St. Elizabeth, Pray for Me!

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"Nuremberg chronicles f 094r 3" by Hartmann Schedel - Own work (scan from original book). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Nuremberg chronicles f 094r 3” by Hartmann Schedel – Own work (scan from original book). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Every time that pregnancy test turns positive, I always resolve to model my pregnancy after Our Lady’s maternity. Meditating on the development of the child within, asking for the graces needed to be like Our Blessed Mother, and offering up all the unpleasant aspects of pregnancy should be a part of every Catholic woman’s pregnancy, right?

So why have I failed yet again, to do as I said I would do?

Probably because I am not Our Blessed Mother.

In fact, with my recent inability to sleep, constant forgetfulness and clumsiness and perpetual grumpy-frumpy exterior, I am not even my own children’s blessed mother most days. No, it is becoming apparent that the older I get, I seem to be more like Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth. And with this pregnancy especially, I have been blessed with the opportunity to identify more closely with St. Elizabeth in a few ways.

1) My husband was struck dumb. No really. He is always genuinely (though happily) surprised when I come to him with the news of my pregnancies. But now that my real hair color resembles something headed more towards silver than gold, this pregnancy seemed to have taken him by surprise a little more than usual. Thankfully, this dumbstruck phase only lasted about 9 seconds instead of 9 months, but the uncanny similarities between Jay’s and Zachariah’s affliction was not lost on me.

2) The season in which I am due. I am actually due in August. But since St. John the Baptist’s birthdate is also in the summer, my pregnancy, in effect, mirrors St. Elizabeth’s in that we both will be at our largest when the heat is highest. And neither of us have air conditioning….

3) I am now well into the “advanced maternal age” category. Let’s face it – I am old. And being pregnant in my mid 40s is a lot more physically demanding than being pregnant in my 20s and 30s. My 3-year-old has been running around in PJs for 3 days. Enough said.

4) I will be choosing the name of this baby. And my husband will agree.

Finally…

5) I have had my Visitation. After 6 previous pregnancies, I have come to the realization that I am completely incapable of mirroring Our Blessed Mother in her maternity. And with this realization, I am now able to welcome Mary into my heart – not as a role model, but as my helper. I am in utter awe of her and humbly rejoice in her willingness to be by my side as my caretaker, my guide and my strength. She keeps me focused on God’s glorious will for myself and this baby, and I know that while she has many other spiritual children to whom she attends, the mother of my God has come to be with me in my hour of need and will remain close to me for the next several months.

And my baby is leaping for joy.

Are there any Saints you keep close to your heart during your pregnancy?

How does your faith carry you through those 9 exciting months?

Copyright 2015 Cassandra Poppe

Image Credit: “Nuremberg chronicles f 094r 3” by Hartmann Schedel – Own work (scan from original book). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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4 Comments

  1. Cassandra, I was so moved by this piece. I’m only in my late 30s with my current pregnancy, and I only have a few more weeks left. Even so, this resonated with me and I relate with it. For the first time, I was offered special ultrasounds (which I said no thank you to) and for the first time I found myself arguing with the Very Smart Doctors.

    I’m always close to St. Anthony during my pregnancies, in part because I always feel like I’m about to lose my mind, and in part because he was my patron the year I was pregnant with my 2nd, and I found out that pregnancies are a patronage of his. 🙂

    I also seem to turn to Mary in a new and different way with each pregnancy.

    Prayers for you as you continue through your pregnancy!

    • Sarah I had no idea about St Anthony and pregnancies! I have a new Saint to turn to now! (You can never have enough, right?) Thanks for the tip.

      Prayers for the remainder of your pregnancy as well, and have a safe and blessed delivery. 😀

  2. I love all of these, but your last reflection resonated with me about being able to have your own “visitation” in realizing that you were, in fact, not the Blessed Mother. How often we (I) forget as mothers that Mary isn’t just a role model, but she should really be a companion in our lives. I think many of us get lost in believing that Mary can’t really be our companion until we live up to some specific standards (kind of like fitting in with the popular girls at school), but you point out so well the reality that her compassion and companionship are ours at any and every point in our journey.

  3. Thank you, Brittany, for your insight. I think that was always my problem too. I could never possibly be so much like Our Blessed Mother, and as soon as I released myself from that pressure, I was no longer afraid to be in her presence in my life. Not that I do not strive to grow in virtue – I still struggle with that daily! But knowing that Our Mother has my back and is always there for me strengthens me on my journey.

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