Inviting God’s Blessings Upon Your Birth
God designed childbirth down to the very detail and your experience, giving birth to your baby, will serve His purposes for your life. The birth of a baby is also the birth of a mother, even if she is already a mother, she is becoming a mother again, to a new child. Personally, I felt a drastic change in myself, in my mind, each of the three times I gave birth. I believe that we undergo a singular transformation each time we give birth and that the transformation is a part of God’s plan for our lives, causing us to become the woman, the mother, that He wills us to be.
Are you interested in experiencing the fullness of the miracle of childbirth? Do you want to undergo the beautiful transformation God has ordained for you in your final steps toward motherhood? If so, then you need to invite Him into the birthing room, you need to invite His blessings upon your birth. Here are several ways that you can do that.
Here is a letter from my friend Marcie, describing a dream she had about a week before I gave birth to my third child (Aveline is my three year old daughter):
“You were in labor. I can still see the image so clear in my mind. Your brow was furrowed, your face was glistening with sweat, and you were working through a contraction. It was an intense scene, but there was so much peace. All around you was this beautiful golden glow, sort of like what I picture when people talk about an “aura”. You began pushing, and June was born. She was so pink and so beautiful. There was so much joy. The only other person I can remember being in the dream is Aveline. I don’t remember any particulars about Aveline, I just recall her precious little presence. What I recall most clearly was that intense feeling of peace and joy which stayed with me even as I awoke. I tried so hard to fall back asleep with hopes that I would return to that beautiful scene and that those wonderful emotions and feelings would continue. When I failed at returning to sleep, and started to wake up a little more, I immediately wondered if this dream was a sign that you had given birth. I delighted at the possibility of your birth being that magnificent. Then I thought to myself, “What if Jennifer hasn’t given birth yet? I should pray, and ask God to give her all those wonderful things I just felt and saw in my dream!”. I began to pray. I prayed that the beautiful golden glow I had seen in my dream would be God’s Holy Spirit filling you, giving you strength, peace, excitement, and joy. I prayed that when the moment came during your labor that you felt you couldn’t go on, when the pain was too intense, that God would send His Holy Spirit to give you a blessing that would bring you strength and endurance to continue until the end. I also prayed that God would bless you with a swift labor and delivery. I almost laugh now because I think I prayed something like, “Lord let it be so, so fast for her…”. (wasn’t it an hour and a half?).”
The most important thing you must do to invite God’s blessings upon your birth is to pray. I was so blessed by my friend’s prayers, so thankful for her faithfulness when God called her to pray for me. If you read the entire story of that birth (on this website under “birth stories.”), it is especially apparent that her prayers blessed my birth immensely, what an invaluable gift. I didn’t ask for prayer for my births, I wish I had! But I now know that I had people praying for me and my babies. Again, I am utterly thankful. Do you have people in your life who are praying for you? Ask them to pray specifically for your birth. If you don’t have people praying for you, or if you just want one more, I would love to pray for you and your birth, you can find my e-mail address at the end of this article.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had decided to have a midwife and give birth at home. I took Bradley classes to help prepare me to labor drug-free. And I scoured the internet for information on pain management. I was scared that I would get into the process of giving birth and get to a point where I just couldn’t take any more, I thought I might “lose it.” I realized that I couldn’t control what happened during my labor, or how long it would last. The one thing I had a shot at controlling was my attitude, and my attitude would be the thing that determined what kind of labor I would have. When I realized this, I began to pray for a positive attitude during my labor, that I would be patient and able to persevere. I believe that the Lord answered that prayer. I labored for 24 hours, including nine intense hours of back labor and two and a half hours of pushing and my attitude was positive and I was excited to meet my baby from start to finish!
There are a few different ways you can go about praying for your own birth, but before we get to them, let me first try to convince you that you will benefit a great deal from praying about your birth daily. Pregnancy for most of us can include, happy highs, difficult lows and everything in between. Then there’s the sickness, the fatigue, the heartburn, the leg cramps! It’s nothing short of chaos at times, and at other times we might even momentarily forget about the little one growing inside of us. Daily prayer can be our anchor in the stormy sea of pregnancy. It can be a time to focus on and embrace our growing baby, our changing body and the path ahead. It can be a time of quiet if we have older children, an essential time to nourish our soul. And it can be a time to listen, to be, to breathe and be receptive to God’s touch. One day it might serve us in all of these ways and other days we may not notice its effects, but one thing is certain, we are blessed by communion with our Lord, and we’ve only to gain by doing it daily.
Here are some ways I suggest praying for your birth:
1. Ask specifically for your birth to be blessed. Be aware of the hopes and dreams you have for your birth and present them to the Lord.
