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What Happened to Childbirth?

A wise man once said: “We do not do what is easy; we do what is right.” ~Anonymous

A wise doctor once commented to me: “Parents tend to respond to their children according to their own moods and emotions rather than according to principles and long term goals. Being an adult means doing what is right regardless of how you feel. It takes maturity and self control to be a parent. Pursue long term goals and don’t settle for short term solutions that will end up with long term problems.” ~Dr. Steven Smith

What Happened to Childbirth?

Like the culture, it has changed from doing what is right to doing what is easy. A woman now chooses her comfort over her health and the health of her baby. She questions her body’s ability to give birth and asks for risk-laden interventions such as drugs and anesthesia. She refuses to be an active participant in her labor and birth and gives it up to the medical profession. These things can adversely affect the baby. This in itself is a perversion of motherhood, since the essence of motherhood is to lay down comfort and ease for the sake of her child. There is a story of a chicken found charred in the field after a fire. Her chicks were alive and well, tucked safely under her wings, hidden in the protecting feathers of her own body. Ironically, seeking comfort ultimately brings more discomfort. A prolonged labor and further interventions become more likely, and result in complications for the mother’s health, her baby, and breastfeeding.

A midwife once confided in me about the effects of meds and anesthesia on the baby and breastfeeding. She said that when women want pain meds or anesthesia, they don’t care if it hurts the baby.

Our orientation towards childbirth used to focus on what is best for the baby. What makes OB OB after all? The baby. Without a baby, it would be GYN. Of course the mother is important, for she is the bearer and sustainer of this life! But women have made it about themselves at the expense of the baby. Interestingly enough, it often backfires and they end up with longer labors, more complications, and more difficulties and distress with breastfeeding. For example, the baby’s suck may be weakened and ineffective, which may impact maternal milk supply, infant weight loss, jaundice levels, etc.

The orientation has become maternal pain and maternal comfort rather than fetal well-being. Why? Culture – the me-oriented society. Labor has become all about alleviating a woman’s pain rather than focusing on the baby. Sadly, this attitude has carried over into infant feeding and parenting. Breastfeeding is perceived as difficult or demanding, so many women give it up. Children are seen as difficult and demanding so a woman pursues a career while the children go to daycare. They do what is easy. Yes, a career is easier than the demands of parenting. But the consequences of parenting are much more important than any career rewards or recognition. You are raising the next generation!

What else has happened to childbirth?

Fear. We used to trust the birth process, but now it is ruled by fear. Patients have a fear of labor. Nurses have a fear of litigation. Fear is redefining labor and it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Labor and breastfeeding used to be considered normal. We are not fearful about what is normal. Are you afraid your heart won’t beat? Are you afraid your

Parenting is neither easy nor comfortable. It is hard work for the benefit of the child. Let us approach birth this way, for it is not just having a baby, but it is also becoming a mother.

Pregnancy is a time for Joy, Awe, and a sense of Privilege.
“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” —Psa 127:3

The self-centered fallen nature inherited from Eve and the me-centered society with its focus on self and subjectivity has made this incredible process all about “me.” Therefore, since my experience of labor is pain, now it’s all about pain! What a perversion: It’s not about you, it’s about the baby. And it’s not about having pain, it’s about having a baby. And having a baby is not about your comfort and convenience; it’s about raising a person. That will be at the expense of your comfort and convenience! And hallelujah- the wonderful sanctification and maturity that you need will come!

1. Joy
First, the tremendous joy of pregnancy.

It is the promise of a baby coming – what great joy that a baby is coming! Think about Hebrews 12:2: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” There is a great joy set before you; what small things we endure/go through to give another life.

2. Awe
Consider the awesome way we are formed – all by God! And with such mystery – the complexity of how we are formed astounds even the medical community. And all this is happening in me!

Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body…”

Whatever we know or hope to know through continued research, it is still “the secret place” where God “weaves us together.”

3. Privilege
“Who am I?” I am a wicked and terrible sinner!

As David said before God, in 2 Sam 7: “Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” Or Elizabeth in Luke 1:43 “But why am I so favored, that … (this) should come to me?” There is a great joy set before you; what small things we endure/go through to give another life.

That God would use a wicked sinner like me to be a part of His great plan to bring a new person into the world – to serve Him! We are but stewards in His plan, in this parenting thing; it’s the Lord’s creative work in our sinful bodies! What a privilege to have a part in God’s work of creating a new human being with an eternal soul! It is God’s work: bringing a new human being into the world to serve Him! Mal 2:15″Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring….”

So, consider pregnancy a time of GREAT Joy, Awe, and Privilege. Don’t let the thief with his doubts, fears, and worries come to steal, kill and destroy these wonderful things!

All glory to God from whom ALL blessings flow!

Being in labor can be like being in a storm raging about you. You are experiencing powerful forces of nature that are not in your voluntary control. Let us learn a lesson from this account of the disciples being in a storm. Like the disciples in the boat, you must surrender to these forces. And also like them, as a Christian in labor, there is the Lord of the storm with you!

Mark 4:35-40 35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?

I have been told about the little fishing boats and the terrible squalls that come up on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were in such a little boat, and a great squall arose on the lake and winds and waves were making the boat so topsy- turvy that the disciples began to fear for their lives – it was almost swamping the boat! With One great exception – Jesus was in the boat asleep. He had no fear. He knew who controlled the wind and waves. He knew whose power dictated and guided their force. There is nothing “by chance.” It was a test of their faith in Jesus as the Son of God. They need not fear for He was with them. He rebuked them for this later. Why rebuke them for their lack of faith? Well, He had said, “Let us go to the other side.” (v35) God’s word and His will cannot be thwarted. They didn’t know who He was.

