Calming Childbirth Fears

There are times when God speaks loudly; or rather, when He opens my ears so that I may know what He has been telling me all along.

I addressed my great fear of this upcoming labor last week on this blog; gave myself a little pep talk; raised questions against my own weakness; reminded myself why I'm willing to do this again and that I'll get through it after all. I did, however, give in to the temptation that always comes with fear; that is to rest on the strength of my own arguments instead of truly placing that fear at the foot of the Cross. Intellectually, I had conquered....but my heart was still in bondage to fear.

I attended Mass on the Feast of the Assumption with these fears still weighing on my heart. The beautiful statue of Mary in our church was adorned with 2 dozen red roses for the occasion and the image touched my heart and inspired my confidence. "Blessed Mother, I am afraid. Please help me."

Mass began and I listened to first reading from the Book of Revelation:

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth...

I felt a knot rise in my throat. His Mother knows the pain of labor. She has been there where I will go. She knows it as I never will. 

There has been endless theological speculation as to whether Mary actually experienced the physical pain of labor. It is an unresolved question. But even if she did not feel it at that moment, I don't believe there is a sacrifice of motherhood that she did not experience or offer for her Son. If she did not feel the exact pain, she at least understands that pain. Jesus gave her to us as Mother, and she has been where we walk.

I listened to the rest of the account where the battle with the dragon commences, the Child is birthed, destined to reign, and the victory is won. Nothing is too great for our God.

With the thoughts of the woman of Revelation wailing aloud in pain still loud in my head, I heard Father read the words of the Gospel:

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

The tears flowed. Beautiful Mother...You have embraced your motherhood and all the suffering that comes with it. Your soul was not filled with fear but with the hope of the Christ Who chose you as his beautiful vessel. 

My fear began to ebb. She continued to hold my hand.

Father then gave his homily and preached about motherhood and how the best mothers translate the Scriptures to their children through the work of their lives. 

We are not a people of fear but of hope. I do not wish to undergo the pain of labor. I am still afraid...but not overwhelmed by that fear. It is a few hours of my life that I give and I will give it weakly but willingly.

Blessed be the Lord!

Posted on August 24, 2010 and filed under "labor pain", "motherhood".