2. Give God your fears and anxieties regarding your birth “. . . casting all your anxiety on HIm, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
3. Pray for wisdom regarding the choices you make both in preparation for and in the midst of your birth.
4. Ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for you, to pray for the things that you do not know to pray for regarding your birth and your baby. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26.
5. Take the time to listen and breathe . . . asking God to speak to your heart regarding your birth and your baby. If you would like material to meditate on in your quietude, here’s a beautiful promise God has made to you:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6
God designed childbirth to be exactly the way it is. There’s a reason it’s so intense, why it’s so much work. God knows why, even if we don’t fully comprehend it. The nature of birth and it’s various features work to transform us into mothers and bond us to our babies. This fact is represented in an article detailing the hormones present during birth and how they affect mother and baby, called Ecstatic Birth; Nature’s Hormonal Blueprint for Labour by Sarah J. Buckley, MD (click the link under “resources”). We honor God and His perfect design for childbirth when we accept its nature, apply ourselves to learning about it, and prepare to work within its framework.
You will also benefit from deepening your understanding of childbirth. If you do not have a thorough understanding of the process and the features that accompany the process, it can be very easy to slip into worry and fear while laboring. With worry and fear comes tension, which can stall and even stop your labor. The key to progress in labor is relaxation. A thorough understanding of labor can help you to recognize what you’re feeling and what is happening in labor thus diminishing the worry and fear and freeing you to do your work of remaining centered, relaxed and moving forward.
If you are giving birth in the hospital, a clear understanding of the process of childbirth is essential to your ability to communicate your preferences when it comes to interventions and other important decisions.
We have so many resources for learning about birth these days, especially by way of childbirth education classes. I’d like to suggest that you take classes focusing on natural childbirth, since you will be more likely to learn the details of the physical process rather than about hospital protocol. Don’t stop at childbirth education classes, read books and view educational DVDs (again see “resources”).
Here is a portion of a letter I received from my friend, Aiyana, regarding the birth of her second child, Josh is her husband.
“i had an amazing God moment around 7 centimeters too- she was coming and i was utterly overwhelmed with the pain and Josh was reading some scriptures i had asked him to read to me during labor (yes my anal prepared self had a whole list of scriptures for him to read to me ;)……it was AWESOmE because i saw him experience God in the midst of all of it as well in this scripture -so he came across Psalm 46 and verse 5 was amazing because i was in labor since 11pm and she was born around 6 am so the sun started to shine through the windows when i started pushing and he was reading this verse” God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of the dawn.” Josh was floored and ministered to me with that verse because of the intensity that God had touched him with it! is our God not AMAZING or what- kind merciful loving and sweet is HE!”
Isn’t that beautiful?! You can invite God’s blessings upon your birth through scripture. There are some amazing scriptures that speak to us regarding birth, just a couple are 1 Timothy 2:15 and John 16:21. You could choose specific verses that speak to you and then have someone who is present at the birth read them aloud, as Aiyana did, or you might rather write the scripture out ahead of time and read it yourself while laboring, in between contractions. For those who are creatively inclined, you might like to write out the chosen scripture on some nice paper, maybe in calligraphy, decorate it and even frame it. What a beautiful keepsake, and reminder of God’s faithfulness!
A great way to find inspirational scriptures you want to bring into your birth would be to commit yourself to reading the Bible everyday of your pregnancy. If you do this, you are bound to receive daily blessings of encouragement and if you read aloud it could be very soothing to both you and your baby. And even better still, would be if you could continue this routine after your baby is born.
Another way you could find encouraging scripture for your birth would be with the use of a concordance, searching for particular words like “strength, “patience” or “peace.” An awesome online resource for searching the scriptures is www.blueletterbible.org.
During my third pregnancy I had read about how imagery that reflects some aspect of birth can be helpful during labor, both mentally and physically. Many ancient cultures have birth-related figures that are meant to sustain a laboring woman. One common birth imagery theme is that of a flower blossoming, as we want our body to open in order to allow the baby to make its way out. I found myself, during my third labor, visualizing a beautiful, animated flower with innumerable petals opening and opening and opening as I breathed through my intense contractions. I enjoyed that practice a great deal. I felt that it helped me to remain relaxed and centered. Paired with my steady low-pitched vocalizations with each exhalation (which helps the cervix to open), my labor became a force to be reckoned with! It moved very quickly to the finish.
So, this is another way we can invite God into our birthing room, by using images from His personal artistic creation to guide our minds’ focus. I believe that nature is not only a gift of God, created for our enjoyment, it is something that He uses to speak to us through, just as He used the rainbow after the flood to signify His promise to mankind.
