Historically, in the Latin calendar, December 18 was the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, however the feast is not in the current calendar. To learn more about the history of the feast, I encourage you to visit the Catholic Encyclopedia on New Advent here.
Trying to understand what the Blessed Virgin Mary was feeling one week before giving birth to Jesus is difficult since nothing about her thoughts has been revealed to us in the Sacred Scriptures. At this point, it’s purely speculative at best. We know what St. Luke tells us in Chapter 2 of his Gospel, however, we don’t know much more than this revelation.
Was it difficult on Mary to be away from her family and her mother during this time? Even though the birth of Jesus was miraculous, as was his conception, what was Mary feeling? Did she know what was to occur? Was she ready for it? Did she think she would be a good mother?
As tradition has shown us, the Blessed Virgin Mary completely put her trust in God, just as she had done nine months prior at the Annunciation. Mary is the great sign of perfect faith and joy for us, but especially during the Third Week of Advent (Gaudete Sunday), which we celebrated in the Latin Church this past Sunday.
We may not know exactly what Mary was feeling one week before the birth of Christ, but based on the 12 quotes below from mothers sharing what they were feeling one week prior to having their child, I would imagine Mary’s experience may not have differed much from some of these –
My daughter was actually born 3 weeks early, so I finishing my last week at work. I do remember nesting really bad. Everything needed to be ready. I was a cleaning fool. I remember feeling anxious, nervous, excited and scared. I wanted nothing more than to be the perfect mom. I think that is why she came early, God’s sense of humor, I was the mom she needed. – Kristi
My first child was nine days post estimated due date, so with this in mind…I wasn’t anxious, nor fidgety, but very at peace, feeling good about being ready for the birth. We had a plan, we had things packed…I somehow knew, everything would be perfect, just because it was in God’s hands…prayer was my constant companion. There was a joy in waiting, knowing that it was just time, and this sense of treasuring every moment leading up to the big day. – Maggie
My last week of pregnancy was Christmas week and I was overdue. I loved being pregnant but was now more than ready to meet this little person God was entrusting me with. I was anxious and excited, what a wonderment pregnancy is! We didn’t know the gender of our baby so there was that added anticipation. We went to Midnight Mass that year, 10 days past my due date. I remember feeling so connected to Mary that night. – Kristin
The week before my first child was born I was so anxious to see my baby’s face and hold the baby in my arms and learn if “Little K” was Kathleen or Kevin. At the same time, even though I had been reading and rereading a couple of books about babies, I felt as if I was not prepared for such an awesome responsibility. I placed my trust in The Lord and prayed to be a good mother and do His Will with His awesome blessing. – Helen
As the birth of my first child was approaching I was filled with a potpourri of emotions. The anticipation of finally seeing his little face and learning about his personality filled most of my thoughts. Mixed in that joy was some apprehension about being responsible for another human being. I wondered if I would be a good mother. – Kay
Just before having my son, I remember an overwhelming feeling of joy and entrustment. I couldn’t wait to hold my baby boy, but knew that once he was born, I would have to share him. Others would hold him, would smile at him, and yes, could hurt him. I couldn’t keep him in the safety of my arms forever. Today, he is four and this is still my heart’s desire: to simply hold, love, teach, and protect him. I know each day he grows he will be more independent. – Allie
My due date was May 22 and as that day came closer I was nervous, scared, and excited but never had that “done” feeling other moms talk about. Well-meaning friends and relatives were becoming increasing frustrated as each day came and went without a baby. The truth is I was not at all upset. I cherished every hour that I was allowed to assist God in this most precious creation. – Kim
One week before giving birth to my first born I was feeling anxiousness, excitement, and I was uncomfortable because it felt like his feet were lodged in my ribs, but the anticipation of pushing this gift from God, this little miracle out of my body was and still is the most overwhelming sense of happiness I’ve ever experienced. – Sydne
The week leading up to giving birth to my first child was a roller coaster of emotion. Fear, excitement, anxiety, anticipation, all wrapped up in the blessing that would soon arrive. Physically I was exhausted and I worried if my body could handle the natural childbirth I had opted for. So many questions ran through my mind…would I be a good mother? Would my baby be healthy? When that day came, there are no words to describe the experience of giving birth and feeling your newborn laid on your chest for the first time. It is truly a miracle and gift from God! – Kasandra
