During each of my pregnancies, I prayed a lot. Much more than usual.
Unlike many couples who choose to go for genetic or chromosomal tests done on the baby during the first trimester, my husband and I opted out of all those, including the OSCAR test.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was 25. My obstetrician explained to me that the risk of having a Down syndrome baby is largely dependent on the age of the mother, and this risk increases exponentially after age 30.
Being a young mother, we evaluated that our risk was very low so we didn't see a need to go for the test.
More importantly, we believe that the baby is all in God's hands.
Some couples may choose to terminate the pregnancy if there are genetic or chromosomal defects found in the baby.
However, my husband and I both agreed that even if we found out that the baby had Down syndrome, we would still have the baby.
Therefore, we felt that those tests were unnecessary for us. It was truly a faith journey.
I have to admit that leaving our baby into God's hands and deciding to keep the baby no matter what did not come all that easily to me.
I had my fears and doubts too. These anxieties grew immensely when I found out I was pregnant for the third time.
By then I was 30, and in my obstetrician's words, I was not young anymore.
A family member had asked before why we decided not to go through those prenatal tests. He said even if we were to decide to keep the baby regardless of the test results, we would have made an informed decision.
If the baby were to be found to have certain chromosomal abnormalities, we could better prepare ourselves for what was to come.
My response was that I would still rather not have to worry about the test results or be faced with the decision of doing further invasive tests if the initial results showed to be of high risk.
Not going through those prenatal genetic tests also meant we could only find out the gender of the baby during the detailed scan at week 20 of the pregnancy.
It was the good ol' fashioned way of looking out for the distinctive feature of boys or the absence of it to determine the gender of our baby. That particular obstetrician visit was always the most exciting.
For the first pregnancy, it took a while before I could tell what the obstetrician was looking on the screen. During the second pregnancy, I spotted it on the screen myself.
It was heart-stopping for the third one because we were really hoping for a girl. When the obstetrician announced that my boys were going to have a little sister, my husband was so overjoyed, he did a little dance right in the doctor's office!
The truth is, pregnancy can be a very stressful period for mothers, especially first-time moms.
With the modern day medical advancements, there is so much we can learn about our babies even before they are born. However, every blood test and ultrasound scan may add to the mother's worries and anxieties.
It is especially painful during the wait for the test results. It is even more stressful when non-diagnostic tests come back with results showing high-risk conditions, leading to another test and possibly another month of worrying.
To me, each pregnancy and every baby is a gift and completely in God's hands
I am afraid I have no theological answer as to why some pregnancies are tougher than others or why some pregnancies, unfortunately, cannot come to full term.
Yet I have no doubt that each pregnancy is a journey of my faith and surrenderedness unto the Lord, simply because there is nothing about the process of growing a baby inside us that is within our control, apart from the food we eat during pregnancy.
So I prayed and prayed and prayed. I prayed for my baby to be healthy, to grow well inside me and to be 'normal'.
But what really is 'normal'?
I prayed for everything in my baby to develop well, right down to every cell division and chromosomal pairing.
Physically, I was familiar with all the bodily changes that came with being pregnant. But mentally and emotionally, I was highly worried and anxious during my third pregnancy.
I was fearful of not being able to cope, and how financially and emotionally draining it could be if there was something wrong with my baby, especially when I already had two kids to manage.
I realize my anxieties were not going away even though I was praying unceasingly. One night, it finally occurred to me why, and I broke down.
I was praying for God to grant me a baby that I wanted. A baby according to my perceived standards of normalcy and beauty.
But who am I to say what is normal or beautiful?
If every baby is a gift of new life, endless potential, and bountiful hope, why was I so filled with anxiety and fear?
So I surrendered that night, lifting up all my fears, anxieties and worries unto the Lord.
I accepted that just as I had done nothing to deserve my two healthy boys who have been growing so well, I am certainly in no place to make any demands for my third child.
My children came from God and they are in His hands, growing up well, by His grace and mercy. I am but a guardian to these precious little ones whom He had placed in my care.
With that acceptance and surrenderedness, I felt a heavy burden lifted from my heart. Indeed God is Sovereign and His Will is Perfect. With my limited mortal capacities, I may not fully comprehend, but I trust and I believe in Him.
I know this is a sensitive topic and could be emotionally-charged for some mothers. My intention is simply to share my personal journey and faith.
Hopefully, it can provide some comfort and encouragement to some mothers out there.
The truth is, my faith journey doesn't end with the birth of each child.
In fact, it is just the beginning.
Faith became a mother of three by the age of 30. After becoming pregnant with her third baby, she was determined to find ways to work from home while being the main caregiver for her young children. She was inspired and motivated to be a mompreneur and discovered that she could put her passion to work! She rekindled her love for writing and with a heart for all her fellow mommies, she has taken to documenting her motherhood journey which also serves as a source of encouragement and inspiration to other mommies.
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