Surprise Child: Finding Joy in Unplanned Pregnancy
- 2010 15 Jan
When you hear the words crisis pregnancy, you probably picture an unmarried teenager, too young to deal with the trauma of sin's unexpected consequences. But according to a study compiled by the National Institutes of Health, up to 60 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, affecting three million women—and their families—every year. And these are not just teenagers.
Picture the mother with a still-young infant and postpartum depression; or the family with three young children and a father who has just deployed to Iraq; or the parents nearing retirement and planning for their teenagers' college funds. For these families, the expected bundle of joy can feel more like a bundle of troubles.
That last example was the story of Leslie Leyland Fields, a then-43-year-old college professor who found out she was pregnant with her fifth child—and then two years later with her sixth. The news of her fifth and sixth pregnancies did not come easily to Fields or her husband, who thought they were done with diapers and midnight feedings. She writes honestly about her struggle to find joy in these pregnancies in a book called Surprise Child.
In addition to a busy career teaching and writing and four children nearly grown, Fields and her husband were commercial salmon fishermen. Their lives were full to the brim, and the news of first one and then two babies was overwhelming. In the midst of this personal crisis, Fields found that her church friends could not understand why she was upset, yet her work colleagues could not understand why she would choose to have two more children. Feeling alone and isolated, Fields says she knew that "God is the maker of life" and that she had "to find a way to receive with open hands these children He had made." And she did just that, realizing in the process that her surprise children were no surprise to God and that He would supply her family with everything they needed, including the strength and joy to love two more children.
Sadly, only half of women experiencing unplanned pregnancies make the choice to welcome a surprise child. The others abort their babies.
That's why Fields's book is so important. Through sharing her own story of coming to terms with unexpected pregnancy, Fields gives hope to women who often feel their only choice is abortion. She shows how God can redeem even the most difficult of circumstances and give a mother love for the surprise child who seems, at first, more like a curse than a blessing.
If you or someone you know is facing the trauma of an unplanned pregnancy, I encourage you to get a copy of Fields's book Surprise Child: Finding Hope in Unexpected Pregnancy. You can also find helpful resources by visiting our website at BreakPoint.org.
And unplanned pregnancy can seem like a crisis, but it does not have to end that way. Remember, an unplanned pregnancy may be a surprise to us, but no child is a surprise to God. And the child we think we don't want often turns out to be the greatest blessing—as countless mothers, persuaded by protestors at abortion clinics not to abort, have frequently reported.
Remember Jesus' words: "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes Me."
Originally posted January 29, 2007
Copyright © 2007 Prison Fellowship
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