Preparations of the heart
Parenting can be difficult, and all parents need a lot of help from God. It may be that you feel hesitant about having a baby, but it is important to do all you can to accept and welcome the child, even if you don’t feel like it in the beginning.
One major step in receiving a child is to prepare your own heart by asking God to help you tackle and untangle any major concerns you may have. Parenting is often more about faith than feelings, and God is always there to help lift you above your insecurities, worries, personal problems, and frustrations. The Bible says:
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.
It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Learn to look up, to look beyond circumstances and find peace in the midst of your storm, that special place of quiet and calm. Draw close to God through His Son Jesus, just as you would to a dear friend who is walking you through a problem, holding your hand, talking to you, comforting you, encouraging you. Jesus will be there for you, by your side, to get you all the way through to the birth of your child-and beyond.
Among the many things that you can do to prepare yourself for a new baby, nothing will help more than getting God’s perspective. At the end of this booklet you will find a selection of key Bible verses, categorized under seven main topics. These Scriptures will encourage and help prepare you for parenting by increasing your faith about your child, about your role as parent, and about the wonderful future that awaits you as you grow together in God.
Parenthood takes a lot of faith, and your faith will be strengthened and increased by reading and reflecting on the Word of God. (For a much larger selection of topically arranged Bible verses on a wide variety of subjects relating to everyday life, order the two-volume Discovering Truth series, also from Aurora Production.)
Bodywork-Mother’s physical preparations
There are many physical preparations a mother-to-be should make: eating the proper foods, getting proper exercise and rest. You are your unborn baby’s supply house, and he will draw his every physical need from you, from what you eat. Please try to take good care of yourself and do not abuse your body or do anything that might damage your child’s delicate cell development. This may require some sacrifices on your part, especially if you have some harmful habits that could hurt your developing child. Have your friends help you, and hang on to the best Helper of all, Jesus. It takes prayer, faith, and much common sense to be a good mommy for the new baby.
If you are a very active person, you may have to learn to slow down. If you’re sedentary, you may have to get more exercise. You may have to cut down on caffeine, and cut out alcohol, smoking, and any potentially harmful drugs. Check with your doctor about any prescription medication you’ve been taking, and carefully study the warnings on any over-the-counter drugs before taking them. Giving another person the gift of life means giving the best of yourself. But the end result-a strong, healthy child-is well worth any sacrifice you may make.
Pregnancy is the beginning of a personal course in learning how to give of yourself for someone else. To enter this world, children require that someone make a sacrifice for them, but with such sacrifices God is well pleased. As you give your love and your life for another, you become more like God. God gives us much of Himself so that we might live and grow and be happy and healthy in Him. Learning to love and to give to your baby can be one of the greatest lessons of your life.
Pregnancy means never being alone
As you carry your baby within and become conscious of your baby, your baby is becoming conscious of you. There is a special link between a mother and her baby. You are not only linked physically, but you are linked emotionally and spiritually. Baby is soon even able to sense how you are feeling. Knowing that you are being monitored around the clock by a small life that is forming inside of you should help you want to do your best. That new little person, that small spirit within is counting on you and trusting in you as he enters the physical realm. In spite of many attitudes and teachings to the contrary, your child is not just becoming someone, but already is someone-a unique spiritual being, formed by God, the Father of spirits. In a very real sense, your baby is an existent being in the spirit even before his physical body is perfected. The spirit of a baby already has the pattern of his character-to-be, the imprint of a unique personality created in the world of the spirit by the hand of God.
You can impart a spirit of faith and calm to your unborn child by having a peaceful, trusting attitude yourself. Learn to take a few moments each day to relax, rest, and create a peaceful environment; play soothing music for Baby as you look up to your own heavenly Father and find peace. Babies in the womb can hear and enjoy not only the sound of your heartbeat and the other gentle reassuring sounds of your body at work, but as they grow and develop within your womb they can also hear and distinguish between external sounds such as music, your voice, and the voices of others.
