prayers for anxiety in pregnancy

One of the coolest things about blogging is seeing what brings perfect strangers to your writing. On the “dashboard” of this blog, I can see everyday the list of things that people search for (on search engines) which lead them here. And I am completely fascinated by this feature.

For example: what brings more people to my blog than anything else?

Prayers for a baptism anniversary. The post I wrote for S’s 1st anniversary gets hits from search engines nearly every day. I find this to be a hopeful sign, that people really want to celebrate the third moment of sacraments, to keep remembering and living out their their importance. I’m now even more determined to track down good baptism anniversary prayers each year for my kids’ celebrations so that I have more to share.

Every week I get hits related to cloth diapering. Or mothering. Or the Holy Family. Or celebrating liturgical seasons at home. Lots of Goog.les for prayers or poetry on parenting.

But I would never have guessed that a few months ago, I would start getting all sorts of hits for prayers on pregnancy, once I posted this and this. Again, very inspiring; very hopeful. Except that some of these searches were phrased in ways that broke my heart, that found me wondering about the back stories, even sending a quick prayer out to whomever searched and arrived here. Things like:

“prayer for anxious pregnant woman”

“prayers for pregnancy help”

“prayers for unexpected pregnancy”

The growing number of searches I have seen lately on “prayers for anxiety in pregnancy” have reaffirmed for me how hungry, even desperate, women (and perhaps men) can be in the face of pregnancy. It is not always the blissful nine months of joy and expectation that the baby industry paints in pretty pastels.

There are lots of reasons to be anxious and troubled during pregnancy. Medical reasons: previous miscarriages, a history of infertility, underlying health concerns, unexpected prenatal diagnoses, prepartum depression. Financial reasons: an unplanned pregnancy, the loss of a job, the added strain of one more mouth to feed. Emotional reasons: uncertainty about parenthood, fears for its effect on a marriage or other relationship, stress about the responsibilities it brings.

To say nothing of the run-of-the-mill pregnancy worries:

Is my baby healthy?

Am I healthy?

Will my baby come too early?

Can I handle the pain of childbirth?

So when I was reading through the Book of Psalms last week for work, and I came across this familiar one, I suddenly read it with new eyes and realized that Psalm 139 is a perfect prayer for anxiety in pregnancy.

We’ve all heard those reassuring words, the comforting images of God’s hand holding us wherever we go and the beautiful idea that God has known us intimately from our first days in our mother’s womb. (What Post-Vatican II Catholic didn’t grow up singing, “Yahweh, I Know You Are Near?”)

But I had never before reflected on the fact that the psalmist unites the two – comfort in anxiety and the experience of pregnancy – in a way that speaks directly to those who are facing anguish during this time of waiting and worry.

So today I offer this prayer for all of you who stumble onto this page searching for some word of peace in an anxious time. May the God who knows us from the darkness of the womb bring us comfort in the light of day.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
 
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the winds of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
 
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them – they are more than the sand;
I come to the end – I am still with you.
 
(Ps 139 1-18)
 

All will be well and all will be well; all manner of things will be well.

– Julian of Norwich

29 thoughts on “prayers for anxiety in pregnancy

  1. Ginny Kubitz Moyer says:

    What beautiful sentiments — and what a gorgeous psalm. I too love the Bible passages that relate to childbirth or pregnancy. (And now I’m singing “Yahweh, I Know You Are Near” in my head — I’m one of those post- VII Catholic kids!).

  2. LKF says:

    Thanks, Ginny! I agree – I love the Scripture passages on pregnancy and birth (and nursing), too. I have a few of those I’ve been musing on for another post.
    And yeah, that song has been in my head all.day.long now. Too catchy, that one!

  3. Lauren says:

    As I prayed this morning, these were the words from the gospel that I ruminated on: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

    Your post blends so well with that concept. Reading through this psalm again was the perfect mid-morning reminder of my early morning prayer.

  4. Angela says:

    Just recently found out I am pregnant and having terrible anxiety attacks, I’m so glad I came across this page! Plus it’s also nice to know your not alone in this other people have been there too. Loved the prayer, thank you!

    • mothering spirit says:

      Thank you for stopping by, Angela. I’ll be praying for you – anxiety & pregnancy are a tough combo, I know. But you are definitely not alone. I continue to be surprised as I learn how many women go through this. My prayer is that we can support each other – peace.

