Last Word

Walking With Moms in Need

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high 
And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on 
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

This song by Gary and the Pacemakers is a reminder that we are all on a journey. This is especially true for pregnant women. As an expecting mother, you have thoughts, dreams and hopes for your child and its future. However, in some incidences, the conception of a child in the sacred womb of a mother can be unexpected, confusing and scary. There are some women who find themselves with no one to turn to, without a support system, perhaps in a difficult pregnancy requiring bed rest or just not prepared to be a parent. This makes the journey much more difficult.

In my first 12 years of priestly ministry, I had the privilege of walking with mothers with difficult pregnancies. During this time, I ministered to those who needed continuous bed rest during most of their pregnancy. This was definitely a life-changing time for these women. As a chaplain, I joined them on their journey by incorporating prayer, spiritual direction and encouragement. I was present at whatever part of the journey they were at. I enjoyed giving blessings to these mothers and their babies in the womb. During their difficult journey, I invited them to reflect on their dreams and hopes for their child. It was important and vital for them to know that they were not alone. These women needed to know someone was there to listen to their story. This was the gift and privilege I got to share with them as a hospital chaplain.

It is important for the community, as a whole, to walk with moms going through difficult pregnancies. In Stevens Point, where I now reside, First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center is a beautiful organization that cares for the mothers from the very beginning of their pregnancy and beyond. First Choice offers free advocacy, peer-to-peer relationships and the gift of a free ultrasound. Their support does not stop there. After the child arrives, the center provides aftercare services, advocacy and supplies. First Choice offers educational classes for those in need of gaining valuable life skills. It is my hope that every mother who has said yes to God’s call to motherhood will know they are not alone on their journey. For mothers in other communities without a pregnancy resource center, I encouraged them to contact Catholic Charities or their local parish.

For expecting mothers out there, it is helpful to have friends, family and the community to walk with them through their journey. More importantly, it is necessary for these mothers to know that God walks with them every step of the way. When I think of a woman with a difficult pregnancy, I always give thought to Mary, who carried Jesus Christ, the Son of God in her womb. Mary not only endured a long donkey ride to Bethlehem, but dealt with no traditional place to give birth to her child. God, along with members of the community, provided Mary and Joseph with a stable to deliver their son. Mary was never alone during her pregnancy. God was there every step of the way. Mary is clearly an excellent example of one who lived her life as Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans: “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.” (Rom 14:7-9) When mothers say “yes” to God and walk the difficult journey pregnancy can sometimes bring, those mothers are indeed living for God.

May God be with all those women that journey through pregnancy. You are not alone!

FATHER TODD MLSNA
Associate pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Stevens Point
Published January/February 2021 Catholic Life Issue

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