Tuesday, October 09, 2012

My One Birthing Essential

While I was still pregnant with Little Man, I spent some time with a concordance and my Bible, searching for verses to meditate on during labor. By the time I was done, I had a tidy little stack of hand-written index cards. Each card was filled with words of comfort, strength, and adoration from God's Word. It was my first time birthing a baby, and I had no idea what lay in store, what sensations or fears or challenges would arise in the process. What I did know was that the only thing that would get me through was not my birthing ball, my herbal supplement, my doctor, or even my husband (as wonderful and supportive and amazing as he was).

Or myself.

Most birthing books and websites (especially those focusing on natural, intervention-free birth) seem to promote the concept of a feminine empowerment, a sort of mystical embracing of one's true womanhood that can only be accomplished through birth. And while I certainly agree that birth is an amazing, wonderful, and uniquely feminine experience, those ideas have always rubbed me the wrong way. Not only do they seem to exclude those who don't or can't give birth from being "real" women, but I also know with certainty from 24 years of experience that trusting in my own strength leads to failure and disappointment.

No, the one thing that would get me through whatever lay in store would be the One who had my baby's birth planned minute-by-minute from before the foundation of time. No birthing position, no breathing pattern, no relaxation technique, no amount of telling myself that I could do it could compare to the strength that comes only from the Creator of the universe.

As I labored at home into the wee hours of the morning -- aided by that birthing ball and Pablo's calming but undemanding presence -- I meditated on those verses that I had written out. Each passage was a reminder that I was not alone, that the God who had never abandoned me before was not going to leave me to my own devices now.

This time around I decided to re-make my cards, which by now are a bit wrinkled and less than attractive (I just used index cards, after all). Not only did that give me the opportunity to spend some time in meditation as I read and wrote each word again, but it was also rather enjoyable! Finally, a use for the scrapbook paper that I hoard because it's "too pretty to use" (and because I just don't scrapbook). They're not fancy, as I'm not particularly creative when it comes to paper. But I'm more interested in the truths they contain than the stickers I used, anyway.

I feel my first birth experience was remarkably smooth: the baby was positioned perfectly, I had 12 hours of very manageable labor, and with only two-and-a-half hours between our arrival at the hospital and the birth, there was neither the time (nor the need) to discuss interventions before we were holding our sweet baby in our arms. I thank God for those gifts. No, I don't think reading a stack of Bible verses acted as some sort of talisman against complications or desperation. As I prepare for the birth ahead, I know it might not be so {relatively} easy or so brief (especially with a baby that's currently sunny-side up). What I know is that no matter what happens, God will grant us the strength and grace to make it through. It is such a relief knowing that I will not come to the end of my strength if I'm trusting in His, instead. Such a comfort to not worry about whether or not I can do it, but rather know with certainty that I can do all things through Christ.

And it doesn't hurt to remind myself that everyone on the planet was born, one way or another, and that this baby will come out! *wink*

If you're curious, here are the passages I've chosen for my cards:

  • Nehemiah 8:10b
  • Psalm 32:7, 11
  • Psalm 34:17-19
  • Psalm 73:25, 23b, 26
  • Psalm 142:1-3a
  • Psalm 145:1-5
  • Psalm 145:14, 18-19, 21
  • Isaiah 40:28-31
  • Isaiah 41:13
  • Lamentations 3:22-26
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Philippians 4:13
  • Colossians 1:10-12


  1. Wonderful post, and so very true!

  2. This is beautiful!!! I love how you well you summed it up and the verses you chose are perfect! I remember during my labor with my third child I had worship songs going through my mind. My focus was on the Lord. What a joy that was! May the Lord bless you in your labor and in the birth of new baby. May He bring you the presence of His peace and the joy of welcoming this little on into your family!

  3. I love your verses!! And how pretty you made the cards...I did the same thing when I had Juanito...those index cards are all crumpled now...but maybe when God gives us another kid I'll make pretty ones! It is so encouraging to read truths from God's word while going through the process of giving birth.


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