D-day is just around the corner. Forty some-odd days to go until life changes forever. A month and some change until my husband and I will get to welcome the little life whose DNA twists and twirls with parts of him and parts of me. I’m more excited than I am afraid. Perhaps I should be more afraid.
Someone once said that to have a child is to have your heart go walking around outside your body forever. I don’t know what that’s going to feel like quite yet. But I know I’m about to be tempted with all the worrying that I’ve scolded my mom for since I turned sixteen or so. And I know that even someone with a PhD in babysitting, probably isn’t going to be enough for me to completely take my mind off the well-being of that little one at home the first time we’ve gone out for a night again after the birth.
By the time you read this, my husband and I will have taken our last class on natural childbirth before the baby comes. We’ve been reading, practicing, and otherwise preparing for what we hope will be an un-medicated delivery. According to the experts, learning to deeply relax is the key to minimizing pain. When a laboring woman tenses up the rest of her body, the muscles in the uterus doing the hard work of labor have to work twice as hard. They have to fight against all the other clenched muscles in the body and they have to duke it out for the remaining energy reserves.
The books also teach that fear is the enemy. Apparently, in most other species of mammals, if an animal senses danger, the body shuts down the laboring response until the animal can get to a safer place. Physiologically, when we are afraid blood is diverted to other parts of the body. Neurotransmitters send chemicals to the brain with opposite messages from those that the body needs to labor smoothly.
I was up about 3 am the other night with that infamous third trimester insomnia, God’s little “gift” to help pregnant moms get ready for waking at all hours of the night, I suppose. I decided to make the most of the time and was reading one of the books I have on relaxation which was talking about this fear principle. It asked me to list out any fears that I might have about the upcoming birth or responsibilities of a new parent. I began thinking through them and rather than using the New Age garbage they recommended I was praying through them, one by one, and releasing them to God.
That night or early morning rather, when I was able to lay my head down again and sleep, I had a dream. I was crying, but someone much bigger than I was holding me, comforting me, and little by little, I felt myself calm. The tears subsided and I felt cared for, protected, at peace.
There’s no command more frequent in the Bible than “do not fear.” God seems to call fear the enemy as well. He bids us in no uncertain terms to trust Him, to lean into Him, to relax in the assurance of His unwavering care. After all, He is the first parent, and the only perfect one. Perhaps the song Zephaniah tells us that He sings over us is really just a lullaby. In His arms, “all will be well, and all manner of things shall be most well.”