Grandmother’s devotion to Ste. Anne leads to birth of daughter’s ‘miracle baby’
Jul 26, 2020
Lena Dabish-Bahri had given up on becoming pregnant, but thanks to her mother’s prayers and Ste. Anne’s intercession, she now has a baby boy
DETROIT — Lena Dabish-Bahri had given up on having a baby. In her 40s and recently married, her attempts to get pregnant had been unsuccessful, and she was ready to throw in the towel.
Her own mother? Not so much.
Fortunately for Dabish-Bahri, Inam Dabish refused to give up praying for a grandchild and recruited a powerful ally for her daughter.
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“I told Ste. Anne, ‘I want to be a grandma like you,’” Inan Dabish said.
It didn’t take long for the grandmother of Jesus to come through. As Dabish and Dabish-Bahri spoke with Detroit Catholic on July 10, 15-month-old Xander — or, as his grandma affectionately calls him, her “miracle baby” — chattered and played at his mother and grandmother’s feet.
When Dabish-Bahri looks at Xander even now, she still can’t believe she has a son.
“I got married at 41 years old, and we decided that we wanted to try to have a child together. I thought it was going to be an easy journey, but it actually wasn’t,” said Dabish-Bahri, who attends St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield.
Dabish-Bahri underwent surgery as she grappled with her infertility, after which the doctors told her she had a 10 percent chance of becoming pregnant on her own. Nothing she tried worked, leaving her frustrated and confused.
“There was nothing wrong with me; it just wasn’t happening,” Dabish-Bahri said. “After that, I kind of gave up because I was an emotional wreck from it and I felt pressured. Every time I saw family, they would ask me questions about when I was having a baby, and it got to the point where I was really having severe anxiety from it.”
In June 2019, Dabish-Bahri decided the process was too much for her, and decided to focus her attention instead on her new business.
Dabish, however, refused to give up. Every time Dabish-Bahri entered the house, Dabish would pray over her abdomen, blessing it with holy oil. The next month, Dabish’s prayers became more fervent as July 26, the feast of Ste. Anne, Mary’s mother and Jesus’s grandmother, approached.
Dabish had always had a devotion to Ste. Anne and had been participating in the novena leading up to her feast day at Ste. Anne Parish (now the Basilica of Ste. Anne) in southwest Detroit for 30 years. According to Church tradition, Ste. Anne also was childless until she fasted and prayed for 40 days for God to send her a child.
As a young girl, Dabish-Bahri remembers traveling to Quebec to visit the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, and while there, praying for another close relative to become pregnant — a prayer that was answered shortly after the family returned from their pilgrimage.
“My mom said, ‘I am going to pray to Ste. Anne,” Dabish-Bahri said. “I said, ‘Mom, OK, pray. Whatever you want to do, do, but I’m OK with the way things are right now.’”
While attending the feast day Mass, Dabish met another devotee of Ste. Anne’s who promised to pray that Dabish-Bahri would be blessed with a baby.
“She prayed, ‘Open up Lena’s womb for her to have a baby,’” Dabish-Bahri said. “This lady prayed with her whole heart and told my mom, ‘Your daughter is going to be pregnant next month.’”
When Dabish relayed all this to Dabish-Bahri, she met her mom’s story with disbelief.
Sure enough, the next month, Dabish-Bahri began feeling unwell, something she attributed to her intense workouts and back pain. She saw her chiropractor, but nothing seemed to alleviate her discomfort. Her husband encouraged her to take a pregnancy test, but Dabish-Bahri was reluctant to face the discouragement of another negative test. Finally, she relented.
“I took the test and it turned positive, and I just started screaming at the top of my lungs,” Dabish-Bahri said. “I couldn’t believe it. We all were crying and so joyful. Of course, I called my mom and told her right away.”
At 44 years old, Dabish-Bahri gave birth to a healthy baby boy after an uncomplicated pregnancy. Dabish-Bahri believes that if it weren’t for her mother’s prayers and her unyielding devotion to Ste. Anne, Xander would never have been born.
“I believe God puts things in your life for a reason and in his own timing,” Dabish-Bahri said. “Sometimes we try to take things into our own hands, but the Holy Spirit will always help you.”
After Dabish-Bahri found out she was pregnant, other women who were facing problems with infertility reached out to her wanting to know what happened.
“I just said, ‘My mom just prayed,’” Dabish-Bahri said. “My mom just kept praying and we kept praying. I am not going to lie, my mom prayed more than anyone else because she wanted to have a grandchild so badly.”
Dabish-Bahri knows how much of a toll infertility takes on women and she wants others to know the best thing they can do is place their faith and trust in God’s hands.
“I want people to know that when you have the faith and you really just put (your intentions) in God’s hands, it can happen,” Dabish-Bahri said. “But you just have to be ready not to leave it in your own hands anymore.”