“Waiting and Hoping: A Pandemic Birth”

by Desiree’ Uhrich

Mothering God, you give us birth. You birth us into all time and place, even into pandemic, even into a world groaning with pain. As I waited for my own son’s son to be born, I worried that the daughter of my heart – my daughter-in-law – was more vulnerable in her pregnancy to this invisible virus that steals the breath away. From mid-March until June, the last trimester, belly swollen with life, pushing against heart and lungs, I prayed for her to be protected from the virus – and for the babe to be born safely. 

And then, finally, the labor room – just the two parents allowed – no grandparents or sisters or friends. Under normal conditions, we would have all eagerly traveled to be there for the blessed birth. That was my fantasy, God, waiting in the hospital for the nurse to come and announce the birth. But instead, we waited at home for the news, our phones clutched in our hands like a rosary. 

And then we waited some more. We waited for fourteen days. We waited for groceries to be delivered. We waited in line at the state fairgrounds for a test. Please God, let it be negative. We waited hungrily for each texted photo and video of our Theodore, whose name means ‘Gift of God,’ born in a pandemic in 2020, just like his great-great grandmother, Genevieve, who was born in a pandemic a hundred years ago. 

Thank you, God, for Theodore’s first breath, delayed for a few agonizing minutes, as his parents held their breath, waiting. Thank you, God – Ruach – Breath of Life – who brings life into being, who sustains all things. Guard our breath in these times, remember us, restore us, transform us. We wait and we hope. Amen