Connections 12.19.2021: A Friend in Pregnancy

Luke 1:39-55

Soon after I became pregnant with our first daughter in 2004, I learned that my best friend—already the mother of two—was pregnant as well. I was immensely relieved to have this veteran mother to walk through my first pregnancy with me, sharing advice and encouraging me as our bellies grew. Things only got better when we learned we were both carrying girls.

Pregnancy is an unnerving experience. You eagerly and fearfully await each doctor visit, hoping beyond hope that the baby’s heartbeat is still strong and nothing has gone wrong. Once you can sense movement, you freak out when too much time passes between one kick and another. As the end grows near, you worry about the unpredictability of childbirth. Having another mother who can relate, commiserate, and rejoice with you is priceless.

Monica and I shared the ups and downs of our pregnancies, the hormone fluctuations, the stretchmarks and discomfort, the excitement and anticipation, and seventeen years later we and our daughters, Samantha and Ella, are still best friends.

What was it like for Mary when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth? Elizabeth wasn’t a veteran mother. Like Mary, she was a first-timer, but she had the advantage of years on this earth. Maybe she had a bit of worldly wisdom to offer. Regardless, the two of them had this unique experience in common. Not only that, but their sons were marked by God before birth. The two mothers could talk about what they didn’t understand, what scared them, what excited them. I think it must have encouraged Mary to hear Elizabeth confirm God’s blessing. Perhaps the truth of the angel’s message was affirmed when her cousin proclaimed, “Blessed are you among women…” (v. 42), inspiring Mary’s beautiful song of praise to God for the blessing of Jesus.

We need people to walk through this life with us. We need friends who understand what we’re going through and can encourage us through the experience. We need loved ones to rejoice with us and support us. Mary had that in her cousin Elizabeth. Who is that person for you? Who views you as that person for them?

Discussion

• When have you walked through a particular life experience with a friend by your side? How did the person help you?
• What is it like to go through something and not have support from other people? Why is support so important when we face difficult circumstances?
• What do you think Mary felt as she entered her cousin’s home and heard her proclamation? How do you envision the women’s visit with each other? (Did they touch each other’s bellies, discuss pregnancy symptoms, talk about how their husbands couldn’t understand what they were going through?)
• Who is your “Elizabeth”?
• Who views you as their “Elizabeth”?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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