In the liturgical calendar of the Latin Church, December 18 has been known as the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although it is not currently in the liturgical calendar, I first came upon this feast in 2013 after reading through an old missal that was given to me as a gift. As someone that has a love and devotion for the Blessed Mother, I found the feast to be fascinating and took it upon myself to learn more about it.
Trying to grasp exactly what Our Lady was thinking one week before giving birth to Jesus is difficult since, nothing of her own thoughts has been revealed to us in the Sacred Scriptures. At this point, her thoughts and feelings are purely speculative. We know what Saint Luke tells us in Chapter 2 of his Gospel, however, we don’t know much more than this record. We understand that Mary’s Immaculate Conception would have allowed her to “see” God’s hand, but does that mean she knew exactly what was to happen?
As tradition has shown us, the Blessed Virgin Mary completely put her trust in God, just as she had done nine months prior at the Annunciation. Her “fiat” was not one-time agreement, but something she had to say and do many times in her life as the Mother of God. Mary is the great sign of perfect faith and joy for us, and especially during this Third Week of Advent. We may not know exactly what Our Lady was feeling and thinking prior to given birth to Jesus, but here are 5 women from my wife’s family explaining what they were experiencing a week before giving birth to their first born.
1. Worry, for some
“Our first baby was due in mid-January, but due to some pregnancy complications, I was on bedrest for most of December. Instead of joyfully anticipating a new baby, I spent the weeks leading up to his birth worrying that he would come too soon. As Christmas approached, I was cleared to come off of bed rest, so with my husband and his family we joyfully attended Christmas Night Mass, fully ready to welcome our new little one. Little did we know that he would decide to enter the world in the wee hours of the morning on December 25th! Our best Christmas gift ever!” – Taryn
2. “My house isn’t ready!”
“Oh snap! The baby is coming soon, house is a mess, nursery isn’t ready. I feel like a whale and tying my shoes feels like a full cardio workout. The baby thinks my bladder is a trampoline and my ribs are a pin cushion for her elbows. Only one more week, not prepared at all but can’t wait to meet you beautiful girl.” – Kelley
3. Tired, but can’t wait!
“The week before my first child was born, I was ready! Ready and waiting, full of excitement and anticipation – and I was exhausted. I remember being so uncomfortable I couldn’t sleep. During the night, I would lay awake wondering about who he/she would be, and praying that child would be exactly what we needed in our live to help perfect and grow us into the people of God had intended us to be. Knowing that this child would be exactly who God had in mind for us gave me great peace and hope and joy, and a ready willingness to be this child’s mother. I also prayed that God would give me the grace to be the mother He intended for this child and I begged then as I beg now for the wisdom and strength to raise a child who will love God above all else and whose goal in life is heaven.” – Monica
“My first born was eight days late, so one week before I had him I was thinking that I would having a baby any day. My mind was constant checklist making sure everything was ready to go. At work, I kept hearing the same thing over and over again: “you’re still here?” My husband and I thought we were prepared, but looking back, how can you prepare yourselves for the greatest gift from God that you ever receive?” – Anne
5. Waiting my whole life for this
“The weeks and days before I gave birth to my first child was completely indescribable; anxious, excited, nervous, and thankful are the first words that come to mind. I was anxious as I felt like I’d been waiting my whole life to meet my first baby and excited to see his precious face and perfect little body. I was nervous for the unknown of being a parent for the first time. But most of all I’m thankful for this life in my womb that God so graciously entrusted me with. Through the roller coaster of emotions and feelings it was a beautiful and wonderful experience I look back on so fondly.” – Carly