It is a cool breezy morning. I walk past the hospital lawns to get to my antenatal appointment, about 30 weeks pregnant.

On a similar autumn morning two years ago, I had sat on the very same lawn in tears, after a night of the uncomfortable balloon catheter and a failed attempt to break my waters, 24 hours before Harrison was born.

Looking up from the lawns, I can see the window of his birthing suite. What a special place full of intense memories.

I have just received a text from a friend that she is rolling into theatre right now in this very same building. She is about to meet her twin babies today, and I cannot contain my excitement for her.

I walk past newborns and birthing suites to get to my appointment room. I cry every time I see a newborn lately, so I know I’m in the third trimester getting ready to meet my baby!

New life fills us with so much awe and wonder and gratitude. I’m feeling again, for the first time since Harry’s birth, an overwhelming sense of how much of a gift life is, how fragile and utterly dependent a tiny baby is, and how much love and nurture they need.

Those feelings sustained me through the first months of motherhood, and I remember them spilling over to my stepson, even though I did not birth him or know him as a baby.

Now my thoughts are turning to my next baby the way I had thought about Harry before he was born.

With her, I have two extra years of experience as a mother. My first pregnancy was a roller coaster of emotions and worry about my changing family structure, but this time it is hardly a blip on the radar. I have had two more years of struggle and hopefully wisdom as a mum, and out of that comes the naming of my baby with what’s moved my heart most deeply lately: grace.

It came from a book I read: Parenting by Paul David Tripp. The grace-laden e-pages were like waves that washed over me, soothing the frustrations and anger over difficult and disobedient behaviour.

“I need more of this in my parenting!” My heart cried. It cried for all the times I am not like this to my kid/s (it gets harder as they get older :P). It softened my heart to have more mercy…instead of calling every single bad behaviour to account because I want my orders obeyed.

I don’t know how to capture it for you here, except to say the book presented a perspective that didn’t demand more perfection from me, or the kids. It seemed to be a recipe for more patient and joyful parenting. It focused on how we are all works in progress in the loving arms of a heavenly father — a perspective I think all can share regardless of religion.

I quote from a book review (because I am running out of child free time!) the essence of what moved my heart:

“Children need compassion, understanding, patience, acceptance, forgiveness, grace more than criticism, judgment, condemnation, punishment (although they need authority, rules, enforcement, accountability).

Don’t settle for winning the battle over the behavior; fight for heart behind the behavior.

Move towards children with grace of forgiveness, wisdom, correction, rescue; don’t give way to irritation, frustration, impatience, discouragement.”

When our baby is born in May, we will most likely call her Gracie. I hope I will always be able to draw on the magical feeling of holding our new baby, to remember that our children (and any other children we get the privilege of caring for now and in the future) are priceless treasures.

May her name always remind me of the way of grace, and our home life abound with it even in chaotic desperate times…when laundry and lunches have once again cluttered the clarity of vision I have in this quiet moment.