Embracing the Pain & Letting Go of Fear in Childbirth

Originally posted on May 18, 2011. Republished as part of our top 10 celebration on PH!

In this day and age, childbearing is often considered a thing to be feared. There is this overarching anxiety that we won’t be able to manage the pain of it all. We fear the baby being too large, or too small. We fear losing control. My desire here is to stop this train of thought that birthing is a thing to fear, encourage us to step back, and reflect on the beauty of the birthing process.

Childbirth is certainly work, and the intensity of it has increased as a result of the fall (Genesis 3:16). But like any work, it is doable. God’s grace is extended to sustain us through it. What we often overlook is the fact that God created birth to be a beautiful process, as we embrace the work and strive to labor for His glory. He has created the female body to be able to give birth. We were designed to be life-givers. This is what you were created to do! God has specially designed this child, conceived in your womb, to be born into this world.

Please note, there can certainly be a place for interventions as we live in a fallen world and it may not go as naturally as desired, but ultimately if our heart is trusting in the Lord, it will be a beautiful experience,  and should not be a thing to be feared. If you had a rough first experience, may I encourage you that there is grace to cover your past experiences, grace to try again, and grace to trust the sovereignty of God with whatever the results.

Understanding the purpose of pain is essential for being able to conquer fear in our hearts.

Why Pain in Labor?

The quotes below are taken from the Christian Childbirth Handbook by Jennifer Vanderlaan:

Increases Endorphins = pain management

“Pain, by its very nature, is a call to action…Pain has a physiological purpose in childbirth. The increasing intensity of the pain or discomfort increase your body’s production of endorphins. Endorphins are natural opiates that are responsible for ‘runners high’. They are also produced during sexual intimacy. Endorphins are at peak levels near the end of the labor helping you manage the pain of the contractions.”

Increases prolactin = breastfeeding success

“What is even more amazing is the endorphins your body is producing in response to the pain of labor are preparing your body to care for your child. The high endorphin levels cause your body to increase prolactin levels. Prolactin is a hormone necessary to breastfeed.”

Pain = movement = proper alignment

“Another important reason for discomfort or pain during labor is the way you naturally move your body in response to pain. It is very difficult to hold still while in pain, which works just perfectly for labor since movement is necessary for your baby to properly align in your pelvis. Without proper alignment, either you or your baby could suffer damage. Pain serves as a method of protection against a bad birth position.”

Pain = dependence upon the Lord

God often uses pain as a means of drawing our attention off ourselves and on to Him. It is a beautiful process for a woman to see this pain as a means of helping her refocus her attention on her Savior, who is her provider and source of strength. Therefore, focusing on worship, Scripture and prayer during labor are appropriate responses to the process. I believe this is all a part of the sanctifying process of childbirth. Jesus promises the peace that passes all understanding. This does not mean a perfect pain-free labor, but rather the calmness to embrace God as your strength.

“Peace is letting go of control, and letting God lead you through labor…Only God knows to what extent you will need to work during labor. You may give birth painlessly, or you may struggle through many challenges. You are only in control of how you respond to labor. It is how you handle yourself, where you turn for strength, which is important. God will give you the strength to manage whatever labor suits his purpose.”

Tips for Decreasing Pain

  • Keep your bladder empty.
  • Stay upright during labor.
  • Keep moving! Changing positions regularly.
  • Learn as much about labor as possible. Understand the process and the way your body works.
  • Chose an birthing environment where you are comfortable, safe, and relaxed.
  • Chose only people to surround you that you are comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to all the in-laws.
  • Learn simple relaxation techniques: visualization, listening to music, relaxing each muscle in your body, deep breathing, and hydrotherapy. Practice these frequently before labor begins.
  • Keep your vocalization in labor low and deep. When we scream or yell in high pitched tones, this tightens the uterus. When we groan, we allow the cervix to open and relax.
  • Let go of fear. The more fear you have the more pain you will experience. Don’t hide it. Acknowledge it and turn to the Lord to help you with it.

Responding to Fear

It is important to first acknowledge your fear. We all have them. It is naturally a part of being human. But the important thing is to acknowledge and address your specific fears prior to labor. Labor is controlled by your sub-conscious mind, not your conscious mind. Fear in labor produces excess amounts of stress hormones in our body that can lock up your muscles and limit the supply of oxygen to your uterus and baby.

If you are experiencing fear, meditate upon Philippians 4:8 in the following manner (a valuable exercise offered in the Christian Childbirth Handbook):

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about these things.”

Write out your fear. My fear or concern is….

Now use the following questions to truly evaluate the source, motivation, and truth about your situation.

  1. What is true? (What is true about you and your situation?)
  2. What is noble? (How can you handle this situation in a noble way?)
  3. What is right? (Is there a righteous response to this fear?)
  4. What is pure? (How can you respond in a way to keep your heart devoted to God?)
  5. What is lovely? (How can this fear be worked for good?)
  6. What is admirable? (Who has overcome a similar fear: how did they do it?)
  7. What is excellent and praiseworthy? (How can you respond in a way that keeps you from sin and brings praise and glory to God?)

Philippians 4:6-7 – “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

Focus on the Blessings

One of the true blessings of labor is that God designed it to process naturally and slowly (in most cases, as some births do go extremely fast). It actually takes two weeks or longer to go through the process. Contractions gradually increase in duration and intensity rather than all at once. And God gives us total breaks of pain-free times in between contractions. These points of rest, though short, help you to breath, relax, take in fresh oxygen and energy, all of which are essential for you and your baby’s health and well being.

Focus on the new precious life that will soon be entering your arms. Focus on the beauty of new life that is being birthed from your womb. Treasure that moment.

When we let go and allow our body to flow with the contractions, we experience a unique empowerment that is hard to describe. When we focus our minds on embracing the pain, the pain somehow becomes less severe. When we get up, move, and allow our body to flow with the contractions, we embrace the design of our bodies.

For further encouragement, please read Spiritual Encouragement for Preparing & Giving Birth that highlights specific verses that are excellent for preparing your heart for labor.

Photo Credit

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

130 Responses to Embracing the Pain & Letting Go of Fear in Childbirth

  1. Michelle H November 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    WOW! This was right on time! My husband and I are pregnant with our 2nd child and are opting all natural this time! We are even planning to do a home birth! Thank you for increasing my awareness on how God intended for pregnancy and birth to be! God bless you!

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  3. Diana August 18, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    I would like to share a few things also. I have had 7 all natural home births, no drugs, no help except for a midwife for 6 of them. One of them was just my husband and I (a 9 lb, 15 oz. one). I used a birthing stool to deliver on and only sat on it when it was time to. The rest of the time I was upright, either sitting on the couch or moving about, talking with hubby and midwife. I did not desire to have others in the room and certainly no noise or anything to distract me. We fully trusted the Lord and believed His Word. We were trusting and not fearful and was very relaxed because of that. My second birth was totally painless! I had to tell the midwife when I was having a contraction and when it ended. All the babies were born usually in about 6 hours average and in the 8-9 lb. area. I very deliberately breathed deeply and slowly, keeping plenty of oxygen flowing, but staying relaxed. I concentrated on not pushing and letting gravity and muscle contractions push the baby out slowly so bones parted and flesh stretched as necessary without any tearing. I even lifted my ribcage (like for a big breath but still breathing) and kept the tension up there to keep all the lower part of my trunk without tension. In this way I avoided pushing. We waited for the baby to get the full amount of blood into him before clamping and cutting the cord. I sat on the birthing stool until the placenta delivered and then I was up and about and nursing the baby. After that I went to bed for a few hours rest and then life went on as usual. I very soon got my babies on a schedule for sleeping from midnight to 6am as soon as possible so I didn’t miss out on my sleep and become a zombie mom who would be impossible to live with. I had good nursing babies who would get their fill and go to sleep for at least 2 hours. For that I was thankful! Especially when I had a house full of very young kids. I also homeschooled them for a good number of years while I was still having babies. I was a very busy mom, a very protective mom, and I love my kids, but not more than the Lord. He always came first and through my relationship with Him and faith in His Word was where I drew my strength and peace. That can’t be emphasized enough.
    I say all this not to brag or condemn others, but to encourage young mothers to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. (Prov. 3: 5,6) It is possible to have NO pain in childbirth because I experienced it myself, but all mine weren’t totally painless. But walk with Him daily and you can lean on Him for support. All the other creatures give birth by themselves and they do it naturally, and usually silent unless groaning from the work of it all. Relax. Enjoy your pregnancies, enjoy your births, enjoy your kids. They pass on quickly and before you realize it, they are out of your house and on their own. Live each moment as if it were your last. Stay close to the Lord of Life.

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  9. Tiffany June 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    This is a great post!! Unfortunately, I’ve had to take away my ability to have children. My first I labored for 26 hours. A short amount of time for a first time mom. I was pressured into an epidural (that didn’t work), and I stalled labor at 8cm for 4 hours, until they asked me to try and push anyways. I was blessed with a healthy baby girl…and found out that I am a bleed risk. I started hemorrhaging. We discovered then that I have a ITP (a clotting issue where my body doesn’t have enough platelets).

    My second, and last, I almost lost twice. She was born in the fall, and my body started trying to have her June 1. I made it to my due date, though it cost me most of my older daughter’s first half of her 3rd year of life. I came to the hospital at 6cm when my water started leaking again…and was there for 15 hours. I had stalled within an hour of arriving, so I had to have pitocin…By 6pm they had me on the maximum amount of pitocin they could give me. She wouldn’t drop, so my body wouldn’t move past 8-9cm. I can’t have a c-section. It would most likely kill me.The midwife finally came in and told me I had to have an epidural even though I wasn’t supposed to, because it was the only thing left to try. If we didn’t my daughter and I would die. Within 10 minutes of getting it, she was dropping, and within 15 I was pushing. I had another beautiful daughter, and I hemorrhaged again, probably because of the epidural.

