|Posted by christiandoula on March 4, 2009 at 6:39 AM|
"Behold, the Handmaiden of the Lord"
It may be odd to have someone other than the blogger write a blog's first entry, but since I wish for this blog to be all about how God is glorified in pregnancy and childbirth, I believe Kara's testimony is a perfect first post for this blog. So here it is.
I threw up at work this morning. It wasn't a very pleasant experience; all of a sudden, when I was pulling a hot pan of roasting carrots out of the oven my vision went all fuzzy and I knew I had to set down the carrots and get out of the kitchen FAST before I violated the health code by vomiting in the trash can.
Over the last many months I've been gaining a whole new understanding of the curse given to women as a result of our sinfulness. When Adam and Eve listened to Satan and sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, God gave each of them a curse particular to them and their descendents. To the woman (and now to all women, as Eve's descendents) He said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."
Oddly enough, before Collin and I got married I always assumed that I'd have the most difficulty with the second part; that I'd be a domineering and rebellious wife. Not that I'm not rebellious, but I've been learning so much more about the first part, which I used to dismiss with the thought, "I suppose labor is supposed to be horrible, but it's all over in a matter of hours and then you've got a beautiful baby! Big deal!" Did I ever have a lot to learn.
1. Pain in childbearing means the death of our children.
Just a month after Collin and I were married, God blessed us with a little child. For just over nine weeks I carried that baby, loving her and looking forward to the day I would hold her in my arms. And then suddenly, my child died. Losing her was pain beyond anything I've ever experienced, both physically and emotionally. The pain was so bad I didn't think I could survive it. After visiting the doctor, I found out that I couldn't, that without surgery, I would have died. That was a sobering realization. We think we live in a day where childbirth is safe and infants rarely die, but despite all our medical technology, bearing children is still a matter of life and death.
2. Pain in childbearing includes the inability to conceive.
Scripture is full of descriptions of the pain of a barren woman. In the months after my child died, I found myself thinking constantly of Hannah, who wept and prayed for a son in such bitterness of soul that the priest Eli thought she was drunk (1 Samuel 1:10-17). I still can't read that story without tears, because now I know a little of Hannah's pain. Every month that passed without conceiving another child was another reminder of what we'd had and lost.
The wonderful thing about this grief, however, was that it opened my eyes to the pain of women all around me. God has placed in women an incredibly powerful desire to have children, and when that longing is denied a profound ache and emptiness enters our souls. This part of increased pain in childbearing affects all women, single or married. It even affects women who claim they don't want children, who desperately realize their need as they approach middle age and hear their biological clocks ticking. An industry upwards of $3 billion has grown up around trying to fight infertility, and yet just as with trying to save the life of a dying embryo, we are forced again and again to realize that the gift of life is entirely in God's hands. In His wisdom he gives and takes away life, and we must learn to say, "Blessed be His name."
3. Pain in childbearing means months of physical suffering
On New Year's Day, Collin and I found out that God has graciously given us another child. I am so thankful and hopeful, but at the same time scared and very, very sick. The last five weeks have been like having the flu constantly. All food smells bad, but if I don't eat I'm even more likely to throw up. Needless to say, being a professional cook isn't the best job for morning sickness. The nausea, combined with headaches so awful my vision goes dark, faintness at inopportune times, and exhaustion that makes it almost impossible to keep up with my few household chores, all together make pregnancy one of the best lessons in endurance I've ever had. And I'm only a quarter of the way through!
I'm sure God has a lot more for me to find out about the pain of bearing children in this fallen world, but as much as I want to learn, a big part of me never likes the process of being taught. Thanks be to God that He gives us the strength to endure the trials he gives us, and that he uses them all to bring us closer to Him!