In our society, birth seems to be portrayed as a life event full of fear. Whether you are watching the birth of a baby on television, reading about it in a novel, or talking with your friends and co-workers about having a baby, most comments seem to revolve around how painful and awful labor and delivery can be.
Don’t get me wrong, we are expecting our third child next month and there is definitely a part of me that is anxious about going through transition and pushing again. But feeling every movement my baby makes as he or she passes through the birth canal – and that moment of the most pure joy when I get to hold that baby and see his or her face for the first time – is what keeps me motivated and excited.
I recently had a friend who was expecting and was experiencing some fear and doubt about labor and the intensity of contractions and delivery. She had a beautiful experience with her first daughter’s birth, but ignorance about what is to come can be bliss. This time she knew exactly what contractions would feel like and the intensity they would reach. In order to encourage her and help her to focus on the beauty and power and magnificence of birth, another friend and I decided we would host a Blessingway for her.
We picked a Sunday afternoon, invited her closest friends whom we knew would provide the positive support she desperately needed, and found an intimate place to meet. Each participant brought a snack to share, as well as a piece of ribbon and a verse or inspirational quote. As an additional bonus, we had a local henna artist come and create a beautiful design on the mother’s belly. While the artist was doing her work, we went around and shared the verse or quote we had picked out for the mom, and then wrote them into a journal so she could take that with her and read through them as she prepared for her birth. In order to remind the mother that we were thinking about her and praying for her and Baby and this birth, we wrapped the ribbon we had brought around a large candle that she could light during labor.
The verses and affirmations shared were so amazing. I wanted to pass these along in hopes that they could be encouraging to another woman expecting a child, or for women in general to help shift the perception of birth:
“When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change.” ∼ Marie Mongan
“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement, not your greatest fear.” ∼ Jane Fraser (Weideman)
“The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it IS YOU. ” ∼ Unknown
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” ∼ Eleanor Roosevelt
“There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” ∼ Laura Stavoe Harm
“My grace is enough; it is all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become!” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)
“For you know that 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 perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4, NLT)
It would be so empowering for women everywhere to be approached with love, excitement, and encouragement when they are planning for the birth of their child. Let’s leave the negative comments and experiences behind and share with them the joy that motherhood brings and the amazing strength experienced to get there.