There was a surprising lack of spiritual material on pregnancy, so this mother decided to writer her own
Today is the Feast of the Annunciation – Lady Day – reminding us of the nine months that Jesus spent in the womb of his mother, Mary. It thus seems timely to draw attention to a small book, Nine Months with God and Your Baby: Spiritual Preparation for Birth, by Eline Landon (Sophia Institute Press). Pro-life groups focus rightly on protecting unborn babies, but it seems to me there is often a dearth of attention paid to the spiritual perspective of the long waiting period after a baby has been conceived. You will not, for instance, see this aspect discussed in the press concerning the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s expected baby.
Eline Landon was expecting her own third baby when she came to a greater appreciation of the mysterious time of preparation before birth that Our Lady would have been fully aware of, given her unique conception. Not finding a book on this time of waiting she conceived her own; in each chapter there is a pregnancy-related theme, a biblical text, a meditative commentary on the text, a suggestion for further reflection and a prayer.
Naturally, the book is not intended to be read straight through, but month by month as the pregnancy develops. Landon writes, “Month after month, let us ask the Lord to prepare us for welcoming the life that is soon to be or is already present within us.” Interestingly, she starts with the Old Testament story of Hannah, who prayed for years for a child and who was eventually given the gift of Samuel. The passage reminds us that children are a gift, not a ‘right’ and that the natural longing to have a baby can be cruelly exploited by the fertility industry.
Later chapters include the Gospel passage of Jesus speaking of little children and the Visitation, in which the aim of Landon’s meditation is to emphasise “the importance of the choice [of the name] that the child must take on for his whole life.” For Catholics, they should reflect saintly models rather than fashionable or other considerations. A friend who had to wait a long time to become pregnant named her two children Samuel and Elizabeth from the relevant Bible passages. Another friend who had called her son after George Best, reflected after her conversion that he was born close to the feast of St George, so privately chose to ‘re-dedicate’ him.
Landon concludes with good spiritual advice for all mothers, such as “Recall that your children are, first, the Lord’s. He watches over them” and “Do only one thing at a time without thinking of all those things that are waiting to be done.” I regret not coming across a book like this when I was expecting my own children and am very glad to recommend it.