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Monday, October 24, 2011

My (Inerrant) Theology on Child Birth

Let me preface this post by saying that pregnant women everywhere are welcome to deliver their babies any which way they feel like having them and I will cheer them on and laugh and cry with them when they tell their labor story.

Let me also just say I usually try not to go proselytizing those of y'all who just want my Blueberry Cobbler recipe. But in this instance a little background is necessary, so bear with me if you would.

I have developed a theology on child birth that informs my feelings and thoughts about the matter and since enough people have asked me about my plans for Numero Tres, I figured I would just go ahead make my stance on the subject public.

Most readers will be familiar with two little Biblical characters named Adam and Eve. In the Old Testament creation story this happy couple are frolicking about in paradise when they decide to break God's one and only rule for them.

Consequently, God hands out some punishments, (in addition to the whole - separation from God for eternity thing...) One for Adam, and one for Eve. Adam's goes something like: working will be hard and you will sweat and toil to obtain your food. (Paraphrase entirely mine, Gen 3:17-19) Eve's punishment is given one verse earlier (Genesis 3:16) and is pretty cut and dried:

"I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children."

So let's review mmm k? Painful childbirth is a curse and a punishment. Straight from the mouth of God.

Now - some good news comes to both men and women in the New Testament. And here's where theologians have come up with two fancy terms: saving grace and common grace. Saving grace refers to the gift of Christ's sacrifice, which fixes the whole separation from God for eternity thing.

Common grace (the grace most related to child bearing and my point in writing this post) refers to the grace of God that is common to all mankind. "Common" because it is intended for the whole human race and "grace" because it is undeserved and sovereignly bestowed by God. (Definition Wikipedia)

Examples of common grace for moms include: nap time, coffee and my personal favorite - The Epidural.

I love dearly and truly admire all of my friends who have taken Bradley classes and eschewed medication in favor of a painful Natural Childbirth. That is insane and amazing.

I however, feel that I would be remiss were I to forsake the marvelous and amazing common grace given to modern woman in the form of the epidural. My God has providentially and graciously provided a way out from under the punishment of painful child birth. I give thanks for my coffee. I give thanks for nap time. And come April 2012, I shall once again give thanks for The Epidural.



  1. You were brought forth with an epidural and I too marvel at god's grace and kindness. As women, we still must battle with the other part of the curse (your desire to rule over your husband). There is no epidural for that--however, walking daily with the holy spirit's help and prayer is key.

  2. AMEN!! I was in labor almost 20 hours and pushed for 2 hours with Carson and I think I would have killed somebody had I not had my epidural. I love the grace that is the epidural! :D

  3. God's grace, however it comes, is welcome. There is no way you can describe labor to someone who hasn't been there and done that. Why not take full advantage of what is offered?

  4. Love it! Thanks for the post Katie!

  5. Totally agree with you Katie. I think epidurals are also God's way of showing grace to our husbands! They are able to marvel at childbirth instead of fearing our wrath...or my wrath rather!! ;)

  6. Ha ha. Katie. You always bring some kind of a smile or chuckle to my face. I only wish there had been an epidural lasting the 31 1/2 mths of our referral wait...that was nearly as painful as childbirth. I am certain. I know this because I did it (the childbirth thing) twice w/out an epidural - though, had my labours been longer than than 1 1/2 hrs and 45 mins for number one and two respectively, I would have had time and gratefully accepted the big long needle. :) Some of us are blessed with speed...not drugs I guess.

  7. Ba ha ha ha!!! Poor poor Ben...I'm sure you figured it wasn't likely him who had the speedy deliveries...though he likely would have loved for his wife to have had an epidural, too.

  8. Figured that was you Ashleigh! 1/5 hours and 45 min is IMPRESSIVE! Anna had her #2 so fast she didn't have time for an epidural either...I'll take that any day.

  9. There are actually many reasons NOT to have an epidural, Helen. An epidural stops the God-given right that our bodies have to let natural pain-relieving hormones flow; an epidural often slows the bodies' normal labor process so that many other medical interventions become involved, including Pitocin, vacuum extraction, forceps, and unfortunately often c-secions, which are major abdominal surgery involving serious risk for both mother and child. Epidurals bring risk to both the mother and baby and it is unfortunate that our culture does not make this more clear. I see this post was written tongue in cheek, but for many women, an epidural is most definitely NOT God's gift but a medical and technological intervention which is not natural and, I believe, not God's plan for us. Once you experience natural, drug-free, intervention-free birth, you will truly know God's grace and the beauty of the type of birth Mary herself experienced when Jesus was born in that stable. Yes, we live in a different time and place, but do you really believe God would have women experience pain for no purpose?

  10. Wish I knew who you were Anonymous. This post was definitely written tongue in cheek and I wish you many healthy deliveries, however you may choose to have them. :)

  11. "Once you experience natural, drug-free, intervention-free birth, you will truly know God's grace and the beauty of the type of birth Mary herself experienced when Jesus was born in that stable."


    My sister just had #4 - her first "natural" birth. Not because she wanted to, but because the little guy literally came out 20 minutes after she got to the hospital. Her thoughts? "Anyone who talks about how 'wonderful' natural childbirth is, is a liar or insane. Possibly both." Worst postpartum experience and slowest recovery. The end.

    To each their own. Have your baby however you feel that you should. Personal revelation from God regarding your own unique circumstances is just that: PERSONAL.

    Birther of Five Babies
    Respecter of God's Gift of Medicine

    P.S Mary didn't have an option.

    1. Rebecca, thank you for this! Don't know why I went so long without publicly responding. I love the way you write. And no, Mary did NOT have an option. :)

  12. I discovered the epidural with #2, and indeed it felt like God's grace had just showered over me. I was giddy happy in my pain-free state, and even more glad when my guy came out at 9lbs 9oz. I'm with you!

  13. Yes, come April 2012 I to will be so grateful for the gift of common grace!! Camarie


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