A couple years ago, a dear Sister, Ashley, said to me, “We have to be miserable at the end so that we will welcome labor.” I remember thinking, “That is beyond true!” It seems that all of pregnancy is that way, because pregnancy is preparing us for labor, delivery and motherhood.
As I shared in Preparing for Pregnancy, pregnancy is a time where we learn on a deeper level that our life is not our own and sacrifice marks the life of motherhood.
Let’s be honest; pregnancy is hard for most and often not very much fun. There’s nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, growing and stretching, the use of muscles you didn’t know you had, sleeplessness, restlessness, pulling, swelling and more. At times it can be very uncomfortable and even painful. But all of it is preparation for the hard work of labor, delivery of the baby and parenting this new life. Everything in this time period takes sacrifice on our parts. We want to feel good and “normal,” yet we feel anything but.
Every bit of the changes, challenges and pain prepare us to welcome labor.
How does it prepare us?
It prepares us physically
The constant reminder that our boyd is not truly ours, but an instrument of God’s to use as He sees fit if every present. All of the physical changes we feel are preparing our body to be able to give birth and sustain life. Elastin helps everything to open up so there is room for baby. The vomiting strengthens our ab muscles. Our breasts swell and grow to prepare to offer sustenance to our little babes. In spite of how physically tired or sick we feel, we still must get up and do work as God has called us to do, whether in or out of the home. All of it is building us up so that we can give birth when the proper time arrives.
It prepares us mentally
Pregnancy can be quite taxing. But it is also a time for us to prepare mentally for what is to come. Birth is as much mental as it is physical. While it is impossible to know what exactly will happen, pregnancy is a time to educate ourselves on the birth process, learning what is normal and not normal, hearing others stories and learning what an amazing design birth is. All of this helps us prepare mentally for birth. If you are not mentally prepared for birth, it can take you for an unpleasant surprise, and that is not ideal. While the curse has made labor more difficult, it is still an amazing blessing and as we think on what is to come at the end of this trying time, we become ready to welcome the new life that God is giving to us.
It prepares us emotionally
Emotions are always present when dealing with major life changes, and pregnancy seems to accentuate emotions to the nth degree! The hormone fluctuation that happen throughout pregnancy do not help with unstable emotions either. One moment we may be over the moon with excitement at a new life and the next scared to death we may lose it with a wide variety of other emotions mixed in there. It can be a bit overwhelming. But knowing this, we can learn how to control our emotions with Truth!
Our emotions are God given and meant to give us a fuller experience of life. So let’s step into them in a healthy way. As we experience joy, let’s remind ourselves that God is the giver of all joy and life and be thankful for His joy. If we experience fear, let’s take it to Him and remind ourselves that in Christ we have no reason to fear. When we feel like life is over, let’s remind ourselves that we have a new life in Christ and that He may do with it whatever He pleases and remember His great sacrifice to give us life.
Knowing how you respond emotionally will greatly help you in preparing to step into the full throws of labor. Give all of those emotions to God so that you can respond to your birth with all that He has given you.
It prepares us spiritually
I cannot think of many times in my life that have grown my faith as pregnancy did. God has given us responsibility over a life, and yet we are completely inadequate to grow, birth and raise a child apart from His grace. During pregnancy with everything you are feeling and experiencing, if you do not press into God, it can completely overwhelm you! While there are things that we do that can help or hinder our pregnancies, God alone keeps our baby alive and growing. God alone prepares our bodies for the ability to give birth. God alone holds us together when we’re having mental or emotional break downs because we do not know what is going on with our bodies. Pregnancy is a slow dying of self and being made more in the likeness of Christ, which is exactly what God promises to do with each of His children.
So run to God in the joys. Run to God in the confusion. Run to God in the pain and discomfort. Run to God in the fears. It will grow you so much and when the day comes to give birth, by God’s grace, you will have peace that He will see you through it.
It is easy to complain about pregnancy and all that comes with it, but it is such a gift, and I pray that this encourages you to welcome pregnancy as the gift that it is and let God use it to prepare you for the birth of your child and on into motherhood.
I have needed this reminder at the end every time, as often it would get unbearable. But I am thankful for each pregnancy that has taught me more about my God, and for each birth that has shown me God’s provision and love for me.
How have your pregnancies helped prepare you for birth?