Fear has been the thorn in my side for as long as I can remember. It has shown itself in many ways over the years. From insecurities, unhealthy thought patterns, irrational behaviors and the need to control, fear has always been at the center, stealing life and joy from my midst. As I wrote in a previous post:
“Fear is a thief. It robs us of the joy in front of us. That is so like the enemy; to distract us from the beauty in front of us by focusing our attention on all the horrible “what ifs” instead. Fear, at the core, is a form of distrust. It’s not trusting that God is good, no matter what the outcome. It’s not trusting His plan because we’re scared that that plan might not line up with ours. And I sure was having a hard time trusting Him.”
When I found out I was pregnant, I was riddled with fear (surprise, surprise). At first, I feared whether God would sustain this tiny life inside of me. As the pregnancy progressed, my fears turned to the labor and birth itself. Years of lies and doubts I or others had fed me about myself, my strength and my abilities came bubbling to the surface, plaguing me with doubts about my ability to birth naturally. I knew that’s not how I or God wanted it to be. After all, He was the one who lovingly and sovereignly placed this child inside me and I can and should trust His plans, not fear them. So, I began to do some research on natural, fearless birth and came upon Hypnobirthing and I knew this was what God wanted me to pursue.
What is Hypnobirthing?
When people hear “hypnobirthing”, there are a lot of assumptions, misconceptions and questions. Basically, it is a method of birthing naturally and eliminating fears surrounding birth through utilizing relaxation, breath work, visualizations and affirmations. The “hypnotic state” is similar to that of deep relaxation/meditation rather than what one might traditionally think of when they hear hypnosis.
Joe and I took 5 weeks of hypnobirthing classes, read the hypnobirthing book and are currently practicing the relaxation/breathing/scripts throughout the week.
Hypnobirthing + Christianity
Hypnobirthing is not a “Christian” course. In fact, like yoga, there are some ideas in hypnobirthing that some Christians may not feel comfortable with. For me personally, God used the hypnobirthing process to reveal things to me about my heart and His.
In His Image (We are Very Good)
When God created man and woman, He declared us “very good”. More than that, He created us in HIS image. We are image bearers of the most high! Hypnobirthing encouraged me to dive deeper into what God says about this body He has given me. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. He has designed our bodies with intricate function and purpose, down to every last cell. He is a good Creator and our bodies are part of His good creation. He created woman with birth in mind. He gave us everything we need in order to take part in creating, sustaining and bringing life into the world. This is HIS design, therefore, I do not need to fear.
The Curse + The Cross
One of the things that held me up in my journey of “birthing without fear” was Genesis 3:16 where God declares that He will increase woman’s pain in childbirth as part of the consequence of sin. I believe God’s word to be inerrant and trustworthy, so I couldn’t brush that aside. God says it’s going to hurt!
But then, He pointed me to the cross. When Jesus stepped onto the scene, things changed. He declared that the kingdom of God has come. He showed us glimpses into what the kingdom looks like in the way he healed, restored and loved people during his ministry. And then, in the ultimate act of love, He shed his blood on the cross. That DID something! His blood has the power to overcome Satan, sin and death…so what does that mean for my body? While we won’t be completely free from the consequences of sin (pain, sickness, brokenness) until Jesus comes again, His death on the cross covers a multitude of sins. I believe in His healing. I believe it His grace. I believe that the curse is true, but that Jesus’ blood frees us from experiencing the full consequences of it.
One of my affirmations I have been thinking on is, “My body, though broken, is still very good.”
Renewing My Mind
Hypnobirthing teaches a lot on the power of the mind and thoughts in relation to the physical experience. Think about what happens when you imagine biting into a ripe, juicy lemon. If you really visualize it, often times there is a physical response in your mouth. You start of salivate or pucker up. The thought becomes so real that it has an effect on your physically. Or perhaps you can think back on a really emotionally-driven memory. You may feel a lump in your throat or tears well up in your eyes. When you hear words to a song that is particularly moving, maybe you get goosebumps. We experience this mind-body connection all the time, often without realizing it.
The bible is full of scripture that stresses the importance of our thoughts. It tells us to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), to think on things of the Lord (Col 3:2), and to take every thought captive (2 Cor 10:5).
Through hypnobirthing and delving into God’s word, I became more aware of my thought patterns and how destructive they can be. I took the course to learn about birth, but I learned about SO much more than that. Our thoughts shape our feelings which shape our beliefs which ultimately shape our behavior. So when I was stuck in a cycle of fear-based thoughts, it led me to seek out ways to avoid whatever I was fearful of which led me to seek out control-behaviors. Control my circumstances. Control my home. Control my family. Not exactly the result I, my family or the Lord is looking for!
So I began to change the way I thought about things. When a fear-based thought would enter in, I would speak truth over it. I changed the way my mind thought about things which released me from having to worry and therefore try to “micromanage” every situation.
Birth without Fear :: Laboring in Love
As I prepare for the birth of my baby, I am practicing such a beautiful lesson that will go far beyond the labor and delivery room. The reason I love Hypnobirthing so much is that it’s ultimately about releasing fear and embracing the love and joy instead. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear”.
I want to go into this birth free of fear and free of control knowing that God has me and Clover covered in His love. He who began this great work of His creation in me will be faithful to complete it. I feel empowered knowing that He designed my body and He called it “very good”. I am excited to continue to renew my mind and marvel at how our mind, bodies and hearts work together in this harmonious way that I can’t quite comprehend. I look forward to trusting God in a way I never have before.
I look forward to birth without fear and labor basked in love. The love of the Father. The love of my husband. And the love of this precious child I get to be a mama to.