Becoming parents is normally greeted with much happiness and excitement. It is a time of rejoicing, of anticipation and fulfillment. Even film stars, whose marriages are notorious for their brevity, sport their ‘tummy bumps’ as a badge of honour. Kate Middleton’s pregnancy had the Royal family smiling and the Media drooling over such a newsworthy event.
But Andrew and Penny Stanway who had done a study some years ago, say in their essay “Choices on Childbirth” that 40% of women have mixed feelings about their pregnancy and 10% are positively upset. 70% of mothers are indifferent to their babies at birth, and four out of five feel that the image of motherhood is romanticized.
Some Attitudes that cause a lack of excitement in parents:-
• The foremost cause is fear of the unknown. Mothers, relatives and friends exaggerate their own experiences of childbirth, the complications that may arise, and even the possibility of death. This gives the prospective mother a distorted image of child bearing as if it were a dangerous illness to be feared. Susan Arms in her book “Immaculate Deception” says women are deceived into believing in “no risk” birth. Even the Bible refers to pain in childbirth as a curse for Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.
• Fear that the child may be abnormal or suffer from various disabilities.
• Doubts about competence or maturity to be a parent.
• Fear of increased responsibility. This shows a measure of selfishness, as child rearing is time consuming and is a full time job.
• Loss of freedom. Children are seen as an imposition or nuisance requiring life-style changes and changes in relationships especially with the spouse, due to lack of time.
• If the child is conceived through rape or a no-love relationship, the woman develops a subconscious resentment against the child growing in her womb.
• Lack of spousal or family support robs a woman of the excitement of child bearing. Single mothers are about 10-15% of all pregnant women. Not all of them are happy about their pregnancy. There may be financial worries too.
• Loss of beauty. During the various stages of pregnancy the woman loses her shapely figure. Her weight increases, her legs get swollen, her blood pressure may rise. In the early months, she may be racked with vomiting. Excessive pigmentation of her skin especially on the face makes her feel ugly.
How to deal with unexcited parents:-
1. Education: The purpose of education is to get accurate information about the anatomy, physiology and functions of the body during pregnancy and childbirth; to dispel myths, superstitions and ‘old wives tales’ about pregnancy. God has conferred an awesome honour on women, making them co-creators with Him in bringing life into this world. This offsets all the difficulties and discomfort during pregnancy.
2. Encouragement: Young couples must develop a positive attitude towards pregnancy. Conflicts in relationships between spouses must be resolved before contemplating pregnancy. If the relationship is on rocky ground, pregnancy may only stress and drive them apart. It is important for both husband and wife to be involved in the well being of the unborn child. The husband has an obligation to be supportive of his wife. Parenthood calls for maturity, faithfulness to each other and readiness to make adjustments whenever necessary.
3. Enthusiasm: Parenting is God’s gift to couples. It enhances the quality of their lives. The thrill and anticipation of a new addition to the family should be sustained right through pregnancy. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “This time like all times is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” Spouses should embrace each other emotionally. They should cultivate inner strength and stability by trusting in God the giver of life.
“Children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3
Kate Wiggins, a mother says “Every child is a new thought of God, an ever fresh and radiant possibility.”
The job of parenting is a challenge to be accepted and a responsibility to be enjoyed. It is an opportunity to grow and mature emotionally. Happy couples make happy parents. There is every reason to be excited.