Hannah, with her husband Stephen, is expecting her first child this summer. She has walked the path of expectant mother for many months, and by God’s grace has uncovered rich, new spiritual insights through her experience of pregnancy and expectation. Hannah’s personal experience offers a unique window into God’s heart for mothers.
What is God showing you in your own journey of trusting him through the changing seasons of motherhood? Read this inspiring, personal account, and let the Holy Spirit remind you of the path of trusting him in deeper waters.
Question 1: As a young Catholic adult who has just entered into the sacrament of marriage, what is your perspective on motherhood?
Hannah’s Answer: My perspective from month one to month eight has certainly grown. Importantly, I am understanding more of marriage because of the child in my womb. What we were preparing for in marriage—sanctification—giving and receiving—seems more real, pointing back to the cross. This sanctification has come mainly through physical ailments and new limitations. Each month has been a continued call to trust in God. Our lives feel out of our control in so many ways, and I am aware of the loss of control. It requires a lot of trust. I know now that even though I am responsible and tasked, our child is God’s. This requires incredible trust—that I don’t need to be anxious, because he will divinely provide everything we need to care for our son, who is also his son as well.
Question 2: In what way has embracing Catholic motherhood affected you differently than those of your peer group, who approach motherhood simply from a cultural, non-Catholic perspective?
Hannah’s Answer: Trusting in Divine Providence is absolutely counter-cultural. My husband and I entered into marriage in full trust that we did not know what God’s plan for us was with regard to our fertility. I think we saw it counter-culturally. Culturally, people like to be in control. I’ve known people who decide on the number of children they will have and when they will have them. If hormones are “off” for achieving their goals, they work on getting their hormones “fixed.” I had hormonal issues, so we were not sure how it would all transpire, whether or not I would even be able to conceive a child, but we were prepared to leave this in God’s hands. Entering into marriage, people tend to assume that their wants will be fulfilled, although things clearly do not always work out that way. The gift of this child has clearly been that for us—a gift. At the end of the day, we did not know what God’s will would be. This was not about our plan or my self-empowerment at this stage of life. God has us right where he wants us in order to grow closer to him and sanctify him. We may have just this one child, or we may have many more. We don’t have those answers.
Question 3: In this gestating, expectant realm of motherhood that you have currently been ushered into, what insight do you have on Mary’s fiat?
Hannah’s Answer: My first trimester aligned directly with the unfolding of Advent. I kept going back to Mary and realizing her journey in a new light—her call to individually carry the gift of salvation—her sacrifice of being alone in what she said “yes” to. I did not feel alone, but Mary initially said her “yes” in a place of isolation. It’s humbling, that there are women who carry babies in very hard circumstances—lack of care, mediocre health, and inadequate support. I look in a whole new way at women who are heroically saying “yes.” I have also been fascinated by the mystery that God chose to come as a baby—vulnerable and completely human.
Hannah and her husband have embraced openness to life and, specifically, the vocation to marriage and family life. Hannah serves currently as an Associate Director of Youth and Young Adults Ministry at St Thomas Aquinas Parish in Dallas, Texas.