When you are in labor, you are in agony. You feel distress and pressure. Most of you if not all of you, has been dying to help create this life. To grow a life, all your systems begin to focus on life inside of you maturing and developing. What is forfeited is your comfort, sleep, hormonal stability, body shape, etc. A woman’s body becomes an instrument for developing life, and everything in the woman begins to shift to support that life. In essence, the woman must relinquish the expectations and control she once had over her body to the life that is maturing inside of her. She must die to the way things used to be in order for the life inside her to grow. The beauty in all of this is love is exchanging death for life. The woman is becoming a mother as each day passes. The changes are noticeable. The stretching is uncomfortable, even painful at times, but the milestones of growth are worth recording. You are making life and your love for that life overshadows the discomforts or pains of change.
The moments leading into the birthing process are training for the final hours of delivery.
While your body was completely changing to incubate and mature this life, you became a student of what it means to birth something new into the world. You worked on breathing. You worked on visualizing the pain and finding ways to use imagery to combat the pain. While in labor with my first son, I thought of ocean waves and the height of the contractions were the crest of the wave. I learned to “lip bubble” with my second son and staying centered and steady as I welcomed the pressure. The body was doing what it was made to do. The question was “Could I withstand the pain? Could I birth what I had grown?”
My body had spent 9 months preparing for this outcome and somehow trusting the process was key to production. At the final hours of my first son’s delivery, I was pushing and an hour and 15 minutes had passed. There was no progress. The midwife directly told me, “There is only one way this child is being birthed. It has to come out. Either you push it out or we have to do a c-section.” A righteous indignation (or maybe just sheer obstinance) took over and I resorted to do what I had prepared to do. I tried a few more times and no progress. My doula and my husband were encouraging me. The midwife was coaching. There were a lot of verbal commands. Then it dawned on me…me and my little one can do this. The two of us can do this. I shouted vehemently, “Everyone be quiet. I need to listen.” I had a NST connected to his heartbeat and I watched the frequency and amplitude of my son’s heartbeat on the graph. I watched it as I had another, intensely painful contraction. I didn’t push in that contraction. I just watched and listened. Then it dawned on me, “Brittany, push in the pain. Your son is telling you when. The pain is telling you when and how to push.”
So I took the moment and told the midwife, doula and husband my new plan. “I know what to do.” I begin to breathe, listen, and push as the wave of pain crested. I pushed exactly at the right time with just the right amount of strength. With that one push, the midwife exclaimed, “I see the head.” Within seconds, my son was on my chest. I was skin to skin, as close as a mother can be, to the miracle that had grown inside me. The anguish and pain was forgotten instantly and I knew love like I have never known. We knew each other intimately, and we had done it together.
Pain wasn’t something to escape in that moment, but was a teacher of when to push. The longer I tried to avoid the pain or continue to doubt I couldn’t do it, the farther I got from experiencing the birth of the miracle developing inside of me.
Death to our own control can feel like a sweet release when we know we are loved.
Love propels us to push in the pain.
Love ends the memory of our pain when we are holding our miracle.
A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
John 16:21 (NIV)
Knowing how much you are loved, returning that love, and loving yourself in the transition from woman to mother, or servant to son, or prisoner to the free, or man to Father, or boy to man, girl to woman may cause distress and pressure. But, know that love is your strength to birth the miracle of you becoming better than you were. That moment where you are holding your miracle will make all the pain of becoming fade away. You were meant to birth the miraculous. Don’t talk yourself out of blessing because you doubt yourself or the process. You were made to pro-create. It is a natural process to birth something better than you.
In God’s design of birthing the miraculous…
- Love plants the seed.
- Love helps you to accept the death that is needed to bring life.
- Love suffers long…love endures. (1 Cor. 13:4)
Love becomes who you are and that is the miracle of it all. Love makes you transition from woman to mother, servant to free. You are always in the process of becoming. That is living. When we stop becoming, we stop living.
The best way to love yourself is to receive how much you are loved by God. It is that embrace that will birth the miraculous in you. Maybe the miracle you will hold on your chest is the miracle that you finally know how much you are loved.