From an Expecting Father
Updated: Mar 16, 2020
She gently nudged: "Let’s get to bed."
I responded with my usual and half asleep, "Five more minutes."
"Ante, we’re having a baby…"
I shot up to see the enormous smile on my wife’s face as she continued to reply to my reaction, "Yes, really!"
I heard those words on January 25th, later finding out we conceived on the Feast of the Holy Family--another miracle and answered prayer, through our Lord, our Lady and this time St. Joseph!
We were open to life from the day of our wedding, and as the months (then first year) passed, we didn’t doubt God’s Providence, but there was some worry and “what ifs." We remained open, prayerful, hopeful and patient... God’s time is perfect and He knows what is best (and when is best). Looking back we needed the A&R time in order to be as ready as we can be for this gift to come on September 18th, tentatively.
We have been overjoyed sharing this news with family and friends, including you, our CeC readers! My beloved is already half-way through, has a beautiful baby bump, and I have never seen her more radiant and peaceful.
Becoming an expectant father has had a huge impact on my head, heart, and how I lead my wife and growing family. We have read and absorbed the experiences shared by other couples, but from conception to today--and all the steps in between and the millions to come--living it proves to be the greatest lesson.
We have re-committed to our devotion to the study of Scripture, after a long stretch of slack beyond the Daily Readings. Further, my personal 3-month journey through Exodus 90 (completed this Easter) was revolutionary in re-orientating me to prayer, asceticism, and fraternity with brothers in Christ; it has been a spiritual and physical renewal.
Our intimacy has been at an all-time high. I have never seen my wife more attractive, nor have I loved her as much as I do now with her carrying our child. I have a whole new appreciation for how hard this woman works even with a little human in her belly. And with that extra cargo and excess hormones, there have been some roller-coaster moments, naturally, but this period of pregnancy has been an overall smooth ride up to now! We are still learning to speak and act in our corresponding Love Languages, and slowly but surely becoming more fluent.
We are eating super clean, having invested in a slow juicer for fresh, nutrient, and dense green juices, and are shifting to The Blood Type Diet (though Roberta craves the odd Big Mac, so naturally, we make that happen!). My commitment to workouts was ramped up during Exodus 90, and Roberta is getting some bodyweight reps in while putting some time in on our MaxTrainer and rower. With the Spring weather finally here (somewhat), we plan to go on many walks and bike rides.
We made necessary adjustments last year after my transition from working full-time in engineering, to youth ministry and real estate. Now with baby coming and Roberta going on mat leave, we have made some major budget moves that will be outlined in a future blog.
The reality of Fatherhood reached a whole new level after our most recent ultrasound where we saw our baby’s fully formed body. A few days later I felt the baby move for the first time… There is nothing better than seeing our baby, hearing the heartbeat, and feeling those strong kicks.
Roberta and I were pondering out loud last night with what life must be like in the womb in terms of what babies can see, hear, feel, taste… Then my wife said something that struck me. At Mass that morning it dawned on her how close our baby is to Jesus after she receives the Eucharist, the body of Christ. She had heard a true story about a young girl, maybe 4 years old, who would rest her head on her mother’s stomach after Communion. When asked why, the girl responded, “I want to be close to Jesus.”
During the Passover in the Book of Exodus, Israelite families were instructed to take a spotless lamb, kill the lamb, and eat the lamb so that the firstborn sons be spared the wrath of the tenth plague--they had to eat the lamb to be saved. That's what we do at Mass on Sunday. As Catholics, we literally eat/receive the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world--the final sacrifice, Jesus Christ. It is here that we are transformed by that which we consume. Many say, “I’m spiritual; I pray at home.” Being spiritual is not what we are called to; receiving the Lamb is critical to salvation, and so is obedience to Christ's Church.
Jesus himself says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:35). When the crowd, even some of his own disciples, begin walking away because his words were simply too radical, he did not proceed to say, “I was being symbolic; come back.” Rather, Jesus amplifies his teaching: “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.... For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” (John 6:53-56). In the Greek translation of the Scripture passage, Jesus does not just say, “eat,” but intensifies with the word, “gnaw.” He was not being symbolic, and in the Apostolic succession alive Catholic Church--the authority of the Holy Spirit passed only through clergy, directly from Jesus, preserved through Scripture and Tradition in the Magisterium of the Catholic Church--do we have access to the flesh of Christ. Check out this video by Chris Stefanick for a comprehensive summary of the Fullness of the Eucharist, and for mention of the first recorded Eucharistic miracle (now one of the hundreds).
Roberta has a strong sense of peace that regardless of what may come, the greatest thing she can do for our child lies in receiving the Eucharist. I truly believe that the unborn and infants can sense God, the angels, and saints in ways those older and stained by sin could only dream of. In utero, our baby likely knows Jesus more intimately than we can imagine, until our Father shows us His Ways, all glory revealed…
Please continue to pray for us, as we pray for you.
And if you are praying for a child, try the Novena to St. Gerard! Even if the answer is, “no,” or “not yet,” sincere prayer always brings peace.
God bless you all!