I am taking part in a course in Pregnancy Counselling. Part of the course involves writing a journal: I, in my characteristically extroverted way, have decided to do this on this blog. I am keeping any personal information, or things said by other members of the group strictly confidential.
Obviously, feel free not to read on unless you are interested!
This session is called “Parenting”. It covers the subject and idea of God as Father, the biblical basis for this, and thus an understanding of His heart for parents and families. We then looked at the secular side of things, with statistics, the law and trying to get into the mindset of the mother and the father.
The second half of the session looked at Infertility, and the effects this might have on a couple, and then finally the role of the pregnancy advisors in all of this.
How did you find the course content, exercise and group work?
Our first set of work was looking at ways that God is Father. There were an amazing number of verses that supported this, with two whole pages of references. The ones that jumped out at me are below:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3v1
Our Father in heaven,
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
These all spoke to us in various ways, but we felt the Old Testament especially shows the Fathering nature of good, not through explicit use of the word “Father”, but through the love and discipline shown as a father. For example, in Genesis 3v21, God is angry, has thrown them out of Eden, and yet still stops to lovingly clothe his children; disciplining them, yet still loving them.
As we moved onto mothers and fathers, and what role each should play, we realised that, just as Christ is the head, and the Church is the nuturing, supportive wife, our model for parenting follows that, with the man as the head, and the wife nuturing and supporting. Not to say that the man is in control, and must be obeyed, just that in many areas he will lead.
What are you reacting to and learning from the trainers, methods and members of the course?
I think we are all of a similar mind when it comes to the role of parents, and the family. When asked the question: “What pressures fall on one parent when the other is absent”, we all agreed that the pressure probably more than doubles: since there is twice as much work and responsibility, but now without the physical and emotional support of another. We all agreed, to an extent, on the role of a man and a woman within a relationship, and especially agreed on that to an extent that many of the “feminists” I met during my years in Union politics would not have.
I would have been intrigued to bring up the topic of gay couples: whilst I think there might be a more wide ranging debate here, I still think the general consensus would fall that two loving parents are going to be more easily able to provide a stable environment for children than one parent, regardless of gender.
What are you learning from your interpersonal encounters outside the course?
Hmm. Not a lot at the moment? I’m learning that the real world is hard work, that I cannot always choose large amounts about my life and careers, and that I need to develop perseverance:
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
What relevant personal reading have you completed?
I have had a look at some pregnancy complications websites, such as ARC Antenatal Results and Choices, which aim to help mothers when difficult tests occur in the pregnancy. They aim to help those:
- Having to make difficult decisions about continuing the pregnancy
- Having to make difficult decisions about ending the pregnancy
All in all a difficult, sensitive and valuable service that they provide. I also visited the Miscarriage Association website which was quite an emotional experience. Whilst I have never experienced miscarriage myself, the whole site has clearly been put together with such love, aimed at those grieving for a baby that only briefly existed.
When you visit that site, and then consider the widespread acceptance and occurrence of abortion (188,000 in the UK last year), it seems so incongruous. How can we see people legitimately needing to grieve the loss of a foetus they had for a few short weeks, and yet society consider that state sanctioned destruction of similar foetuses is acceptable?
What aspects of your personal growth have been challenged?
- Attitude – I have gained a little objectivity on the role of a parent. When counselling people, it is important to be able to inform of the potential increased hardship of single parenthood. That said, information of the grief potentially caused by abortion is key too.
- Knowledge – I would not say I have learnt vast amounts, just more had it confirmed to me the role of the Father, both in our lives, and as a model to us.
- Skills – We did not do any role plays in this session, although I am still fighting to shut my mouth enough during small group work.