It’s definitely a time of preparation here in the Rowe family. At the same time we are preparing for Christmas, we are preparing for the arrival of our own little one. Finding a place for all the new “stuff” that comes along with having a baby. Finding a new church that will be a good fit when we become a family of three. Quieting our hearts to take notice of Christ all around us in this hectic Advent season. Cherishing the last weeks we have together as a family of two.
The last two weeks we have spent a significant amount of time preparing for childbirth. When it first came time to think about childbirth classes, I was terrified. How would I find a class that would fully equip me and D to be ready for whatever was going to come our way? A friend of mine had a very disappointing first birth experience and suffered from PPD following it. My own sister had twins when only 26 weeks pregnant. Another friend was induced early because the baby wasn’t growing properly. Some swore by an epidural. I am terrified of needles. And surgery.
I guess we began our intentional childbirth preparation a few months ago, when we made the switch from a large OB/GYN practice to a midwife. From our first appointment with the new midwife, we knew we had made the right decision. She calmed my heart. I instantly trusted her and knew she would take care of us as we went along our birthing journey. She gave us a stack of information about different kinds of birthing classes and told us that she didn’t care which one we chose, but to please choose something.
Pregnancy and birth is a very spiritual thing for D & I, and we wanted to find a class that would support that feeling. Something that would give us a variety of ways to make it through a natural childbirth and not simply one method to try. After some research, we decided we’d take a Birthing from Within class. It tugged at my heartstrings. It seemed like it would tap into our creative brains. We found one that worked for our schedule and send in the money … there was no turning back now.
We spent 17 hours over two weekends in a class where we explored pain-coping techniques, personal fears and apprehensions, possible medical interventions, postnatal care, breastfeeding and more. It was informative but exhausting. Each class wore me out – physically as well as emotionally. We would arrive home and I would soon burst into tears. It seemed the class was having the opposite effect on me … I had more fear and anxiety after each class than I did before class started.
How would I possibly master everything I had learned so that I could be completely prepared for whatever might come my way during labor? How would my sweet D be able to handle what could potentially be a very long labor without the help of a doula? What if I can’t get this little one lined up properly for birth? What were we going to eat those first few weeks home? The questions kept coming … and as the questions came, so did more tears.
And sometime along the way … just before our final class … God stepped in. I heard this voice say to me, Crystal, you are not alone in this. You don’t have to do this on your own. I am here.
Our class was designed to help us see the power that we have within ourselves to birth a baby. It was meant to be empowering. Women are created to give birth. I have everything I need to make that happen.
But I had missed an important piece … it’s not just that women are created to give birth. It’s that God created women to give birth. The same God that promises to be with us always. I am not creating this baby that is inside of me … God is. My body is just the vessel that is helping her prepare for this world. God and I are co-creating … we are doing this together.
Our final class was different for me. That little voice stayed with me as we talked about medical interventions and postnatal care. As we tried pain-coping techniques that we had learned throughout our time together, I tapped into the one thing that gives me inner strength … my faith in God. The knowledge that God has given me everything I need. The people, the determination, the body, the skills. God has helped D & I make good decisions along the way – we have entrusted our care to people who we truly trust. And we are learning how to pray ourselves through whatever might come our way.
As I left our final class last night, I wanted to fall to my knees in praise. I was so thankful for our childbirth leader and for the other couples in the class who shared a piece of their lives with us. Each story we heard, each question we wrestled with, each moment we shared … they all carried a small glimpse of God’s promise to be with us always.
And that, my friends, is what Advent is truly all about. Being awake to God’s presence around us. Our childbirth class did more than just prepare us for birth. It helped prepare us for new life all around us, in whatever form it may show up.
This post is part of a Blog Carnival over at Giving Birth with Confidence.