Faith in Childbirth {Revisited}

Our family moments after the birth of our daughter, Adaline.  As witnesses to her birth, our children learned what it means to find faith and increase your strength through support and preparedness.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1

Forgiveness

Many Christians relate childbirth to the moment Eve took a bite of the apple.  The problem with focusing on the pain (or better translated as “hard work”) of childbirth is that we forget the grace, mercy and deliverance that is provided through Christ.  There were many areas of fear rather than faith in my first two births, but through seeking forgiveness I have been able to find my calling to help other women.  My first two children have witnessed love and compassion as they shared in the experience of our last child being born.  There are women of different faiths choosing to reach out to each other in kindness and support even when their own births were not as they had planned.  Women of childbearing age will seek truth, love, and strength more than any other time in their life. Is there a woman in your life that needs you to believe in her?

Sisters, we were made for kindness
We can pierce the darkness as He shines through us
We will come reaching, with a song of healing
And they will know us by our love. – Christy Nockels


It is important to not confuse a lack of control – or even a weakened faith in a certain area of your life – with failure.  When you learn to have faith in birth you also learn to respect the fact that there are rare instances when a complication or difficulty can arise.  It is then that you rest in the truth that you approached your birth with as much faith as possible and that God will use your obedience to witness to both your baby and those providing your care.

Technology & Culture

“…human values are being constantly undermined by a technocratic lifestyle infused with consumerism…the hectic rhythm of our daily obligations is depriving us of those precious moments when we can look deep into the depths of our being, searching for the true meaning and purpose.” Christ Centered Childbirth, by Kelly Townsend

More than ever we are a society who depends on technology to make life easier, more convenient, and in a sense, controlled.  While this can be a blessing in many areas, there are still some circumstances that God designed for a specific purpose that are better met with as little technology as possible. While modern medicine can be very useful in the rare circumstances that a complication arises, it can also create unnecessary interventions that interrupt the natural process women were designed for – giving birth and bonding with our baby.

Mentoring

Historically, women of childbearing age witnessed several normal, natural births before it was their time to give birth.  Just as Mary left her home to spend time with Elizabeth before she gave birth, many women sought out older, wiser women.  This allowed younger women to play supportive roles in caring for laboring women while also gaining knowledge and courage for their own births. In contrast, our society has a disheartening way of sharing birth with young women today:  television, movies, and other women’s stories are often a dramatic version of the challenges in birth. Let me assure you that uncomplicated births are rarely the way we might imagine them. Taking a private childbirth class, attending BabyNet Community meetings (The last Monday of each month at the ALIVE Center. More information at www.babynetky.com), and finding another woman who is willing to share her positive, Christ centered experiences with you are great ways to develop a good mentoring relationship.  Most importantly, we must see the importance of mentoring those younger than us in a positive way.

Fear/Tension/Pain Cycle.

In a laboring woman, fear can create tension, which will in turn cause pain.  Fortunately there is a wonderful, natural hormone that a woman in labor experiences called Oxytocin.    Oxytocin helps initiate labor when the baby is ready to be born, increases pain tolerance, develops a coping mechanism, connects her emotionally to her support system, and is often called the “love hormone,” helping her fall madly in love with her baby.  When a low-risk, healthy woman receives unnecessary interventions during her birth she will often experience increased pain, which will make her more likely to ask for pain medication.  Pain medications will lead to an even lower level of Oxytocin, which can lead to a slower labor and difficulty bonding with newborn.

Preparedness

If you or someone you know has prepared for a marathon, you know that you do not show up on race day without any previous training or preparation.  Similarly, pregnant women should prepare for their labor day by becoming good stewards of their body.  Eating healthy, exercising, drinking enough water, practicing relaxation, and gaining knowledge of the birth process are all ways that you can be prepared for your birth.  Carefully selecting your birth team, educating yourself on your birth options through research-based literature or a private childbirth class, and honestly sharing your plans with your friends and family are additional ways to be prepared.

Gaylea McDougal provides doula support to a mom moments before she gives birth under the care of Vanderbilt midwife Lauren Drees.  You may notice her husband is also there providing gentle support.


The Intentional Birth, by Gaylea McDougal

Preparing for your birth using Christian principles is no different than taking those same principles into any other part of your life. I just encourage and remind women to invite God into a place that many women forget to invite Him. By practicing discernment, assuming your birth is healthy and normal (because 95% of them are and need absolutely no interventions whatsoever), you can eliminate unnecessary health risks that may be sold to you as “routine” or “preventative” and only purchase interventions that you truly need. I like to call it having a “3D Birth” (Discernment, Dedication and Delivery). Be discerning with your choices, be dedicated and committed to the process, and be prepared to not only deliver a baby, but to BE delivered as well. By deliberately inviting Him into this day, you are giving Him the opportunity to really show up and show off for you. His grace really is sufficient, and His power truly is made perfect in your weakness.

Joe and Meredith Rush, along with daughter Anna Jo joyfully greet their new baby.  They chose to give birth at TJ Samson Hospital in Glasgow, KY with the support of their doula, Michelle Howell and Dr. Christy South.  For more information about Dr. South visit www.kyfirstchoiceobgyn.com

Believing God, by Meredith Rush

I believed God would help me deliver our child the way He designed my body to work.  Many aspects of faith prepared us for a blessed experience. As a family, we had to give it all to God through scripture and prayer.  We believe God’s words are powerful and mighty. One scripture we used is Psalms 27:1 – “The Lord is my place of safety. Why should I be afraid?”  Talking to God through prayer released all fears and anxiety.  Knowing others are praying for you gives you peace especially when our seven year old daughter, Anna Jo, prayed out loud during labor.  Mentoring from our friend/doula Michelle Howell and support from Dr. Christy South helped inform and prepare us during pregnancy and childbirth.  Overall, having faith that God would be here for us not matter what gave our family peace and comfort through our natural childbirth experience, and God blessed us with another beautiful child, Daniel Luck.