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The Passion of Childbirth

When I saw Mel Gibson's movie “The Passion of The Christ,” athought occurred to me that I had never considered before. When Jesus promised the criminal on the cross beside him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” I realized that He was telling the suffering man beside him they would soon meet in a place that Jesus already knew well.

Jesus had been to Paradise. Jesus not only knew what Paradise was like, but that it was worth torture to get there! They would be together and it would be wonderful! Just wait and see!

Jesus could have put a stop to His suffering at any time, yet he went through it because he loves us so much. He did it so we – so I – could be with him in Paradise!

Being a woman and a natural birth advocate, I thought of the pain of a woman suffering through childbirth. In a similar way, I am willing to suffer through childbirth for my baby. Before he is even born, I love my child and want so much for him to be with me. Labor may seem like torture at the time, but that same day, I know will have my child in my arms. We will be together and it will be wonderful! Our relationship will be fuller and richer when we see each other face to face.

Compared to what Christ went through to welcome me home, a few hours of labor is NOTHING! Eternity will be a rich, full life when we see Christ face to face.

One woman described her last few days of pregnancy, with intermittent contractions keeping her from rest like this: “You know that part of you that wants to cry for mommy when you stub your toe? That part of me is crying right now, saying that God really hates me. This seems so unfair. I'm losing it, and it's a scary feeling.”

Mark 15:34 - My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?

Another woman planning a VBAC at home described her fear too: “I'm just scared! All the other stuff that I fear now and then, like losing the baby isn't really the big deal. I just am afraid of the pain. When my body takes over, I can't turn it off, and the intensity of feeling a baby move down through your butt is just incredible and you can't do one stinkin' thing about it.”

Jeremiah 4:31 – I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child – the cry of the Daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, “Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers.”

Another writer who describes herself as very a earth-centered, pagan woman said, "I truly wondered if I was crazy for [having the baby at home]. I think it was the sheer enormity of the experience: ....That raging power and those relentless contractions are not in our control."

John 16:21 – A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

There’s a verse in the bible about childbirth that I’ve always wondered about. Especially since becoming a mother, I've wondered what it means :

1 Timothy 2:14, 15 – And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Now I am beginning to wonder if perhaps the verse refers to the Passion of our suffering through childbearing: that we willingly sacrifice our own bodies for the love of our children. We take up our cross and lay down our lives to give them life, submitting to the pain, allowing it to happen, even to the point of having our bellies pierced with the sword (cesarean section).

Adam was not deceived. He sinned, knowing it was sinful. The woman was deceived. I was deceived. I trusted the wrong people. I didn't trust God, who created childbirth.

Isaiah 66:9 :Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?" says the Lord. "Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?" says your God.

Childbearing gives us an opportunity to experience but a tiny portion of the suffering of Christ on our behalf. It gives us the opportunity to understand Christ's willingness to endure suffering for the life of another person, a person whom we already know and love even before they know us. We do it so that they might have life, together with us.

Natural birth cannot be under our control, it is simply something to which we surrender ourselves.


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