First-time pregnancy can be a disorientating time for a couple, as changes occur so quickly and hopes run so high. But it can be even more confusing and isolating in a culture in which issues relating to pregnancy and childbirth are rarely discussed, and superstitions proliferate.
That’s where a new SAT-7 PARS programme called Forty (“Chehel” in Farsi) comes in. The title refers to the forty weeks of a full-term gestation, and the show is designed to give expectant parents objective and accurate information to guide them as they await the arrival of their child.
The programme was inspired by the experience of its producer and presenter, Sally Momtaeizani. “My own pregnancy was not very easy, and although my husband and I thought we were prepared for it, we really weren’t. Even when you think you are prepared you don’t know what kind of challenges you will face.”
Forty is one of very few unbiased, educational resources available to Persian-speakers in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, where a number of irrational beliefs around pregnancy and childbirth are still prevalent. One tradition, for example, claims that if a woman is active and good-tempered during her pregnancy she will give birth to a boy, whereas sluggishness and bad temper will ensure the birth of a girl.
Ideas like these can jeopardise pregnancies or force couples apart. To counter this, ten engaging episodes of Forty aim to cover all aspects of pregnancy from both a practical and spiritual point of view. Carefully tracking the week-by-week development of the child, the programme explores the changes the mother will be experiencing in her body, hormones, diet and emotions, and how the father is also affected during this time.
Contributors include a psychologist, nutritionist and theologian. They are all careful not to dictate the choices that viewers should make during pregnancy, but rather to equip them with the tools necessary to make their own decisions.
Ensuring that people know they are not alone in what they face is invaluable in reducing stress. The show is not shy in tackling thorny issues such as abortion, depression and relationship pressures. People are invited to share their experiences firsthand, opening up about difficulties they have faced, and how God has helped them through.
By providing much-needed information, spiritual support and practical advice, SAT-7 hopes parents-to-be will be equipped to embrace the challenges they face together, so that their child can be welcomed with love and joy into their new family.
- Thank God for Sally Momtaeizani’s vision to help parents-to-be, and pray for anointing for the Forty team.
- On Christmas Day, we give thanks for the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank God for Anna and Simeon who prayed and waited expectantly for his arrival, and pray for those today who are earnestly seeking answers to their deepest longings.
- Pray that fathers in the region would be inspired by the tenderness and strength of their heavenly Father.
- Pray for mothers bringing children into a world of heightened risk. Ask that they would know peace, protection and answered prayers.
- Praise God for the birth of a new generation of children in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and ask that they will know the love of God and see their nations transformed by it.