Saturday, August 3, 2013

Countdown to TTC: 52 Weeks of Preparation

Week 52:  Pray Like a Mom

I am still planning to post the remainder of my Countdown to TTC Checklists, but a more pressing issue has inspired me to start writing another series.  DH and I are finally ready to start trying to year from now!  Although we've always wanted a family and just celebrated our 3-year wedding anniversary, the timing just hasn't been right.  We are both graduate students on an uncertain completion timeline.  But it looks almost definite that DH will be finished within the next 2 years (maybe in only a year) and I am confident I can wrap up by then as well if I have a sufficient incentive (like a massive baby belly and a fierce desire to stay home with my newborn). That means a TTC start date one year from now would allow us to get pregnant no sooner than both of us should be wrapping up our studies--and because of the academic job market we would already know about DH's job by then too.  On the other hand, we are well aware that things don't always work out like we plan and we want to trust God for His timing, so we are approaching this decision prayerfully.

By now it is probably clear that I like to approach challenges with organization and thoughtful preparation, and this one is no different.  I downloaded my countdown clock which is ticking away in the corner of my computer right now (check out TimeLeft if you want to start your own -- the first countdown is free)  and now I am ready to start preparing for whatever God and my body have in store.

At first I struggled with what to do my first week, since it would set the tone for the rest of the year.  Should I do something easy, to smooth the way and make me feel capable of seeing through the other 51 weeks?  Should I go with something health-related since one of my biggest goals is preparing for a healthy pregnancy with minimal complications?  Then I realized that of course the first thing I should do, really any time I am preparing for such a big life change, is pray!  I want these habits I take on each week to extend throughout TTC and pregnancy, and being prayerful and connected with God should be first and foremost among those.  Everything about becoming a parent can be scary and stressful, but if I am getting my strength from my Creator, the one who formed me in the womb, I know I will have peace and assurance throughout the process.

So, this week I combed the Old and New Testaments for verses about conception, birth, parenthood, children, and God's sovereignty over them all.  I am planning to read at least one verse every day for the next year and meditate on it, as well as praying for God's guidance.  Below are some of the verses I found that most spoke to me: 

God, the Creator:  As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.  --Ecclesiastes 11:5 

God's Timing:  Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.  --Psalms 37:5,7 

Infertility:   He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.  --Psalms 113:9 

Preconception Health:  And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”  --Judges 13: 3-7 

In the Womb:  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  --Psalms 139:13-16 

Childbirth:  A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; But as soon as she has given birth, she no longer remembers the anguish, For joy that a child has been born into the world.  --John 16:21 

Parental Instruction: Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  --Deuteronomy 11:18-19


What about you?  Do you have any favorite inspirational words for prospective mommies and daddies?  What are you or did you do as you counted down to trying to conceive?  What do you think I should do in the next 51 weeks?  

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