a mother. And now, when that precious time draws so close, I am wasting my days and nights fretting about the unknown. I cannot even sleep at night so powerful are my worries. At times, I feel paralyzed by a growing apprehension that something will go badly wrong with my baby’s development. Lord, only you can see what the coming days will bring. You alone are able to hold this world, my world, securely in its place. Teach me to lay my fears and my fretting down at your feet. Give me the strength and the good sense to leave them there. Instruct my heart in wisdom and give me a generous outpouring of your grace. Let not uncertain happenings spoil these treasured months of carrying my unborn child. Give me a strong and robust faith, one that will gladly face down the enemies of my soul. Encourage my heart when weariness and doubts begin to plague my mind. Bring into my life others of like faith who will speak words of comfort and consolation when I need it most. Surround me with your protection and lift my smallish mind to see beyond potential troubles. Open my heart and soul to receive this blessing with all the joy you seek for me. Thank you for your faithfulness and your goodness. I am so grateful for your provision of love and mercy. My greatest desire is that I learn this lesson of faith so soundly that I might teach it to my own child when the day comes. A greater lesson I could not bestow on my dear child, heart of my heart. Prepare me to be the mother you have designed me to grow into—in your time and through your grace. Amen.

    Life is not a performance. The most important battles are
    fought where no one sees them.
    —Jerry White in Making Peace with Reality