Litany of a Hopeful Mother   Leave a comment

Do you pray for things? We’re always told not to pray for wants. So I don’t, and haven’t for years. Instead I pray for internal peace, I pray for other people, I pray for situations around the world. The interesting thing about this is that after a couple decades of being insistent about not praying for things that I want meant that I couldn’t do it. Not even for a baby. The closest that I could come was to pray for everyone who was trying to grow a family through pregnancy or adoption. At least for the first year of trying. Then I realized that praying for a baby was a form of letting go, an existential acknowledgement that I can’t DO anything to make it happen but that it is all up to the universe. It seems both intuitive and counter-intuitive at the same time (is that counter-intuitive?). Praying for something can be a way of trying to control life, but praying for something acknowledges our powerlessness and accepts that powerlessness at the same time.

So I started trying to pray for a baby. Really hard to do after a couple decades of not praying for things. Other than adjusting my personal no-words, feelings-based form of prayer, I figured that the easiest way was to create a litany. That way I have help. It’s one of the parts of Catholicism that I’ve always liked but never been able to practice. The idea of asking the saints to pray with you is so magical, and intimidating. I started by searching for patron saints of hopeful mothers. That was a mistake. I do not understand how some of the canonized saints got that way, and I am completely baffled by some of patronages. One of the patron saints of hopeful mothers that I found was accused by a pregnant woman of being the father of her child, until she recanted after he hid in the church for a while. And so somebody decided this would be a good person to pray to when hoping for a baby???? Not only are some of the canonized saints ridiculous to me, but I just feel so silly asking a random dead person to pray for me with no connection to them. So I decided to go with what I know (the popular parent saints), and let it grow as I get more comfortable.

Here’s my starter litany, in which the “us” is my husband and I.

Our Lady, Mother of Jesus, pray for us

St Joseph, stepfather of Jesus, pray for us

St Anne, mother of Mary, pray for us

St Elizabeth, mother of John, pray for us

St Zachariah, father of John, pray for us

All parents of the world, pray for us

That’s as far as I’ve gotten and I’m still trying to get the comfort up to add my grandma to the list, and a friend’s mother. Saints don’t just include those who’ve been formally canonized, after all. It’s just that I feel presumptive asking someone to pray for me (somehow the “famous” saints are different). Although, I suppose my grandma would probably not have any objections. Maybe I’ll add her tonight.

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Posted April 27, 2012 by mayakey in pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, spiritual practices

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