The Biblical TRUTH About Childbirth

What do you know about God’s Word pertaining to labor and childbirth? Probably the basics. You know that painful labor is a large part of the punishment God placed on women after The Fall (Genesis 3:16). And you’ve probably read the one million verses in the Bible comparing other pain and hardship to a woman’s experience at birth. Here are a few to make you cringe:

Jeremiah 22:23,You who live in ‘Lebanon,’ who are nestled in cedar buildings, how you will groan when pangs come upon you, pain like that of a woman in labor!”

Isaiah 13:8,Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.”

Psalm 48:6,Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.”

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 Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, ‘Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers.'”

Groaning. Pain. Terror. Anguish. Writhing. Trembling. I’ve read all of this before, but I’ve always skimmed past quickly, thinking, “Yeah, yeah, it’s painful, I get it.” It really hits home now that I’m only weeks away from this painful labor myself. So as I’ve read verses such as these multiple times in my quiet times in the last few months (because trust me, labor pains are every Biblical author’s favorite metaphor to really get their point acrossthey show up all the time!), I’ve really been searching for God’s truth in the Bible regarding labor and childbirth. Many times, such as in the examples above, I really believe it is simply used as a metaphor to describe immense pain. But, as I have kept searching and studying, God has spoken to me about His greater purpose in childbirthpast the simple use of a metaphor.

1 Timothy 2:15, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

This verse immediately caught my attention because it’s a reference to childbirth that isn’t all about the pain. But, saved through childbearing? I wasn’t sure exactly what Paul meant by this at first, but I knew being saved is a good thing—and it looks as if childbirth is a way to bring this salvation about. After searching and studying, I have four possible understandings pertaining to this verse.

  1. Pain in childbirth is woman’s condemnation for sin, but Christ saves us through this. While painful childbirth is what women face on this Earth in punishment for our sinful natures, Jesus offers us that which we don’t deserve—eternities free from pain in Heaven.
  2. Through childbearing, women fulfill their God-given roles and demonstrate “true commitment and obedience to Christ” (from the Zondervan Application Study Bible). The verse is not taken to refer to the instance of salvation from sin but to the act of living out salvation. God’s plan for wives is to bear children and raise them up with care.
  3. God planned for salvation to come through childbirth—the birth of Jesus Christ.  Women (and men, too) receive salvation because Mary gave birth to Jesus.

    Genesis 3:15,And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

    Did you know that “he” in this verse refers to Jesus? I have always loved to jokingly refer to this verse as the reason behind my fear of snakes, but this was mainly because I took “her offspring” to refer to females. As in, there is enmity between “your offspring” (snakes) “and hers” (females). But, the verse clearly says HE will crush the serpent’s head. So the enmity stretches farther than just to females. This early in the Bible, God was already foreshadowing the birth of His son. And while the serpent gets to “strike his heel,” such an act isn’t deadly. Crushing the head, on the other hand, is deadly. From the beginning, God planned for Jesus to come to this Earth through childbirth in order to deal Satan the final blow.

  4. Through the difficulties and trials of childbirth, women develop qualities that make them more like Christ. God designed childbirth to train women after His heart in faith, love, and holiness. These bring about salvation for women (just not salvation from sin, which only Jesus provides).

Basically, while childbirth is painful, God has designed it to provide women with so much more than just the pain. He chose painful childbirth as the vehicle to bring His son (and ultimately our salvation) to Earth, and He continues to use childbirth to bring life-change to women.

Romans 8:22-23,We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”

Just as painful childbirth was the precursor to the first coming of Jesus, the trials and hardships of this world (and of Christians particularly) are the precursor to the Second Coming. We must endure these struggles as we await the return of Jesus, our hope, but the laboring mother also has hope and a reason for her pain: the precious life of a new baby.

Romans 8:22-23 (above) gives an important Biblical perspective on childbirth. In the spirit of Paul’s comparison, we ought to treat labor and childbirth the same way the Bible teaches us to treat life on this Earth—as temporary, but not without purpose. And just as God promises to end our struggle on this Earth, we can trust Him to keep this promise in childbirth. We are blessed to be able to do the work we are called to do while fixing our eyes on what is to come: Jesus, and in my case, Nellie.

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-Cari

 

P.S. My new Biblical perspective on labor and childbirth has also given me a new perspective on CHRISTMAS! We all focus on precious baby Jesus (who does deserve all of the glory), but I often forget the part about Mary actually having to birth him. Alone. Without experience. In a stable. So, this Christmas let’s remember the most important birth that this Earth has ever seen.

P.P.S. I’m so excited about CHRISTMAS!!!

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Many are the Plans

I suppose you’ve heard by now, but the La Tour family is growing by one, and my husband Trigg and I are expecting the sweetest, tiniest bundle of joy in November. We found out recently that it’s a girl, which means in a few months this world will welcome Miss Nellie Grace La Tour! The fact that there is another life inside of me is one I’m still getting used to, but we couldn’t be more excited. And so begin the days of preparing for and dreaming about baby. 🙂

But this post is less about the biggest thing happening in our lives right now and more about everything else. Of course Trigg graduated almost two months ago, so big changes have come for him months before Nellie arrives! In May he began working full-time at RCAL Products Inc. in Prairie Grove, AR (about 25 minutes outside of Fayetteville). He’s worked there for almost three years as an intern and is now transitioning to design engineer!

For the past three years, Trigg has driven almost an hour every day to get to and from work, so we knew when he graduated that we’d like to move out closer to RCAL. The plan was for it to be my turn to commute, since I still have three semesters of my applied mathematics degree/Spanish minor left at the University of Arkansas.

Well, I’m excited to say we recently closed on a sweet little fixer-upper farmhouse on an acre of land, merely seven minutes from RCAL! We’ve seen God working all throughout this (very long) process, and we trust Him to continue to take care of us. Now Nellie will have a real home to come home to!

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Of course, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). After much prayer, Trigg and I know it’s not God’s plan for me to raise this baby while I’m still in school. I will not be finishing my degree at the U of A. At least not any time soon! This summer and in the beginning of next fall, I will be taking classes from the Northwest Arkansas Community College in order to finish out an associate’s degree. I’m scheduled to finish by October at the latest, so school will be long gone before Nellie Grace arrives!

This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my whole life. The world tells me that I need a degree to fit in. I need a degree to be an intelligent individual. I need a degree to get a job. I need a degree to be worth something. But God is teaching me to overcome my pride and trust in Him. Because raising children is not easy, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. But raising this baby is God’s plan for my life, and not finishing my degree is part of the price I need to pay to follow His calling.

So, friends and family, I seek your understanding and support in this crazy time in our lives! Through all of it we are seeking God’s guidance, and through all of it we continue to receive His blessings (the tiniest of which is coming in November!!).

 

Cari