Baby can sense if you are tense or relaxed. As a mother-to-be, try to remember every once in a while to stop and let the confusion of the day pass by. Take a little time to comfort your unborn child whenever you rest and relax. Talk to your baby, pat him, make him feel at home, warm and loved. He is going to be yours for life. The special bond of love between you can begin long before your baby is born. Even as your baby is forming, you should appeal to your child’s senses. You just have to believe that it’s making a difference, because you may not get any special response or particular feedback other than the normal movements when Baby is awake and active.
It is wise to learn early not to speak disparagingly or think negative thoughts about your unborn child. Try not to say or think anything you wouldn’t say to an older child face to face, for while he might not actually hear or understand the words you say, he might very well feel your intent in the spirit.
Getting help from a friend
You should try to find a friend who can be with you during this time, someone who can help you, someone you can trust and pour your heart out to. Your friend may be your husband, partner, someone else you are close to, another mother, or even someone else you have recently met. Sometimes you may have to explain to your friend or loved one things that seem obvious to you, but that may not be so obvious to them. No matter how much a friend wants to help, it’s difficult to do so without understanding how you feel. So communicate; take time for one another. Set aside time to get to know and understand each other.
But even if there is no one around to be your friend and companion, remember that God is always there and listening.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, “Here I am.”
Adjusting to being pregnant
Pregnancy is a time of testing. Your emotions go out of whack as hormones change your body chemistry. So many things comprise your preparation for giving birth, but remember, you arrive at that moment one step at a time, one day at a time. Don’t try to take on too much at once. Do what you can, but don’t overdo. There are hundreds of activities you are able to do, lots that you want to do or think you need to do, but now it is time to focus on what you need to do to prepare for having the baby.
During this time you are no longer your own, but you belong to someone who is counting on you for his or her very life. You have to learn many new things. You may have to learn not to climb up on stools or take other risks; not to overwork; not to act on that sudden impulse, such as trying to move heavy furniture around by yourself. You will have to learn to control your behavior, take care of yourself, and be willing to let others help you.
This can be very humbling if you are the independent type. It’s hard to ask others to help you. Sometimes it is a little difficult to let certain things slide a bit. Maybe you will not be able to get the laundry done just as quickly as before-all nicely folded and put away-or whatever you are accustomed to doing in your domestic life or your work. But the pace of your life will have to change to accommodate your condition, and your greatest daily accomplishment will be to look after your baby-to-be. Rest assured that God sees every extra precaution you take for the baby’s sake, every little sacrifice, and He will reward.
Help your husband understand
As your pregnancy develops, your needs will change and you will need to communicate this to your husband or partner. You are involved in the creative miracle of life, and a whole new person is being formed within you. Some of what is going on you can sense, but most of what is happening is not so evident. During this time you need to have patience with your husband or partner and others who are not as directly involved as you, who may not always understand what you are going through.
Sometimes you will think your husband is just not tuned in to reality. He may sometimes act like he doesn’t even realize you are pregnant and that life is becoming very different, even difficult, for you. You are being marched along into motherhood, and it is natural to assume that some similar process is preparing him for fatherhood. But your reality and his reality at this point are different. You are pregnant; he isn’t. He has feelings about it, but they are often more detached or different from yours.
It is very easy to get caught up in your little world when your emotions are stormy. If you find yourself getting upset and frustrated about hubby’s lack of sensitivity, rather than confuse him with an outburst of mixed emotions, talk to him and try to help him understand how you feel and what you are going through. Try to explain your needs and frustrations. Spell things out as simply as you can. If you can’t seem to get the point across very well, pray and ask the Lord to help you both.
Your husband probably needs your reassurance, too, at this time-your affection, your love, your presence, and to know he is special to you. Your kind words and sweet touches will mean a lot to him. He is very likely to be a little nervous, too, and unsure what he can do to help you or the situation, particularly if it’s your first child. The prospect of becoming a dad takes faith as well. He may be feeling his responsibility in different ways, such as concern for the finances or the extra burdens that he has to bear. He may feel a little lost or uncertain of his place in this new relationship you will have with Baby. He knows he is going to lose some of your precious times together for Baby’s sake.
