You might be coming up with your birth plans now, weighing your options and wondering what’s best. You might hear that birth is dangerous and that you need to be in a hospital just in case something goes wrong (my mother told me that). You might hear that your body is wonderful and capable, designed to give birth well if you just give it space and let nature work (my pregnant friend’s husband told me that last week).
The thing is, they’re both partly right. The human body is an incredible thing, and women of all times and places have given birth without medication or intervention, relying on the support of their fellow women to endure the pain and bring new life into the world. It is a beautiful and a glorious thing, to see the body pushed to its limits and persevere, living out the fullness of its created potential.
But the flip side is that women have been dying in childbirth throughout all times and ages as well. We seem to forget that birth resides under the curse, that the presence of sin in our world and ourselves means that a powerful force has opposed itself to the life-giving work of God, of which childbirth is a huge part. It is not a shame or a failure to rely on the support of modern medicine to endure some of the pain and avoid some of the dangers that sin has brought to childbirth.
I want you to know, mamas, that your bodies are wonderful and beautiful however your birth plays out. If you give birth without medication, with your loved ones standing by to empower and encourage you, that is good. If you give birth with an epidural because your body can’t handle the pain and needs a rest, that is good. If you have a c-section because your baby isn’t coming out any other way, that is good. What matters is that you listen to your body, your baby, and your circumstances, instead of letting an idealized or stereotyped view of childbirth push you one way or the other. Hold the tension of the wonder of your body and the brokenness of the physical world, and proceed with confidence and humility, open to what your body and your baby need.
And if all the birth preparations are leaving you anxious and overwhelmed, remember that the next eighteen years of your relationship with this baby are far more important than the labor and delivery! Leave the unknowns to God, go forward with some common sense, and put it all in perspective 🙂 You will do great, and your babies will be blessed to call you mommy.