I’ve been told it is natural to feel particularly anxious when you’re pregnant for the first time – anticipating labor and becoming a first time mom. This was true for me but matters did not stop there. Two unexpected events have come up in the past few months since I received the news of my pregnancy. First, a political and financial crisis which paralyzed Lebanon and its economy for several weeks, and from which the country is still suffering. Second, this global pandemic which has developed over the last few weeks and has caused many stressors: a lockdown, a strain on medical resources, loss of life, and an economic crash.
These events have added clouds of anxiety and concern to what was already a time of quick change and adaptation for me (and us as a newly married couple). So many questions race daily in my mind. Will I catch the virus while pregnant? Will it be transmitted to my fetus? Will I catch it in the hospital? Will I have to deliver at home without pain relief medication? Since It seems there will be no visitors allowed at the hospital and at home, how will I get through those first weeks with a newborn as a first time mom? And what about my husband? Will he be allowed to see his daughter come into this world? Or, will I spend the first night or two alone with the baby? Will I still find diapers and baby essentials in the stores? And what if she needs medication? And the list goes on.
Also, I had always dreamed of the big baby shower and the special baby announcement picture, the perfect nursery to welcome the baby at home, and the crowd of loved ones around to cherish her first weeks and help out.
This all has led me to feel like I have no control, no grip on the ever-changing situation, to know and plan for what may come in a few weeks once our baby is here.
In the midst of these stormy waters and turmoil, I was reminded of one of my favorite passages in the Gospel. Jesus was on a boat with his disciples when a storm came. Jesus rebuked the stormy winds and ordered the waves to be still and in a moment all was completely calm (Mark 4:35-41). I felt the Lord asking me like He asked His disciples: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”.
Through these words I have been reminded that both faith and fear demand me to live in light of something I cannot see. The choice is mine to make.
Both faith and fear demand me to live in light of something I cannot see. The choice is mine to make.
I choose faith and I am now choosing it again everyday. I choose to rest in the promises of God in the midst of these uncertainties. I choose to believe that the Lord has planned this baby girl for us. To believe that this baby girl is His before she will be ours. To believe that she will be born in the right time and in the right place. I choose to thank God for this lockdown, for the time of rest and serenity before our baby arrives. I choose to be thankful for my supportive husband, for my family and all the comfort they are giving me over phone and video calls.
We are in a pandemic but we are also in a window of grace. Once all this is over (hopefully sooner rather than later), God willing we will celebrate our baby girl, and shower her with all the love in the world. May I be not only one of those who became a mom during a global pandemic, but one who has learned a greater measure of faith and trust in the Lord who is the giver of life and whose voice can calm any concern and fear!
This article (c) by Joy Mary Barbara Naim was first published in The Lois Project
The Lois Project is a group of Christian women from various cities, countries, and church backgrounds who feel a common call to be disciples on mission in all seasons of life. Most of us find ourselves in a season of care-giving as mothers, grandmothers, mentors, or teachers.
Many of our writers are part of an international, ecumenical Christian community called The Sword of the Spirit. Although we come from Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant traditions we seek to foster unity among these groups and work together.
Top illustration: Jacaranda Trees, watercolor by David Kurani
Joy Mary was born in New Jersey USA and lived there until she was 3 years old. She has since been living in Lebanon. She and her husband, Anis, are members of the People of God Community. Joy Mary studied special education and is certified as a life coach. She works in life coaching with a focus on organizational and motivational coaching and working with the youth.
1 thought on “Pregnant in a Pandemic: Learning to face the future with trust and grace”
My name is Eleanor Benson. I live in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey with my husband Tom. We are members of the People of Hope.
I receive the Sword of the Spirit newsletter every couple of months. Before I read any of the articles I check the list, to see if there is anyone who I might know who has written an article. I happened to come upon your name and thought you might be the daughter of Wadih and Patti Barbera. We had heard that their first child was named Joy. At the end of the article it mentioned that you were born in New Jersey, and I thought that it had to be you.
Your Dad lived with us for a few months when he lived in New Jersey, and I believe that I also worked at the same company for a short period of time. It was during that period of time that your mother and I would have some wonderful conversations, as she was waiting to drive him home from work. We would have a lot of laughs together.
I read your article entitled Pregnant in a Pandemic, and have to say you did a great job in expressing yourself. I could really relate to you, as you talked about your fears that come into your mind, especially with your first child. As I talked with other women, most of them felt the same way. You will most certainly be in our prayers during this time. Some times when I am going through extreme anxiety I try to remind myself of the Promises of the Lord, that really ministered to me personally at other times, and stand on them, and remind myself of the peace that I felt as I kept my mind focused on Him. Send our love to your parents.