Tuesday, May 25, 2010

God-centered birth

Having given birth half a dozen times now, I have some different experiences to pull from. And, this time as the birth approached I again found myself wanting to be as prepared as possible to manage labor.

I practiced relaxing.

I read and reread Husband Coached Childbirth.

I discussed expectations and scenarios with my doctor, and my husband.

I dreaded the unknown, and feared the known. I knew it would be painful, but I also knew I could do it. But, not in my own strength.

Through all these preparations it became clear that I had left out an important element in prior labors. I forgot to spend much time focusing on the Creator of Life. I knew He had created my body to accomplish this, and I reveled in the marvel of the natural process of birth, knowing He had enabled me to participate in this.

This time, I set out to intentionally rely and focus on God and His strength to support me through this labor.

Here's how I accomplished that, and maybe some of these ideas will help someone else have a God-centered birth.

Preparation -- First, I went through the Psalms and other Scripture passages that brought me comfort. I made a HUGE list. This offered me hope and strength throughout pregnancy as well as in expectancy for the birth. Here are just a few:
  • Isaiah 12:2, "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."
  • 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
  • Psalm 3:3-5, "But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. 4 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me."
  • Psalm 46:1,2, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea"
  • Psalm 125:1,2, "Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.

And that's just some of them. I came up with about 40 passages that fed me when I felt faint.

Record -- Then we took some of these and my kids read them as my husband recorded them. So my children were speaking Scripture into my thoughts. As I heard God's promises, I was also reminded of His past blessings in and through the lives of our other children. You could also have friends or other family members record verses for you, and in this way bring a host of support along with you while you labor.

Worship -- In addition to the Scripture recordings I also chose some special songs that spoke to me powerfully and reminded me of God's presence with me. My friend Leah that blogs at Cheerio Days first got me thinking along these lines and I have her to thank for some of these music suggestions. I'm sure you can come up with your own, but some songs I found fitting for this time include:
  • I Will Rise -- Chris Tomlin
  • I Will Lift my Eyes -- Bebo Norman
  • How He Loves ; Only You-- David Crowder Band
  • Sometimes by Step -- Rich Mullins
  • Above All
  • Every Time I Breathe -- Big Daddy Weave
  • You are My King (amazing love)
  • Your Grace is Sufficient -- Shane and Shane
  • The Greatness of our God -- One Sonic Society

Practice -- If you manage to get this done before labor {wink}, this can be a great tool to prepare yourself. Record it all on your MP3 player or on a CD, and take some time to relax and focus on God's goodness each day.

Focus -- I cannot tell you what a blessing and reassurance it was to have this tool to keep my thoughts focused on the One who has more strength than I can ever need. The One with peace that passes understanding.

I have to admit that in the final minutes when the doctor was telling me not to push (yeah, right . . .) my resolve crumbled and I shifted my focus to the immediate rather than the Eternal, but for most of the time these preparations and recordings carried me through another amazing birth experience. It really did work for me.


Leah Biek said...

I love this, Erin. :) I loved the suggestions that you gave here for a God centered birth. I'm hoping to use the scripture recordings next time I give birth. Blessings! :)

Tina said...

Great post! Iv been looking for tips on how to have a God centered birth. This being babe #3 and my first natural birth I want to have a much different experience then my last two times.
I'm reading The Christian Childbirth Handbook by Jennifer Vanderlaan and also the Bradley method book, both are very helpful:)
Look forward to reading more of your blog!

HillaryM said...

What great recommendations. I have never thought to prepare in that way before. I hope we will have another so I can use these. ;)
Congratulations again on your handsome little man.

Amy @ Raising Arrows said...

I need to make sure I focus on God and His provision with this baby. I've gotten the go ahead to VBA2C, but there are risks. I cannot possible come up with all the scenarios and fixes, but He can. Great reminders! :)

6intow said...

Leah, glad to share. I'm sure the Scriptures will be a great addition to what you already do.

Tina, I was not familiar with that book thanks for sharing. As I was formulating this plan I was thinking there should be a book like that, glad to hear there is. ~Welcome!

Hillary, I hope you have an opportunity to put these ideas to good use, too. :-) And, thank you.

Amy, I'll be praying for you as you go through this pregnancy and birth, when are you due? My first was a c-section, so I know some of the struggles you face going natural. I'm sure it's tougher having had two, praying!

MommaMindy said...

OK, now I'm wishing I could have another baby! :)

I loved the idea of recording the verses. Of course, this could be used for anytime you need the Lord's strength, not just childbirth, so I guess I can utilize your beautiful idea after all!

Love the pic of the little guy. Many warm congratulations on all the blessings in your home.

Kelli said...

A truly beautiful post!
We just found out we are pregnant, so of course this is now at the forefront of my mind. I have only been through pregnancy, labor and delivery once and I can tell you that it was not God centered. With this child I have decided that the whole entire process is going to be completely different...prayerful, peaceful and patient...for He is good!!
Visiting from WFMW!
Kelli @ SustainingCreativity