As I write this, my husband and I are in the middle of a, shall we say, comprehensive course on childbirth. The payoff for our many hours of conversation, study and practice will be in May, when we welcome our first baby into the world.
The class has been illuminating in many ways, and not just because I was mostly completely (and happily) clueless about the entire process of giving birth.
For example, because the class has a more “grassroots” bent — i.e., it’s not just about hospital policy and procedures — I have learned that it’s increasingly popular to give birth at home, generally in some kind of basin of water. I applaud these women for their bravery and for being able to eliminate from their heads the “what if” scenarios that repeatedly haunt my dreams.
I have also learned that it’s increasingly in vogue for postpartum women to “encapsulate” and consume their placentas for purposes of hormonal balance and extra nutrition. Again, kudos to these ladies who choose that option. This takes an amount of bravery that I have not yet summoned at this point in my life.
Since now is about the time you’re probably wondering if I have a point, I’ll get to it now.
The class also has been a source of refreshing affirmation of the natural role that a woman’s body plays in the whole process of pregnancy and birth. A baby, when born, will incline its head toward its mother, whose voice he or she has been falling in love with for months. A woman’s hormones naturally heat her chest so that, in the moments after birth, it serves as the perfect incubator for the child experiencing its first few moments in this brave, new, post-utero world. Literally hundreds of tiny things take place within a woman’s body that prepare her both to carry and give birth to a new human life. What could be thought of as fairly routine really is the result of a miraculous orchestration of our beautiful, God-given natures.
It’s quite possible all of you longtime mothers and grandmothers out there are rolling your eyes right about now at the wondrous musings of a “new mom” who still remains pretty clueless about the entire process of giving birth. That’s fair. But in today’s confusing world that says biological gender matters less and less, it’s nice to be reminded of how nature reaffirms how we should see our bodies. What my body can do cannot be duplicated by my husband’s. What his can do cannot be duplicated by mine. Our bodies were biologically determined by God with reason and purpose, in a beautiful, life-giving and completely natural way.
The beauty of our faith builds upon nature, as God meant it to be. My heart overflows with gratitude for a loving God who reveals himself even in the little things that might go unnoticed and can’t be redefined, as hard as we may try.
Next week’s In Focus will be on talking to kids about gender. Don’t miss it.