I hear this question often when I tell people that I teach natural childbirth classes. I get weird looks and even uncomfortable smiles. I understand that it sounds absurd to many people considering the options available to women in our country these days. Imagine what it must have been like thousands of years ago when women gave birth. Our technologies obviously have advanced astronomically. The information and knowledge we have concerning a woman’s body and how it works is far more advanced. We have a wealth of knowledge and a wealth of medical instruments, machines, and drugs to give a woman the birth she wants. Women today can even choose the day that there baby will be born. That is terribly convenient. So, back to our original question, why in the world would a woman voluntarily choose to wait for a spontaneous birth that could happen at any moment? That is terribly inconvenient. Why would a woman with a healthy pregnancy choose to deny drugs, machines, and even a doctor that sympathetically open their arms to her? Why would she endure pain that could so easily be taken away (so she thinks)?
Having a natural childbirth is in no way “super-spiritual,” and I do not intend to make it sound that way; nevertheless, II do have to be honest and say that I LOVE how God has made our bodies. He has perfectly formed us in the womb and perfectly formed mothers for little creations to come out of the womb! It can really be an amazing experience when we let Him demonstrate His awesome skills without diving in to help Him! Yes, I said it, an amazing experience.
I am so thankful for medicine, c-sections, and any other necessary intervention. Yes, sometimes they are necessary. They save lives! Yet, most of the time, they are not. Birth is mostly normal especially when mom has prepared her body and educated herself.
Let me first share my personal birth experience, so you know where I am coming from:
The birth of my daughter was long and hard. My dad of all people would be able to attest to that! Poor man was sitting on the bed in the next room listening to my struggle. I will not lie. It was the toughest challenge I have ever faced. It brought me physically, emotionally, and spiritually to a place of utter dependence on the Lord. I went into labor around 6 pm the night before Thanksgiving in 2009. The first thing we did was not what you see in the movies. That’s right, we went to Ruth Chris Steakhouse! As we walked out of the steakhouse, the hostess asked me when I was due. “Right now, ” I said as she looked at me with a horrified look. We labored at home until about 5 am making it to the birth center around 5:30 am. The next 12 hours were a crazy whirlwind of getting in and out of the tub, laying in the bed while my poor doula stroked my arm for hours, and resting on my husband and the Lord to pull me through. Our little turkey was born at 6 pm, and we were home by midnight! It was for sure the craziest 24 hours we have ever experienced, yet it was not chaotic at all. It was filled with peace.
My son’s birth was a little different. This time I was planning a water birth. I was so excited. My excitement lasted all the way until I found out at 39 weeks that my little wild man was breech and all tangled up in his cord. The next week in my desperation, I prayed, I hung upside down, I played music at the bottom of my belly, and I went to the chiropractor. I did everything I could to encourage him to flip, but he just could not or would not move. We ended up needing a c-section. Although i was not excited about it, I am thankful we had an option that ended with both of us being healthy and happy.
Both of my birth experiences and the births I have attended have wrecked me in a very good way. I have personally seen and experienced hard labors, easy labors, as well as complicated births. No matter what the experience is, I am amazed by the creation that appears at the end of every one. The amazement never dies. With every little creation I see born, I once again experience the beauty and majesty of the Creator. He is amazing. He has created a woman’s body to perform an amazing task that far surmounts any other physical task I believe we can be called to.
The Creator, God Himself, has orchestrated beautiful things to take place in a woman’s body to ensure a healthy baby is put in her arms. Yes, we live in a fallen world and sometimes birth and labor are complicated. This small percentage can be devastating, but this is also a small percentage of labors and births that proceed naturally as mom’s body and baby need.
There are so many things that amaze me and bring me joy when I think about birth. I think this alone is unique in our society. Perhaps these are also some reasons why other moms choose a natural birth.
Here are just a few of my favorite things about birth that are typically unique to a natural birth:
1. Mom is in tune with her body and can even instinctively know which way to position herself as the baby makes his way down and out. I have seen this with my own eyes!
2. Mom’s mind, soul, and body are empowered to perform a task that seemingly surpasses her own physical strength. When we are weak, He is made strong in us!
3. Marriages grow and prosper as both parties see a gift and strength in each other they have never before discovered.
4. Babies are born aware, alert, and ready to eat!
5. Fear is replaced with peace. Chaos becomes supernatural order.
6. Mom gets to work with her uterus and be fully in control of pushing her baby out with very little assistance.
7. In the right setting with a great provider, mom and dad are trusted to enter into parenthood as a team mostly alone.
8. After birth, mom is proud and empowered. She might even think about trying to lift her car with her new found strength.
My approach to birth is holistic. I believe that any woman who wants a natural birth has to begin her preparation for her birth before she gets pregnant and throughout her pregnancy. Her nutrition and exercise, for example, makes a huge difference in her ability to have the birth she desires. Her emotional and mental preparation, such as dealing with fears of birth or motherhood, impact birth greatly. Lastly, the more support she has, the better! Statistically the support of a husband and/or a doula or friend positively impact birth
I just began a new childbirth series on Sunday. I walked in the room once again to smiling yet nervous faces. These are couples believing they can have a natural birth but not so sure how it is going to happen. My hope for them and all moms and dads hoping for a natural birth is that birth will be embraced as an amazing gift and responsibility to bring forth life. Can we be entrusted with any greater responsibility? I believe that God means for that responsibility to be a joy full of peace, beauty, and strength. It might be a challenge, but who is up for the challenge?
Blessings today to you,
What is your dream birth? This is the question I ask moms when I first…17 February 2014