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Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:16

"GENTLENESS" (an excerpt from "Watering Dandelions")

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47388325A candle-lit room, a bowl of strawberries, fluffy pillows in a pile, sheets a tangled mess; his scent lingers on your skin from all the creative positioning and slow dancing. Your ears delight in the familiar melodies (a perfect mix you have carefully selected for this day). You feel vulnerable but safe, loved and supported by someone you completely trust. Your body simultaneously experiences a flood of delight and pain. You compare it to a runner’s high and laugh through tears of anticipation and excitement. Your body is tired but you remain in control. There is pain; but it has a purpose and it is helping you understand how to move, how to sway, and you surrender to it… And as you do, your body opens as naturally as a flower, just as it did during conception. But THIS! This is so much more… This is the grand finale of conception; this is BIRTH…

           

Labor-and-Delivery-SuiteOn this same night, your friend enters a cold room she’s never seen before; it smells unfamiliar. She is told to lie flat on her back. Her weak body is starving and thirsty. Fingers aggressively enter her body and curiously explore her very tender cervix while the man in the white coat shakes his head in a disapproving way and announces that she is “inefficient and inadequate.” Her body tenses up with fear and pain. She is tired, intimidated and defeated. She knows her chances of leaving this room alive are smaller than women in almost every other industrialized country. The physical and emotional pain is too much to bear so she trades her control for a numbing relief. Her body refuses to open, and like an unripe piece of fruit, it has to be cut…

 

This is also birth.

 

For an astoundingly high number of women in our country (over 50% in some parts), the second scenario is their birth story. When we are attacked inside of such an intimate and vulnerable season, our bodies will usually react with defense. They will tighten and close. It is PART OF THE DESIGN! See, when these artificial means of creating labor don’t work, it is not because our bodies didn’t respond. It’s because they did! They did exactly what they were created to do- defend us and our babies. Hang up the “closed” sign and hope that the attacker will go away. This business of having babies is a private, gentle, intimate affair. Like prayer and meditation in this quiet season of reflection, we are called to solitude, to a place of intimacy and trust. A place where we can be with the lover of our hearts and the creator of our soul. A place that is accepting. A place that has no rules or definition. In some of the most important moments in scripture, even the Son of God had to be alone. He had to get away, to call on strength from the Father in a private and personal way. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” Mark 1:35. I don’t know about you but in solitude, I withdraw from everyone- from all the noise, all my responsibilities, my blackberry, my computer, my charts, my obligations, from all the stimulation and distractions of life to be with God. I get away from all of my roles, all of the people who are either cheering me on or criticizing my efforts. I get away from all of that to just be alone with God… to find out if there's anything really just between us, and that’s when I hear Him the loudest. That’s when I feel His breath across my cheek, His hand upon my shoulder, His grace upon my existence. And this is what gives me strength.

 

jess doula supportBut getting back to birth, why 40 weeks?? What could be so significant about that number? Yes, we all know that 40 is biblically significant. But, could God possibly hold the same importance and protection over my pregnancy as He did over Moses & Elijah, the Israelites, Noah and even… Jesus?? I mean sure, sometimes pregnancy can make us feel like an Israelite wandering alone in the desert for 40 years. It can be scary, isolating, unpredictable and even painful. But what I most remember about those precious 40 weeks was that it was a time when my own wisdom, strength, resourcefulness and patience weren’t nearly enough. Like the Israelites, I had to rely on God. Fully, completely and unconditionally. For 40 weeks (41.3 actually but who’s counting), I wandered around in the desert of my own heart. Like Noah must have felt for 40 days and 40 nights, I found myself questioning if this job was really meant for me? Was I really being entrusted to carry and birth this child? Was I even capable? And like Jesus, in the desert for 40 days, I was tempted by the enemy.

 

 

I was so tempted... with greed, false comforts, unkindness and impatience. It would have been so easy to give in and give up. To make a deal, to make a trade. The strength of God for the strength that man has to offer. The timing of God for the much more convenient timing of man. But, guess what? Turns out God was right. At 12 weeks I was still pretty selfish. At 19 weeks I was still too weak. At 22 weeks I was unforgiving. At 30 weeks I was not generous enough. At 39 weeks I was still resentful. It took 40 full weeks of sacrifice, prayer, stillness, laying at His feet, praising His name and receiving His grace for me to be capable of attending that celebration in the manner in which He intended. By 40 weeks, He had molded, polished and spoken my heart into a place of true, unconditional love, capable of opening His perfect gift. Not just the gift of a precious baby, but the gift of birth. He crafted the skills that I would uniquely need to peel back the layers of my labor, to open the inner most part of my body and soul, to release my man-made fears and replace them with His supernatural ability to usher forth life!

 

378565 2249359749728 1974044151 nAnd isn’t it just plain cool that it physically doesn’t work as well until we allow that to happen? That He desires this for us so much that He built it into the design of birth? Into the exact way He builds His kingdom? And we are allowed to participate in that! When we are weak enough to fully allow the might of creation to flow through our body and soul, a profound truth is revealed to us. With each moment of surrender our pride is a little more unraveled, our flesh is a little more broken, our fight is a little less aggressive and our motivations are a little less our own, and with each moment of surrender, God knits us into grace, builds us back up into faith, motivates us to conviction and battles in our place for redemption! I think that is part of the plan, part of His design. For us to “shut the door” and “wander alone in the desert with only Him” as we offer sacrifice and seek solitude in our most vulnerable moments, our most personal seasons, so that we can fully  “open up” to what He has to offer. To the thing that seems most impossible. And through our season of solitude and sacrifice we will celebrate like the season, opening up, bursting with color and aroma, or like the cloud, pouring out rain over a thirsty field or like the mother, opening up to the sensations of surrender, ushering and welcoming new life.

Read 4827 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 15:06
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