Let this special phase of pregnancy help you grow spiritually!
This is the third in a series on spiritual lessons a woman can discover in each trimester of her pregnancy.
Like every trimester of pregnancy, the third trimester abounds with opportunities to discover some essential spiritual lessons that will help you grow closer to your baby and to God. Take a look at these 10 wonderful spiritual moments to savor in your third trimester that you won’t find in most parenting books.
You’re understandably starting to get really impatient to meet this little one. But you’re almost there! You can do it. Patience is a bit like exercise, becoming easier the more you practice it. If you can be patient to meet the precious one you’ve held so long within, you’ll have deeper stores of patience for all that life as a busy mother will send your way.
2Give your fears to God
Whether it’s your first time giving birth or your sixth time, you’re understandably anxious as labor approaches. You hope you’ll be strong and that the baby will have an ideal birth. This is when Padre Pio’s famous advice, “pray, hope, and don’t worry,” must be called upon. Divine Mercy’s beautiful aspiration: “Jesus, I trust in you,” is the perfect prayer for this phase of pregnancy. Give all your worries to Jesus, so you can focus on being well-rested. Can’t sleep? Write your worries in the form of a prayer and place under a statue of St. Joseph, who famously prayed while sleeping. This devotion, even recommended by Pope Francis, will do much to clear your mind.
3Pray to Our Lady for help
Our Heavenly Mother is always there for us, and is such a steady and reliable source of love and comfort to mothers and mothers-to-be. Call upon her now, often, in prayer. The Rosary is a great way to calm your mind when you’re too uncomfortable to sleep, or as you await labor, and even if you have brain fog, you can at least muster a Hail Mary.
4Let the Eucharist feed you and your baby
Receiving the Eucharistas often as you canwill strengthen you for the mother and wife you need to be. When you receive, ask Jesus to surround your unborn baby with his loving presence. As you share your Eucharist with your unborn baby, he or she is the closest they will be to the Eucharist until first communion. Wow! (In this time of quarantine, you may make a spiritual communion.)
5Practice accepting help
For the sake of being at your strongest possible when you meet your little one, accept help from those who offer it. Let someone watch the kids while you take a nap; allow your friend to help you with the heavier grocery bags; if you feel overwhelmed, reach out and ask someone for assistance. Like the apostles who had their feet washed by Jesus, the humility of letting someone else serve you is good for the soul. Besides, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to be the one doing the joyful serving, once the baby is born!
6Offer up pain
Prepare yourself now so that while you’re in labor you don’t forget to pray, even if it’s a frenzied, “Be with me, Lord,” or “Bless the Lord, my soul!” prayed in your thoughts as a focus while breathing and pushing. As aches and discomforts increase, remember to offer them up, for the souls in purgatory, or for your special intentions.
7Pray for others during labor
It was some of the greatest advice my grandmother (who had six kids) ever gave me. As you go into labor, choose three people to pray for. My uncle, a priest, always said, “You’re never closer to God than when you’re in labor.” Use that as an opportunity to pray for those special people, and offer the pain up for their needs.
8You are stronger than you know
This trimester comes with challenges and through it all, you’ll see just how strong you are… prepare to be amazed! As far as I’m concerned, every loving mother who raises a child is a hero just as every woman who gives birth is a hero: she has chosen life and participated in its passage. You’re a hero! Don’t forget that.
9Wonder and awe
This is the trimester where it starts to feel really, well … real. The little person within you has hair by now, and often is sucking their thumb in utero. With every magical moment of this trimester, allow your wonder and awe to give greater glory to God. And when you finally see the face of the little one, savor that first cuddle and kiss.
10The power of a name
At the end of this trimester … you get to name the baby. What a delight! You probably have a name or two picked out, if you don’t … now’s the time to narrow down your choices. Find a name with layers of meaning and significance that will bless your child for a lifetime.