    Our midwife, who was against drugs and unnatural birth controls, came to tell me the next morning that I had no business being in a delivery room myself ever again. She strongly advised I get a tubal ligation after I recovered, and my husband to get a vasectomy as well if we wanted to be doubly sure. It’s a miracle what modern medicine and God can do! There was no reason I should have made it to term with our second, but He got us there! We both survived the birth and are healthy today because of Him!

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  12. Kat February 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    I have had the gamut of birthing experiences. From the first one where i was lied to and manipulated into a whole lot of harmful completely unnecessary medical interventions, to a peaceful waterbirth, to a medically necessary emergency c-section.

    I do believe that if you trust in the Lord, even a birth experience gone totally awry can teach you things you’d never have learned any other way. Sometimes that lesson is : doctors are human, and some of them LIE. Never trust blindly, ask questions, take responsibility, be proactive in your own care.
    Sometimes that lesson is: even when you’re experienced, educated, and completely “relaxed” about birthing, medical necessity leads to stuff you didn’t plan for. Like abdominal surgery and NICU time.

    Birth is hard work. Every type of drug and intervention carries risks, sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks. Sometimes, pain medications don’t work. Practicing relaxation and deep-breathing exercises is completely harmless, and may be effective enough for you to birth without drugs, so why not at least give them a try, right? :-) Personally, I find relaxation and deep breathing help with everything from stubbed toes and paper cuts, to headaches and menstrual pain. I’ve already started “brainwashing” my girls (and boys) to take deep breaths and relax when they have a scraped knee or something. Not only does it help with their pain, it’s easier to get a bandaid on a relaxed kid than a screaming moving target.

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  14. Erin February 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Thank you for the recent posts about childbirth, Lindsay. My sister-in-law just found out she’s pregnant with her first, and I plan to share all of this wisdom and encouragement with her.

  15. Alaina January 31, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Great article! I had my son naturally and know it helped me ease into breastfeeding the way God created! Thank you for the facts about the endorphins and Increases prolactin, very useful!

  16. Jamie January 31, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    While I’m not afraid of the process, or going through this pain in a few weeks, I’m not exactly looking forward to it either. I am looking forward to the end result very much. Thankfully for us, labor is but a tiny millimeter on the yardstick that is our life on this side of eternity.

    • Maura February 2, 2013 at 12:20 am #

      @Jamie ~ God will see you through this. I have had children both with epidurals and without. Either is YOUR choice, but I can tell you from experience that without epidural, YOU are in control of you body. I chose natural child birth for #2 and #3. I had pain meds after delivery, but it is truly a more natural process without epidural. It IS painful and yes I demanded meds, but my doctor reminded me of my plan and we got through. After the baby comes out, the immediate pain stops instantly. Mild pain meds (vicodin/percocet) given after labor help with the discomfort. And yes. the age of saying that as soon as the baby arrives in your arms and all the pain fades away are so, so true. Trust me, God WILL be with you during your time of need no matter what nature demands. Practice breathing, relaxing, focusing, etc. You may need to kick everyone out of the room to do so…. thats OK!!!! It is a private and individual process. Labor is hard, but God gives us nothing more than we can bare.

  17. LuAnn Braley January 30, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    I wish I would have read this oh, 17 years ago? More than that, I wish I had been stronger in my walk with the Lord then. I’ve had 3 children and medical intervention was necessary each time, even though I had started out wanting natural childbirth. But I know God has a purpose for me here on Earth…because I am still here. I know He has a purpose for each one of my children as well.

    My last child, my baby girl (who turns 10 on Saturday, BTW) was born at 32 weeks, weighing 3 lbs .4 oz. When she was 3 days old, I had some elders from my church come into the NICU to give her a blessing. She was able to go home at 22 days old, still weighing under 4 lbs, because as the NICU put it, she was just “too healthy” and they needed the space! And she is the one who will remind /me/ that she needs to say her prayers every night before she goes to sleep!

  18. Stephanie January 30, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    I’m pro natural childbirth. I feel strongly that the medical industry leads women down an unnecessary path in childbirth that leads to so many unnecessary interventions. This is aside from when intervention is an absolute medical necessity, but that is a small percentage. My first baby was born after 34 hours of labor using a lot of relaxation techniques. However, after being stuck at 4 cm and then going backward to 3.5 cm after 24 hours of active labor and then hitting two hours of double and triple peaking contractions, I acquiesced to an epidural. Boom, that took me to 10 cm. 5.5 hours later after the epidural was turned off, baby was pushed out very easily. Looking back, I was told that those of us who are control people who are determined to do it the “right” way can keep our bodies from relaxing. Very possibly the case for me.

    Baby 2 was born with only 8 hours of labor and totally natural. The midwife warned me that pushing would hurt because I still had the effects of the epidural with the first. All I can say is that pushing (only 15 min.) hurt like heck (that’s putting it nicely). I remember thinking that I had a new respect for women who went for epidurals. Only those of us with strong convictions that natural is best for mom and baby will do this. So, as you would train for a marathon, train for your natural childbirth. All that was mentioned in this post is good, on target stuff. You can do it. Stick to your convictions. I now will not judge my “wimpy” friends though.

  19. Kate January 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Thank you for posting this as I am experiencing this fear currently and I focusing on holding on to the promises of the Lord to carry me through anything. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and the powerful verses I will be revisited daily to increase my faith! Due in 9 weeks, and the birth itself is constantly on my mind. I am also in a foreign country that doesn’t have the reputation of having as many technological advancements as the states, so I need God’s grace even more!

  20. Sheri January 30, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    I’m sure I read this when it was originally posted, but it is re-posted at a perfect time! I am due with #4 in a little under 2 weeks. I am trying for a VBAC after 3 c-sections. The first was an emergency from prolapsed cord and the other two ended up in repeats. I found a wonderful doctor and hospital that is very supportive of VBAC after 3. I would have chosen a natural birth anyway, but it is also the policy for them to not give an drugs or induction for VBAC. So it is either natural or c-section, good motivation for me to get my act together :) The whole pregnancy has been a process of me letting go of any fear I have, of pain, embarrassment, uterine-rupture, etc. so that I can give the natural birth the best chance possible. I feel very empowered now, through books and prayer, that I can do this and my body was made for it. I know I am not in ultimate control of the outcome, but if I do end up with a c-section I feel at peace that I gave it my best shot.

  21. Valentine December 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I was excited to read this article, I assumed it would be based on medicine. Pain in childbirth increasing since the fall? Yeah. I am definitely an out of place Buddhist here. I enjoyed reading the personal accounts though. We’re so lucky today to have a great combination of medicine and spirit in childbirth.

  22. Dana July 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    I love this post! I am currently pregnant with baby number 3. With both of my children I had them naturally with the exception of pitocin, which was given to help my contractions along (first baby water broke and I was 5-6 cms dilated but contractions weren’t strong enough for the doc, second was due to preeclampsia but I was already 4 cms dilated and contracting when they started). I would have preferred not to have the pitocin but it was in the best interest of my babies. But I dealt with the pain on my own with the strength of God and the help of my hubby. And I wouldn’t do it any other way unless there was some danger to my baby or myself that required an alternate delivery. But I will say that there is a part of me that does get a bit nervous about the idea of going through it all again. But God is strong, and He will give me the strength I need to bring this gift into the world just as He gave me what I needed to conceive the child. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength!

  23. Marci July 3, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    You know, it’s very sad that on a powerful post like this – about letting go of fear in childbirth – people think this is the appropriate place to discuss the intimate details of their ‘births gone awry.’

    Lindsay made it very, VERY clear that there are situations where medical intervention is certainly needed. So why on earth would someone come on here to post a story of a birth that ‘didn’t work out’? We live in a culture SATURATED with stories of how birth is dangerous and to be feared, rather than stories that inspire us to believe that God created purposeful pain AND joy in birth.

    It’s almost as if those with less than smooth deliveries are saying, by a detailed post about an interventive birth, that Lindsay can say all she wants about needing to stop fearing childbirth, but the reality is that birth is often not easy or smooth.

    It’s saddening to see how many people can’t look outside their own difficult experience of birth and support the Biblical message here – that God’s intelligent design has purposefully ordained a wonderful system for pregnancy and birth, and only seldom are these interventions needed.

    If you believe that birth usually goes awry, or is highly likely to go awry…I’m sorry, but that view is NOT Biblical at all!. You can’t claim that God’s design is awesome and then, in the same breath, suggest that most of the time his design goes off tracks!

    Think about it ladies…..we can’t keep believing what the media tells us about birth. As Christians, we’re called to more than this…..

    • Anne February 9, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

      People tell their stories, because it’s healing. Trust me, I don’t think anyone is thinking, “I’m going to tell my story, because I want that person’s birth to go horribly and I want her to be afraid.” If they are, that’s pretty cruel. I have just as much right to tell my story as someone who had a perfect home birth. Is here the best place? Probably not, but when people feel like others think they didn’t “trust the Lord” enough, and that’s why this happened, they feel the need to defend themselves.

      Essentially, that’s what the author is saying. (Quote: “…ultimately if our heart is trusting in the Lord, it will be a beautiful experience…”) I did not have a beautiful experience. I won’t go into detail so as not to make you angry, but I did EVERYTHING right. I wanted a natural birth so badly. I did have faith in the Lord. Guess what? It still went badly.

      Do I think most births go badly? Of course not. I wouldn’t say they’re seldom either, though. That doesn’t reflect a lack of faith in God’s design. It reflects an understanding that we live in a sinful and fallen world. Did God design our bodies to die? No, but guess what? 100% of people eventually die.

