Pregnancy has brought with it suitcases of struggles I haven’t encountered before. Recently, listening to the SetApart podcast, I was convicted about the way I had carried those struggles so far. Instead of unpacking the difficulties, I was shoving them into the corner with some vague, hopeful statements and a grin-and-bear-it attitude. “It’s all worth it for the baby,” I would think. “And when the baby comes, they’ll go.”
Now, when you read the list, you’ll see that’s probably not true. Most struggles that come in pregnancy will continue after birth. Even if some drop off, the two approaching stages of childbirth and postpartum will only bring more challenges of their own.
God gives his people a Spirit of Truth, and once I decided to sit down and pray earnestly, the burden of these struggles was removed from me. The truths of Scripture are beautiful and life-giving, and I hope they will fill you with joy whatever you are going through.
Struggle 1: The Physical
My body is heavy and tired and aching. I can’t keep food down. The simplest physical tasks have become challenging.
Bad Answer: Why do I still have to bear all my normal responsibilities on top of making a baby? Why don’t men have to deal with this type of physical suffering? The world is unfair, female biology is a curse, and I am a victim.
Good Answer: This suffering reminds me that my mortal body is fundamentally undependable. I cannot have confidence in the abilities I have in the flesh. All flesh is like grass (1 Pet 1). It fades and withers in a day. Even if my flesh were to remain strong for my whole mortal life, it ultimately faces death. But “to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom 8). Therefore, I shall respond by trusting God to give me his Spirit’s strength for the work he has assigned me, giving all the glory to him for whatever I accomplish because I know I could not do it in my own strength.
Weakness is not only a reminder but a great honor and blessing because only in my weakness is Christ’s power made perfect. I must decrease; he must increase (John 3). “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities” (2 Cor 12).
Struggle 2: Emotional
My emotions are a bit wacky due to the hormones. It’s been hard to banish the bitchiness today.
Bad Answer: (a) I hate myself so much. I’m such a failure. I need to try harder to be good. (b) I deserve to enjoy being a bitch. I’m pregnant.
Good Answer: I need to walk in the Spirit! His fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5). These fruits do not grow from me, but from God’s power working in me (Eph 3:20). Clearly, I’m not depending enough on him, so I’ll turn right now and ask him to help me be kind today.
Struggle 3: Identity Crisis
These days, I feel boring. Not bored. Boring. I never used to care about babies, but now I spend lots of my time researching baby stuff. It’s weird. I just wish I could get my old, interesting self back.
Bad Answer: Women are only valuable when they are beautiful and clever. If pregnancy and motherhood makes me dull, I will (a) resent my baby for holding me back or (b) spend most of my time and thought maintaining my charm.
Good Answer: Does God value the quality of being “interesting?” Let’s see what Scripture says:
- God doesn’t make distinctions between people. “The same Lord is the Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him” (Rom 10).
- His love isn’t altered by the quality of what we bring to the table. “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it … The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Ps 51).
- In the beatitudes he honors the meek. God appreciates those who fade into the background. He promises them the whole earth (Matt 5).
So, on the weight of the evidence, the answer is “no.” God is not interested in the interesting. Not even remotely. He is love, and every single human on earth is his dear child. All are equal beneath the shadow of his wings.
What does God then judge us by? It’s simple. Since he loves us equally and above everything else, he judges us by our actions towards one another and especially towards the most boring, poor, and unattractive members of society. Anyone who takes care of the marginalized with a pure heart will receive God’s approval (James 1). Conversely, anyone who harms widows, the fatherless, immigrants, and children will be wiped out (Ps 94, Matt 18, too many to list).
None of the celebrities or leaders we admire deserve our approval if they use their gifts to profit at the expense of the poor and weak. The world may say otherwise—but we walk by faith and not by sight.
Therefore, I will seek to honor those whom God honors and despise those whom he despises, seeking to walk by his standards of value instead of my own.