Mary Beth Foust pregnantI remember the day I told my husband Caleb we were expecting. It was one of the many snow days in a series of snow days we had in Virginia last winter. I’d gotten up early to take a pregnancy test and after I got over my own shock, I tiptoed back into our room and poked Caleb awake whispering, “Look at this!” He rubbed his eyes and turned on the light to see more clearly and read “Pregnant!” Holy goodness. We lay there for about an hour in a daze already dreaming of what this mysterious happening would mean in our lives. We prayed for our little bean and for ourselves and proceeded to carry our sweet secret into the world.

It would not stay secret for long, and wouldn’t you know it was the ministers at the church who uncovered our secret first? I really wanted to wait as long as we could to share our news. Mostly because I kind of liked having something so precious to just keep in the whispers among family, but my plans were thwarted! As soon as the staff realized that I knew they’d figured it out, we would exchange curious glances and smiles that I thought for sure to be dead giveaways.

Since I don’t work in a “traditional” ministry setting it has been very interesting moving forward in pregnancy. I am the “youth minister’s wife” at the church I attend. I have no shortage of eyes watching for belly growth and asking questions each time I come around. There are many curious youth, some who touch my belly lovingly and others who still seem to be in disbelief. In my job, I encounter many, many pastors and lay leaders. They all ask the same kinds of questions, how are you feeling? When are you due? Is it a boy or a girl? Do you have a name picked out? Typically, I politely answer the question for the thousandth time, give a smile and share that yes, we are very excited about this new life coming into our lives.

But, if I am totally honest, most church days, okay, maybe most days in general, all I want to do is hide under a rock and not come out until I can go home, or be around people who can see past my belly. I’ve realized how guarded I really am and how much I cherish and seek to protect some inkling of privacy in our seemingly public lives. I so appreciate that people “care” enough to speak to me, but I am tired of passing courtesy questions. I recognize that many women must feel this way in general, not just those of us in ministry, but I think we hold the unique position of being the “ones” that people watch more closely.

I do find it always wonderful that somehow now I am “in the club” so to speak. I’ve heard more stories about varied birth experiences than I knew before. The boys listen to me when I tell them to stop their shenanigans; I mean who wants to mess with the pregnant woman? But, for the record, even a pregnant woman doesn’t want to hear questions from church members like, “Are you dilated yet?”, “You haven’t gained any weight, oh except for maybe in your face!”, or even, “Wow, you don’t look pregnant at all!” Yes, I want to share my life with you, but maybe just not all of those details.

Thanks be to God, for the blessings (and curses) of ministry