      I think it’s great to have a natural birth. I think it’s great to have a fearless birth. I am not against these things at all. And most of the article (and comments) I don’t take issue with. But please understand, for someone like me, it stings, especially when people insinuate that their way of birth is “better” or that they worked harder than I did (43 hour labor, most natural), or that I didn’t trust God enough. It’s not a competition. I feel sad about the way my birth went, and I likely won’t get a chance to try again. I will probably feel this way forever. So all I ask is sensitivity for people like me. People who wanted with all their heart to have a natural birth, and it didn’t happen.

  24. Deb Mortvedt June 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    I would like to encourage you to be sure and include your husbands in this. He should be included in each decision, as the leader and just as we submit to labor pain, we are protected by our husbands by our submission to them. I have rarely if ever seen anyone say “and my husband said…and I submitted to him”. I have my own stories about birth, death and the protection I had by having a c-section and it was because I had to think about what another vaginal delivery would do…and God blessed that. So, after God, before our experience in L&D our husbands should be included in each ot these…and not to the point where he will say whatever you want him to because you are the one “holding” the keys, but to the point where you husband knows what is best for you 2 too.

  25. Michaela July 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    I plan on having a natural home birth with my first child that I am currently pregnant with but if something happens and I have to go to the hospital then thank God I have that option as well. As long as you have God to guide you and give you strength, I think that any birth can be amazing, even if it doesnt go the way you planned. God is good!

  26. Fifi @ www.fififrugality.blogspot.com June 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    This post goes along with everything I believe. I cannot wait to experience child birth at home. A great movie that encourages these same thoughts is The bussiness of Being Born. Available on Netflix. Awesome movie.


  27. JoKasta May 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for this! It is encouraging to see women of faith not shy away from the pain and work of labor! I’ve had 3 natural births but my 3rd was a homebirth and by far my most relaxed, comfortable birth! I wouldn’t change anything about either of my daughter’s births because I learned so much through both of them! I learned to trust God’s plans for us, to trust my body as He created it, and to trust the pain! My 3rd labor, with my son, was amazing…sure it hurt but I was comfortable in my own home. I’ve learned so much about myself through labor and in some ways I’m thankful for the ability to feel the pain with every contraction…never thought I would have said that before becoming a mom!! :)

  28. Aleisha May 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Great post…unfortunitly for me I labored for 36 hours, (30 was completely natural), pushed for 3 hours (where I had HAD 2 epidurals & 5 boosters that completely did not take so it was natural anyway) In this time I was passing out between contractions and my body ran an infection. The whole time they could see the top of my beautiful baby girls head. Then the machines sounded and my sweet girl’s heart rate dropped. Out came the mask and then finally they told me we HAD to get her out…I was rushed to Emergency c-section where inside they found I have what is called a square pelvis. My body would not have been able to push her out (although it and I were trying VERY hard to!). I spent her first year feeling like a complete failure in the fact that I could not do what I was meant to do. I had the most beautiful angel before me and realized it didn’t matter HOW she came into this world that our Giver of Life…had this plan for me all along. My second and third children were scheduled c-sections. Each time I asked if there was a possibility I could try natural. My doctor was incredible and helped me to realize that it just wasn’t in the cards for me. (my doc is very PRO v-bac!) Either way is a miracle!

    • Joy May 26, 2011 at 3:19 am #

      Wow, thank God for medical science! Can you imagine if you had lived back before c-sections? Both you and your baby would have died. It IS a miracle!

      • Aleisha May 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

        That’s exactly what my nurses told me in recovery!

  29. Catherine May 25, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    Thank you for posting about all of this! Oh how amazing it was to get to experience the Lord’s gentle, powerful, loving strength through pregnancy, childbirth, and now motherhood. I was diagnosed with Lupus 3 years ago and was not sure if I would ever be able to have any biological children. Before my husband’s and my first anniversary, the Lord spoke boldly to my husband and said that now was the time to have a child. I was so afraid that my body might kill the baby but I trusted the Lord speaking through my husband and one month later, we found out we were pregnant. Praise God! We were filled with such excitement and hope. Our little girl grew healthy and strong, she was so active and got hiccups at least 4-5 times a day :) I loved her so much already! I had terrible morning sickness my entire pregnancy but the Lord was my strength and was my source of perseverance. I desperately wanted to have a homebirth but because I had Lupus I could not find even a midwife to take me on that worked in a birthing center connected to a hospital. During the first visit with my OB I left in tears. Everything that I cherished so much about natural childbirth this OB whole-heartedly did not believe. I knew I had to find a midwife. And guess what, I found one!!! They took me on and I was also able to get all of the extra monitoring to make sure the baby was healthy. When I was 35 1/2 weeks pregnant, I began to bleed and had a terrible pain in my upper abdomen (which later we found out was my liver about to erupt). They determined I was pre-eclamptic and within 12 hours, they discovered that I had HELLP syndrome. They rushed me to another hospital (bye-bye midwives) and induced me. There were no options for pain-killers (which I did not want anyways) because my platelet levels had dropped so low they were afraid I would bleed to death. (Also because of my low platelets a C-section would have taken my life too) I was basically strapped to the bed and had to labor completely on my side. The Lord was my strength. If for a second I stopped thinking of Him, I couldn’t bear the pain. He was my doula, my midwife, my physician, my strength (I had not slept, eaten, or had anything to drink for 3 days- just IV’s). Within 11 hours our sweet daughter was born and she was HEALTHY and STRONG! I honestly wouldn’t have changed a thing about our daughter’s birth. My family and I got to experience the Lord’s strength in a way that none of us had ever before. He stretched me almost to death, but He spared my life and gave me the opportunity to be a mother. DO NOT BE AFRAID of what lies before you. Rely on HIM and He will carry you through whatever your ordeal may be. Find JOY and HOPE in Him. Blessings to all of you who are expecting- It is an amazing journey of a lifetime.

    • Joy May 25, 2011 at 6:31 am #

      Wow, what an amazing story!

  30. Sarah Clifton May 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Great post! But it still brings a tinge of fear to think about laboring again, after 2 natural childbirths.
    The first was a good experience, with 2 midwives; the environment was very conducive to a relaxed labor, and everything went extremely well.
    The second, I had zero choice but to give birth in a hospital–being on an overseas base with no access to midwives/doulas. The amount of distraction and intrusion drove me to a great amount of pain!! I was treated like a job and a doctor even showed up during labor to ask me why I would not be vaccinating! Eventually, with all the strangers walking in an out and people jabbing me and forcing me to wear a monitor, my pain escalated to almost intolerable, and I found myself screaming in the end, in agony. My saving grace that delivery was the sweet nurse who came on right before I gave birth. Her voice alone kept me grounded, amidst all the chaos. I thank God for her.

    I think if there’s one thing a laboring mother can’t tolerate it is distraction. An unfamiliar environment filled with strangers is definitely a hindrance. But I imagine a woman with very strong faith would be able to better resist the temptation towards frustration and anger that I experienced with my second labor (although I started out very good and focused and determined to reserve all my energies for labor).

  31. wendi May 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    I have had 1 child and consider a home birth for the next. What do you say to someone that questions you? Any thoughts are welcome! :)

  32. Sherrin May 22, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    i LOVE the questions that you shared. Those have been the things on my heart as I have gone in to my births, although I never read those exact questions. The pain shocked me in my first birth, but in the second it seemed much more manageable. I was surprised that it wasn’t worse! I had been nervous about going through all that pain again, and prayed to overcome fear. Then God ended up giving me a completely different birth. He asked me to do something different, not the same thing!! He is so kind.

  33. Joy May 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    One thing I’d like to respectably disagree with, is the notion that pain in childbirth is God’s master plan for women. While it IS true that it was God-given, it wasn’t given as a blessing on women, but rather a curse.
    I understand, Lindsay, that here in your article you are focusing more on working with the pain and using it as a way to lean more on the Lord, etc. And I really appreciate your information here, this is a great resource! I mean no disrespect to you!
    But I get kind of annoyed at women who believe pain is God’s perfect will for a laboring woman, when it is obviously a punishment and a curse brought about by the disobedience of Adam & Eve.
    I definitely appreciate what you have to say here. I am considering adding to our family but am moderately afraid to do so—pain being one of the reasons. Also being on the other side of the country from my friends and family. And, after having a natural-as-it-could-be birth experience in Alaska, feeling I was extremely lucky the first time around and that it probably won’t be quite so user friendly here on the east coast.
    Anyway, I don’t feel that there’s much I can do about the fear—simply because my relationship with the Lord needs more work to get to that point–but thank you for giving me a starting place.

    • Crissy May 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      First babies are hard, but giving birth to the next ones are a lot faster and easier. At least that is my experience and others that I know.

      • Joy May 24, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

        That’s what I’m hoping for. I feel a little gypped having been induced for the first one—drugs told my body how to labor, so I don’t know how it really would have gone if I’d have just labored naturally. So I really don’t know what to expect with the next one. Fast, slow, short, long, incredibly painful or not too horrible, yeah, it’s anybody’s guess!

        • Joy May 26, 2011 at 11:52 am #

          All births are different. I have given birth to 5 children at home with a midwife in attendance. All of my births have been relatively quick (from 3 hours with my first baby to 7 hours with my second, and the other three were about 5 hours).

          My first birth was the best. Very fast and not really that painful. But my baby had her hand and arm up by her face, creating a compound presentation (making the presenting part much larger than just a head would have been), and despite excellent perineal support and care taken by my very experienced home birth midwife (a CNM), I received a 3rd degree tear. Since that birth, the other 4 births have been more painful. My last birth was the most painful yet. I don’t experience a lot of pain in labor (and they are so fast that it isn’t that bad), but it is the actual birthing of the baby that hurts for me. All of my friends say their experience has been the opposite, and that labor is worse for them while the actual birth is a great relief to them.

