Babies in the Womb Have Become the Fatherless in Our Land
“Man does not know its price, nor is it found in the land of the living” (Job 28:13).
I believe the greatest assault that we are facing today is the spirit of death—and it stems from not valuing and having a reverence for life. The world has become more and more detached from the One who deems us valuable. When we are not connected to the source of our value, then we are unable to see that value in ourselves and in others.
Currently I work as a doula and also was just accepted to midwifery school. One of my requirements to being a midwifery student is to keep my neonatal resuscitation certification current. At my renewal class recently, our instructor Karen Strange was talking to us about research that psychologists have conducted of babies in the womb.
Psychiatrist Thomas Verney, author of The Secret Life of the Unborn Child has studied how children respond to stimuli in the womb and how the majority of their personalities are crafted during the prenatal period! This is a big statement yet also a truth reflected in Psalm 139.
Children in the womb are affected by outside circumstances, as we see demonstrated in the biblical account of Luke: “When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She spoke out with a loud voice, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Indeed, as soon as the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy'” (Luke 1:41-44).
How does all of this tie into the truth that the fatherless in the land are babies in the womb? Let me share with you a bit of my story. My mom and dad were married for seven years before I was born.
During that time period, my mom was told that she wouldn’t ever conceive children as she struggled with infertility. The doctors told her to give up on her fifth or sixth round of fertility treatment and that they could try again in a few months. During that waiting period, unbeknownst to her, she conceived me!
I was conceived in the midst of emotional turmoil for my parents. My dad had lost yet another job; the pull depression had on him was becoming stronger each day. During my prenatal period, my mother was caring for her dying mother—all the while walking on eggshells around her suicidal husband, who was in and out of the hospital on a regular basis. Then when I was about 10 weeks gestation age, trauma shook my mother to the core. Her mother passed away and she was overcome with grief. Still she didn’t know that a life was growing within her.
My mother got sick from what she thought was grief, until one of her coworkers convinced her to take a pregnancy test. My mother, a nurse, thought her co-worker was out of her mind—but she obliged and she was surprised when the results came back positive. So many emotions swept over my mother at the news: elation, shock, joy, sorrow, loss, grief, fear, love… all of which I felt as well, hidden within my mother’s womb.
When my mother shared the news with my father, his first reactions were based on an all-too-common premise that this baby is a burden. He asked, “How am I going to provide for this baby? I can’t keep a job.” Self-hatred was brewing within him all the more.
My whole prenatal period was very hard for my mother. Not only was she working an incredibly demanding schedule as an operating room nurse, but she was constantly faced with the fear that she would arrive home to a dead husband.
No one should have to go through this, especially a pre-born baby who has no idea why the bodies of mother and child are being pumped with a cocktail of hormones: cortisol (from stress), adrenaline (from fear) and serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine from grief, sorrow and sadness.
Children in the womb respond to these outside stimuli by going into what is known as “survival mode” or “fight or flight,” which inhibits their growth and development.
In my case, not only were there lasting physical effects from being gestated in this plethora of emotions. I also adopted the beliefs that I was a burden, that my father didn’t want me and that I caused grief—all of which lead to a life of severe self-hatred, among other problems.
See, my father dismissed me during the prenatal period. He was overcome with grief and sorrow. Therefore, one of the foundational beliefs of my life was that my father didn’t love me, that he didn’t want me and that I was a burden. I was affected by fatherlessness from conception throughout the course of my life until I found myself in Christ, adopted into the kingdom of my Father.
Years later, I discovered what my heavenly Father says about me in His Word. Ephesians 1:4-5 proclaims, “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”
God chose us—He chose me—before He even created the world! That right there tells me that humans are valuable to God, more valuable than anything else, because He chose us to be adopted into His family through Jesus. And His Word says He was and is pleased with that decision!
Jeremiah 1:5 states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you were born I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations. ” The Father placed value on you before He formed you in your mother’s womb! While He was forming you there, He was writing all of your days in His book (Ps. 139:16).
Through my heavenly Father’s words, I have found healing and perspective to completely forgive my earthly father—feeling compassion for a broken, needy man who was only hurting because he too hurt deep inside.
This Father’s Day, let us not forget that children are affected by how we treat them during their prenatal period. Children can feel the effects of fatherlessness even in the womb, and it is during this period that their personalities are shaped the most. Do we want to continue to create a culture of fatherless children—or will the fathers rise up to care for their babies when it matters most, during their formation?
It’s time to pray for fathers in America to lead and nurture their families. Amidst your Father’s Day celebrations, pray for “the hearts of the fathers be turned to their children” (Mal. 4:6a) and for the consciousness of America to be awakened towards the value of the developing child.
Catherine DeVeauis birth doula and birth photographer with Live Free Baby and is involved with Symphony House of Prayer in Manchester, New Hampshire. She holds an associate degree in Early Childhood Education and has been accepted to Mercy in Action College of Midwifery in Boise, Idaho, to start this fall in pursuit of her Certified Professional Midwife license. Passionate about how birth relates to our spiritual walk, Catherine believes healing our practices of pregnancy, labor and birth can help heal our culture.