Why Share Birth Stories

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Not everyone likes to hear birth stories. But like many women, I began to devour them once I became pregnant. Since Liam is already a year old, I wanted to share my birth story so that it can be informative and encouraging to others. It’s an amazingly, beautiful story of God’s provision and protection of us.

But first, why do we share birth stories? Why do these stories matter?

Developing a Framework of Birth

I read a blog post once in which the author claimed that striving too hard for natural childbirth is foolish because birth itself is not natural but a result of the Fall–a sign of the brokenness of God’s creation. I do believe that wars over how women give birth are foolish; each mother, baby, and birth are so different, and there is so much complexity involved.

But I also believe that giving birth is not necessarily a result of the Fall. The pain is increased because of the Fall, but the creation of a new being and the work that goes into birthing that human remarkably resembles God’s own birthing of Creation. The command to “be fruitful and multiply” encapsulates what it means to be like God–to be His image-bearers. One way we are fruitful is by having children. There is wisdom in preparing well for birth and in seeking to make your birth as intervention-free as possible.

That being said, the Fall has increased the pain of childbearing. It has also created complications and disastrous circumstances that can lead to death for the mother and/or the baby. Medicine, hospitals, interventions, preparation–all of these can work miracles in this process of childbirth.

So I don’t believe in sharing stories from a place of judgment. Rather, we share birth stories from a place of encouragement and preparation.

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Sharing to Strengthen Others

My big concern about birth is that it ends up being traumatic for so many women (which can increase the risk of postpartum depression and lead to PTSD). Sharing stories can remove some of the fear associated with birth, not just by preparing us for “worst case scenario” but also by setting us up for success. There’s a great deal of mental energy and instinct involved in birth; mammals tend to give birth when they are relaxed, and a wide range of stories can set us up to be more relaxed about birth however it happens for us.

This was true in my experience. The day my water broke, I was reading another blogger’s birth story. I had been eagerly following her story, and on that Wednesday, she posted the last installment. She had planned for a natural birth but after much waiting for labor to start, she was induced. However, she still managed to labor and deliver her beautiful son without further intervention, pain medications, or a C-section. It was an inspiring story, though I hoped my own would be much simpler.

However, when my water broke Wednesday night and my labor didn’t start by the following morning, the midwife wanted me to be induced. That blogger’s story kept me from being completely hopeless in the face of induction. Even her detailed descriptions of the pain and her emotions helped me tremendously during labor.

Sharing to Honor the Process

Birth is also sacred and beautiful. Giving birth is a tremendously significant event and one that deserves to be honored by sharing (just as we share the stories of how we met our spouses or our wedding day stories). There’s something so special about Liam’s birth that I almost hesitate to share it; it feels like a private, intimate thing. But the benefits of sharing a portion of our story outweigh this feeling for me.

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Birth comes with risks. Creating anything new–making anything significant–is risky and dangerous. Sometimes the risks are more emotional; other times they are physical, social, or financial. Birth is risky in all ways; it encompasses all our fears and doubts and what it means to be human and what it means to be image-bearers of God bringing forth a new creation. Sharing birth stories celebrates the potential beauty and risk and the whole mess of life-giving, life-birthing, creation. It honors those who struggle; it supports and encourages those who are fearful and preparing, and it blesses all of us with beauty and truth and a glimpse into something that is far, far bigger than we are–a place where we touch the eternal.

We share birth stories is to provide knowledge, wisdom, and encouragement and to honor our own births. Jessi Connolly writes a fabulous post about encouraging those coming behind us in a season of life.  She says,

 [Those coming behind you] are holding their breaths waiting for you to turn around and tell them,
“It’s going to be ok. It’s going to be great.”
“You can do this. Jesus in you is strong, even when you feel weak.”
“It might feel hard – but He has equipped you and He will work in you.”
“I’ll be there for you, every step of the way.”
“The best is yet to come.”

And that’s what I want my birth story to be for you–to be a hope-giving, knowledge-sharing, beautiful glimpse of the work of new life.

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3 thoughts on “Why Share Birth Stories

  1. Pain does not come form the fall. The Bible was written by men trying to understand the pain women go through. Or what they see as pain. Women have pain often times simply due to fear of what will happen. This is complex but I am simplifing it. Without the fear of birth, there is no pain. I’m not saying that it is a matter of will power or tricking yourself. There are ways to reprogram your mindset from birh being something painfull to birth being something enjoyable. I have had three birth, and expect another child in Dec. Some women do have problems and I am no talking about them. I am talking about the majority of women, those who are afraid. It is not her fault, it is what she has been told. I encourage all women to look into Hypno Baby. It helps women and society look at birth in a new fashion. It changed not only my birthing experience but also my outlook on life. I wish you all the best. Have a nice day.

    • I definitely found that fear–at the very least–increases the pain (pretty intensely, too!). One of the biggest mindset changes for me with birth was realizing that our bodies are made to give birth (i.e. it’s not something that is bad or unnatural). So instead of viewing contractions as pain, my reading taught me to view them as muscles working (like we do when we work out). It was amazing to go through contractions with this mindset (while relaxing the rest of my body) and then go through them tensing up and being scared. In the latter case, the pain is increased exponentially.

      Thanks for the recommendation; I looked into Hypno Baby a bit but will look into it more in the future. I appreciate your perspective on pain’s relationship to fear. Congratulations on your news! I hope your pregnancy is going smoothly. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Our First Birth Story: (Pt. 2 of 2) | Pilgrim Sandals

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