          I have come to believe that it is due to scar tissue from my first birth, and also a varicosity in that area that occurred after the first baby was born.

          Birth is such a highly individual thing. I think we as women should be careful with this whole subject, not comparing our situation to others.

          As someone who has given birth where I wanted, in the way I wanted, with the support people I wanted–every single time–I can tell you that pain sometimes comes from a different source than fear or incorrect position, etc. My first birth was so beautiful and exhilarating, and the other 4 were all painful. Not hours of pain, just the actual birth part and then I had quite a bit of pain during the weeks after the birth.

          Let’s all give each other grace, and just realize that each mother and baby and situation are unique. :)

          • Christie May 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

            I also describe labor as easier than delivery. And my fourth baby took 45 minutes of painful pushing to deliver. The pushing phase is not a relief to me at all, and is the first thing I think of when I fearfully consider future babies. Its enough to deter me.

          • Joy May 28, 2011 at 7:42 am #

            My sister told me before I gave birth that once you get to push you don’t feel pain, just pressure (except for crowning of course). Like you, I didn’t have that experience. I’d say for me labor and delivery were about the same amount of pain, just a different quality. When I was pushing, I felt as if the baby was going to break my pelvic bones to get out. It was intense. And he was only 6lb 8oz, so I have no idea how it would have been if he’d been bigger.
            I can understand your being deterred. Are you still wanting more or are you done after four?

  34. Sheila May 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    SUCH a good post! Makes my childbirth-crazy heart and mind so glad. And how honouring to the Lord!

    God bless you,

  35. lyss May 20, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Thank you for all these posts on childbirth. Very encouraging! I must disagree with one statement on this one, though. I’m afraid that “total breaks of pain-free times in between contractions” doesn’t happen for everybody, as it certainly didn’t for me! My labors were painful from start to finish. (I know you said that some labors are fast, so maybe you didn’t mean to sound that all labors are this way.)
    I wish that I would have been more prepared for the intensity of labor. Everything I had heard or read said that labor starts out slow and there’s that “bake a cake, take a walk…” type stage. Sorry, but there was no take-it-easy stage in my labors! For my 1st, we were prepared for a 12-15 hour, or more, labor, because we were told that 1st babies usually take that long. So after only a few hours of labor, I wanted to head to the birthing center, but my hubby figured we needed to labor at home awhile longer. When we did get there, I was already at 9 cm! Total shocker! It was all fine, and it was still 2 more hours before she was born. But I was not prepared for how it went.
    One more thing, I have heard of using some sort of pain meds to help relieve some of the pain. Not sure what med, but it’s something that can be used at home or wherever you birth, not something major like an epidural, but it wasn’t just motrin or tylenol. Has anyone done that? If so, what was it, and did you find it helpful? Thanks!

  36. Karen @ Just Call Me Grace May 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Thank you, Lindsay, for this post. I believe God led me here tonight. My daughter is 1 week overdue with her first baby. Tomorrow she is going in for a non-stress test and will talk about induction with the doctor. She doesn’t want that, wants a natural birth. Please pray that she and her husband will have peace and clarity in that appointment. I am going to give her the link to this post. blessings, k

  37. Katie May 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Thank you so much for this encouraging post, Lindsay! My sister and I are doulas-in-training and these “bullet-point” tips will really help to put things into perspective when working with expectant mommas. Would you mind if I copied this for the ladies in my doula group?

    Thanks again!

  38. karen May 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Just wanted to reiterate what someone already mentioned… the book Supernatural Childbirth is an awesome birth and well worth the read! Also very good for those struggling to concieve or carry full term. The Lord has given us His great and precious promises and we ought to hold on to them in faith and recieve His best! I have had 4 kids so far and each delivery has been a blessing. Not necessarily completely pain-free but each one moving more towards it! Blessings!

  39. Jill May 19, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Lots I could say but I want to keep it simple and tell you what happened during my last birth and how I experienced just what a difference relaxing can make.

    I was a vbac due to a little 180 move right before pushing time – poor girl came out folded like a taco and had a major conehead – and was avoiding a long labor at the hospital, I went to my ob’s office to get checked, as dilation didn’t start until about 22 hours into my first birth, 15 hours after my water broke, and I had a little hang up about dilation. I was a 1 and we were told to go home and wait it out. We knew that even though we lived minutes away, going home was not an option. 45 minutes later I was a 4 and was wheeled over to the hospital.

    I was transitioning on the ride over and my water broke as I stood up to get out of the wheelchair. My dr was in surgery but the dr on call was right there. Within moments of my getting comfortable and asking for the squatting bar she had something weird-looking in her hands that caught my eye. I asked what she was doing and she replied that the baby needed an internal monitor due to the heart rate they were detecting on the external monitor. I looked at her (not realizing yet that she is the dr in town that has the most inductions, c-sections etc. by far!) and said, “That will NOT be necessary…I am having a contraction! Give me a moment to relax!!” I sat back, totally focused and could hear the heartbeat slow. I am normally not so bold but I looked at her and said,”See.” A nurse in the back of the room piped in to say that, “Dr. N is on his way” and the dr on call went and stood back by the door, watching. My son was born within 10-15 minutes from the time we arrived.

    My doula said I handled the situation well, but I think I may have been a little rude. My husband and I do not feel 100% comfortable with us birthing at home and we do not have nice birthing centers in this state. We took Bradley courses before our first birth and learned a TON. I feel good about both birthing experiences. We have another coming up in September and I know that whatever may come, God is in control.

    While we have chosen the natural route, I know many who do not. I would never want to make them feel uncomfortable or feel condemned, BUT the truth is, if they educated themselves they MIGHT proceed a bit differently. Many take the birth class at the hospital and read a couple of mainstream, barely cover the important stuff books…you might as well sit through a jr. high public school health class on pregnancy and birth – it is not an education! I know that educating oneself can be a bit confusing as there is so much out there, with many differing opinions, but it just seems that our society as a whole has the mentality that dr/hospitals fix things and make them better. They can live the way they want, eat what they want, ask for the epidural so they don’t feel the pain etc. and then the dr/hospital will take care of the rest. No responsibility on the patients part.

    And I know the women can die from childbirth and that babies can die during…I am not neglecting that fact or the drs. roles in preventing some of that. But the truth is also that hospitals and drs. cause some of that too.

    And fear on our part can definitely hinder things.

    And I will just stop there…sorry, I ended up saying way more than I planned.

  40. Sunnysidemom May 19, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    I’d like to know if this is even possible for a mama of whom has had two c-sections? my OB doctor says I cannot…

    • Jill May 19, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      It is possible…A lot can depend on your previous c-sections (the way you were cut etc.) and finding a dr. that is open.

      Check out this website: http://www.ican-online.org/

      They have local chapters etc. so look for one in your area. The chapter leader will be knowledgeable about the drs. and hospitals in your area and can help with some research.

    • Lindsay May 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      Yes. I know my midwife would certainly deliver after a friend of mine had 3 c-sections. You just have to do the research to find someone who will support you. That being said, I do know another gal who has had 7 c-sections and another story I read recently of one who had 9. I think that is awesome to be able to have so many children this way! But ideally, if you could find someone to support you naturally, then go for it!

    • Amanda May 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

      Sunnyside…I had a Homebirth after 2 sections!!!! It IS possible but there are VERY few OBs who will not do it. I would love to chat more with you about this if you are interested. Please shoot me an email and I can send you some resources. Homebirth was one of the most empowering experiences of my life…..incredibly worth it!!!!

    • wendi May 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      I know a lady that has I believe 2 or 3 c sections and did a VBAC. I’d find a new doctor!

  41. Ellie May 19, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Lindsay, thank you so much for this post. After having a rough third delivery last year and expecting a fourth in the Fall, I find that I am greatly in need of this reminder — especially the meditation on Phil. 4. Thank you!

  42. Heidi @ The Full Vine May 19, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    Thank you so much for this post. God is using it mightily in my life, and the lives of other women I know who are expecting. Philippians 4:8 is going to be devotions over the next week, as I meet fear head-on with the Lord’s help.

    I appreciate your perspective. It’s a shame that when someone writes with conviction, many others will misconstrue that as “narrowminded.” Thank you for not bashing other viewpoints, but for clearly and repsectfully stating yours. No one can honestly fault you for that.

    Another reader asked if you would elaborate in a future post on methods of natural birth control. I’d like to cast my vote for that too! After this second baby is born, we’d like to space out our next kids using natural family planning of some sort. We’re just a little new to the idea and could use some help if you’ve got information.

    Thanks again and may God bless you. Incredible site!

    • Allie May 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

      My husband & I have completely given God control of our “family planning”. But I know that exclusively breastfeeding gives most women’s bodies a natural “rest” in between babies. Unless you’re part of the 2 percent of women who get their cycle back immediately even while breastfeeding. :) Check out this book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1435746546/ref=aw_ls__6?coliid=I2PW4KUGIC46GJ&colid=XE62L6VZYLMD

      • M. May 24, 2011 at 8:03 am #

        I think in actuality it’s more than 2% of women who can get pregnant soon after birth– even if they exclusively breastfeed. I’ve exclusively nursed my 2 babies for about the first 9 months, yet I got pregnant at 4 1/2 months postpartum after my 1st baby. My cycles returned before 6 months after the birth of my 2nd baby, and I probably would have gotten pregnant if we hadn’t decided to use birth control.

        Also, during the postpartum months when my cycle was returning, I did attempt to use NFP– but *because* of the nursing, it was impossible to keep an accurate record, thus that method failed.

