As I prepare for my labor with Elijah, more than anything, I've been focusing on getting right with the Lord. I've found some really awesome study materials that I'm using in the process and I'm planning to share alot of useful, tangible Bible study options and scripture on the blog to use in preparation for labor and birth. So check back for that! In the mean time, I'm working through it on my own.
Why the focus on being right with the Lord? Having my heart aligned with His?
You see, I'm not afraid for labor. I've done it before and I'm actually quite excited about it this time around. I know what the outcome is and I cannot wait to hold this little boy in my arms and feel that unbelievable and indescribable bond and love for him, like I did with Isaac.
So when I read through devotions and other materials that focus on labor challenges and fear, I'm coming at it from a different perspective than being afraid it will hurt or fearing that I won't be able to do it.
Yesterday I was reading a section about having peace. Peace about labor, birth and delivery. Peace in the midst of uncertainty. The writer says this:
"Peace is not having everything perfect. Peace is not an uneventful labor. Peace is not the absence of fear or concern. Peace is trusting God... in the middle of uncertainty while you are afraid.
The ultimate authority of God can bring peace in the midst of your labor challenges." [source, emphasis mine]
Here's the deal: We all go into labor with different fears and/or concerns. Whether this is your first baby or your 14th. Maybe this is a first time labor and you are afraid because of how our culture portrays birth: excruciatingly painful and something to fight through. Maybe you've had complications in your previous births. Maybe you've miscarried several times and are worried about the outcome of this pregnancy. Maybe you've struggled with infertility and are finally going to have a baby, but are afraid that things can still go wrong. Maybe you have friends who have had trouble or complications and you worry those things may happen to you. There are a thousand different scenarios.
But no matter the situation, we can all rely on one thing to get us through: The ultimate authority and peace of the Lord God.
The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with strength ~ Psalm 29:11
Want to know my fear and concern for this labor?
We are planning a homebirth for Elijah. That has been the plan since the moment we started discussing having another baby. I've always had a natural, Christian, homebirth on my heart. I want to be in my own home, in my own space, where I am comfortable. I want to be able to snuggle up with my baby the moment he is born and be left alone with my family, in our own space as quickly as possible. I want to work with a Midwife instead of an OB. And I want to have a say in my birth experience: no beeping, monitoring, checking, interventioning or other -ing of any kind. (note: Isaac's birth was a hospital birth and our experience was just fine, but we've chosen something different this time).
You might be thinking that I'm afraid of what could happen with a homebirth, being away from a hospital and a doctor. Nope. Not it at all. I'm actually extremely comfortable and at peace with that portion of Elijah's birth. I know God has it under control.
My concern is the actual place of this homebirth. Right now, Ben, Isaac and I are living with my parents. It's a long story and I'll share more as the story progresses, but the simple truth of the matter is that we aren't in our own space. And that is hard for me.
And the chances of us being in our own space by the time Elijah makes his grand arrival are becoming slimmer and slimmer as time passes. My dad jokes that instead of a homebirth, we may be having a home-less birth. And that very well may be the case.
What is funny is that I'm at complete ease about a homebirth in general. I trust God with that. I've had time to pray and consider it and I have such peace about it. But this other part of it, I'm having trouble letting go. I'm struggling to trust Him in that.
So, yesterday, when I read "Peace is not the absence of fear or concern. Peace is trusting God." I stopped, prayed, highlighted and journaled. Yes Lord, I am all kinds of concerned. Lord there are a hundred things out of my control right now surrounding this birth that I just want control of! Lord, I don't want to worry about those things because that will ultimately affect my labor. Lord show me and teach me to trust you with this. It's Your ultimate authority that I need to rely in. I want to rely in it. I want to trust you completely. Amen.
As I prepare for labor, I'm practicing my relaxation. I'm eating the right foods and exercising to keep my body in shape and ready. I'm reading about natural birth to keep my mind in the right place. I'm practicing labor positions and discussing and working with my husband. I'm praying for this baby's health and safe arrival. I'm making a list of what I want and don't want for Elijah when he's born. But,
I'm also getting my heart right with God.
And honestly, I don't know that there is a more important thing to do in preparing for such a huge, life-changing event.
"Judge how much you are trusting God by looking at every area of your life, not just pregnancy." [source, emphasis mine]
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~Deuteronomy 31:6