“Can you believe she’ll be here in 2 or 3 weeks?” I asked Andrew.
“I know! I’m so excited!”
There was a pause as I processed his words. “I didn’t realize that was an option,” I finally admitted. Excitement was not what I’d been feeling. At all.
And instantly, I put up my old defenses. “How can I be excited when I have to mentally prepare for the trials of labor and postpartum? God allowed all these awful things, so how can I be excited?”
The Struggle for Excitement
This was before I started my blog, and even though I’d been thinking through all these things, God ministers to me most when I write things out. So yes, technically I “knew” everything, but it hadn’t set in the way it has now.
But still…those lies went deep. If I’m honest, I still struggle with them. And did you see how the Enemy changed the words? Not “God cursed women with this,” but “God allowed this.” The Enemy is crafty with his lies, and we must be careful.
Andrew was so sweet and told me I just needed to change my outlook. I said it was impossible, but I prayed secretly that God would change my fear into excitement.
And you know what? Literally the next morning, I woke up SO EXCITED to meet my daughter! And the excitement is what has stuck with me these past few weeks.
But there is a thin line between excitement and fear. It is a choice. A choice I need to make daily sometimes. But God is faithful – He gave me two very important tools in changing my fear into excitement.
Changing Fear into Excitement
Partly, the excitement stuck because of this blog. As I said above, God ministers to me most when I write. It’s as if he corrals all the thoughts running rampant through my mind, puts them in order, and then reveals His beautiful truth.
The other thing that really helped me claim my excitement was going over my vision board every day. This was an idea I got from a webinar I watched. The lady had lots of cool empowerment pictures and sayings to encourage you to keep focused.
I will admit, I was hesitant to make it at first. It seemed silly to bring a board into the birthing room. But I decided to go ahead and make it, and then not take it if I felt it was silly. So I printed empowerment pictures, verses, pictures of our lovely pregnancy photo shoot, and pictures of mermaids (because I’m a magical, pregnant, mermaid princess, and after the baby I will be a magical, skinny, mermaid princess). I overprinted, to say the least, and so ended up with just one picture of Andrew and me, two mermaid pictures, and a ton of verses. Priorities people!
After I made it, I instantly fell in love with it. It currently sits on our dining room table and I try and read it at every meal. I go over the verses, and what they mean to me in the birth. For all you pregnant ladies, I hope these verses help you! For all you non-pregnant people, I hope they encourage you by showing just how great our God is!
Verses for Persecution/Trials
I want to preface by saying I know these verses talk about persecution or intense trials brought about by sharing Christ. I do not want to make light of those situations, but I also believe God wants us to apply these to our lives. And honestly, childbirth is one of the biggest trials a woman goes through.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. – Romans 8:35, 37
So technically, only Romans 8:37 is on my board (there wasn’t enough space for verse 35). But I know what it is, so it serves to jog my memory. I especially clung to the “nakedness” part, as a huge part of my pre-labor anxiety comes from being exposed. (Yah, I know they say you don’t care. I don’t believe them, as I don’t know anyone as neurotic about it as me.) But over this particular trial I am “more than a conqueror” through Christ’s love.
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16
This one made me laugh when I read it. Pregnancy and labor do, in a way, “destroy” the “outer person”…all the while, an “inner person” is being brought to life. There is, of course, a more spiritual reason for me liking this, too. As we’ve discussed previously, this should be a special time of women drawing near to their Savior, who completely understands what we are going through. And in that way, our inner person of faith is being renewed through this trial.
Verses for Abandonment or Encouragement
Zion says, “The LORD has abandoned me; The Lord has forgotten me!” “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the child of her womb? Even if these forget, yet I will not forget you. Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands – Isaiah 49:14-16a
I mentioned this verse last time, but I think it bears repeating. One of the greatest lies I believed was God was abandoning me to the pain and fear of childbirth. He isn’t, and He shows that by using a specific metaphor about childbirth. I will sooner forget and abandon my precious little girl before God forgets and abandons me. That is saying a lot.
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31
In my head, I like to add “and they shall labor and not give up.” I know it’s not in scripture, but it definitely fits with the spirit of the verse!
Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
Again, I know this is out of context. I’m not going to conquer Canaan…but labor is like a battle, and so I feel I can use it. I especially like when God says not to be discouraged. So if the numbers aren’t doing what I’d like, or if I need to go in for an emergency C-section, I don’t need to be afraid or discouraged…I can take confidence that God is going with me.
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand….For I, Yahweh your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you. – Isaiah 41:10, 13
I have these verses separated on my board because they are so important. God is with me, holding onto me even! I don’t need to be afraid. I’m not abandoned. I’m safe.
Verses for Peace
These specific verses are on my board to remind me not to be anxious about the postpartum period. Several weeks ago, I became terrified that I’d develop postpartum OCD/anxiety or psychosis. For some reason postpartum depression doesn’t frighten me, but those other two do. But these verses help me focus on the Lord, and what power I have through Him.
And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
I especially like the wording “every thought.” Usually it’s translated “understanding,” but that doesn’t have the same connotation. I love that God’s peace can overcome all my anxious thoughts, and guard my heart and my mind from them.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
I know the usual translation says “self-control” but I love how the New King James Version says “sound mind.” I don’t need to be afraid of any thoughts or fears I may have; through Christ I have the power of a sound mind.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” – Romans 8:15
I use this one when thinking of both labor and postpartum. If things get serious or overwhelming, I don’t need to be afraid – I can call on my intimate relationship with God, and know He will be there. Likewise, during postpartum, if my thoughts sway toward anxiety, I can remember that I don’t have a spirit of fear, but am a child of God.