        My opinion– if breastfeeding works as a natural spacing method, great. But it certainly doesn’t work across the board, and so sometimes other planning/birth control methods are the best thing to steward the health, time, responsibilities, and children God has given to us.

        • Joy May 24, 2011 at 8:07 am #

          I agree—I’ve been told many a time from my midwife/doc’s office that breastfeeding, even exclusively, is not a reliable birth control. Not just that it’s only reliable for some people—just that it’s unreliable, period. You can still ovulate while nursing even if you don’t have a period.
          I used the progesterone-only pill while nursing, because it doesn’t interfere with milk production. I know not every woman wants to be on hormones, though.

        • Joy May 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

          I would agree with you that it is more than 2%. I read Sheila Kippley’s book, “Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing” many years ago before I gave birth to my first child. I followed all the “rules” exactly: our baby slept with us, I nursed “on demand,” no pacifiers, no bottles, wore baby in a sling, kept baby with me all the time, no baby-sitters, etc.

          Despite the fact that I did everything she said to do, my cycle started back again by the 3rd month postpartum! I followed the same principles again with my second, and my cycle returned at 4 months. With the next child it was also 4 months, and with the 4th and 5th babies it returned at 6 months.

          I have talked to midwives and Shonda Parker regarding this, and they have suggested that women with high estrogen levels may be the ones less likely to receive a longer time without ovulation, but they said no one knows for sure why it works for some women and not others.

          I still mother my babies this way, though, because I just love it! I love keeping my babies close and responding to their needs.

  43. Jessie Brown May 19, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    Thanks for this…just what I needed. I’m 20 weeks with my second. I wanted to go naturally the first time but ended up with preeclampsia. That turned into an emergency C-section and I ended up having heart failure due to an over-accumulation of fluid left on my body from the eclampsia, C-section, IV’s, etc. I want to go naturally this time so badly, but there has been such a huge fear in me the further along I get in this pregnancy that I haven’t been able to shake. I just don’t want a repeat of last time and all the scary days we had. You’ve reminded me to lean on the Lord with my fears and take them all to Him. He has the best plan for my family and for me as the Mommy to these blessings. I think I’ll print this out and have my husband read this to me while I’m in labor!

    • Rachel May 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

      I would encourage you to check out http://www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com/index.html I’ve had a few friends who were able to rid themselves of high BP, bedrest and toxemia/pre-eclampsia by following this diet. It’s basically just upping your proteins, with a few other things as well. Best wishes!

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      Ugh, I well remember all the fluid retention I had just from IV hydration and Pitocin. My feet were so full of fluid it felt so weird to walk on them after I had the baby. I can only imagine that your heart failure was somewhat medically induced. They may have pushed too much fluids into you during your procedure. That’s the crappy part about the medical interventions—usually, even though they save lives and help people, there are some side effects to those medications.
      I hope your next birth experience blows that one to shreds!

  44. Bethany May 19, 2011 at 5:07 am #

    Thank you for this! I’m expecting my third child in roughly a month, and although we’ve been through two healthy, natural labors so far, I’m finding myself afraid. This was a good post, and has given me wisdom to meditate on as I prepare.

    I do have a question for you, though. This month, as you dedicate the posts to mothers, will you talk about natural methods of birth control? My husband and I do not use contraceptives and definitely want more children, but I am one of those women who am fertile again roughly one month after giving birth, even though I exclusively breastfeed. My body is worn out with three kids so close together and we feel that we need to space out the next couple kids so I can recover physically and emotionally.

    Thank you for this site!

    • Rachel May 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

      There are many options out there, one being http://www.tcoyf.com/ (which is very different from the famous/infamous ‘rhythm method’) As always, praying that God would do His will above all to shape us into the people He wants us to be!

      • Bethany November 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

        Thanks, Rachel! I got the book and printed out the charts, and I’m pretty excited to finally learn my own body!

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

      If you don’t mind me asking, what scares you about the next one? I have had one so far naturally, unless you count being induced as un-naturally…I didn’t have any pain medications, just IV hydration and Pitocin.
      Anyway, I think I’m mostly scared of the pain. My sister has had 3 naturally and was telling me how it wasn’t that bad and didn’t hurt after you got to push….well, nope, it WAS that bad and DID hurt after I got to push. I felt like the baby was stuck and was never going to make it out of there. That may sound humorous but, that’s how it felt at the time.
      I see people post about their “beautiful” birth experience and I just don’t see how you can call something like that beautiful…
      And I had a pretty great experience, had a great midwife who I worked with in the medical clinic where I was a receptionist prior to having the baby, had the option to labor in the tub and got to use a birthing chair instead of being stuck in the bed, and also the hospital even served my hubby and I a nice dinner the next day and took the baby for us for a little while so we could have a “last meal alone” (haha) in peace.
      So, I guess I’m saying I can relate to your fear, and also was a little surprised that you’ve had two naturally and are still afraid. (Only reason I’m surprised is because I thought I was the only one still afraid after already having one.)
      Take care and blessings on your new addition!

      • Bethany November 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

        Thanks Joy! Didn’t see this until now, several months later. :)

        I was afraid mainly of something going wrong, either with me or with the baby. Plus I think I was nervous because we didn’t know the sex, and I was terrified to have a boy. And my second birth was awful, even though it was at home. I didn’t feel as comfortable with the midwife or her assistant as I should have because we chose one who accepted our insurance rather than one I “clicked” with who was more expensive. And that makes a huge difference! It took me 18 months to write that birth story because I didn’t want to relive the experience. So I guess those three things came together to make me fearful.

        This last birth went really well. My midwife was wonderful (she was a new one) and I was able to (finally!) push in the position I wanted to. I had a healthy baby girl, so all my fears were for naught. :) (I see you were able to use a birthing stool… that helps so much! My first two I wanted to be upright on a stool or squatting, but wasn’t allowed to)


    • lyss May 27, 2011 at 11:47 am #

      I think natural family planning would be a great topic to post on, too! But I also know it’s a touchy subject with many having strong opinions/convictions on what is right.

      I have friends who are clueless about their cycles and that you can actually tell when you’re fertile. Seems like most women think you either have to just trust God and have as many kids as possible or take hormonal pills. I’m not against trusting God, or course, but there are times when it is wise to not get pregnant. For me, after having a baby 8 weeks early via c-section, it was important to give my body a rest. And since I got my period before he was 6 weeks old, that was not enough of a break!

      From my research, the only 100% non-abortive methods are barriers(such as condoms) and NFP, which is figuring out when you’re fertile and abstaining during that time. Personally, I have found that just checking my mucus is enough for me to tell. I know some say to also check your basal body temp, but I’ve never done so.
      It’s worth researching and learning about. Hope you can find what works for you!

      • Bethany November 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

        Ah! Another early cycler! I was taught that exclusive breastfeeding is a natural birth control, so you can imagine my surprise when I also got my first period at 6 weeks postpartum!

        Okay, I’m so glad to hear of someone who just checks cervical mucus. I’ve been doing all three (temp, mucus, and cervical position), and the temperature part is NOT working out for me. Every morning is different, and even though my kids all get up at the same time, I don’t! I’ve been wondering if I could just do one of the other two instead. You’ve answered my question!

  45. Kate @ thedebtfreefamily.com May 19, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    I’m hoping to VBAC with my next baby (who is yet to be conceived) and I am definitely going to check that book out. My first baby’s birth started out all-natural in a birthing center but my cervix swelled and I could not get her out during the pushing stage and ended up transfering to get a c-section. I was incredibly depressed afterwards, although I am thankful my daughter was born perfectly healthy and I am fully recovered physically. I do think a big issue for me, though, were my fears in labor. This time around I will be going into it with much more knowledge and awareness about the process, and whatever God brings me, I hope I am prepared to embrace it wholeheartedly.

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

      I haven’t done my research on it, but I have heard that the cervix can swell if you start to push when you’re not fully dilated.

  46. charity crawford May 19, 2011 at 3:23 am #


  47. Laura Culp May 19, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    Thank you so much for this encouraging word. My friend posted this link on facebook this morning. I was induced with all of mine…my water broke without contractions for the first 2, and my 3rd I honestly succombed to pressure from doctor and family members, and my own fatigue as I was 8 days late after being early with the other two!. Anyway, I did go without any pain medication, and I wouldn’t choose to do it any other way.

    I am now 10 weeks pregnant with my fourth, and I am experiencing some fear. I was hemorhhaging with my 3rd and had to have some intervention to get my bleeding stopped. This has increased a bit with each birth, and it is said to increase with each time a mother gives birth. Thank you for posting what to do if you experience fear. I am going to earmark this. :)

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

      I wonder if the hemorrhaging had anything to do with being induced? I know that Pitocin does make for a more painful labor (or at least that’s what I’ve heard). I know it was definitely painful for me, I did the same thing–induced with no pain medication. I had low amniotic fluid levels that were somewhat concerning for the baby, and they gave me the option to induce and I grabbed it. But now, going back, I think I would have waited. It’s hard to know what would have been the right decision.
      I didn’t know that about the bleeding being said to increase with each birth. I know with mine, the midwife did say that there was more blood than she would have liked to see. That was my first (and only so far). I believe I was given the option to get a transfusion, but since I wasn’t dizzy or lightheaded I didn’t have to, so I didn’t do it. I know I was pretty pale after giving birth and it took me awhile to recover my iron stores.
      I was also somewhat anemic prior to giving birth.
      Hope this wasn’t too ramble-y–just saying it in case it might help you or be similar to what happened with you.
      God be with you on your upcoming delivery!

