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Christ Centered Childbirth

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Excerpted From Chapter 6 (Fear Not)

Overcoming Fear

Most of us have a picture in our mind of a laboring woman who is writhing in pain, shouting obscenities, pulling hair, and crying out during the throws of labor. These women may never have been told about the principle of fear being one of the major causes of excruciating pain. Therefore, make every effort to maintain a sense of confidence, tranquility, safety, and control during contractions.

Regardless of what stage of labor you are in, it is critical for you to focus on four things. For the Christian, these four items conveniently work out into the perfect acronym - C.A.L.M. The acronym itself is a summation of all that we are to be during labor, no matter what is put on our plate. The c.a.l.m. acronym works out this way:

C - Christ Appropriately placed at the beginning, we need Christ above all else. Jesus promised us His Holy Spirit, who comforts us during labor. There is no room for the fear if we allow the peace of Jesus Christ to take over our entire being. How exactly do we access Christ during labor? Jesus said that wherever two or more are gathered, then He would be within their midst. You and your support partners can join in worship, prayer, communion, and meditation throughout your labor, all the while knowing that Jesus promised that He would be there. Jesus Christ, the Comforter and the One who takes away our fear, is the most powerful pain relief method that we could ever be given. Do not leave Him out!

A - Attitude The type of thoughts that are entertained in our minds during labor are extremely critical. They can literally alter the course of labor, changing the pain from bearable to abnormally acute. Rather than saying, "I can't do this. Don't make me do this," say "I've made it this far. I am going to focus on this contraction only, complete it, and focus on the here and now, rather than the road ahead of me. What I am doing right now is bringing me one contraction closer to my baby." No bad thoughts, just good, prayerful thoughts!

In addition to the thoughts that are entertained, it is equally important for you to achieve a state of mind that is drifting in and out of stage-one sleep. A mind that is in a lower state of consciousness is not fully aware of the work of the uterus, whereas a fully alert mind is keenly aware of every sensation. As labor intensifies, the mind should become increasingly dreamy and deep in relaxation. It is therefore beneficial to enter into a state of prayerful meditation that induces a sleep-like state of mind to lessen pain perception and aid in your ability to cope with the discomfort of labor.

L - Lungs Surprisingly, your breathing has a direct effect to how much pain you will experience. Slow, deep abdominal breathing is very effective in inducing a sleep-like state, helping the body to enter into deep relaxation. As mentioned before, if a person wants to slow down their racing heart, they take slow and deep breaths to counteract the sympathetic nervous system. This method is also useful for relaxing the inner muscle layer of the uterus, allowing the outer layer to do its work quicker and with less pain. Since abdominal breathing is the same type of breathing we use while sleeping, it is the perfect tool for helping us achieve the level of relaxation needed for coping with contractions.

M - Muscles The most difficult component of this acronym may very well be the ability to keep tension out of our muscles during a contraction. The automatic response to a building contraction is resistance. Our brows furrow, hands clench, elbows lock, backs arch, shoulders raise, and bottoms tighten in an attempt to fight against the pain. Letting every muscle loosen at the onset of a contraction takes practice, discipline, and determination. The reward of a less painful labor, however, is well worth the effort. Remember, one tense muscle can communicate to your body that there is a dangerous environment for the baby to be born into, creating a longer and more painful labor.

There are several recent studies in two new fields of study called psychosomatic and psychosocial obstetrics. They are very interesting and support the findings of Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, who asserted that anxiety during childbirth led to complications and a lower satisfaction with the birth experience. It is not a surprise that science is supporting the Biblical truth, which teaches us that fear is not of the Lord.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love

casts out all fear because fear has to do with torment.

1 John 4:18

The only one who has perfect fear is God Himself, and He is the one who can cast out our fear. We can give Him the responsibility, and not to worry about our ability to overcome it. In faith, we tell the Lord that we are counting on Him to take away fear from us. Tell Him that you believe in the scripture, and that His scripture said He would cast out all our fears, and He will.

We do have some responsibility in the matter, however. We can develop a short prayer paragraph, and greet each contraction with it when they come. Even if you are all alone, Jesus is the best birth coach there could ever be. He is our Comforter, and will indeed be there to comfort you.

Any negative thoughts are not from God, we know that. When you get a negative thought, just remind the author of that thought that you are saved, and that is all that really matters, so nothing that happens here on earth can take your eternity away from you. Remind him that Jesus suffered so much on the cross, for the JOY set before him, and you are prepared to join in that fellowship of suffering, that light affliction that lasts only a moment in time, for the joy of your child, the joy of the Father's child who is making their entrance to the world.

Things are so different when you approach labor with a peaceful mind; it is worth more than precious jewels. Even if you have the most painful and complicated birth that was ever recorded in history, you can go in and accomplish it with joy - counting yourself worthy of sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Every time you experience pain in the delivery room, rejoice like the apostles, who were excited to have been able to experience a fraction of what their Lord experienced. Greet each contraction, welcome it with prayer, and give it permission to accomplish its task.

You have a huge amount of control over what goes on in your mind. When it comes to fear, you can trust in God that He will be the One to take it away. This great relief frees you to meditate on things that are true and beautiful. Turn negative thoughts into prayers for others. Pray for your baby's salvation. After the next negative thought, pray for your baby's future spouse's salvation. Teach Satan that each time he attacks you with a negative and fearful thought; it will generate prayer of salvation for someone else. Pray over your birth, how you want it to go - perfectly, just as God's perfect will is. If He wants you to join Christ in suffering, then so be it. Rejoice in that. If he wants you to have an easy two-hour birth, then that's okay too. Get excited about what God is going to do, what His good and perfect will is, and pray that you want only that and nothing else.

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Four Winds Productions PO Box 3004 Gilbert, AZ 85299