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Metaphor and story are a basic thread in humanity. Some may even say that we ourselves are stories, waiting to be written down. In reality, story in unavoidable. We walk through life each day, with a narrative in our heads about who we are and where we are going. We do our daily tasks and mothering and work and loving and in this all, we are telling a story about who we are (or Whose we are) to the outside world.
All of life is a story. Words are powerful.
And while we will dive deeper into the importance of stories and birth in next week’s episode of the Chosen podcast, it is important to go into further detail on how faith and story and birth blend together.
Because while life is a story, faith is like a doula.
Brene Brown once said,
I thought faith would be an epidural, taking away the pain and discomfort. But faith is more like a doula – a nurturing partner who leans into the discomfort with you and whispers, “Push and breathe. It’s supposed to hurt.”(source)
We are never promised life would be easy or linear. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
We know we will have trouble. We know trauma may be just around the corner. We know it takes a lot of intentional work to heal from past hurt, work that we may not be ready for.
We know that while the details of what happen in your own labors are inherently unknown, albeit following distinct patterns by design, Someone does know – and He is still writing your story for His glory.
Even when it hurts, that doesn’t denote that it’s worthwhile.
Labor and childbirth are often feared events by women, who feel ill-equipped and uncertain of what will happen. It doesn’t help that our society pushes this message of incapability and distrust in God’s design, as we do live in a post-Christian world. This is why it’s so important to have an advocate, to learn about the physiological processes in labor and how your body was designed, and to nurture your own faith in Christ, as your nurture your body in preparation to meet your child, this gift.
Gifts are always worthwhile.
Even when that experience which brings about the worthwhile gift brings pain with it. And there are many ways to work through this pain – the basis of faith in this conversation, we will explore further.
When looking at the difference between an epidural and a doula in labor, well, some would say they are not comparable. Because while mothers who hire doulas statistically are happier about their births and traditionally refuse pain medication, instead naturally and mentally coping with labor itself—- this conversation is anything but linear.
An epidural doesn’t just take away the pain and discomfort, just as faith doesn’t, either.
In fact, many will argue it doesn’t do that at all.
Because when you choose an epidural, you will still experience pain, and you will still experience discomfort. Do not be fooled, mama. Because while we all have a choice, you cannot escape the discomfort and pain which labor brings, even if you can lessen it some by the help of medicine or tradition.
The thick needle in your spine which is used to insert pain medication hurts hard.
The feeling hours after labor when your senses are coming to and you can feel your body waking up to the trauma that childbirth is to your inner workings is unnerving.
There will still be discomfort in not knowing when to push or what to do in labor, even when you can’t feel anything from your waist down.
It may be mental discomfort, feeling a loss of control, it may be physical discomfort in the rest of your body.
Ultimately, no matter the method of labor and childbirth you choose – pain and discomfort will always be there.
Faith is nothing like an epidural. Because an epidural ultimately doesn’t take away all the pain and discomfort associated with childbirth, looking at the minutiae details. And if we wanted faith to take the pain and discomfort out of our lives, well, that’s a pretty cheap type of faith.
What kind of life do you have where you cannot feel the expanse of the human experience, the emotions and moods God designed?
He made no mistake in giving us a mind and a will and emotions, in choosing us as human beings to be made in His image, given free-will, given tools and a guide, His guide in the Bible, in order to live life which He designed to the full. To His glory.
He made no mistake in designing our bodies to heal themselves after the rigors of childbirth; where the uterus contracts, we bleed for weeks, hormones get back in check, and neurons fire, creating new feelings and sensations in a mother’s mind for her body and baby.
Just read this about how a mother inherently sniffs her newborn’s head, creating more oxytocin and love for her child while simultaneously providing comfort for her discomfort in after-pains.
There is incredible detail in the nuances of childbirth and postpartum healing which God designed us with; There is no need to cheapen this.
We cheapen this when we deny that we will ever need help and community to walk through one of the most traumatic experiences your body will go through.
Because even if you have a safe, happy, healthy, empowering birth, no matter which method or “means to an end” you choose to get there, your body itself is still undergoing a trauma all its own.
Faith is a necessity in our life, especially in the process of childbirth.
Faith is not just like an epidural, taking the pain away. Because again, no matter the method you birth, pain is inevitable.
No, faith is like a doula, one who comes alongside you and affirms your worth and your body’s ability; One who teaches you ways to cope in the throes of labor, no matter your choices; One who supports you in your choices for your birth; One who reminds you of how far you have come in labor and how close you are to meeting your babe.
Faith is like a close friend, yes, a doula, who walks with you in your journey in labor and childbirth and postpartum, who guides you in life.
Faith is like a doula. A nurturing partner who leans into the discomfort with you and whispers, “Breathe, it’s supposed to hurt.”
Remember this, and you will find peace that only Christ can bring in the throes of labor.
Remember this, and you will be armored up for whatever may happen in the unknowns of labor, because you find your worth and value and satisfaction in Who Christ is and what He has done for You, even in this moment of labor which He designed… not in what happens despite the best preparations.
Even then, when things go according to plan or plans go awry and out the window, we can find joy in who God is and what He has done through our laboring.
We know a joy like no other when we look into the face of a child babe fresh from God.
We still have joy in a tragic, unexpected, traumatic birth experience or loss.
Because Christ sustains us.
John 16:21 further affirms this as it states, “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come, but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”
And Faith in God is trans-formative, unlike anything else on this side of heaven. The story of our own birth, the birth of our children, the intricate design in life which God planned from the beginning… These stories invigorate our faith, and our faith sustains and empowers us to walk through the lowest, tragic, joyful, life-changing and life-giving experiences which come each day. This is no less true for pregnancy, labor, and childbirth.
Faith is like a doula, beside you, supporting you, sustaining you…A metaphor for the Greater Story of Christ and His trans-formative, redemptive, power in our lives.
Learn about birth, the processes God designed, and re-invigorate your faith.
Understand God in a completely new way, and sustain your joy in the Lord even when it gets hard, even when it hurts, even when there’s pain.
The metaphors surrounding birth and labor and life in the Bible are quire extensive, and when studied (stay tuned for episode 08 of the podcast for more of this), and will transform your mind and perspective on all things. Truly. I mean that in the most powerful, yet kind way!
I promise you, mama, it’s worth it.
Your labor for your baby can truly be trans-formative for your own growth and faith. And yes, faith is like a doula.
I promise you, mama, it’s worth it.
~Katherine Newsom writes at Simple Natural Mama
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