  48. Melissa May 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Yes, Yes and more YES! And to the anonymous person who wrote, “I think God is much more concerned with how we parent than how we give birth. I think you may have swung a bit too far on this issue…….” First, I do want to say that I think God deeply cares about both because He loves us so much. He wants us to have wonderful experiences in birth and mothering. Next, I want to gently point out that those of us who have experienced a natural birth have a very soft spot in our heart for it. Natural birth doesn’t make a person more godly. A deeper relationship with God does. But many times, the experience of a natural birth can bring a woman into a deeper relationship with God – just like any other experience has the same potential if we are open to it. Christie has done a really great job at presenting something she is not only passionate about, but has experienced, in a way that is just that….passionate. Not judgmental. I can hear her heart and her passion. If a person hears judgement coming from these posts on birth, then maybe he/she needs to examine more closely thier inner selves. Sometimes talking about natural birth can provoke feelings of inadequacy for those who have never given birth naturally or do not desire to do so. I have seen this before. The person experiencing inadequacy tends to blame shift their feelings of guilt onto the natural birther for making her feel less than. That may be the case sometimes, but most times, I don’t think it is. Speaking from my own experiences, natural birthers have a deep appreciation for birth and all that it entails, as well as for a deep compassion for mothers (no matter what her choices regarding birth) and their well being. For those of you who are experiencing this twinge of inadequacy or guilt I would say to you first, have compassion on yourself. Examine why you have made the choices you did in the past and the ones you plan to make for the future. Then, BE OK with them. That’s the thing, you’ve got to be OK with your choices so that you don’t give other peoples choices the power tom make you FEEL any particular way. I had a friend who didn’t want to home school her child, but she was surrounded by friends who home schooled their children. She listened to all their reasons why they home school and why they detest government schools…you get the point. Their intention was NOT to make her feel less than or to make her feel as though she had to make the same choice, they were simply sharing something they were passionate about and it was apparent they were SURE of their choice. Well, my friend expressed that she was upset because everybody was “judging” her….so not true though. Eventually, she realized that she was judging HERSELF and that she was UNSURE OF HERSELF and that she needed to BE OK with the choices that SHE WANTED TO MAKE. She wanted to send her child to public school, so she had to be OK with that decision and OWN it. Not be ashamed of it or feel less than for it. And she did just that. And guess what? She felt really good about it and so did her homeschooling friends. I really respect people who are OK with their decisions and choices though they may be different than my own choices. I hope my heart is heard here :)

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

      Well said.
      I would like to ask–do you think that because I was induced (although didn’t have any pain meds) that that is why I can’t say my birth experience was “beautiful”? LOL I see lots of women posting about their “beautiful” natural birth experience and, while I had him as naturally as I could, labored in water and used a birth chair, I still am not eager to repeat it, and dread L&D for the next one. I want another child, but am afraid of the pain, also am living in a new state/don’t have a support system, etc and don’t know what to expect with the hospitals here.
      Anyway, I just wonder if the Pitocin made it more unpleasant than it normally is,.

    • wendi May 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      Thank you for this! I have insecurities and I need to come that point where I own my decisions! I’m becoming more aware of it and getting better. My whole family is COMPLETELY opposite! Not really caring about breast feeding, my son will hopefully be almost 2 when I stop. They get an epedural without thought, I went natural. They cry it out and I comfort. I have struggled with my OWN decisions because they are so different from my family but am now seeing that its not others judging me but I am judging myself!Thanks! :)

  49. Rebekah May 18, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    Thank you for this! I am five weeks away from my due date and trying not to be freaked out by pain. My last birth was h-o-r-r-i-f-i-c. Actually, the author’s husband was the campus minister of a christian group at my college where my husband and I met! Small world, right?

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

      Just for curiosity’s sake, did your last birth have something go wrong or was it just the pain that was horrific?
      I’ve just had one so far, no pain meds, but was induced on Pitocin, and it was very painful too. And I thought I had a high pain tolerance! Whoops, guess not! :)

      • Joyfull May 24, 2011 at 10:23 am #

        Hi Joy, from another Joy. I have had three, and expecting 4. My second was horrific pain. I got to the hospital at almost 6 centimeters, and the doctor broke my water. No pitocin, but breaking water is another form of “induction.” Forty-five minutes later, he was born, and I was in shock. (Shaking, blood pressure problems, etc) It was the most horrible, intense pain with absolutely no let up. Pain like having a hand slammed in a car door and no one will open the door. I think some people just do not respond well to being induced. My other labors were not pain free, but were quite managable. I am glad it was only 45 minutes, but all my muscles were sore for weeks because I had everything tensed due to the level of pain.

        I do not intend to ever allow myself to be induced or speed things along again. If I were you, I would try it without pitocin. You may not react well to it.

  50. Theresa May 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    It is great to see someone saying this! I have had 3 perfect, natural, home births. Pain is manageable. It has a purpose. I found the books “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” very helpful (along with the Bradley class). I also loved “Childbirth Without Fear” which was written in something like 1924. I highly recommend both to anyone looking for a childbirth experience that *isn’t* what they show us on TV.

  51. Angela May 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Wonderful post. I also love the book Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize, if anyone is interested.

  52. Meg May 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Thank you! It is wonderful to read about what is normal once in a while, instead of being told, basically, that the exception is now the rule! I agree that the grace of God has given us medical intervention to save lives–He is so good to us–and that we should use it wisely, as we would anything else with which He has blessed us.

    I particularly appreciate your comments on prayer and scripture relating to pain. I know that would have helped my ability to handle my surprisingly short, nearly-had-the-baby-on-the-side-of-the-highway labor. I forget to credit God’s grace in my births–one C-section, two “home”births. Thanks for the reminder!

  53. Jess May 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Thanks for this post. While an earlier poster mentioned that they thought God cared more about how you parent than how you give birth, I think God does care because He cares about us!!! The process of birth will inevitably shape us as both women and mothers and why not try to make it the best experience possible. I am not a mother yet but I so appreciate your wisdom and perspective.

  54. sara May 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Wonderful, Wonderful!!! Having had all three of my girls with a midwife I try to encourage everyone to have a natural birth.. Our bodies are amazing!

  55. Amber May 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    I don’t think the purpose of this post is to make anyone feel bad about choosing a hospital birth with or without medication. It seems to me that the point is we should not succome to fear in childbirth. The media, medical establishment, and even well meaning friends can intimidate mothers to be with “worst case senario” stories to the point where we dread the blessed event that birth is. 2Timothy 1:7 tells us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Because God tells me not to fear, I choose to not fear. Yes, it is a choice. I will be giving birth to my second child in a few months. I pray that like my first it will proceed without medication or medical intervention. But, thank God the hospital is there if we need it. Either way I will not fear!

    • Kristin May 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

      Great article. Happened to just find this site today. Well, not just by coincidence for sure!

      Can’t wait to read much more.

      Any of you out there in Orlando area? Looking to connect with other professionals. I am a private practice LC.

      So much fear and misinformation out there. New age movement is saturating this area. So much deception which is why so much fear and anxiety.

      Pray Ladies!

  56. bloggymommy May 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    yes, yes, a thousand times yes! as a believer who is also a childbirth educator and all around birth junkie, i passionately believe exactly what you express here. thank you for putting in writing what i have been talking about for so very long. i will be sharing and sharing your wise words!

  57. Natalie May 18, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    As some women (and you never know who you are until it’s too late!) will have extremely fast labors…this is great preparation for any mom-to-be!

    Even for those who plan to use medication when they arrive at the hospital, these are helpful tips for coping with the (possible) pain until that medication arrives! Who knows…it might make your car and wheelchair ride more manageable!!! :)

    I think all should take note that this article never mentions homebirth vs. hospital birth because….it wasn’t the topic! I think it’s also clear Lindsay leans toward natural birth, but that isn’t the topic either. PAIN is! No matter her birth choices, every pregnant mom could potentially be helped by what is written here.

    Why not read and welcome this helpful info for what it is?

    Thanks for the post…I wish someone had shared like this about pain before my first baby’s birth! :)

  58. Jessica May 18, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Beautiful post! I know my delivery with our first was wonderful….As you mentioned I rested in God’s strength during my labor. I was probably one of the first women the nurses heard praying and reciting scripture during labor lol

  59. Anonymous May 18, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    I think God is much more concerned with how we parent than how we give birth. I think you may have swung a bit too far on this issue. As I read this it feels as though you equate homebirth or natural birth with being more Godly. I think there are many times when we should praise God for medical intervention and the successful delivery of a healthy baby AND a healthy mother. Certainly this was not always the way it was years ago. I am afraid you have fallen into the trap of seeing the world only through your own eyes and experiences instead of making room for other positive alternatives.

    • Jessica May 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      I don’t see that at all in her posts. When she discussed different alternatives last week it was clear which method of childbirth she favors, yet she was extremely clear that each mom has to make her own choices. I don’t know if you noticed but a lot of women mentioned fear surrounding all methods of birthing in their comments to that post so I feel like this is an awesome way for her address those comments. I think you are seeing condemnation where there is none.

    • Lisa @ Bright Mama May 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

      I think this was just meant to be encouraging; not judgemental.

  60. Christie May 18, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Thank you for sharing this! I am 35 weeks with baby #3. I had an epidural with baby #1, a natural birth brought on by pitocin with baby #2. It was a very painful, scary experience. This time, I would like to experience natural birth again with no medications. Praying God will drive the fear out of my heart!

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      I’ve already made other comments, but I want to ask you too, do you think the Pitocin added to the experience being painful (and therefore scary)? I had mine natural (no pain meds) but with Pitocin and it was very painful. The pain is the thing I dread the most for whenever we have another one. (Also the fact that I’m so far away from friends and family–but that’s another story.)
      I just wondered how the experiences differed since you had one with the epidural.
      I’m still debating whether I want an epidural next time around. I definitely don’t want to be “chained” to the bed though, haha I was with the Pit and don’t want a repeat of that.
      Just curious about your thoughts!

