We welcomed Shona Murray to the site last week to share one of her funny series posts about her pregnancy. Shona is married to author and professor, David Murray. The two, original from Scotland, have been married for 22 years and live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their four children between the ages of 9 and 17 years old.
Enjoy this Q&A as Shona shares about giving birth in America and offers wisdom for today’s mom-to-be.
Q: What did you do/say when you first found out you were pregnant?
Murray: We prayed and thanked the Lord for His goodness. Each child is such a precious gift from God.
It is agony to think that any and so many are disposed of by our “enlightened” Western culture. What so few realize is that it is humanity’s darkest days when the feeblest of the human race are exterminated in their mothers’ wombs.
Q: I understand that it’s been several years (how many?) since your last pregnancy. What has been different about this pregnancy physically than previous ones?
Murray: It is 10 years since my last pregnancy. Physically, I expected to be more exhausted than on previous occasions in view of my age. However, it has been quite the opposite. I have felt well and energetic for the most part. I think the main difference has been the fact that my other children are independent and able to help me so much, because they are older.
I have not had to balance lively toddlers and babies this time round.
Q: Now if I understand correctly, all of your children were born in Scotland. Is that correct? What have been the most significant differences between the birthing processes so far?
Murray: The prenatal care is very similar in the frequency of clinic visits. In Scotland, though, the vast majority of these visits are to a medical team midwife. She does all the routine stuff (similar to a nurse practitioner). A couple of them are done by the Family Practitioner (Physician), and only two or three are to the hospital OB/GYN doctor.
You do have the option of community midwife delivery, if your case is deemed uncomplicated.
In the hospital setting, the midwife members of the Medical team do the deliveries unless there are complications, such as second stage delay requiring instrumental intervention, like a forceps delivery, or in the case of C- sections (elective or emergency). The OB/GYN doctors are on call for these scenarios.
I appreciate the great care I have always been given on both sides of the pond. I thank the Lord that I am alive in this century.
Q: I’ve loved your tongue-in-cheek posts about your experience but it looks like you raise some important issues. What are a few things that concern you about today’s environment for pregnancies and births?
Murray: There are two main areas of concern: mother issues and baby issues.
Expectant mothers are overwhelmed with information and are in danger of considering pregnancy to be an illness. Never has it been safer to have a baby. Yet, information overload means that many expectant mothers are overly anxious during these months. Everything from what you eat to what you do, are under scrutiny, largely due to media hype e.g. “The best things you can eat to ensure a healthy baby,” or “Ten things to avoid to ensure a healthy baby.”
The fact is, many of these are common sense and few make a dramatic impact on the outcome. More seriously, the emphasis shifts from God’s overseeing of the developing child to everything depends on us. If the outcome is good, we did it, if bad; we are responsible, regardless of how well we took care of ourselves.
Pregnancy is a moneymaking industry and we need to be aware that an anxious expectant mother is a marketer’s dream. Do you need to play music to baby in the womb? Do you need to buy those expensive belly buds? Or are you falling prey to every moneymaking whim that is out there.
There also seems to be a turf war going on between “natural” and “medical”; “nonintervention” and “intervention.”
As Christians we need to seek a biblical balance and take every lawful means to preserve life. Christians need to avoid the danger of idolizing modern medicine, but also that of idolizing everything natural. Going “natural” everything is becoming almost like a religion.
Let’s not despise everything modern and exalt everything old. I believe we have forgotten the sad reality of high maternal, neonatal, and infant mortality of bygone days. As Christians we need to remind ourselves that God gives life, preserves life and secures whatever outcome. We need to learn to trust Him in this too.
The same goes for the baby once born. We are bombarded with the latest must-haves, to ensure this baby is the next Einstein, walks early, talks early, eats solids at the right time, avoids germs, is not allowed to cry (hence the plethora of soothing gadgets, swings, bouncers etc.) and never gets bored. Does it matter?
What did people do before all the gadgets?
Children remained children longer, were generally more sociable, happy, and hugely creative because they were not overscheduled and hot-housed in a colorful noisy plastic jungle. They made memories around the kitchen and forest. They played sports, without organization. It happened spontaneously with other kids. They played outside a whole lot more. Sadly today children from very young have no time to really play.
This begins from birth and worsens as they grow.
Q: How would you encourage younger women who are pregnant to trust the Lord in an atmosphere that seems to have so many different opinions and philosophies?
Murray: Is avoiding pain relief, medical intervention, and going all out “natural”, avoiding C-section at all costs etc., about your being in control, rather than God? Or are you open to His leading whichever way that may take you in the interests of your own, your baby’s and your family’s lives. Pride can take many guises.
Filter what you read about pregnancy, contraception, and having babies through the lens of God’s Word, not the latest idea in fashion.
Q: What advice would you have given your younger self now that you’ve been through several pregnancies and are pregnant now?
Murray: Relax! God is in control, not me. He knows my fears, and He knows how to take care of us both through these months and the delivery. Take rest, reduce commitments, and be realistic about the stress on your body.
Q: Have you struggled with anything (fears, anxiety, etc.) regarding this pregnancy and if so, how have you fought it?
Murray: Obviously, 45, in today’s world is considered “old” to be having another baby. I could have dwelt on that. I prefer to dwell on the fact that God has given me a precious gift and He will take care of us both throughout this. Age is not an issue to Him, or I would not now be pregnant.
Every expectant mother worries at times about the “what ifs?” I am not immune to that, but I have found that rest and trying to keep a normal routine with my other kids has helped me focus on the here and now.
During my last pregnancy, I suffered from pregnancy-related depression. When I became pregnant this time, a recurrence of that was foremost in my mind. However, God has rolled that stone away, thanks to His own great care in teaching me how to take more care of myself than I previously did. This has been through the means of His encouraging Word, my dear husband, my children’s help, and medication.
Q: When you think about raising a baby again, how are you facing it? Do you feel like you might have more faith since you’ve already done it?
Murray: God is the same. Every child is different. The principles of childrearing are the same, but ultimately I need His daily help and blessing. Experience helps, and so do a few extra pairs of helping hands. If I am not careful, my kids will want to raise this kid for me.J
Q: What about your husband, David? How have you seen this new adventure affect your relationship?
Murray: We are both in the same boat, regarding our middle age. We are both delighted at the prospect of another opportunity to raise a little child. We’ve grown closer and closer through the years. Probably this late pregnancy has accelerated that deepening of our relationship even more.
We certainly feel increasing dependence on God. We realize more than ever that while we can do much for our children, God alone can work savingly in the heart. This also drives us together to the Lord in prayer.
You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Your contribution will go directly toward the production of more gospel-centered, church-equipping resources.