Friday, May 04, 2012

Real Christian Women Have Natural Births

November 24, 2011. My doula shows my husband how to work it!

I've been blessed to have three beautiful, natural (to varying degrees) births. As a Christian, these moments have been some of the most spiritual, metaphysical experiences of my life. I have no doubt in my mind that natural birth was where God had directed me, and that He used the birth process to reveal more of Himself to me. As a Christian, natural birth was God's will for us.

I mean, real Christian women have natural births, right? There are many who will argue that because of Genesis 3:16 the so-called "Curse of Eve" is pain in labor, and as Christian women we should accept this--- that God somehow uses this pain to make us holy. Others argue that God created women for childbearing and gave us all the tools needed, so by electing for epidurals, interventions, or surgical births, we are spitting in the face of God's creation. On the other side of the argument are those that say "hey, if God wanted us to suffer, He would have prevented science and medicine from developing medications and Cesarean sections." I've even heard the argument that if pain medications can keep mom from cursing and being mean during labor, they must be a gift from God!

I don't think the answer lies in either position. I don't think we can actually say that God's will is one or the other, natural or assisted.

Discovering God's will for your birth experience is not a simple, cut and dry, "this verse says X so I must do Y" formula. It needs prayer. It needs to foster unity in your marriage. It needs to be the way of Peace.

And it needs to be a decision that is not born out of fear or ignorance, but of power, love and a sound mind that God has given us through communion with his Holy Spirit (2 Tim 1:7). We need to make wise, not unwise choices.

The fears that women face are many:

  • fear of pain or discomfort 
  • fear of inadequacy/"not able to do it"
  • fear of ridicule for the choices they make
  • fear of upsetting healthcare providers and the established birth "system"
  • fear of placing their life or the life of their child at risk
  • fear of losing control

Similarly, there is a lot of ignorance regarding birth and the interventions available in the US. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be educated, not only about the birth process, but about the risks and benefits of every intervention. The vast majority of American women have simply not looked at the major studies and realized that the status quo birth experience in the US has many medically unnecessary interventions that places them and their baby at higher risk for complications and even death. There are absolutely times when I believe these interventions are necessary, but how will you know how to make a wise choice if you are not even aware of the truth of the situation?

So, do real Christian women have natural births? Absolutely. But some real Christian women don't. And at the end of the day, they are still really real Christians.

How did you decide what you wanted for your childbirth experience?


elj377 said...

As a woman Christian and mom I too struggled with this...and finally it came down to what was best for us.
Our first daughter was born completely drug free but I was also in labor for over 24 hours with no progress till the end and I nearly died because I had sky rocketing blood pressure and then I tore so badly that I needed over 35 stitches...took me over 4 weeks to recover from the birth
With my second child, my doctor recommended an epidural because of blood pressure skyrocketing during labor, and it was good, I also ended up needing a level 3 episiotomy because of all the scarring from my first delivery so I was glad to not feel the stitching and cutting.
This last time I was on the fence but since I was so tired and on an IV for Strep B we decided to use medication and I was glad we did since he got stuck and it took over an hour of pushing to get him out....I don't think I could of handle the intensity of the pain without medication...and believe me I still felt everything at the end.

Missy at Its Almost Naptime said...

I think the epidural is just one of the signs that Christ has redeemed the Curse :)

I also believe that 'pain in childbearing' begins with our first menses and ends at, well, death. As women we are constantly enslaved to our hormones - the hormones that, in paradise, would have worked perfectly and for one purpose only, to deliver babIes. Now, they wreak havoc on a continual basis.

Missy at Its Almost Naptime said...

My iPhone is acting up - forgive me

Also, if a painful childbirth were requirements for Christian women, then those who never experience childbirth or even have easy childbirths would thereby be exempt from the Curse, and we know that isn't true.

I think those who believe that Christian women MUST have natural childbirth are as legalistic as those who say we must not wear makeup or pants. It is legalism at its highest. We are free and redeemed in Christ - as Steven Lawson says, anytime we try to add to Christ, we detract from Christ.

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