Childbirth: A Window into Motherhood

When I was still pregnant and looking forward to having a natural childbirth because I felt like it was what God wanted for me, it only made sense to me to mine the Scriptures for truths that would translate to this calling, to this experience.

I went through and found a dozen or so verses that spoke to me about this task ahead. They called me to trust God, to have strength, to be patient, to not give up or worry, to remember that God was with me in this task.

One of the verses I came across that stuck to my heart was James 1:2-4: “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow—so let it grow! For when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

While I might not jump to categorizing childbirth as “trouble,” it certainly falls under the heading of “difficult,” making it fitting for my childbirth-readiness repertoire.

As I meditated on and memorized this verse, I was struck by the last few words: “…you will be ready for anything.” And as I began to mull on that, in the context of childbirth, I began to see how childbirth itself can be a microcosm of motherhood, a snapshot of the next decades that await us in those few hours leading up to the start of the thing itself.

Think about it: Typically, labor is difficult. It’s uncomfortable and as soon as you find a position that feels right, something changes and you have to readjust. It causes some women to scream, to grunt, to roar. You become emotional. There’s pain, and sometimes you just don’t know how to deal with it. Sometimes it causes you to writhe, to act unbecomingly, to even tear your flesh. Invariably you are going to want to give up, throw in the towel, escape from the hardships of the process.

But that isn’t all it is. Because at the very end, all of that pain ceases and is replaced with utter joy as you look at the human being you’ve created and cared for all this time. You finally get to see who this person is and, for the first time, you’re getting to see them for who they really are. You loved them before, but now, that love seems overwhelming.

That’s childbirth, but isn’t it also motherhood?

Like labor, motherhood itself is hard and I’m faced, again and again, with those same temptations and emotions of distress, discouragement, difficulty and pain. But we know that is not all there is to it. When Claire was a baby and crying all the time and I admitted to folks how difficult this task was, they all told me a truth to which I can also attest today: It will get easier, it will be worth it, even though right now it may feel like that may never come.

So, in those few hours of labor, perhaps God is giving us a glimpse into the journey that awaits us as mothers over the next years? Perhaps, in the weak moments of motherhood when I feel like I can’t do it anymore and I feel like giving up and like the pain is going to overwhelm me, I can look back at childbirth and be reminded: If I could make it through that, then surely I can endure motherhood. I need not despair or lose confidence or give up hope when those times come. Like the verse says, God has prepared me to be “ready for anything.”

And so I began to see childbirth not as just something to “get through” or something one chooses because she wants to prove herself or even reap positive health benefits. Instead, it became a window into motherhood. Certainly an epidural or a C-section doesn’t rob you of that vantage point, either, but because I felt called to forgo those options for my own reasons, I saw the beauty and gift of the process all the more.

Now that I’m deep in the throes of motherhood, I surely do not “feel” like I’m “ready for anything” in this journey of parenting my daughter, but I turn to this verse and cling to that, reminding myself that I in fact am. That I am ready—like with everything else—by the grace and help of God.

This article first appeared on iBelieve on June 21, 2013.

Related Posts
Why I Wanted to Have a Natural Childbirth
The Practical Preparations for Bringing Home A Baby

1 comment:

  1. Great post! The thing with natural childbirth, at least mine, is you feel invigorated and empowered at the end. I haven't felt that way about motherhood yet. I wonder when that feeling comes.


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