Mothering International Mothers
When we first moved to “the sandbox” (as we affectionately call it) I found it relatively easy to make friends with other women. The ladies who seemed desperate for connection and friendship were the ones who were knee-deep in the mundane of life with babies and young children. Because of my interest in pregnancy, birthing and nursing, I quickly became their “go-to friend” for the questions they were too embarrassed to ask anyone else.
Some nights it seemed that my mobile phone would buzz off the nightstand with text messages like “Am I having contractions?” and “How do you know if you have mastitis?” I was delighted to answer these questions and serve my neighbors in this way. The Lord used me to also speak words of Truth to them regarding their hopes and fears surrounding the pregnancy.
One doesn’t need a seminary degree to pray with someone, nor is being a licensed midwife necessary to mother someone. However, as I began to deal with topics in which I had no experience, I realized I needed more training. So when I heard that an international doula organization was coming through town to train new doulas, I jumped right in. As a doula, I can provide non-medical support to women and families during labor, childbirth and the postpartum period.
During the prenatal phase, I mostly talk and listen to the mom. We discuss her concerns about the birth, anatomy related questions about placentas and mucous plugs, and quirky things that happen to the pregnant body.
We talk extensively about what the literature dubs “The Golden Hour.” In the first hour of a baby’s life outside the womb, the newborn is generally in a state of hyperawareness. It’s a unique time for parents to bond with the baby and for the baby to bond with them. In hopes of enjoying this golden hour, great intentionality goes into writing a list of “birth preferences.”
As we discuss hopes and expectations, I remind women that things may not happen the way they may imagine because there are a myriad of factors that cannot be controlled or manipulated. Even the most purposeful mother cannot guarantee the outcome of her plans. I prepare each mother by affirming that she may feel helpless and hopeless when her most thoughtful intentions don’t go as she envisioned.
However, I share with her how our heavenly Father is capable of so much more than we are. He is eternal and sovereign. His perfect plans are never thwarted. The most carefully laid-out plan of all time was a plan that the Father, Son and Spirit initiated before time even began.
God knew that Adam and Eve would sin against Him in the Garden. And right there in Genesis 3:15, God makes His plan of redemption known. God says to Satan who is embodied in the evil serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’” God promised a Redeemer—who is Jesus Christ. Our loving Father gave His Son to pay the penalty for sin that we deserved.
Romans 8:32-35 says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”
Because of Christ, we can have an abiding hope in Christ when our circumstances don’t match up with our best-made plans. Surely this is a God who can be trusted for not just one hour of our lives, or even with every hour of our lives, but with our eternal destiny.