When an unexpected child comes

WHEN a pregnancy is unplanned or considered a ``mistake,'' married couples often feel a great deal of anxiety about the responsibilities and financial burdens of a child. It may be carried to term under a cloud of stress, fear, and condemnation. Having a child might not appear to be the best thing for a family, and certainly a couple should carefully consider the obligations and responsibilities that a child might bring. But once a child is conceived, the fact that it is unplanned need not mitigate the value and worth of the child in the eyes of parents or society. Nor does a new child have to be an unbearable burden to a family. Looking at things from a spiritual basis, parents can bring great light to the situation and feel divine support for both them and the new child. The truth is, the child represents far more than what the physical senses say. He or she is, in God's sight, what Christ Jesus came to reveal--man as the radiant image of God, man as the beloved offspring of Spirit, not matter. Through prayer, one can cultivate this view of man and see healing results. The experience-changing truth that parents may affirm for their children is that they are actually God's offspring and have only one Parent, God Himself, infinite Love. And because of this spiritual fact, each and every child, each individual, has transcendent worth as God's precious creation. This worth is not parent-generated or self-generated. It is not dependent on heredity or social standing or any material measurement. The real worth of every individual derives from God, from the spiritual fact of each individual's relation to and sonship with God. Man has worth because God values him as His own expression, His image and likeness. There's a beautiful statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, that encapsulates this spiritual view of man's origin and worth. It reads: ``In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being.'' 1 This statement gives powerful spiritual truths that any parent may use in his prayer about children, born or unborn. Embracing our children with the ``love wherewith [God] loved us,'' 2 we free them to express more of their God- derived nature and promise. We free them to express in their character more of that ``true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.'' 3 To see that God loves His spiritual offspring and supplies their every need also destroys fear that we, as human parents, are all alone in raising our children. The parent who trusts God's fatherhood and motherhood, and learns to rely on divine Love to meet the needs of a new child, inevitably experiences practical evidence of God's love and care for His children. A new child may be unexpected, but when seen in the light of Truth, it can never be unwelcome or uncared for. To recognize a child's spiritual promise gives inspiration to break through fear and doubt and embrace the possibilities of something new entering the world--a more spiritual conception of man. 1 Science and Health, p. 63. 2 Ephesians 2:4. 3 John 1:9.

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