  61. Crissy May 18, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I have given birth with an epidural my first time and then given birth naturally the following baby. I wanted to experience both in my life. Natural is the way to go!

    With natural birth, once the baby arrives, the pain goes away. I heard people day that, but it is true. Sure you are achy afterwards, but they have pain relievers for that. During natural birth, you are in control of your body. When the doctor tells you to push, you actual can feel how to push unlike with an epidural it is hard to figure out what exact the pushing motion should be. Also, if you are afraid of needles and poking, you don’t have to have a catheder (sp?), big shot in your spine, or an IV during natural child birth. And for those of you trying to save money, natural is cheaper as well.

    For all those mothers-to-be out there, may I give you a few words of advice? 1) Don’t watch the baby birthing shows on cable TV; 2) Don’t read blogs/books about horror stories on child birth; and 3) Don’t listen to your friends horrible labor stories.

    • Lisa @ Bright Mama May 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      Agree totally!!

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

      Just to clarify, you really do prefer natural to an epidural? Just to make sure I heard you right… ;-)
      I had one baby no pain meds but was on Pitocin, and ugggghh it was painful. Not sure whether to do an epidural the next time around…

  62. Sarah (A Runner's Heart) May 18, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Thank You so much for this post! I am due in 4 weeks and everything else i read scares me! I am a Nurse and so I have seen the medical side of it all, but actually going through it is completely different. (That is something I can’t seem to make my doctor understand.) These are definitely some encouraging words for me! I may just print this out and bring it to the hospital with me, just as a reminder. :)

  63. M. May 18, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    I love your tip about surrounding yourself with people you’re comfortable with, and not being afraid to say “no”. At the birth of our first, (we ended up with a hospital birth after a failed attempt of a home birth), they let the grandparents in the room without my permission. So there I was with a just-born screaming baby (she was not happy after the long hard labor!), wanting to try to hold her skin-to-skin and breastfeed her, (and still not cleaned up myself, just covered with a sheet!), while the grandparents were wanting to look and hold her. Being a brand-new mom, I was not ready to attempt breastfeeding in front of relatives– nor was I ready to hand her to someone else! It was a really uncomfortable situation, and not good for bonding with my baby.

    So…when planning the birth of our second baby, I requested that my husband help enforce a 1-week visitor-free time after the birth. I know that’s hard on the relatives who want to see the baby right away, but I felt that for peace of mind and what’s best for the baby, that’s what needed to be done. It worked out SO much better! It was much easier to bond with the baby, get him nursing, and not stress out.

  64. Shellee May 18, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    After having a c-section the first time around and my daughter’s face being cut because of it, we wanted a different choice. We found a midwife with 30 experience and a Christian woman who understood all our fears both of a homebirth, but mainly another hospital birth. After much praying, God gave me peace with having a homebirth. I am so glad I trusted Him to help me through. I delivered my second daughter at home in a birthing tub 8 weeks ago. Although homebirth is not for all, I personally will not give birth in a hospital again unless needed. I think when you understand what your body is doing and have the support of your husand, midwife, and doula, its manageable. Yes, it hurt, but nothing compared to the weeks of recovery from a c-section.

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

      Can I just say, thank you for not saying your homebirth was a “beautiful” or “amazing” experience. For just putting it like it is: “It hurt”! :)
      I guess I get down because I feel that many women make homebirth into this cure-all, like you won’t even feel pain if you have it at home. I’m glad to know at least someone acknowledges that it WILL still hurt. Thank you! ;)

  65. Emily May 18, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    Great article, I am definitely going to share this one! I had a rather chaotic home birth with our little boy, but it was such an empowering experience, to do it naturally and basically on my own (my husband was there, but our midwives didn’t make it in time). I love that transition is often characterized by feeling like you can’t do this and want to give up. Precisely when we realize we don’t have the strength to go on, God sustains us and gives us what we need to bring our precious little one into the world.

  66. Sarah D May 18, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    Isn’t that so amazing about the breaks God has designed for us during labor? I recall very strongly who I talked to, and what I saw or thought, or the women who were encouraging me, during those breaks in the pushing stage. The actual pushing is a blur.

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      Interesting. For me, I didn’t open my eyes during the hard labor and pushing. It felt like it would break my concentration. If I did open them I felt distracted and had to close them.

  67. Monique May 18, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    I have always admired women who were able to birth their children on their own. My great-grandmother had 13 children, all birthed at home and would be found up and about the house within a few hours of birth, tending to the house and the rest of her family. Strong woman. I am expecting my 5th child this fall and will be using an epidural if possible, and this is why. My first 3 were with an epidural, and I had a pleasant experience with all of them. My 4th was born within 15 minutes of arriving at the hospital. It was the worst experience of my life. The pain was immense, unbearable. I was in shock, literally for hours afterward. I had no desire to hold the my son. I felt no connection to him. And all of this made me even more sad and despondent. He was born in the morning, and by that night, I was back to normal, but I really wish things had been different. I know that having him that fast didn’t help anything. Each of my births have been faster than the last. So, I am going to try to avoid what happened last time and will be getting an epidural if possible. I also believe that different people have different pain tolerances. Mine is obviously very low.

    Having said all of that, I will repeat that I have and will always deeply respect those who do this naturally. If today were 100 years ago, I’d have no choice but to do it naturally with all of you. But, if this were 1911, instead of 2011,, two of my children would not be here today. They would have been born far too early. I don’t know that God is happier if we experience the pain. I don’t think c-sections are pain free. And do you think that if it is better to experience the pain, we should opt out of the novicaine shot at the dentists office? Should you pass on the shot to numb the pain when your child gets stitches?

    I don’t think this topic is black and white. There are too many gray areas, and I don’t think God is going to think less of me if I opt to have my pain meds.

    • Christy May 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

      I’m sorry that you had such an unpleasant experience with your fourth child. When birthing experiences don’t go as planned, it sometimes attaches a painful memory to an otherwise blessed event. My fourth was also born very quickly, just 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital, and he came 3.5 weeks early. The difference is that I was planning on a natural birth and had already experienced one with baby #3, so I was prepared for it mentally and physically. (It helped that he was smaller, being early.)

      I think that Lindsay’s primary message is about overcoming the fear that most women have regarding labor and childbirth, especially an otherwise normal and healthy pregnancy. It is the FEAR that causes the pain to increase. If you change your mindset and see the pain for what it is, true labor, your body working so that you can hold your child in your arms, then it will be more bearable. And labor pain is different than pain from an injury or illness, which is indicating that something is wrong. When you believe that God designed your body for this purpose, then you should be able to trust Him. Yes, things go wrong, this is a fallen world. Yes, we are blessed to have medical professionals to help us when they do. But we should also be informed and prepared.

      Just a word of warning, with my fifth child, I had a total of TWO hours labor (and he was 9 lbs 2 oz!). I had easy prelabor for almost a month, but once I began having regular contractions, the time flew by. By the time I arrived at the hospital and got through admitting, I was at 9cm. You may want to prepare yourself for a natural childbirth, just in case. No matter whether your childbirth is natural or medicated, I hope that it goes without complication and both you and baby are healthy.

    • Joy May 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

      You are very right, there is no black and white, and I don’t think there should be. I know some women out there (certainly feel entitled to judge others since THEY did it with no pain medication. But, like you said, every pain threshold is different, and, every body is different. It’s possible that your labor DID hurt more than someone else’s might have. Also, the stress and fear involved I’m sure made it worse–it was probably like, “No, no, this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be!!”
      If I were in your shoes, I’d want an epidural, too—stat!!! :)

  68. Katie May 18, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    I love this blog. I love that you have a real desire to serve and honour the Lord. I am always very encouraged when I come to your site, until today. I feel as you put this issue into a legalistic area. I think having a natural labour is a beautiful and amazing thing. But I do not think it is sinful if you have pain meds. I felt as if your conscience has convicted you of this which if it has its important for you to follow through. However I don’t think it is a hard and fast rule and that is how I feel as if you are presenting it. Severe Labour pain is due to the fall along with a lot of other terrible things. I hope this isn’t harsh or disrespectful because I really do respect you and have valued your blog since I found it. God has blessed you and I hope He continues to do so.

    • Beka May 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

      I don’t think that this post is legalistic at all. I am a believer & have taken Hypnobirthing classes before both of my children’s births, both which were natural. The main reason I took Hypnobirthing was for all of the reasons that Lindsay wrote here: because it has been proven that fear=tension=pain. It is a viscious cycle and does not allow our bodies to work as God made them to. I don’t think this is legalistic, I think it is science. And God made science, and all we have to do is discover it! What Lindsay just posted is basically a Christian form of Hypnobirthing! (it’s not actually hypnosis at all, but deep relaxing to allow the body to work the way God designed it to, and bonding with your baby, and making pregnancy, labor, birth, and after – all a JOYFUL experience!) that’s what I think I missed the most before- I had no idea how much of a JOYFUL and HAPPY experience this can be. And I think that if you really look in your heart and ask God to show you what His Word says, and help you to have no fear and look at childbirth through HIS eyes, I think that you would see that this post really isn’t legalistic at all. Sometimes things go wrong and some women are unprepared and have other stresses involved, or don’t have supportive husbands or doulas or things like that. And pain meds come in. I don’t think that Lindsay was saying that was a sin. When she quoted the Bible where it was talking about sin, I think she just used the whole scripture as to not take anything out of context. But I don’t think she’s saying it’s a sin to take drugs! It would be a sin to add or take away from the Bible! :) Thank you Lindsay for sharing God’s Word & God’s truth with us :)

      • Katie May 19, 2011 at 7:03 am #

        I do want to say that I was talking with my husband about this and how the post really bothered me and how out of charcter the post felt in line with the rest of the blog. We talked about it and I think that sometimes it is hard to convey tone and attitude in writing. I am sure that Lindsay wasn’t writing it in a legalistic way.

