Birth Fears, Redux

By Allison Hull

It’s a birthday! Everyone’s excited for the first birthday, right? Can’t wait to see the cake smashing and the icing covered face. Can’t wait to see them try to rip into a present and probably pass out from the sugar coma. Birthdays are supposed to be joyous times filled with eagerness for the years to come.

For some moms it’s not all joy. Some births are not always joyous and some are downright scary. As I near a first birthday I’m reminded of that time for me over and over again. And I’m reminded of this article Holly posted in July.

When she first wrote it she posted it in a few groups and I remember even back then that a few people wrote back that birth is not fearful. The article is scary they wrote. There’s nothing to fear in childbirth! Most of the time it’s due to the hospitals.

They are wrong. Birth is a fearful time because it’s the unknown. It’s uncontrollable. The mother is constantly scared. Scared of miscarriage, scared of premature birth, scared of stillbirth, scared of bleeding too much, scared of problems after the birth, scared of the pains, scared for the baby, scared for themselves. Just plain scared. Add to that the fact that you can do everything right in pregnancy, read every book, take the right classes, know what to do, and still have a scary birth and postpartum time. My fourth was this way. I knew  how to do it all, having done 3 births, 2 without medications and incidents. I was a pro and so we knew it would be quick, easy, and we would have a new member to snuggle in the Christmas season. After a fearful ambulance ride, a traumatic birth, and NICU stay I am now not that naïve. As a friend once told me, “Birth is the one time in a woman’s life where she doesn’t know the outcome. She literally may lay down her life for her neighbor. She is at the mercy of God and has no other choice but to surrender to His plan.”

Birth can be fearful, it can also be joyous, or it can be a mixture of the two. The only constant is that we rely on His mercy and have faith in His assurance that we are His children. We are claimed by Him in baptism and know we are clothed in His righteousness. We cling to His promise in Ephesians 2 that we are saved by grace. Nothing I do, but only what He does for me. As we go down this fearful road of life that promise makes the anxiety give way. We don’t know what’s up ahead, but we do know of His promise.   

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