christ-centered childbirth

I'll be officially 38 weeks in a few days.  This is surreal...I could be meeting him any day now and it is the most exciting, terrifying feeling.

As far as labor prep, I'm planning on having a natural childbirth.  I've been exercising and eating my veggies and taking The Bradley Method classes.  We hired a doula and she's been the biggest gift in helping me feel empowered and confident in my ability to actually do this.  But, a birth snob I am not, and totally recognize that the goal is to have a healthy baby in the end.  Labor is crazy and I honestly believe that there is no "right" way to bring life into this world.  As a couple we chose to plan on a natural birth... I know that it might not happen and that's ok.  I'm going to try my hardest not to be disappointed if things don't go as planned ;).

For me, this decision was something both Brad and I prayed a lot about.  I felt like the Lord was inviting me into this as an opportunity to draw closer to Him, giving me a chance for a lesson in redemptive suffering.  Suffering can be beautiful...Christ's Passion taught us that.  When I'm scared of any little cross I remember that the word compassion literally means "to suffer with".  If we don't learn how to suffer beautifully, with dignity, how are we going to be compassionate individuals of society? How will we understand the suffering of others if we don't know how to suffer ourselves?

Plus, I'm kinda crunchy and personally don't like the feeling of being on heavy medicine (the epidural is actually scarier to me than the pain of natural childbirth :)).  So, I'm gonna go for it! And the only thing that's gonna get me through it is Jesus. And Brad's back massages.

Am I scared? um YES. Of so many things. I'm scared of not being in control, of the pain, of the unknown, of what to do after the birth is over ( about all that mom stuff?!).  But then I remember "Be not afraid".  Fear is not of God. In choosing to cast out fear, I am embracing the joy of meeting my child for the first time outside the womb. I am confident in the abilities of my body and rest in the belief that I was created to bring this life into the world. I am in awe of what my body has been able to do thus far. 

Shout out to womanhood: Being a woman is pretty incredible, isn't it?!

I'm a little obsessed with birth stories, and could probably talk about birth all day long. 
Here's what I'm currently reading to help me prepare:

Natural Hospital Birth
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Breastfeeding Made Simple

Here are a few Scripture verses I've been meditating on recently to help me spiritually prepare:

Joshua 1:9

Philippians 3:14

Isaiah 26:3

Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah 40:11

Psalm 31:5

Nehemiah 8:10

And I'll leave you with these powerful words by St. John Paul II on the message of Divine Mercy:

It is a message that is clear and understandable for everyone. Anyone can come here, look at this image of the merciful Jesus, His Heart radiating grace, and hear in the depths of his own soul what Blessed Faustina heard: "Fear nothing. I am with you always" (Diary, 586).

And if this person responds with a sincere heart: "Jesus, I trust in You," he will find comfort in all his anxieties and fears. In this "dialogue of abandonment," there is established between man and Christ a special bond that sets love free. And "there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (1 Jn 4:18).