  5. belle says:

    Thank U.i feel so much better after readin ths, im due any moment from now and I find myself worrying abt so many things, I know God is with me all the way. I ask for ur hand in prayers for me and my baby- tx Belle

  6. harriet says:

    am 5months pregnant and am going through a separation with my husband and i have a 3yr old girl , am really anxious about how life is goona be , plz pray for me

    • Jennifer says:

      @ harriet, I will pray for you! God loves you so much and you can find so much comfort and peace in Him. I will send up many prayers for you tonight! I have anxiety because it has been two years of trying to conceive and we just found out we are pregnant. I want this so much and I have such a fear of loosing this baby. I know it is Satan trying to steal my joy. I will not let him win. God bless all of you reading this & peace and joy those trying to conceive and having anxious thoughts. Don’t borrow trouble from the future!

  7. Marnie says:

    My 17 year old daughter and her 17 year old boyfriend recently came to me and told me they were pregnant. It has been a struggle for the whole family to come to terms. I have prayed daily for them. I knitted her boyfriend a prayer shawl and as I was looking for prayers to say over it as it was made and before it was given I came across this site. It has been a help for me, and inspired me to hold both my daughters shawl and his shawl to combine the prayers and love and hope I have for them together and to hope the strength of those prayers will combine so they always know they are not alone.

  8. Lourdes and baby girl says:

    I want to thank you for this prayer i havent had the best pregnancy my partner left me and is having another child i had to get a cerclage because i almost lost my baby and now i’am back again in the hospital for bleeding i’m alone but i know god is with me and all i have is to search for prayers to relieve my anxiety thank u so much

  9. Ozlem Peters says:

    Thank you so much. I really needed to hear this. I am on my 4th pregnancy (my second was not a liable pregnancy). I am one of the worst worries when I am pregnanet. I worry from day one about each day of my pregnancy and I don’t want to be this way. I recently got back on the prayer team at church and feel I am stepping into a new season. I am overweight, financially not ready but blessed that God finds me worthy enough to make me a mother once again. I place myself in the palm of HIS and trust only HIM. Thank you so much.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Just an update, it has been a year since my last post and, thank you Jesus, we have a perfectly healthy baby girl!! Looking back on it, I wish I would have relaxed and “enjoyed the ride” a little more than I did. Being pregnant is experiencing a miracle! Give your worries to God and rest in His caring arms. God bless all of you reading this and those experiencing any anxiety. Give it all to the Lord. 🙂

    • Laura says:

      Congratulations on your perfect gift, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing your joy, and for telling the rest of your story. Blessings on your journey as a mom.

  11. Katie says:

    Just wandered here following links from your most recent post… this psalm was the one I turned to in the dark moments of infertility. Its where the name of my (private) blog comes from. I’m almost 19 weeks along now, and this pregnancy has been filled with anxiety, especially right before every ultrasound and I have one coming up this Saturday… I think I will be praying this psalm again this week.

  12. Amanda says:

    Just came across your post and it helped bring a little sigh of relief to my worried mind. Then, like it was a sign the baby moved 🙂 thank you for your inspiring words and leading me to this Psalm.

  13. artyfooty says:

    I have had 4 previous miscarriages. I have just found out I am pregnant after trying for over 1 year. My husband & I are over the moon about it, but every now again worry creeps in. We do feel more at peace with this pregnancy and reading your blog & being reminded of Psalm 139 has been a great source of encouragement. Since the last miscarriage God laid the verse from John 14:27 on my heart regarding, peace and not being afraid. We know that God has this all in His hands and is in control. I will be using Psalm 139 and other scriptures/verses often when the niggles of doubt creep in. Please keep us in your prayers. Thank you again for your insightful blog.

    • Laura says:

      Praying for you and your husband and your baby! I hope you will know God’s peace and love during times of worry. Psalm 139 is such a source of comfort for me as well.

      • Imani says:

        What a wonderful anointed page you have created! I was one of those searching for prayers during pregnancy. I am 12 weeks pregnant and have been gripped by anxiety since finding out. Worries about whether it would stick, my levels, the multitude of testing ect. I got down on myself because I know The Lord, his word and his promises. I just have not been able to apply them in this situation. As many have said, it’s so good to know that I’m not the only one and today after returning from yet another round of test I have decided that I will give it all to God. Through out all my searches, this page sits the best with my spirit. I can feel Gods presence here and I know that you truly have a heart for the people who come here looking for something. I pray that God continues to bless you for your obedience! I have this bookmarked and I can’t wait to continue visiting. May God bring the peace that surpasses all understanding and the good health and healing to each and everyone here. I hope you get a million testimonies and praise reports!!! Please keep me in prayer. #pregnancyblessings

      • Laura says:

        Oh, Imani, your words have lifted me up today more than you know. It is a privilege and a gift to pray for all of you who are waiting and hoping. You will continue to be in my prayers and I hope that you will continue to feel God’s love carrying you through. Peace to you today.

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