“Uh, it’s the curse…” words I still remember my sixth grade friend whispering in my ear in the middle school cafeteria. I had no idea what she was referring to, but she explained how Eve ate the forbidden fruit and now women were subject to a terrible curse when they menstruated, a punishment that would magnify during childbirth. Of course, I took her lunch room theology as truth; it sure seemed to line up with what the media depicted. But, as I grew and began investigating the concept of childbirth from a biblical perspective, my vision drastically changed.
A Christian Worldview presents an interesting outlook on childbirth. Christians understand that childbirth became “bad” when Eve at the forbidden fruit. The first sin on earth led to earthshaking consequences, but Christians also believe that Jesus paid the price to atone for all sin, even Eve’s. This presents an interesting conundrum of beliefs. Is painful childbirth still a punishment for sin or can it be avoided through faith? I believe that birth can be miraculous, powerful, even pain-free, but most importantly, birth can be filled with the goodness of God just as He once intended.
In the beginning, God created everything perfectly! God created man in His image out of His extravagant love. God has three parts (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and likewise man has three parts, the body, soul, and spirit. Prior to sin, the spirit of man was privileged to walk in direct communication and fellowship with God all the time. But, the soul of man and woman had the free-will to make choices apart from the spirit which led to the “fall of man” one fateful day.
God has warned Adam and Eve to not eat the food of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, if they did, they would die (Gen. 2:17). The serpent came to Eve with seeds of deceit. “You won’t die,” he said, “if you eat the fruit you’ll be ‘like’ God.” Eve loved God, of course she wanted to be like Him. Yet, in that moment, Satan’s words tricked into forgetting that she had already been created in God’s very own image.
The first identity crisis on earth led to earth-wrecking sin. From that moment on, everything would change and grow more corrupt by the minute. Adam and Eve had to depart from the beautiful paradise they called home. As they were leaving, God handed out consequences for sin. The serpent was cursed (Gen. 3:14), the ground was cursed (Gen. 3:17), and Adam and Eve were each given “itstsabown” the Hebrew word for travail (Gen. 3:16-17). Adam would travail as he struggled to work the land (Gen. 3:17) and Eve would now travail as she brought forth children.
Compared to imminent death, these consequences seem lenient or as if God changed His mind, but there was a very real death in Eden that day. The beautiful image of God within man was no longer clear, the created image became skewed. The soul of man and women would gain dominion and the spirit would seem obsolete; the result would be trouble and travail.
The fallen soul, striving for independence and driven by self-seeking motives, tends to be the culprit behind many of life’s struggles. Interestingly enough, the soul is at the scene of the crime in many tumultuous labors. During birth, the soul can be at peace with the spirit and the body, working together with a common goal of delivering a baby. Or, the soul can respond negatively to fear and outside stimuli. The gravity of fear on labor is well documented. Fear can trigger the fight-or-flight response, releasing catechlomines and adrenaline into the bloodstream which can cause labor to stall, slow, and definitely become more stressful. Fear overwhelming the soul becomes a very real manifestation of Eve’s consequence by increasing the travail of labor. The change in the image of man that occurred on that auspicious day ties directly into the consequence for the initial sin.
But, the soul was never intended to be louder than the spirit. God desired for His peace and perfection to reign supremely over the earth, especially during childbirth. In the perfection of Eden, worry, fear, pain, would have been unknown ideas. In there absence, birth would have been quick, peaceful, free of pain, and a clear reflection of Heaven and Heaven’s Creator. More importantly, Jesus bore our pain and our suffering upon His body, soul, and spirit, so that we could receive healing in ours. He bore the curse so that we could be free forever!
Faith, prayer, and meditation can become powerful tools to help quiet the soul and allow the spirit to reign during birth, providing intimate and unique peace which springs forth from a restored relationship between God and man. Studies of the brain have even depicted that while praying and meditating, the parietal lobes, the part of the brain that processes one’s understanding of self-become quiet and calm. This becomes the gateway for the spirit to supersede our minds, providing peace to the body.
Interestingly enough, Michel Odent purported that, “If a woman could turn off her ‘thinking’, her neocortical activity, a phenomenon known as the ‘fetus ejection reflex’ could occur, he said. This is a where the baby slips out with no conscious effort, he said. Here, the body does all the work and the woman simply lies back while it happens.” Prayer and meditation can help shift women’s thoughts from there selves to a very big God who is more than capable to assist them and “deliver” them.
As my own labors have progressed, I’ve felt a powerful shift of soulish self-doubt and fear, to unmeasurable strength and perseverance. I’ve also experienced a baby without a heartbeat for three weeks grow into a healthy, five year old child. After a bout with illness, I was warned to never have another baby, but I experienced miraculous healing and a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy which culminated in the birth of my third baby after a brief forty minutes of contractions. To say I feel blessed to have experienced the miraculous seems like an understatement, and I’m passionate about seeing women embark on their own unique journey. I authored a book called Re:Birth, where I highlighted a message of the redemption of birth throughout Scripture. From miraculous conception to spontaneous births and birth without pain, the Bible is filled with good news! I also share testimonies from women across the globe who credit God for their very own pregnancy and birth miracles!
Everyone who has witnessed and partaken in a birth has been privileged to see the power that lies deep within a woman. We know birth is messy, it can be peaceful, it can be a battle. Yet, as Christians reach for their faith during pregnancy and labor, the understanding that God is for them, and by their side at every turn is provides strength and peace and can be the gateway for the miraculous!
 Barbara Bradley Hagerty, “Prayer May Reshape Your Brain... and Your Reality,” NPR, May 20, 2009, accessed December 17, 2016, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104310443
 Madlen Davies and Sophie Borland, “The secret to a quick, painless childbirth?,” Daily Mail, 2 July 2015, accessed April 13, 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3147111/The-secret-quick-painless-childbirth-Just-don-t-think-ban-partner-room-leading-doctor-claims.html#ixzz4di4iWyVr.
Is a wife, mother of four, author of Re:Birth, and lover of afternoon naps.