I was working full-time for an optometrist and on the go and on my feet most of days. Nothing really set in until my last workday, which happened to be 3 days before I had our son. I didn’t experience much honestly until I wasn’t working. I think once I finally relaxed from being on the go, my body decided it was time for a baby. – Christine
The anticipation was overwhelming as I waited for the birth of my first son. He would be 5 1/2 weeks early and a 72-hour labor. As a new Mom, the timing initially was scary but God provided me with a sense of peace knowing we would both be healthy. It was an exciting time but also a sense of nervousness, hoping and praying I was ready to take on this new role of Mommy that God was entrusting me with…pure excitement and joy! – Karyn
The final week leading up to the birth of my first child was filled with much anticipation, joy, excitement and exhaustion. It was also a time fear of the unknown. Fear about being ready to welcome a child into this world…It required so much trust in the Lord and placing it in His hands…The meaning of love had changed drastically after carrying a baby within my womb for 9 months. I was blessed to be given the gift of life. – Lindsey
Motherhood is so important. Thanks to the women above for hearing the call to be Mommies. If you are Mom and would like to share your experience of what you were feeling one week before giving birth, please do so in the comment box below. We would love to hear them.
I was reading about the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and thought to myself “this could be a great topic for Tom’s blog”. I then checked my email and found the new post notification. I’m not a mom, yet. Hope to be blessed with that grace some day. Reading the feelings of the women in your post made me feel closer to Mary on this day of her expectation. As always, great post!
Ha ha! Thanks, MJ! Please share it with others.
Beautiful to read Tom and I appreciate your words and devotion to our blessed mother. We had 2 weeks preparation and 25 days total to respond, prepare and greet our daughter filled with joy. My days and hours of adoration with the Lord filled me with great peace and joy – especially when I knew Maribeth’s birth mom was also full of the sacraments and eager to gift us with our daughter. God is amazing and I’m still in awe that I was in the delivery room experiencing my only delivery surrounded by a room full of faithful holy people. To this day I pray for the faith to continue to lean heavily on the lives of Mary and Joseph. How did they stay hidden and move around quietly and still manage to raise a child to adulthood that people either love or hate. Mary is the best mother that always walks faithfully with God’s people as our witness. The catholic church was a leader in blessing infertile families with God’s children through local US adoption and I do hope we lead the world again always providing lives filled with the love of God outside the womb. Oh so the week before I spent most of the time giggling that once again God wasn’t outdone in his generosity!
I believe Mary thought about heavenly things almost to the exclusion of the things of earth and therefore her thoughts were more similar to her Son’s thoughts and the “why”, the purpose of the incarnation (the atonement of sin and the redemption of all mankind) than they were to the thoughts of good mothers.
I believe Mary was conscious of the unfathomable fact that She and Joseph would have the Son of God subject to them, as He would be the infinitely perfect embodiment of the Fourth Commandment because He is the Son of God and therefore of the exact same infinite nature as the Father, and His human Will would reveal perfectly the changeless, infinite, always in the present tense Divine Will. She was thankful to God for preparing and giving her St. Joseph to be her spouse and the head of the family and she prayed and sacrificed for him and did all she could to help him understand his role, as head of the family, in raising Jesus and setting the most perfect example of Fatherhood possible for the Child who was perfection already.
I believe she thought ahead to the circumcision and their role in the shedding of Her Son’s blood. I believe she understood the scripture of Isaiah concerning “the suffering redeemer” and she understood that The Son of God must voluntarily suffer, in atonement for sinners, more than any other human would be capable of suffering and because He IS GOD, He must eternally will to suffer for all sinners and therefore this shedding of blood at His circumcision was of infinite value and perfectly united to His shedding of blood on the cross and therefore she united Her prayers with the infinite Divine Will of Her son, the Son of God, as He willed to suffer this pain for all sinners.