The seemingly uncontrollable forces of nature are under Christ’s control. The disciples are struggling against the waves, they are laboring, they are toiling greatly, straining. Jesus knows this and He lets them labor. He walks on water. He is not subject to these seemingly uncontrollable forces of nature, they are subject to Him. He is not disturbed by them though they rage about Him. Winds and waves. We read in another account that He is IN the boat. The storm rages around Him yet he sleeps in the boat. The disciples struggle, are afraid and doubt Jesus’ care. He awakes, rebukes the storm, tells it “peace be still” and it stops raging. It is still. Then He rebukes the disciples. How could they doubt or fear? He is there. They see and feel the storm and the sight of the storm. Seeing the force of the storm lessens their view of the resident Christ and they no longer see His power. They are deluded by their experience of the storm to think Christ is less, less than the Lord of the universe. The creator and sustainer of the universe. You can sense the storm raging about you but let your soul be still. My peace I leave you. He doesn’t give as the world gives. It is not an empty promise but the storm of labor, of life, raging, it is meted out for you by God. But your soul can be stilled even in the midst of it for the Lord is there. He has control over it. Do not doubt His power or goodness or care just because there is a storm. Ps. 116 “Be at rest once more O my Soul.” Rest means not repose but a state of unthreatened wellbeing for the Lord is there. Jehovah Shamma, what more do you want or need?

Now consider where they were. They were in a boat, not on an island or even moored at a pier. But out in the lake, at the whim of the waves, without anchor. A little boat, tossed about. There were no external braces. They was no stabilizing force, no prop. They were simply wholesale subject to the forces of nature. Yet in that scenario, rather than fear, Jesus slept. Are there uncontrollable forces raging about you? These forces are under God’s sovereign control and you are the object of His love. It is a test of your faith. No other props or piers or docking station. Don’t seek the comfort or stabilization of a worldly island. Where God is, there is peace. Storms rage but they are not stronger than Him. In fact, He sends and controls them! All I need is God with me. Are you in Christ? Then you can have peace in the storm when you rest in Him. Surrender, don’t resist. Be as the little boat in the storm – surrendered to the movement of the waves, surrendered ultimately to the God moving those waves. Let Him control the storms. Let Him control you. He has a purpose in the storm and it is for your good to drive you to Him alone and He will satisfy you. Isa 58:11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

In troubles, God takes away all the props and it drives you solely to cling to Him. There’s no real power or security in anything else.

We see another account in Luke 8:22-25. In verse 24 we read the disciples declaring, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” This was apparently an accurate assessment because it says in verse 23 that the boat was being swamped and they were in great danger. But it was an expression of unbelief because Jesus said they were going to the other side. They appeared to be in great danger, circumstances were challenging, but they should have held onto the naked word of God, not appearances. THAT’S faith. They would come to that in the end of course, after He displayed His power by quieting the storm. But let’s have faith while yet in the storm. It’s not that I will only be at peace when there is no storm. Even pagans do that. Then I don’t need Jesus! No, I am at peace IN the storm knowing He is with me and that He controls the storm.

Hebrews 13:5-6 …God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

You see, they were really in the most secure place in the universe because of the simple fact that JESUS was there. He is the Lord of the universe, and the Lord of the storm. It is more secure to be in a boat in a storm with Jesus in the boat than any place on land, no matter the weather! Be content that JESUS is there with you. That is enough. That makes it the most secure place to be

Like the storm, your labor is meted out by God. Trust in Him. These contractions are working for good – the delivery of your child! Like the storm, it is not disorderly, but ordered – every wave of contraction is under God’s control. Yield to them, do not resist! Labor can seem like an uncontrollable storm, but it is under the Lord’s control.

A prayer For Women Near the Time of Child Birth
by Matthew Henry
Before reading this prayer, I will share some information about Matthew Henry that will make it all the more weighty for you. He writes from deep personal grief in this matter. His first wife Katherine died in child-birth in 1689 after only two years of marriage, and although he remarried in 1690, he and his second wife, Mary, lost three children in infancy in the following seven years. Henry refused to blame God for these losses, for he accepted that, “the Lord is righteous, He takes and gives, and gives and takes again.” Nor did he allow his sorrows to hinder his work since he believed, “weeping must not prevent sowing,” and so he went on with perseverance and assurance. So he maintained his intensive preaching and pastoral ministry through this time when his personal life was afflicted by tragedy. It would be good for us to emulate such a man of faith!

When we pray with or for those women that are near the time of travail or in travail

Lord, thou hast passed this sentence upon the woman that was first in the transgression (1 Timothy 2:14), that in sorrow she shall bring forth children (Genesis 3:16). But let this handmaid of thine be saved in child-bearing, and continue in faith and charity and holiness, with sobriety (1 Timothy 2:15). Enable her to cast her burden upon the Lord, and let the Lord sustain her (Psalm 55:22); and what time she is afraid, grant that she may trust in thee (Psalm 56:3) and may encourage herself in the Lord her God (1 Samuel 30:6).

O let not the root be dried up from beneath, nor let the branch be withered or cut off (Job 18:16), but let both live before thee. Be thou her strong habitation, her rock, and her fortress, give commandment to save her (Psalm 71:3). And when travail comes upon her, which she cannot escape, be pleased, O Lord, to deliver her (1 Thessalonians 5:3). O Lord, make haste to help her (Psalm 40:13); be thou thyself her help and deliverer, make no tarrying, O our God (Psalm 40:17). Let her be safely delivered and remember the anguish no more, for joy that a child is born into the world, is born unto thee.

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