One dreary Tuesday night, I insisted my husband and I go to a decidedly non-local chemist to buy a pregnancy test. There I was, perusing the sexual-wellness aisle, feeling inexperienced and awkward.

Hours later, back in the safety of my home, I gave up trying to sleep and administered my test. A long, silent pause followed.

“Maybe I did it wrong,” I said sheepishly from behind the bathroom door to my anxious spouse. The directions recommended waiting three minutes for results, and a full minute had not even ticked by before a glaring pink plus sign appeared.

I curled up in my loving husband’s arms and cried in the early morning darkness. He gently reminded me that this was good news, not bad. “I just wasn’t ready,” I said over and over, sobbing.

Paul and I were married nine months when we found out. Marriage leads to a host of new experiences: new dishes, new home, new name, new physical intimacy. But a new baby was not on our newlywed to-do list. We didn’t realise it, but those months were a preparation time for the birth of a divine plan.

It Can’t Be True

“I’m not really pregnant, am I, God? You would have given me some divine feeling of motherhood if I were pregnant, right?” My denial festered until a midwife assured me that home tests are highly accurate and recommended taking another test if I was still doubtful. I did, and the positive result appeared in seconds just as before. “Lord, we aren’t ready to have a baby. What about our plan?”

Paul and I had made a firm, two-year plan: We were going to save money on our dual income and pay down the mortgage before we started our people-making business. Now our financial plans were ruined.

If there was a miscarriage, would I be sad or relieved? How could I be so wickedly selfish about the delicate life growing inside when friends had been unsuccessful in their attempts to conceive? I was ashamed of my disappointment about becoming a parent so soon after marriage. All my life I dreamed of being a wife and mum. Now, facing this reality, I did not want to give up my happy twosome with Paul, nor did I have the slightest maternal feeling toward this child stranger. I was not the mum I had always hoped to be.

Growing Confidence

As God’s child, I know there is freedom to tell Him my darkest secrets. After a few weeks of wallowing in poisonous guilt and shame, I whispered my worries and shameful secrets to His ever-listening ear. Firmly and kindly, He answered. God gave us our marital intimacy, as well as the new life that formed from our expression of love. Every new life is given as He righteously wills, regardless of our carefully laid plans. He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who sees our needs and provides; we had no reason to worry about our financial future.

Paul and I had our heart-to-heart, too. My husband admitted to feeling overwhelmed and fearful just like I did. He also indicated our need for prayer support, so we shared the news with our Bible study group. Their burst of excitement was the boost we needed. One of the wives assured me that it was completely normal to experience sadness and those feelings would turn to gladness in time. “There’s a reason it lasts nine months,” she said and knowingly smiled.

Our sense of parenthood swelled gradually along with my belly. Hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time took me a step closer to bonding with our child. We anticipated the ultrasound as though it were Christmas, eager to find out the gender of our child. As the fuzzy images appeared on the monitor, we were overcome with awe for the Creator. We counted 10 fingers and toes, watched one heart beating and gazed at the most beautiful face. We were the proud parents of a baby girl.

Our confidence grew as we attended a childbirth class and talked with other new parents who were just as surprised, inexperienced and fearful as we were. We pray for ourselves as parents and for our daughter, trusting in the Lord’s guidance through all of life’s little surprises.

Johanna Pankonin

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