  69. Stacey May 18, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    this was GREAT!! i just wish i had been able to read it 3 1/2 weeks ago ;) being pregnant w/ my 5th child and having had 4 natural births already you wouldn’t think i would have been so afraid this time. but i was. afraid of the pain!!! and afraid of the unknown. everything you said in this is true. my amazing midwife actually made it to this birth and talked me through transition and i noticed that when i stopped fighting the pain and embraced it, working into it rather than trying to stop it, it didn’t hurt so badly. i DID feel empowered and things went much faster. i don’t know if we will have more, but if we do i am book marking this post to refer back to and remind myself of all of these things. congratulations on your newest pregnancy and my prayers for a beautiful and safe delivery are with you. :)

  70. Anonymous May 18, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    Thank you for this! I am really enjoying this month’s focus on motherhood! Will you be sharing any of your thoughts about deciding when to try and have children and how many to have? My husband and I have many discussions on when we’d like to try to have a second child but I’ve always felt a little silly trying to “plan” when to have children. However, I do feel some responsibility for waiting until we feel we are ready for more children. Any thoughts? Any opinions on birth control? Of course this can be a very private matter and I’d understand if you do not feel like sharing this!

    • Lindsay May 18, 2011 at 5:29 am #

      I would encourage you to read Start Your Family when addressing the issue of when to have children, because I do believe we are responsible to steward our fertility and not assume that we will always be able to conceive. I don’t think we will be addressing this issue here, but I do believe it is important to pray together with your husband and allow him to lead in making the decision. There is certainly grace to wait a period of time between having children. Feel free to send me an email and I’d be happy to share further.

      • Allie May 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

        I second the “Start Your Family” book reccomemdation & will add “Love Another Child” by Chris & Wendy Jeub to your book reccomendation list. Both are such encouraging books for young families!

    • Rachel May 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

      We’ve pondered this issue as well, and here are a few thoughts that a friend shared with me, when I was puzzled as what to do about it.
      1) In the Bible, children are always spoken of as a blessing. Why would we turn away/delay having blessings heaped upon us? (and debt is a curse, in yet we’re often quick to get into it!)
      2) God also always promises that He is with us, and will adequately ‘arm’ us for the task He has given. (money, health, strength, wisdom, etc.)
      3) We need to look at child spacing/fertility/family planning with an eternal perspective, not a carnal one. Pray that God would override our limited human understanding, and fill us with His wisdom and truths.
      4) Pray daily for strength, wisdom, patience, and all other virtues we may need as a parent. “Lean not on your own understanding” to tackle this most important job.
      5) Don’t let the world’s views shape our Christian walk and decision making. This can often be influenced by well-meaning Christian people who do not have Biblical wisdom when it comes to these matters, and can often be our own family members (or even spouse). Pray for conviction, that you wouldn’t be swayed by ideas that are not from above!

  71. Beth May 18, 2011 at 4:20 am #

    Thank you so much for this article. I’m due soon with our second baby and have been dealing a lot with the fear of it all. I wanted to go natural with my first, but due to some circumstances I was not able to. So I wanted to try to go all natural with my second, but I have been just very fearful of the process since it seems almost completely foreign again to me. So thank you for the good and Biblical perspective for encouragement, I really appreciate it!

  72. Alice May 18, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    Could I respectfully disagree with you? Although childbirth is a natural process, and{usually} there is nothing to fear, and {most} babies could be born without medical intervention, sometimes there is a legitimate need for ceserean delivery. Women themselves sometimes died during labor and delivery in the days before modern health care. That is extremely rare these days. And to be honest, when I think of all the babies I personally know of that died during labor, only one was born at the hospital. Despite the flawed system, doctors and hospitals truly do everything they can to ensure that the mother and child live and are healthy.

    This article is very good, it really is. I just have a problem with your second paragraph, because it is not completely true. I know babies that have died because of the moms being determined to do it all naturally, because of articles and information like this and I know babies who would have died without medical intervention, including my niece who was supposed to have been born at home. I think it is only fair for women to be completely informed about the pros and cons of whatever method of childbirth they are planning to have. Because there are pros and cons on both sides.

    • Lindsay May 18, 2011 at 5:38 am #

      There is certainly a place for modern medicine, don’t get me wrong. I believe I had adequately given room for that in this article. But I don’t think it is necessary to fear the end result, but rather to work through the fear and ultimately trust the Lord’s sovereignty with the end result. It is important to learn how to work with our bodies, because more often than not, cesarean’s are due to our fear, lack of movement, etc. But there is certainly God’s grace available for those with difficult past experiences, and there is certainly a place in rare instances that it is necessary to preserve life…but again, this is rare…and I want to guard against consuming women with the fear of it when it is not normal, but again to trust that the Lord can use even cesareans as part of His good plan for them.

    • Julia May 18, 2011 at 8:26 am #

      I think this recent article from the nytimes is interesting. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/health/research/26childbirth.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=childbirth&st=cse

      “The result suggests that routine reliance on the procedures does little to improve outcomes for infants, he said.”

    • charity crawford May 19, 2011 at 3:21 am #

      the pro’s and con’s I believe is praying and being in agreement with what God wants you to do!

  73. Stephanie Crosby May 18, 2011 at 3:55 am #

    Wonderful post! Wished I’d read it before the birth of my son (almost a year ago!).

  74. Emily May 18, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    Good post. I haven’t read the book, but I used Jennifer’s website Birthing Naturally alot last pregnancy. I wanted to have a home birth, but God seemed to close that door, at least for that time around. He did lead to some wonderful midwives, and a great supporting doctor at a different hospital than my first, who assisted me in a much-longed-for VBAC. It was a very long labor, and I think broke some of the hospital rules – I was told that it would not have happened without that particular combination of doctor and midwife (Providential, of course!)
    I can attest to the low sounds. Once I relaxed, and kept those low, low sounds on the exhale, I really was doing great. The pushing was another story – I was not prepared for the work. I didn’t dialate evenly, and he kept getting stuck. In the end, I did have an epidural (which I forgot to use after the initial dose) because I was exhausted and not getting anywhere – it was the lesser of evils offered :) If I’d been at home, I would have eaten, and I’m sure that would have helped in the energy department. My mom finally pleaded to feed me a popsicle, and I’m sure that little bit of sugar helped me to finally push him out – of one the best moments in my life. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it helped finally put to rest all those unresolved feelings about my first C-section. (I allowed myself to be talked into an inducement on my due date for mild gestational diabetes, and it didn’t work.)
    I used a lot of those verses about fear, not just for the labor pain, but fear that once I got in hospital, that interventions would be forced on me and things would get out of control again. I finally had to rest in the assurance that I had followed God’s leading and that it was all in his hands. Instead of praying for a specific midwife to be on, I even left that choice in His hands, too. It ended up so wonderful. Instead of feeling like I was resisting the staff the whole time, it was the over-seeing doctor who kept coming in to tell me that everyone was cheering for me in the hall, and encouraged me that I could really do it, when I was starting to feel like I didn’t have much left to give. God is so good!

  75. Sarah May 18, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    Thanks for this post. We gave birth naturally with our first child and had a long and difficult labor due to a few complications. Now that we are expecting our second, fear of another long, hard labor has already crept into my heart and made me anxious about the birthing process many months away. These ideas will be helpful for me as I meditate on scripture and recenter my heart on Father. Thanks!

  76. Julie May 18, 2011 at 3:46 am #

    This is wonderful. It is so nce to see, in writing, what I have been sharing for years. My 3 were born at home with no medical intervention, one was born with only my mom and myself present. That was a wonderful way to be able to wholy embrace the childbirth process completly trusting in God and the way He created me.. Thank you for putting it out there for all to see.

  77. Mariposa May 18, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    Thank you for this post! I will be giving birth to our first any time now and have started to get a little anxious the past few days. This reminder was very encouraging as I prepare to welcome our little one into the world!

  78. Jeannie May 18, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    Wonderful summary of how best to prepare for childbirth. Phil 4:6-7 was a verse I clung to during my Dec 2010 birth of my son – it really does provide peace. Birth has been a very powerful and blessed process for me. I found that a wonderful Doula is very helpful (especially the first time) and preparatory classes can be very helpful as well – the more I knew what to expect, the more comfortable I felt.

  79. Ellen May 18, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    This is a lovely, thank you for sharing, Lindsay. There are several things you said that apply directly to my past birthing experiences and my fears for the future.

    I do you see how it has potential to be discouraging for those whose labor situations are not as you have described. My friend’s baby never did drop and even the midwife, who is not pro c section, agreed that her pelvis was not able to deliver that large baby. While I am completely for natural birth when possible and have had two homebirths myself, I do think that in a world where we live in the shadow of sin, it is possible to have problems like having a pelvis-baby size issue. Likewise, there are many women, my mother included, who simply did not experience that kind of quiet between contractions. Not every labor will progress this way and such blanket statements, I think, could be very discouraging to women who do want to pursue natural birth but have other factors working against them.

    Thank you for the challenge & encouragement, I will remember it as I prepare for my next labor.

  80. Mrs Deaton May 18, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    Thank you so much for all your posts on childbirth and having a godly perspective vs accepting what the world says as fact. There are so many lies out there and I am always refreshed when I come to your page :) I love the idea also to continually thank God through the process for the ability to feel pain and for the gift He is giving. We have a precious gift due in Oct and I could not feel more blessed <3