Dads may get more protective during this time. Actually, he probably likes being your protector when you are pregnant. Feel free to call upon his paternal instincts to help more and to pamper you a bit. You’ll need it. Learn to enjoy this time of extra sheltering and nurturing, but take care of him too. You can still usually enjoy some wonderful, loving times together, as well as intimate sex.
Gearing up for delivery
Some couples want to experience the birth of their child together; some don’t. Do your best to work this out before the time comes. Prayerfully consider and discuss these details with your partner, and if possible, communicate in advance with the doctor who will be attending your delivery. Get to know him or her, and share your delivery expectations and desires. Prepare as best you can, but be open to last-minute changes.
Most important of all, as you commit this approaching time to the Lord in prayer, He will give you the peace and assurance that it is all in His hands. Holding on to some of the Lord’s promises from the Bible will give you something strong and sure to base your faith on. Two Bible verses which you may find encouraging are:
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.
Be not dismayed. … I will strengthen you.
Several more related verses are included in “Scriptures About Babies” at the end of this booklet.
The moment of birth is the culmination and completion of this great physical orchestration of your body. For nine months Baby has increasingly taken over your body and your life, and now he is ready to launch out on his own. The discomfort, inconvenience, morning sickness, all of the body and shape changes, all the time of not being able to comfortably roll over and lie on your tummy, all of the time of constantly feeling “inhabited” is about to end. Your many questions about Baby’s health, sex, and appearance, are all about to be answered.
A natural delivery in a warm, friendly, secure environment is generally best for Mother and Baby, possibly a home delivery with a doctor or midwife in attendance, or one in a private clinic. Some hospitals also provide a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere and allow loved ones to be with you. Babies born in hospitals that take a more institutional and less natural approach are more likely to have a more traumatic introduction to life. Some people think that the short, sharp, shock “welcome to the harsh realities of life” approach to birth is good for a child. Well, life certainly does have its challenges, its ups and downs, and its harsh realities, but there is much that we can do to make that the exception rather than the rule.
From the moment of birth, your little baby is making quite an adjustment. He is moving from the quiet, dark, and softly cushioned world of your womb to the outside world of many noises and lights, where he will be handled and constantly experience many things. You can make this change less drastic by your loving tenderness and understanding in even the smallest of details.
If you are able to have a home delivery, it’s good to remember that unless it is otherwise necessary, dim or natural lighting is better for the newborn baby’s sensitive eyes than harsh, bright, artificial light. And gentle handling is preferable as he is being born, as well as during the time he is being cleaned and dressed.
Bonding with Baby
When Baby is born, he needs to feel your warm comforting touch and presence. This first feeling of security is very important for Mommy and Baby. Many mothers put the baby to the breast as soon as he is born; this begins the bonding process. From birth, your tender touch, your smile, and your loving words will begin to weave a bond between you. This forms the basis of communication and is vital to your child’s development.
Once a woman has had a baby, she is a mother, and the primary responsibility for feeding, clothing, and protecting the baby is hers. Thankfully God promises to “gently lead those who are with young,” as the new mother gradually discovers the weight of the responsibility involved in caring for her child.
The bond of fatherhood, however, can develop along slightly different lines, depending on the circumstances. As a father you may be less physically involved with baby’s daily care than your wife, even feeling at times more like a spectator than a participant. Learning to love and accept this new baby might even seem more of a personal decision you make than a daily physical fact of life, and your fatherly bonding may need help and nurturing. You may need to try to take more time off from work or other activities where possible, so you can be at home more to strengthen your relationship with your wife and the new baby.
Just as we depend on our Father in Heaven and need to know that He loves us and is always there for us, so each child benefits from the presence of a father who loves and cares for him, who bears responsibility for him, who is prepared to go the extra mile to help him and lead him. God wants to help you be the father that is needed as you look to Him for His guidance and take steps to provide a loving home, a place of acceptance, care, and security. Through your words and actions, show your child a sample of what God’s love and patience and encouragement is like.
Of course, God is ultimately the child’s true and everlasting Father who will never fail him. And during times when there is no one to fill the role of a physical father-either because the father is temporarily gone, or in the case of single mothers-God will care for His own. He will be close by the mother’s side and by the child’s side, and hold each in His arms.