My baby was born in a storm. I don’t know what the weather was like that day. I spent all day walking the halls of the hospital, protected from whatever elements were out there. But there was a storm brewing in my heart and my life. It was that kind of storm you can see miles off, green and eerie. I couldn’t keep it from coming towards me and I felt this intense protective drive to keep this baby safe. I felt helpless and desperate and I was longing for something better.
Being pregnant and knowing things are difficult is an incredibly vulnerable feeling. It would be great if all pregnancies happened when you were ready for them, when things were peaceful, when your circumstances were smooth. That’s just not the way of the world. Pregnancies happen in all circumstances. Situations that seemed fantastic 40 weeks ago can be devastating when the time comes for your baby to enter the world. Life changes and sometimes takes turns we didn’t anticipate. Pregnancy doesn’t protect us from pain or rejection or heartache or cancer or job loss or financial struggles or the death of a loved one or mental health issues (ours and other people’s). Pregnancy doesn’t cure our problems or prevent them, it just intensifies the emotional impact of them. It especially intensifies the fear.
But God is watching over the pregnant, the women in labor, the mothers of young. When we feel tossed about by unsafe winds, when we feel defenseless in the face of the storms raging around us, God is present. He is capable of stilling the storms, but sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he sits with us in the whipping wind and pounding rain as we cradle our newborns to our chests. He is with us as we weep in the rocking chair. He is there when we walk the halls at night, wondering how we can be good mothers in the face of all the hurt in the world and the hurt in our own hearts.
Three years ago my baby was born in a storm. While I don’t know that I’ll ever be thankful for the storm, I am incredibly thankful for my baby. He was the right gift at the right time. God knew what I didn’t know when I got pregnant and when he was born. He was a little light in my dark time. His warm body in my arms was a constant source of comfort. He was there and he needed me. He was a reason to take good care of myself because I needed to be the best mother I could be for him and my other kids. I would never ask or expect a child to do those things, but he did them just by being my son and I’m forever thankful.
It can be easy to think of pregnancy as a magical and empowering time. When I look back at my pregnancy experiences, that is not how they felt. They made me feel vulnerable. They made me look at the world through new eyes. I felt defenseless and incapable. There were moments I felt ashamed of bringing a child into a world where I couldn’t always protect them, where I knew the world could hurt them. Even in the most pleasant of circumstances, we know that the world is a hostile place and children are the most vulnerable among us. To bring new life into the world is to agree to all the possible calamities outside of your control that could befall someone you love more than your own life. I think this feels even more true to older mothers as we’ve seen enough of life to know exactly how much is outside of our control.
If you’re pregnant in a stormy time, know that you aren’t alone. Don’t be ashamed for daring to hope that this child will have a good life. Don’t let fear steal your joy. Whatever your circumstances, a child is a reason to celebrate. Ask for help if you need it. Let others see your storm and they may just help provide you with the encouragement and respite you need.
God has his hand on this little life and an ever-watchful eye on your stormy circumstances. He sees the chaos and threats even we can’t see and he cares deeply about the vulnerable and needy. You aren’t forgotten or on your own. Whatever the world may say to you, there is value and beauty in new life and you are the one tasked and gifted with the joy of bringing that new life into the world.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.