From the day a woman finds out she is pregnant she begins dreaming, thinking and planning about the day of her birth. Where will she birth her baby? How will it go? Will she have a natural birth, medicated birth or a c-section? First time mothers-to-be begin reading books on pregnancy and planning for the labor and delivery. They talk with other pregnant women and mothers listening to their birth stories, and about what they are planning. All of these influences guide and direct a woman’s decisions and dreams for her own birth (beneficial or not).
Women who have already birthed a baby remember past experiences, good or bad. For some, they remember fondly this intimate experience and assume or hope it will be very similar to what they have already encountered. For others, who have journeyed through hard childbirth experiences, they may desire to choose a different route motivated by dissatisfaction, new convictions, or simply curiousity.
Then there are those who have experienced emergency situations during past pregnancies; these sisters have a different focus. Their main concern may be to simply have a healthy baby at the end regardless of the “how” or “where” her precious baby was born.
There are so many different scenarios and “places” a woman can be coming from as she is wrestling with and embracing the reality that she is going to be a mother. Regardless of what paradigm a woman’s view of birth begins, one thing is universal for all. We all experience moments of doubt, fear, and uncertainty that our decisions are “the right ones.”
Take Control or Surrender?
We live in a world that empowers us to “take control of our lives”, to plan, and do it all. With the numerous productivity apps and daily/event planning tools available, we are accustomed to planning out our life and in most cases, our plans coming to fruition. The traditional birthing scenario surrenders those options, alternatives and ideas into the hands of the doctors. And in some cases, this is necessary, but what about God?
Our culture has attempted to eliminate or limit God’s presence and influence from many compartments of our lives, birth being one of them. If you are anything like me, you find peace in filling out your Birth Plan and discussing it with your birth attendants. After all, a well planned birth makes for a successful birth, right? Wrong … not always.
Not exactly what you wanted to hear is it? Let me clarify, creating a birth plan is NOT bad. It is NOT useless. In fact, I believe birth plans are very beneficial and productive for helping one to communicate their desires to their husband, family members and birth attendants. I highly recommend writing out ones dreams as a birth plan. It is one mark of someone being intentional in engaging this experience and journey toward motherhood.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21, ESV
However, we need to first take those dreams to God. Surrender whatever expectations or dreams you may have of your birth experience to the Lord. Ask for His blessing and guidance as you plan and prepare. Reflect and ask God to reveal any idols you may have in your life with regard to how you want to have your baby? Your first question shouldn’t be where am I going to have my baby, but rather where would God lead me to have my baby?
For some it may be at the hospital, for others a birth center, for some it may be at home and yet others God may have them deliver their babies in the car or in a pool of spring water.
Prepare your heart
When planning who will be in attendance at our births we need to seek God’s guidance again. We need to ask him to reveal to us, whom He would have us invite to share this experience with? And if we don’t have “control” over knowing who our health professionals are going to be, because it is a hospital situation, we should be praying for those God has already chosen to be there with us, helping and serving us. We should be preparing our hearts to be a light of God’s love and grace, with an open and sensitive heart to share His truth with them if the opportunity arises.
I just love both of these versions of this scripture passage:
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; Psalm 37:23, ESV
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives Psalm 37:23, NIV
God cares for EVERY detail of our lives, including your birth plan. And because He designed birth as such an intimate and personal experience, He so wants to be invited, to be asked to help. Let the Lord direct your steps in all your decisions in life, including those surrounding the planning of your birth.
As we seek God and His will for our life, not just our birth experience, as we have real communion with Him, reading His word and seeking first His Kingdom, not for ourselves, but because we deeply want to be a part of His work in this world, He will connect those dots for us.
Peace in surrender
We will begin to have our questions answered and our uncertainties will be brought to peace. If we allow Him to truly guide us as we prepare our birth plans, it is His purposes that will prevail. When we realize birth isn’t all about us, it’s bigger than our bellies and we start to incorporate Jesus into more of our decision making with regard to this journey, it not only brings us to a place a peace and trust, but also prepares us to prepare for life and motherhood in much the same way.
You see, birth is an amazingly intimate experience for every woman regardless of how or where it happens. It is intimate, unique and deeply personal. But it is not motherhood! This season of pregnancy should be just as much focused on preparing our relationships and especially our relationship with God as our homes, lifestyles and bodies.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9, ESV
“A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24, ESV
Remember that even in those times when you don’t understand why things are going the way they are, stay in His arms, stay connected, abiding in the true vine and allow Him to direct your steps. People may not understand you, or your plans, but stay strong in the Lord. Trust in Him and He will bless your socks off. He will reveal to you, in due time, the spiritual purposes behind what He was allowing. Allow Him to accomplish a redeeming work in your life through this beautiful gift of motherhood.
Remember, that in all the planning and preparing… the childbirth is just one milestone in your journey as mother. Preparing to surrender to God is the best preparation course for motherhood there is, for we need to view our children as gifts from Him. So take your plans and sacrifice them. Ask Him to reveal to you His wisdom and understanding as you read His word.
Your Sister in Christ & this Journey,
Angie Tolpin is a homeschooling mom of six, a family/marriage speaker (with her husband) at Choose Growth, author of Redeeming Childbirth, and blogger at Leaving a Legacy. Her passions include: being intentional in her relationships, writing and blogging, gardening, learning, teaching and helping others. Her new book, Redeeming Childbirth, launched recently and helps moms experience God’s presence in pregnancy, labor, childbirth and beyond. Get your copy today.
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