Updated: Apr 3
Written by: Josh Faltot, CPC board of directors, writer and host of The Writers Lens Podcast
The world is a pretty messed up place. And if you’re reading this in 2020, then you know it’s even more complicated because of the growing pandemic that is COVID-19. In America, millions are out of work. Businesses across the United States have been forcibly shut down under order of their respective governors. But even more pressing, the threat of an unknown pathogen presents itself as a strange, new enemy.
For the women carrying a baby inside them, the times have likely become unbearably angst-ridden. I’ve watched my wife go through four pregnancies (one of which was a miscarry) so am familiar with many of the ups and downs associated with a pending birth. Yet for our sake, each pregnancy was without the same restrictions others are facing. I can only imagine the anxiety many moms-to-be are experiencing in this moment.
It has probably caused many - those expecting and those not expecting - to take pause and reflect. How could anyone want to bring a baby into this world? Especially right now.
I am incapable of speaking into what it’s like to be pregnant. So I can’t encourage any prospective moms on the basis of “here’s what you need to know.” However, what I can speak into are our expectations. Our viewpoints. Our perceptions - what it is we are considering when we are bringing children into a world gone mad. Here are a few things to ponder for anyone on the fence about the issue:
The world has always been out of order. One really bad narrative out there is that things are always a few steps away from utopia. Yes, the world is fundamentally more capable than it was 100 years ago. But we still contend with plenty of problems. There’s still selfishness. There’s still disease. There’s still the off-chance of a natural disaster. So much of what we think we have control over is an illusion. It’s a reality millions of people are waking up to in lieu of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Fear can’t be the only means by which we are motivated. No one wants to live in constant fear. As someone who has dealt with anxiety off and on, I can tell you that fear is only helpful for so long. It cannot be a persistent experience.
Fear forces us into a state of unrest. If we cannot find rest, then we can't make good decisions. We will find that, over time, our decisions will become more and more self-centered. Fear forces us into survival mode. And an unhealthy amount of fear makes us lose out on the joys we could experience if we could only free ourselves from that fear.
Waiting for the proper time leaves little room for any time. I would never advocate for unplanned pregnancies. Unless that couple were married, of course. I know many couples waiting to have kids and doing so out of a very conscious decision. Their reasons are as varied as there are people. “We want to travel more”; “We want to be financially stable”, the list goes on. And yes, none of these are bad things to plan for. We ought to be wise when it comes to bringing a new life into the world. But we must be wise as well in our pursuit of “absolute equilibrium”. Those plans can prove to be a risky endeavor. For it places too many conditions on a situation we really don’t have much control over. Don’t think so? See the first point above.
Lastly, a child is a sign of renewal. Why do baby announcements bring us joy and excitement? Is it the prospect of a baby shower? New stuff for the parents-to-be? No; those are nice things we can do for someone, but the main reason is this: a new baby represents new life. A baby can be the catalyst for a multitude of new things: the initiation of parenthood; the culmination of a family unit; the beginning of a journey. Children are a sign that we are moving towards the future with intent. That we are not just grasping at the moment, acting and thinking we are somehow the center of the universe.
And we need that sort of hope when faced with a crisis. To put it more bluntly, having a baby (against any odds) is like giving a middle finger to the spirit of death. It’s a decree against every narrative that would say otherwise. No pregnancy is easy. Rearing a child isn’t easy either. But what is the reward we receive for bringing up a child? The reward of life. More of it. A risk worth taking in a world gone mad, isn’t it?
And P.S. - one more thing for anyone reading this to consider - if you’re afraid or feel like you don’t have the support you need, then please consider checking with an organization like The Cleveland Pregnancy Center. We needn’t make our decisions from a posture of fear. There are people dedicated to helping pregnant women and pregnant couples make a decision that will bring more life.