Take a moment to revel in the miracle.
During a pregnancy and especially childbirth, you can easily become so consumed by everything going on that you miss the wonder and beauty of what is happening. Having a child is an overwhelming experience. It can be tense, nerve-racking, exhausting . . . and I hate to break it to you, but it gets worse after the baby is born. This is why it’s so important for you to take a few moments to revel in the miracle of what is happening.
The best time to do it might be as the due date draws near, it might be in the delivery room before the big moment, or it might even be as you cast an awestruck gaze into the nursery where your newborn is swaddled and cooing. But whenever you do it, make sure to take the time to jot some things down or at least spend a few minutes lost in thought.
The Gift from God
God—the very God who made the universe, who hung the stars in the sky, who first spun the earth on its axis, who made the giraffe tall, who gave the zebra its stripes, who put the oceans in their place, who parted the Red Sea, who sent fire from heaven at Elijah’s request, who sent his own Son to be born in a manger to save the world from sin—decreed that you (yes, you) would be the parent of this brand-new baby. On one hand, this is a very intimidating thought, but it should also be immensely comforting. This same God is sovereign over all creation. He does not make mistakes, and he declared that both the privilege and challenge of raising this child were specifically for you.
In case you doubt this is the case, think about this simple phrase in Psalm 127:3: “Children are a gift from the Lord.” It’s a simple phrase, but it packs a tremendous theological punch. For all the amazing science, kooky old-wives’ tales, and superstitions that seem to hover like a deep fog around pregnancy, there is one simple, inescapable truth that Solomon wanted us to understand in Psalm 127—children are given to parents by God. It is not an accident that you are going to be a parent, and it is no accident you are going to be this particular child’s parent. God always knows what he is doing. This child is a gift from a loving and righteous heavenly Father.
Something to Ponder
As I write this chapter, Christmas is just days away. The sounds of carols fill the air, our Christmas tree sparkles (with all the important ornaments hung at least four feet from the floor so they are out of the reach of the eighteen-month-old), and our home is abuzz with the excitement of the season. One of the things that has always struck me about the Christmas story is the small verse of Luke 2:19. The New American Standard Bible’s translation—“But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart”—is typical of English translations. The Message renders it, “Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself.” Mary was a virgin who had just given birth to God in the flesh. The Son of God came to earth as a human baby, and because she had found favor with God, Mary was the one chosen to bear the God-Man. Luke 2:19 comes just after she has given birth to Jesus and placed him in a manger. As if that wasn’t surreal enough, the baby in a manger then receives his first visitors: a bunch of stinky, smelly shepherds who had been informed of his birth by an angelic choir. This is the context of Mary noticing every little detail and committing it to memory.
It would be fair to say Mary’s experience was vastly different than that of any other soon-to-be-parent in history. Yet I think there is something here for every parent. You have no idea how many times God will bless you with a child. And no matter how many children you are blessed with, you will only give birth to each child one time. This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will never get it back. Real life doesn’t have a rewind or a pause button, and this fact will only become more pronounced as that little baby grows up.
There will be so much about life that you cannot control. Sickness, school bullies, broken hearts, dashed dreams, failures, and missed shots. Aced tests, victories, successes, perfect recitals, true love, and game-winning goals. But before the baby comes, all of that is in the distant future. Right now, in this moment, everything is new, and the truth that an amazing, all-powerful, perfect God chose you for this mission is staring you right in the face. Soon it will probably spit up in your face too.
Take the time to remember every detail you can, but don’t beat yourself up later if you can’t remember something. Take the time to look around the delivery room. Don’t rush through those last few doctor’s appointments if you can help it. Yes, you are busy, and if you are like we were, you have jobs, other kids, and all sorts of things going on. But do your best to slow down and take it all in. Pregnancy is a hard road, but it is a road you don’t know how often you will travel, and far too quickly it is a road you won’t travel again.
Soak it all in. Immerse yourself in the moment. Keep all these things to yourself and hold them dear deep within yourself.
Adapted from You Got This, Dad: The Expectant Father’s Guide to Surviving Pregnancy by Aaron Sharp, Harvest House Publishers, 2020. Used by permission.
Cover image by Kelly Sikkema.
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