Pregn-anxiety: a state of worry during pregnancy, exacerbated by hormones, your OB gravely forbidding eggs-over-easy and other such delicacies, and the horror stories of birth culminated with “get the epidural!”
It sets in as soon as the two lines appear, and its nickname is “What-If?”
What if something I do/don’t do/eat/breathe harms my baby? What if I’ve already done it without knowing?
What if I can’t handle childbirth?
What if I’m not good at being a mother?
But what if there’s another option: to reject the worry, dismiss the fear, and cling to the truth?
Your body was designed to do this.
Modern medicine takes the position that pregnancy is a state of illness. It is a diagnosis and appears on your “problem list.” After I had delivered, my chart showed “Pregnancy–resolved.” And it follows that if pregnancy is a diagnosis, it requires treatment and aggressive intervention to resolve.
But pregnancy is not a state of illness; it is the ultimate state of wellness. This is your body doing exactly what it was designed to do. God’s very first command to mankind, far before Thou Shall Not Murder, was “Be fruitful and multiply.” He perfectly designed women to have the unique ability to conceive, carry, and birth children. So why does pregnancy often come with discomfort and health problems? Well, we aren’t living in Eden. A few verses later comes the fall, and God says to Eve:
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.” – Genesis 3:16
Sin plagued the beauty of childbirth as much as it plagued every other aspect of life. But the story doesn’t end here either!
“But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with self-control.” – 1 Timothy 2:15
We are free from the curse! Jesus bore every curse for us, including this one, and we are saved from it just as we are saved from every curse: through faith, love, holiness, and self-control.
We don’t have to worry because there is a promise: the curse is not the end of the story, the Cure is.
Pregnancy was a perfect design, then marred by sin, but now redeemed by our Savior.
Bringing children into this world is one of the greatest gifts God gives, and coincidentally one of the greatest things we can do for His kingdom.
The suffering of uncomfortable pregnancy, painful labor, and sacrificial motherhood are for our good and God’s glory.
Therefore, if we claim Jesus and cling to Him, we are free to rejoice in pregnancy, embrace the suffering of childbirth, and enjoy motherhood free of worry. We don’t have to avoid the pain! For the more deeply we suffer, the greater the joy.
“Rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.” – 1 Peter 4:13
Fear is a liar.
Fear says you aren’t strong enough to grow, birth, and raise a child.
God says this is precisely what you were created to do. (Genesis 1:28)
Fear says you are alone in this.
God says He is with you in everything; yes, even in labor. (Joshua 1:9)
Fear says there will be something wrong with your child.
God says He has created each person unique and perfect. (Psalm 139:14)
Fear says the present suffering not worth any future joy.
God says the present suffering is not worth comparing to the future joy. (Romans 8:18)
Fear doesn’t want you raising godly children.
But fear trembles and shrinks in the presence of God! (1 John 4:18)
You will never stop worrying about your children.
“Just gotta make it to that 12 week mark, then I’ll stop worrying.” That’s what we tell ourselves. Then we are through the 1st trimester, and we start fix our eyes on the 20-week anatomy scan: “once the doctors confirm the baby appears healthy.” Each week, we watch our baby grow bigger and more viable, we think we’re getting closer to the end of worry. But even when we’ve labored and brought a baby into the world, the worry has only just begun.
You might worry your baby isn’t getting enough to eat. Then you might worry he isn’t making the proper developmental milestones. You might worry your toddler is antisocial. You might worry your 3rd grader isn’t reading at the proper level. You might worry your middle schooler has a hard time making friends. You might worry your high schooler isn’t doing enough to get into college. You might worry your daughter won’t choose the right husband. You might worry your children aren’t ready to be parents.
You see where this all leads? No where. You will never stop worrying about your children, unless you do the only thing you can:
Surrender this pregnancy. Surrender the baby’s health, gender, weight, and birth outcome. Surrender breastfeeding. Surrender your cranky 2-year-old in the backseat. Surrender your child’s education. Surrender their decisions.
Lead them as best you can, yes, but surrender the outcomes to the Lord. He is the only one strong enough to bear the burdens of HIS children.
Because in the end, that’s just what they are. That’s just what the grape-sized miracle in your uterus is. That’s just what your screaming toddler is. That’s just what your grown son has always been: God’s child.