Beginnings Amidst Crisis
With the Christmas and New Year season coming to a close, we think about lessons, journeys, and beginnings. As we do, we also think about pregnant women in crisis, who remind us that although some beginnings are less ideal than others, the truth remains that God is able to mindfully write each and every story.
Pregnant Women in Crisis in the Bible
When we look at stories in the Bible, we see how God mindfully crafts beginnings. Some of these stories begin with a woman and the child in her womb. However, just like some women we might know today, they didn’t go through the smoothest of journeys into motherhood.
One of these mothers lived in a time of great oppression and slavery. The Egyptian Pharaoh was determined to stamp out the future generations of Israel, so Jochebed hid her baby for three months. With great determination to protect her son’s life, she fashioned him a basket that would carry him to the reeds by a riverbank. It took great faith for her to seek out the best for her beloved son, even if it meant he had to be apart from her.
God had a plan in mind for Jochebed’s son. Even in a political crisis, this baby who was brought out of the waters was drawn out by the Pharaoh’s daughter. He grew up to become Moses, who parted seas to bring Israel out of the hands of slavery.
Perhaps a more familiar story would be the Christmas story. The Word made flesh, the greatest promise of deliverance made His way into the world through a pregnant woman. Jesus’ story doesn’t start in a lavish entrance but through Mary.
As Mary and Joseph traveled all the way to the streets of Bethlehem on the back of a donkey, they hoped for a place to stay in. It was but an innkeeper who gave them room, even if it was a stable. One can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her to go through labor pains, exhaustion, and all the risks she could’ve been exposed to so that baby Jesus would be brought into the world.
Just like Moses, Jesus also had to be kept in hiding. He was relentlessly pursued by the brutal authoritarian Herod, so the family had to flee to Egypt. This Jesus, whom His parents lovingly protected, grew up to be the greatest hope, the Savior of all, and the Son who reconciled us with the Father.
The Jochebeds and Marys Among Us
The struggles of Jochebed and Mary aren’t far off from some of the narratives of modern-day mothers. When we think about the current situation of our nation – with grave social injustices, poverty, and the looming health crisis, pregnant women of various walks of life are vulnerable.
There are many Filipino women and their children caught in the middle of armed conflict in different parts of the country (Family Planning 2020, 2019). Cases of domestic violence grow complicated in the time of lockdown, as some incidents of violence against women and children leave unreported (Ranada, 2020). In natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and supertyphoons, families – including those with small children – are thrust into difficult circumstances that will strain their safety and survival. The list of PWIC’s plight goes on, but their stories don’t end there.
The Work in God’s Stories
Whether thousands of years ago or in today’s society, the fear caused by different crises has made pregnant women resort to unfortunate decisions for themselves and their babies. On the flip side, as we read in the Bible and hear from stories around us, the impact created by compassion has also made pregnant women realize that they are more capable and cared for than they thought.
Just like the stories of Jochebed and Mary, God is mindful of the lives of these women and their children. He has plans of victory and love for them. These include the intention to uphold their life and dignity because the impact on these mothers can echo through future generations.
Like Jochebed and Mary, God surely doesn’t want these pregnant women to go through this crisis alone. The narratives of these women might intertwine with ours. Among us are the likes of the Pharaoh’s daughter and the innkeeper, who are compassionate and understanding in such circumstances. While it may not be opening an inn or opening a basket from a river, there are so many ways we can extend compassion to the pregnant women in crisis around us.
Since we began our Pregnant Women In Crisis program, we have seen compassion take different forms. Students setting aside time to research and advocate for these women. Young professionals accompanying them to check-ups. Doctors offering their services at a minimal cost. These are just some ways that have made our PWICs realize that they do not have to resort to unfortunate decisions. More than the time and effort during the pregnancy, what they find truly life-changing is the encouragement that while some beginnings could be far from what we dream and expect them to be, it is God who beautifully crafts these stories until the end.
The ROHEI Foundation provides assistance to PWICs, at whatever point they are on their journey. We believe in God’s heart to support, guide, and protect them as they navigate their story of hope and strength.
Family Planning 2020. (2019).
https://www.familyplanning2020.org/news/reaching-pregnant-women-vulnerable-conflict-maguindanao-philippines. Retrieved 23 December 2020, from familyplanning2020.org/news/reaching-pregnant-women-vulnerable-conflict-maguindanao-philippines.
Ranada, P. (2020).
During coronavirus lockdown: Abused women, children more vulnerable. Rappler. Retrieved 23 December 2020, from rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/during-coronavirus-lockdown-abused-women-children-more-vulnerable.
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