A year later…

If you go back to my blog posts of a year ago, they’re rather sparse.

It was a weird time. I was dealing with two of the biggest transition points in my life: being pregnant and looking for my first ever “called-and-installed” church position in the PC(USA). (CRC folks: is that not a great phrase? We need to use it more often!)

The great difficulty about this was that the two transitions were living in some tension. I had no idea how a church would react to a pregnant candidate for a minister position. On top of that about the time I started having phone interviews, my pregnancy veered into the “high-risk” category, meaning that I was eventually going to have to explain to a church that I was (a) pregnant and (b) could be put on bedrest in Northwestern Hospital at any time. Oh, and (c) if the church was more than an hour from Northwestern, I probably couldn’t get permission from my OB-GYN to travel for a face-to-face interview. So, for several months, I kept things a little quiet on my blog.

Well, here, a year, a call, and a baby later, it’s time to share what I wish I could have blogged back then. Here are a few thoughts on being pregnant while you’re engaged in the call process.

  1. Phone interviews are a pretty good thing if you’re starting to grow in the belly area. You can talk to people and be liked for your brain and not your bump. But be prepared. Bad moment: a PNC (translation for non-Presbyterians: Pastor Nominating Committee, i.e. “Search Committee” ) asked what I’d been reading lately. I blanked, because mostly, I was reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting and 100,000 Baby Names. Dead give away. So I lied, and not well. I think I said Calvin’s Institutes. Yep, I didn’t get offered that one…
  2. Really truly, this whole call process is a lot like dating. At some point, I started saying things to friends like, “You know, I think it’s getting pretty serious with church X. How do I tell them about the baby?” Also, an area that I was not very good at: I married the first guy I dated, so I give terrible dating advice on easy things, let alone on “when to tell him about the baby…”
  3. Apparently, I was not the only wacko looking for a call and growing a baby. One PNC told me, “Oh, that’s great. We have one other person right now who’s pregnant, too.” But then, the next week, at the presbytery meeting, I was trying to figure out who the pregnant competition was.
  4. In some ways, being pregnant while you’re seeking a call is great because churches
    really show their true colors about having a child-bearing-woman around. (And don’t forget, even in the main-line-church-world, where women have been ordained for so much longer, where there are denominational policies, etc. many congregations haven’t been through this yet, OR they haven’t been through it in recent memory.) They can’t ask the awkward (and arguably illegal) questions about if you’re planning to have kids and what you’ll do when they arrive, and you can actually SEE how people will react when you’re pregnant. Not that I would recommend it as something to try for: you really don’t need the  emotional drama of both.

Coming soon…how NOT to introduce your spouse to the community where you might be accepting a call…

One Response to “A year later…”

  1. Mary Beth Says:

    I had a very similar experience except within the UMC’s “appointment” process. The DS in the district where I was a candidate didn’t tell the DS in the district where I was going to serve that I was pregnant, so when I met with the new DS to talk about the appointment (which had all but been made) I didn’t realize she didn’t know I was pregnant.

    On top of that, I went to meet with the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee after the appointment had been made, and the DS hadn’t bothered telling them either. So in the middle of the “interview” (a formality, really, since the appointment is already essentially made) the DS suggests that I tell the committee my “good news.”

    With a surprise like that it’s pretty easy to gauge their genuine reaction, and they were obviously all thrilled. But it could’ve been a really weird situation. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be in a call process to determine when the right time is to drop that bomb.