Remember when I first started posting about my pregnancy and I mentioned how much I did NOT feel like a Sacred Vessel of Life or a Glowing Image of Mother Earth in All Her Glory?
The third trimester, the frighteningly fast-approaching due date, the childbirth classes, and the educational materials I've been watching and reading just might be changing my mind.
I mentioned to Michael the other night, and to the small handful of ladies at my baby shower this past weekend, that I'm definitely feeling a lot of spirituality lately, and I don't just mean my relationship with God or thoughts about my faith as a Christian. I mean the seriously hippie thoughts of a woman who was created to carry and deliver and then raise another human being.
At our last childbirth class, we watched The Video. The One everyone warns you about. The One where you see a real live woman giving birth to a real live baby. No soft filters are used, no clever camera angles mask or disguise what is basically a primal, human process. Michael and I both were cringing during the pushing and the (gulp) crowning portion, but as soon as the doctor placed that baby on that woman's chest and it started crying, so did I.
It was truly beautiful. Gross, painful, goopy and bloody and beautiful. Our instructor was explaining to us how newborns placed on a mother's stomach will naturally start to try to inch their way up towards the breasts to feed because breastmilk/colostrum scents mimic the scents inside the womb, and she said how amazing that is.
And it is. It's incredible.
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. (Ps 139:13-14)
I've also been fully and overwhelmingly aware of how short a time we get on this Earth. I will find myself panicking when I think about getting older and eventually leaving this Earth for something unimaginable beyond. I think about leaving a child behind. I think about my incredible husband, with whom I have formed life, and tears fill my eyes as I imagine what he and our children will or won't be in relationship to me in Heaven.
It's heavy duty stuff. And the hormones don't help.
In thinking about our birth plan (the writing of which is our homework for this week's childbirth class), I keep listening to that small, still, gut instinct or voice that is encouraging me to have as low-intervention a delivery as is possible and still medically safe for me and the baby. I try not to get angry or frustrated when other Moms or older women give me a look that clearly says, "You're insane," or "good luck with that!" I try to firmly but lovingly insist that it will be only Michael and me (and any necessary medical staff) in the room when we first meet our son or daughter, and that we insist on the maximum immediate bonding time that the health of my baby and myself will allow before welcoming our family to greet the newest addition.
It's our baby. It's my body. There will never be another first time for us, for this. We prayed for this baby and it's humbling how quickly our prayer was answered.
"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:27-28)
I was created to do this, and I pray that I will not only be able to get through the delivery medicine-free, but that I will not be disappointed or self-loathing about needing (and being blessed to have) the first-world medical interventions available to me.
I always hesitantly, shyly offer up that I'm actually looking forward to delivering this baby. I'm looking forward to using the techniques that Michael and I have learned and have (and will) come up with together and with the help of our instructor to get through each pain, each hour. I'm not looking forward to the pain; don't misunderstand me! But what a reward for what we go through!
God has been preparing my heart for this event; I just know it. But, I have to also say that the science and biology of what a woman's body does and goes through in preparation for childbirth, from conception to delivery, is fascinating. The knowing and the learning have been huge for me (and for my husband) in these past few weeks. And it's wonderful to combine the knowledge and fact of what is actually going on and why in my body with the peace and the understanding that it has all been designed by God to be this way.
For some, the knowledge alone is enough. For others, the faith alone is enough. For me personally, the combination of the two has been powerful and incredibly spiritual as we prepare for little Baby R in (GULP) about 9 weeks.
And I'm finally feeling more peace. Discomfort, some pain, hot, yes....but at peace. Worry, fear, anxiety of the unknown, of course. But anticipation. And excitement.