My mother has multiple items around her house—picture frames, plaques, coffee mugs—with variations on the verse from Proverbs saying that grandchildren are a blessing from the Lord. She believes and lives that, but I don’t know if she realizes what an impact she had on the development of those grandchildren, especially those carried by me, her daughter. I’m talking, in part, about the modeling of healthy, loving pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood that she so beautifully shared and continues to share through her life. Beyond that, though, I’m thinking about the way that God directly used her to create part of the genetic material within her body before I was even born for the grandchildren that I delivered. You see, the eggs that are in my body grew and formed in her, before I was even a baby out in the world!
Starting around nine weeks of age from conception, a baby girl’s body starts to form what will become her future eggs with in her tiny ovaries. By approximately 18 weeks of pregnancy, a baby girl—within her mother—holds in her little body’s infant ovaries all of the eggs that she will ever have. No more eggs will be made, and that’s okay since there are millions of them, all of which are created and nurtured within each baby girl’s mother’s womb. Each egg contains 23 chromosomes, which are spirals of DNA that will compose half of the genetic material for that baby girl’s future children.
So, pregnant mothers, when you are praying for your babies, and you imagine how the babies will grow and what they will be like in the far distant future when they grow up, you can be praying for the groundwork of your grandchildren that might be happening too!
I’m so thankful that my mother prayed and stayed healthy and loved us all so much before she knew us.
These musings also make me feel that much more grateful to my patron saint, Saint Anna. Following what I shared above, the human genetic material that Panaghia gave to God’s son, Jesus Christ, was first loved and nurtured within Saint Anna’s body. She was older when she was pregnant with her baby girl, and I imagine that she prayed and fasted and longed to have a child for years before that. Panaghia was a much prayed for baby and a much loved baby.
Love grows love, and for Saint Anna, her love helped to grow LOVE—for God is LOVE.
To all women with grandchildren, look at the beautiful love that you have shared and the beautiful lives that you have nurtured beyond just those that you delivered. To the women who are pregnant or who have already delivered their own babies, pray for and love those grandchildren in advance. Glory to God for how beautifully created we are and how amazingly linked into His creative process we women are.
“Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children.”