|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?