New life within brings light into Lent’s solemnity

By Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher, Clarion Herald

The rain was pouring down, and I was struggling to find my keys in my purse. Looking up, I noticed an elderly woman who had just come in from the rain. She was smiling – at 9 a.m. in the morning, outside of the lab to get bloodwork.

There was no reason to smile – the line was long; the weather was awful. But smile she did. And then, “Congratulations.” It took me a moment. “Do you know what you’re having?” It clicked. “Twin boys.”

When I first began telling people that I was pregnant, mothers recalled their own experiences of their pregnancy. I was warned about those strangers who felt like they needed to touch the bump, and the invasion of privacy experienced.

What they didn’t share was the experience I recounted: the warmth, the excitement, even from total strangers. The smiles that light up faces just as people notice the very clear fact that I am pregnant.

Those are the moments I hadn’t expected. That, and my husband’s continual awe. One morning, as he felt the kicks for the first time, he just kept his hand on my belly. “I feel like I just need to keep pinching myself,” he said.

Not only because our journey to this point has been long, and the stress has mounted, but because often it feels surreal. But each new milestone reminds me of the reality. The 20-week ultrasound and anatomy scan, the hospital tour, the birthing classes. With each item checked off the list, it becomes more and more real – the fact that these lives will be entering the world in just a few short months.

Everyone says that your life changes as soon as children enter the picture. I was talking to a friend who kept telling me that she asked what that meant, but it wasn’t until after the arrival that she truly experienced what that meant.

In some ways, though, I think the change occurs before we even meet our children – our mindset changes. It has to. It’s amazing how quickly time passes. This Lent, as I’ve been reflecting and preparing myself for the coming Easter, the phrasing that sticks out to me is “new life.” Of course, Lent is the time for darkness, but it’s a darkness illuminated by the surety of life.

With each passing day, as I feel the kicks strengthening within, I’m also looking outward – to the time that has passed, but also to the time that is to come. For me, it’s been a perfect encapsulation of the purpose of these 40 days.

Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at

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