Another natural theme that reflects childbirth is the ocean. Contractions can be likened to waves that wash over us. They vary in strength, each one building, building as we approach the crest, and then diminishing after we pass over it and enter the intermittent rest. Using this image to guide our focus can help us not to be overwhelmed by the single thought of multiple waves, but rather to move within time, within the process, to anticipate the next step along the way, looking forward to that peace that is just beyond the peak.
During the postpartum period following the birth of my second child, I encountered some severe anxiety. During this time, I searched for tools to help me find peace in the midst of the panic. I had read that if I was near a window while anxious, I should look out and try to observe a tree. Trees stand firm and strong through the roughest of tempests. The wind may shake them and the seasons may cause them to lose their leaves, but they remain, standing tall. I think that trees are a beautiful image to conjure during the tempestuous moments of our giving birth.
Rather than simply imagining these visions, we might opt to find art or photographs that beautifully depict some of these themes and use them as focal points in the second stage of labor. As far as images go, we might even like to take a second look at some of our favorite art pieces, perhaps they might have something to offer us in the midst of our births. Religious art such as icons or sculptures of Mary with baby Jesus might be especially fortifying and inspirational as we approach motherhood. Try to attune yourself to images that appeal to you from now until your birth. Perhaps there’s a view from a favorite part of your house, maybe from your bed (usually a peaceful place), that you can recreate during your birth to bring you comfort and relaxation from familiarity.
It’s a cliche, I know, pregnant women have strange dreams. I’ve had some doozies, sometimes the theme is what’s strange, and many times the events themselves are strange. What grand realities lurk within the vastness of the human subconscious imagination! It is said that our dreams occur in our subconscious mind, where our underlying fears, stresses, joys and desires dwell. It is also said that we can actually work through things in our dreams. I personally never thought much of this, until it happened to me! To get the full story I’d like to refer you to the story I wrote of my third child’s birth. It is on this website under ‘birth stories.’
Because of my experience, I believe that God can minister to us through our dreams. I would venture to say that the great majority, maybe even all of the dreams I remember have some significance to the things I’m going through in my life at the time I have the dream. Sometimes the strangeness of my dreams have obscured the roots of it enough that I cannot recognize what meaning it might hold. I’m fairly certain this happens to everyone. I have often enjoyed the mystery of the detailed events of my dreams so much that I have written down all the minutiae I can summon so that I can study it further. Sometimes as I write it out, more comes to my conscious mind than I had originally remembered.
I would like to encourage you to keep a dream journal while you are pregnant. Any blank paper and pen by your bedside will help you to write things right upon waking, as you remember them. Write it, even if it seems silly and meaningless at the time. It may not be until later that day, or even a subsequent day that the meaning reveals itself to you, pray over it, though. It’s so worth it if there’s some kind of gift God is trying to give you, you don’t want to miss it!
My experience occurred around the thirtieth week of my third pregnancy. I was worried that the anxiety and panic I had experienced postpartum with my second child would present itself and complicate or stall my labor. I was scared of so many factors of giving birth, regardless of the fact that I had had two uncomplicated homebirths, previously. Through a dream the Lord delivered me peace and empowerment in a very real way. A way He knew that I, personally, would respond to (He knows me!). The message He sent through my dream spoke precisely to my fears and highlighted the strength of my own mind, my own understanding, my commitment to my choices and the reasons for my choices. After my dream, I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t encounter complications or trials during my birth, but I was certain that whatever events unfolded in the process I would be strong enough to make the right choices for the safety of myself and my baby. I was confident that my anxiety would not dominate my baby’s and my birth. After taking a close look at my dream, realizing it was from God and internalizing it, I began to look forward to my birth, unafraid, exhilarated by the challenge and exceedingly motivated by the reward. What a gift! I was able to really embrace and enjoy the latter part of my pregnancy after having the fear removed.
In the very hours after I gave birth to my third baby, June, I barely recognized the woman I was just earlier that day. Not only had my body undergone its miraculous transformation, my mind had undergone a transformation also. Becoming a mother for the third time, I felt vulnerable and in a way, alone. Life became more challenging, sadder, more beautiful and more fulfilling.
These feelings have remained with me eight months later. I feel further from where God wants me to be as far as my character and spiritual discipline, yet I feel closer to the work He has promised to be faithful to complete in me. I am challenged daily as a mother, sometimes it’s tedious, irritating and frustrating, other times its downright agonizing. I blow it every single day. But, at my best, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I triumph exhibiting love, kindness, patience and wisdom. I persistently pray for these things (though not always consistently).
My prayer for you is that you open your heart and mind to the transformation and the challenge God has set before you in your birth and as a mother. When our perspective is aligned (as much as it can be in our imperfection) with God’s perspective the journey is wonderful, the challenges invigorating and the small victories euphoric. Hang in there, pray and be blessed.