Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Your Pregnant Pastor: Ten Things You Should Know

  1. I am grateful that you’re happy for us. Far too many women still face on-the-job discrimination and hostility because of pregnancy. It wasn’t so long ago that it was legal to fire women because they were pregnant! I feel so blessed that this community is excited to welcome our baby. I’m excited too. 
  2. I don’t have morning sickness… any more. For most women, morning sickness is most intense in the first trimester. But the first trimester is the early, risky part of the pregnancy, when miscarriage is most likely, so most women wait until it’s over to tell people. By the time I told you I was expecting a baby, my morning sickness was over. I do have plenty of other pesky pregnancy-related ailments, though, so if that’s what you’re wondering you could ask “How are you feeling?” 
  3. I still love to talk about God. Remember when we used to talk about God a lot? And also about spirituality, the church, and Jesus? It was before I was pregnant. I miss that. Let’s keep talking about God, okay? 
  4. I can still do lots of things! Your pregnant pastor’s mileage may vary, but many pregnant pastors are just fine carrying chairs, setting up tables, taking the stairs, and standing in the pulpit to preach. I know you want me to take good care of myself, and I appreciate it. If you see me doing something that you worry about, please don’t scold me like a naughty child! You’re welcome to ask me “Pastor, would you like me to do that for you?” or "Pastor, do you need help with that?"
  5. But there are some things I can’t do. I might need to sit down if I’m tired, or slip out for a minute or two during a long worship service. I may need to put my feet up on a chair. I might need to eat more often than normal. It is a bit harder for me to keep track of details and dates. Again, your pregnant pastor’s mileage may vary. I really appreciate the grace and patience my congregation has extended to me! 
  6. I’m getting a lot of advice. Like, really, a LOT of advice. Some helpful, some conflicting, some medically unsafe. If you want to share advice with me, I’m more likely to listen if it’s just one or two really important things. The best advice I’ve gotten was from a congregant. She said, “Don’t worry about all the advice you’re getting. You’ll find your own way, and you’ll figure it out. You’ll be fine.” 
  7. I still want to know what’s going on in your life. I know that you’re excited about my pregnancy, but I’m still your pastor, and I want to hear about you! I’ll update you about my pregnancy (if you ask), but then I’m going to ask about your life, and I really want to hear how you’re doing. 
  8. If you want to touch my belly, I’d like you to ask me first. I know it’s sticking way out and it’s very tempting, but it’s still my abdomen. We don’t touch other people’s abdomens without asking. 
  9. I am excited for my baby to be part of the church. I love the church, and I love my congregants – that’s why I’m a pastor! I can’t wait for my baby to meet you, his church family. His life will be richer because you’re in it. 
  10. I will still be your pastor. Sometimes pastors can be parental figures, and a new baby can cause a bit of anxiety or sibling rivalry. So I hope you really hear this: when I am his mom, although things may need to change a bit, I will still be your pastor, and I will still love you.

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