Around noon on April 25th, 2013, to my surprise, the discounted pregnancy test I had impulsively tossed into my full cart of groceries hours earlier read positive. The beginning of my labor also came as a surprise to me: at 6:25 a.m. on January 2nd, 2014, a powerful sensation radiated throughout my body, waking me from deep sleep. My first contraction was unmistakable. Five minutes later, my water broke as I got out of bed to use the bathroom. Twelve hours later, I would hold my baby girl, Eleanor Wren.
The days between these two momentous moments were a gift from God, a once-in-a-lifetime season of preparation for labor (and parenthood). I committed to 12 weeks of Bradley method classes. I did squats and pelvic rocks faithfully. I walked a lot. I wanted to be knowledgable and strong; for, I was told, labor is a mental and physical feat. That it is; however, labor is a spiritual event as well. Intuitively I knew this. My life was sustaining another life; both of us sustained by Life Himself. Paradoxically, amidst nausea, aching hips, and swollen ankles, my 25-year-old self truly, finally believed that her body was a temple and, for the first time, consistently acted on that belief.
In the pages of my journals exist a sketch of my emotional journey as Eleanor grew within me. Returning now to my recorded thoughts, I see that while at the time I believed I was preparing myself for labor, in truth I was being prepared—by God–for labor. The primary way He readied me was through His word. Throughout my pregnancy, I was working towards the completion of a goal I had set in January of 2013. The goal was to read through the Bible in a year, a first for me. Periodically a verse or verses in my daily reading were directly applicable to giving birth. As I anxiously anticipated the unknowns of labor–especially the pain (since I desired to give birth naturally)–God used these verses to encourage and embolden me.
Just days before Eleanor’s due date, I went back through my journal entries and consolidated these verses on both sides of two note cards. Although in the all-consuming, hard work of labor, I did not refer to these verses as I thought I might, they fortified my soul in the days leading up to my daughter’s birth.
I share these 10 promise verses in hopes that the Holy Spirit might use them to bless not only women who are about to give birth for the first time but also mothers who are nearing the precipice of childbirth again.
Assurance of your innate ability to give birth
1. Psalm 139:13a, “For you formed my inward parts…”
2. Psalm 139:14, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
3. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Giving birth to your child is one of the God-forknown, God-prepared good works He has for you to accomplish. God formed your “insides” for the purpose of childbirth. As a child-carrying woman, you are fearfully and wonderfully made to give birth to your child.
Strength, all-sufficient grace, and help from God for giving birth
4. Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
5. Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
6. Psalm 146:5-6a, “Blessed is [she] whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord [her] God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them….”
Anticipating your baby’s birth
7. Habakkuk 2:3b, “If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
8. Isaiah 66:9, “‘Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?’ says the Lord; ‘Shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?’ says your God.”
Combatting fears related to giving birth to your baby
9. Isaiah 65:23, “[My chosen] shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them.”
10. Psalm 147:13b, “[The Lord] blesses your children within you.”