A sweet reader, who happens to be 35 weeks pregnant, messaged me a couple of days ago (hi Claire!) asking about observing Lent while with child. In previous years she's incorporated fasting into her Lenten observance, something that won't really work during this season of her life. Normally I would just respond to her message personally, but since I have to write a post today anyway, all of you get to see what I would say. Lucky!
For me the first thing to keep in mind is that observing Lent is neither a competition between you and anyone else NOR is it even a competition between you and yourself. Either of these approaches can lead to undue focus on self rather than on preparing for the glory of Easter by focusing on Jesus. So instead of a competition, we ought to strive to frame everything in terms of preparation. Giving something up for Lent is a common way to unite ourselves with Christ's suffering in the time leading up to His crucifixion.
I feel like I need to pause here and tell some kind of joke because I've said too many serious things in a row. Oh! Paul tried to tell Cecilia today that a burglar came and stole her unicorn's clothes (long story) but Ceci just laughed at him because "everyone knows that burglars only steal burgers!"
If you like the giving-upping aspect of Lent, giving up something like sugar or tea or insert-your-favorite-daily-treat-here, is perfect if you're pregnant. It will be something that reminds you daily to meditate on and give thanks for Christ's willingness to suffer. Each time you have to deny yourself that thing you're so accustomed to having, you'll be called to prayer and thanksgiving.
Another option would be to Take Up something. Maybe a decade of the rosary per day. Or maybe an entire rosary. Or to pray four novenas in a row (not in one day. Okay, I mean you could do it all in one day, but you might fall into the competition instead of preparation trap, know what I'm sayin'?). Maybe you've always wondered if you could make daily Mass a part of your routine. A pregnant Lent might be a good time to give it a try.
Or how about something that doesn't seem holy per se but might push you more toward holiness? For me, for example, I know the domestic realm is my vocation but I happen to really stink at...most things domestic. If I took up deep cleaning a small section of my home every day, that would certainly remind me to give thanks for Christ's suffering. It would also require that I give up something else I enjoy (hello internet. I love you) so I would have enough time to accomplish it and it would benefit my family because, you know, the house would be so...taken care of. That's another sort of thing I could, and probably should, take up for Lent this year since I am also totally pregnant.
Okay, I think that's probably enough from me. Hope this helps a bit and congratulations on your baby! Homestretch, girl. You can doooooooooo iiiiiiiiiiiiit!