When my husband, Mark,
and I recently found out
we were expecting our
fourth child, we immediately
started taking stock of all the
things we would need for another baby.
We started unpacking boxes of baby
clothes that were stored away after our
other children had outgrown them,
and made a list of things we had to
buy—bottles, new car seats, a bouncer,
diapers. The list went on and on. We
also made plans for how we would have
to rearrange our home to accommodate
our new family member.
Mark and I spent a good deal of time
assessing the physical needs of our
child, but, unfortunately, not as much
on the less tangible aspects of expecting
another child. When we finally
did, however, we began to realize that
in the grand scheme of things, whether
we found time to buy a new bouncer
didn't really matter all that much.
What mattered was that we were once
again going to be bringing a new life
into this world.
At first it was a bit overwhelming to
think of how much our lives were
going to change. But then we realized
that this provided us with a good opportunity to stop and assess where
we were in our lives and what this new
addition meant for our family.
The fact that we were doing all this
reflecting at the same time the Church
was celebrating the season of Lent was
certainly not lost on us, and especially
not on me. Lent, in and of itself, is a
time of preparation. The 40 days lead us
up to and prepare us for the challenges
and triumphs of Holy Week and Easter.
Lent also offers the perfect time for
Catholics to slow down and assess their
lives, both literally and spiritually.
On a very personal level, being pregnant
during Lent is providing me with
a unique perspective on the season.
And it has extended it well beyond the
traditional 40 days for me. Not only am
I going to spend 40 days reflecting on
where I am in my life and preparing for
the birth of my child, but I am also
going to spend 40 weeks doing it. As
Jesus spent 40 days in the desert praying
and reflecting, I will do so throughout
I am also provided with a wonderful
reminder that the Lenten season is not
just about giving something up. It's
about offering ourselves up for the good
When I was growing up, Lent for
me usually meant giving up whatever
candy bar I happened to like at the
time. Then as I got a bit older, I started
thinking in terms of being more proactive
on behalf of others as my Lenten
offering. For instance, perhaps each
day I would offer someone a compliment
or do a good deed for someone.
Change in Perspective
This change from looking inward to
looking toward others can be best
summed up by the Greek word metanoia.
In Lenten Lunches: Reflections on the
Weekday Readings for Lent and Easter
Week, retired Archbishop Daniel E.
Pilarcyzk explains it this way: "The
word metanoia connotes a change of
mind and heart, altering one's mind-set
toward whole new ways of thinking
and acting. This involves taking a look
at where we are and trying to see where
we ought to be. It involves testing our
values and discerning how they stack
up against the values that Jesus offers
This concept has become vividly
clear to me as I watch my stomach
grow and feel my child move within
me. Each day, each meal, each action
is dedicated to the greater good of
this child within me, my constant
companion on this 40-week Lenten