Pregnancy might be the best image for the season of Advent. It is a time of active waiting like no other. While the people of God waited for the Messiah in an abstract sort of way, Mary experienced that waiting as an intimate, personal part of her everyday life. She knew that changes that took place in her body, the times of inevitable discomfort made bearable by the hope of all that the birth would bring. She knew that she needed to prepare not only herself but her home for the new arrival. An unborn child represents hope and potential and possibility. It is completely dependent on its mother and yet has its own life separate from the body it shares during those nine months. The mother experiences the growing life inside of her and yet knows throughout the process that the coming separation is necessary for the new life to thrive.
How can you support pregnant women in a way that calms their fear and encourages the joyfulness of their waiting? Be sensitive to the many ways in which mothers-to-be approach this experience. Be willing to listen patiently on the inevitable bad days. Often practical help is most appreciated, especially if there are other little ones at home. Be mindful of the added burdens pregnancy can bring to poor women. Find out if there are local organizations that reach out to them and donate time, money, or supplies. Through it all, remember to pray for mothers-to-be and their unborn children.
—from the book The Joy of Advent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek