I didn’t expect to be writing this blog.
In all honesty, I had another book all lined up and ready to go. But we’d already blogged on it a while ago at EQUIP book club!
So, our wonderful blog-coordinator (Siân- we love you!) suggested another book. This book. A book I would not have chosen. But I guess that’s the nature of the topic. It’s the kind of thing you’d never plan to read, but we probably all need to.
It’s full title is: A Life Already Started: Finding a positive path in unplanned pregnancy. It’s by Dr Megan Best who some of us may know from her brilliant book ‘Fearfully & Wonderfully Made’.
In all likelihood, every one of us will face the issue of unplanned pregnancy. Whether for ourselves or for someone we know and love. Women and men are facing these decisions right now as they sit in our churches and it is worth taking the time to think, pray and plan how we might respond.*
As the title suggests, this book seeks to provide advice, information and comfort in the hard situation of an unplanned pregnancy outside of marriage, particularly for a person who is Christian or who has some contact with church. The beauty of this book is breadth. It holds out the gospel (ch. 1), provides an ethical framework for when life begins (chs. 2-3), explains the biology & medical side (chs. 4, 5) and gives wise biblical advice (chs. 6, 7, 8).
The first chapter is a great reminder of God’s forgiveness. This is the place to start. I asked a friend of mine what she found helpful when she found herself pregnant, outside of marriage. One thing she said was:
Being constantly reminded that sin is sin in God's eye regardless of what type of sin it is. The sin we committed is more public than others, but it doesn't mean that God will look at what we did differently to other sin.
These are the truths Best’s first chapter holds out. I particularly appreciated her advice on what not to say when someone tells you they are pregnant outside of marriage (e.g. ‘what did you think would happen?’, ‘it’s not so bad…’ etc), what to say and the way she points to Jesus: ‘Jesus is gentle with us in our sin and remorse.’
It is worth noting that this book is targeted more at the friend or family member of the woman who is pregnant than the woman herself. It does contain an appendix written ‘to the pregnant girl’ (pp. 100-106), but otherwise it’s probably the kind of thing you read and process rather than give directly. If you are pregnant and reading this book, it is worth reading, but perhaps start with the appendix and then chapter 1 and then go from there as you feel ready.
Secondly, it’s also worth noting that this book generally envisages a pregnant woman who is quite young and perhaps at school. While a significant proportion of unplanned pregnancies outside of marriage happen at this stage of life, it is not always the case. It is just worth keeping this in mind so we don’t think ‘that could never happen to her’ or ‘that could never happen to me’.
Next week we’ll look at chapters 2-4 where Megan considers how to make ethical decisions, and the biology of falling pregnant.
But let me finish with an excerpt from the appendix (a pastor’s note to a pregnant girl):
The woman at the well who had a series of lovers would have been judged by those around her, but Jesus reached out to her in love. Jesus did not love her because she had gotten her act together, but despite the fact that she hadn’t. He loved this woman and he loves you.
If you are pregnant and you don’t want to be pregnant, it is normal to feel like your world is crashing in on you. It is normal to feel like there is no escape. But in the midst of all this panic, remember that God loves you and he will continue to do so in whatever mess you might find yourself.
Isn’t that the truth.
*If you would like more information about unplanned pregnancy support, or how you can help, consider visiting New South Wales-based Diamond Pregnancy Support (this blogger has no formal link with this organization, I’ve just seen evidence of their good work).