Mother's Day Interview Series: A New Christian Mother's Journey Under Pandemic

A picture shows apregnant mother is making a heart gesture over her belly.
A picture shows apregnant mother is making a heart gesture over her belly. (photo:
By Steve Sun May 11th, 2022

Editor's note: Mother's Day 2022 has already passed. Before Mother's Day, Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, interviewed five Christian mothers about their faith and testimonies regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. Some of them are novice mothers, some of them have children who have just entered primary school, and some of their children have already graduated from college and are about to enter the workplace.

This interview is about a new mom Sister Zoe Zhang who is a Christian living in Hainan. Her son is around one and a half years old now. From pregnancy to childbirth, she experienced the hardships of parenting and the joy of life growth. 

Christian Times: What was your emotional journey from pregnancy to childbirth during the pandemic?

Sister Zoe Zhang: During my pregnancy and childbirth, I experienced some painful things. The time I was pregnant was the time of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, and I felt anxious because of its rapid spread. Before the baby was born, I was so worried about his health. Thank God, the child is very healthy and lovely, and I am pretty sure that it’s God's mercy and grace.

When I’ve got pregnant during the pandemic, on the one hand, I was very happy to become a mother, but on the other hand, I really felt a bit uneasy. At that time, I’ve learned the background story of a hymn "Because He Lives":  At the end of the 1960s, American society was full of the "God is dead" arguments. At that time, the Vietnam War was fierce, and the American people fell into a deep depression. Under this situation, a Christian named Gloria found that she was pregnant. Her relatives and friends thought it was not a good time to get pregnant at all. Once, Gloria was very touched while reading the Bible, and then she realized that “the Lord is still alive and he is still in power”. So she wrote this hymn together with Mr. Bill. They were convinced that although the future of the child was unpredictable, the Lord is alive, so they didn't need to fear anything and life is still full of hope.

This hymn also inspires me. The future of my child is unpredictable, but I believe that my Lord is alive. I no longer have any fears about the future, and our lives are full of hope.

Christian Times: As a mother, what is the most satisfying part of raising a child?

Sister Zoe Zhang: It’s about seeing the child growing up healthy and making progress every day.

Children grow up in better economic conditions now, but at the same time, the anxiety of parents has increased countless times. After reading many parenting books and parenting bloggers' posts, as a novice mother, I often put my child into their description. For example, I was worried about whether my child had cerebral palsy or sunset eye? Similar worries appeared in my mind from time to time before he reached one year old. Of course, I also brought these worries to God, asking Him to let the child be healthy and normal. My worries were shattered one by one as the kid grew up, and some “abnormal” symptoms were just the baby’s staged features.

Now my son is one and a half years old, he grows up every day in terms of emotions, motor abilities, language abilities, etc., which often surprises me. For me, the most comforting thing is when my husband and I pray, my child really likes listening to our prayer.

Christian Times: What’s the thing you feel worried about and afraid of the most in parenting?

Sister Zoe Zhang: What worries me the most is while growing up in a non-Christian or anti-Christian culture, he will waiver in his faith.

Modern education encourages children to read widely, but it also means that children are exposed to non-Christian and even anti-Christian views in a variety of books. For a period of time, whenever I thought about this, I was really worried and scared. I talked with two Christian educators, and after listening to their views, my heart is at ease now. It is impossible for us to keep our children in the ivory tower of faith, which is probably extremely conservative and unhealthy. Children can and need to have connections with society and read widely.

Christian Times: Compared with the love of a father, what’s the unique point of a mother’s love in raising children?

Sister Zoe Zhang: A child is especially dependent on the mother before the age of three. During these three years, the mother can give the child a sense of security, which cannot be replaced by the father or anyone else. Also in these three years, mother and child are one, and the mother is the whole world for the child. What makes me proud is that from his birth to one and a half years old, I was able to accompany him day and night.

Christian Times: What’s the thing you do not do well, and what are your expectations for your child?

Sister Zoe Zhang: I pray too little for him. And as he grows up, we parents should tell him more stories, listen to hymns together with him, etc. Sometimes, I don’t have enough time to do these things, so I just cut them off and only take care of his physical needs.

I expect that he could be healthy and excellent in body, soul, and spirit, and become a person with bright life and full of hope.

Christian Times: As a mother, what do you think you need to improve on?

Sister Zoe Zhang: Deeds speak louder than words. I think as a mother, I need to have good devotional habits. My child will see what I do and come to know that it’s important and valuable to be close to God every day. In addition, I need to be in love and harmony with my husband and be the person who always supports him, so that the family will be more orderly and loving.

When the child is rebellious, it’s important to not verbally ask God to subdue him in prayer (also do not let him hear such prayers). Otherwise, the child will feel that God is a tool used by his mother to force him to obey, and he will not have a good impression of God. This is my personal opinion. Because I see a lot of second-generation Christians who are anti-faith and anti-God. The reason could be that their parents may “treat” and “suppress” them in the name of God or faith when they were young. 

- Translated by Katherine Guo

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