Tag Archives: having babies

They call it labor because it’s hard work

One of my most stunningly incredible life’s successes is that I had 5 babies. I brag on myself that I did pregnancy and delivery so well. I have proof: 5 gorgeous adults, ages 29-36 walking around the earth. :)

Maybe I wasn’t as good at it as I remember, but the end result turned out, anyway.

Labor is hard work!

My sweet niece is in labor today, a baby girl to arrive soon. She texted to let me know because I predicted today to be the day (I LOVE being right) and I texted her back: you were born for this…baby girl is coming today...adding pink bows and hearts and happy emoticons, like aunties do.

Then, I had to give a little advice, because I love to give advice. All women who have ever had a baby in the history of humankind like to give birthing advice, but I know mine is good because of previous evidence presented here! :)

I told her what I tell every mama who is heading into labor. Because labor is work. It is hard work!  And as exciting as it starts out to be, somewhere in the middle, your uterine muscles contracting with strength that could knock you flat, when you’re tired and the centimeters are not reflecting what your body is doing to you – somewhere before the baby comes, almost every woman starts to doubt she can do this, she begins to wonder if she can’t just quit for today.

christiana at 40 weeks and 1 day

So, we breathe deep and slow. We moan so those vocal vibrations reverberate deep into our own bodies to relax them. And I tell all the mommies, all the young beauties about to give birth: you were born for this. You are the chosen one. Baby is almost here. Now – see the ocean. You’re on shore wading towards it, you have the strength to meet that wave that’s coming. Don’t wait – go meet it… 

The waves grow larger and stronger.

The way I see it, there are three ways to deal the power of the sea heading your way while you’re in labor:

  1. Run back toward land as fast as you can, screaming in fear.
  2. Clench your teeth and fists and close your eyes and plant your feet firmly and let it hit you while you attempt to resist.
  3. Or, and this is the best way, take a deep breath and meet that wave – go to it, go deep. Let the waters rise and cover you, but keep those hands and your heart wide open and tell the sea, I am here for my baby! And you’ll find the the wave has taken you out further towards your destination when it subsides. It’s true!

I have gotten to be in the room with a few mommies now as a doula (“a woman who serves”), experiencing the moment of birth, getting to pray laboring women through, encourage and cheer them on. And that is how we do it.

And it takes incredible bravery and so  much strength, in spirit, soul and body. But a contraction starts to rise, and mommy breathes slow and deep (in through the nose, slowly-slowly out through the mouth) and into the ocean she goes. Those of us near a laboring woman can cheer her on, we can breathe along, and we can pour our courage in to her, but she faces this daunting task with a power she did not know she had, just mommy-to-be and the wild, holy waves of labor.

I often think of the birth experience and how it relates to the rest of life, for God had this amazing way of placing repetitions in creation, things that became signposts and touchstones for us.

And today, as I was thinking of sweet niece and this amazing day of adventure, one that will change her forever, a day she will never forget, I was thinking about the waves. Right now, they’re easier and she can handle them and still text her aunt. But soon, they’ll begin to almost overtake her and there will not be time for idle chatter. She’ll have to wade out and show her strength.

Life is hard, too, sometimes.

And I was thinking about things we face in life, less noticed – the things no one will throw you a fancy shower to celebrate (though you deserve it now, if ever!). But they are life-changing nonetheless. They are things that will change you at the core, and you’ll never be the same. Things happen. And they aren’t always what you would have chosen. And I have said, in the not too distant past, “I didn’t think I’d be here at this age. I don’t think I can do this…” 

And quite honestly, I have run screaming the opposite direction, and stood bracing myself, fists clenched, eyes shut tight – trying to ignore and wait for certain things to pass. There are just things I absolutely do not feel like I can handle and I don’t want to handle and I am so afraid of the unknown sometimes. Am I up to the challenge? Pretty sure I’d like to wait awhile, thank-you very much.

Deep calls to deep at the [thundering] sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.  Psalm 42.7 Amp.

But I was minding my own business thinking about the niece, when it hit me (is that You, Lord?) we can face whatever happens this same way. Birthing babies is proof. I can resist all day long or I can believe I was born to conquer this thing, whatever “this thing” is. I can, after all, do all things through Christ who strengthens me! See Philippians 4.13.

Let’s open our arms wide, throw our heads back in courage, take a deep breath and go meet those waves. We were born for this! We’ve got it, baby! All the new things are out there waiting for us to come and get them! And if we get knocked down a few times along the way, if the waves overcome us now and again, the One who promised never to leave us nor forsake us is right there, cheering us on, pouring His courage into us. Let’s birth some promise here!


Image from Pinterest, Calling by Yongsung Kim, oil on canvas

Christiana-girl: your birth signaled the entrance of spring and new life to me so many years ago at a time of  “beginning again” (Spring, your middle name). I am cheering you on from Denver today! xoxoxo


one baby.

A mystery, I am insufficiently prepared.
I am awed and afraid, overcome by love and fear.
I bring her home and there she is.
When she cries, I cry.
I wonder: how will I be a mommy to this baby?
I read everything I can and try to meet every expectation.
I follow all the baby rules (which later turn out to have been wrong).
I over-sterilize, overthink, overcompensate for my weakenesses.
I wash and scrub and make organic homemade babyfood.
I try my hardest.  I feel alone and inept.
I try not to inflict any permanent damage.


Just when I think I get it, that I’ll be able to do it with ease-
A preemie, born early, struggling to breathe.
I know nothing – again.  Her needs are a mystery.
She is so tiny it scares me.
When she cries, I cry and when I cry,
her sister cries.
I don’t know what I am doing,
but we have to find our way.
I dress her in doll clothes and learn
to mommy two.

three babies.

We are getting our groove
when she arrives quietly and easily.
Somehow she gently becomes a part
of our busy lives and we’re learning
to diaper with one hand while stopping
a fall with the other.
Life is frilly dresses and french braids,
a full-sized family.
If you can handle three little-bitties, you can handle anything.
I am getting my sea legs, my mommy-groove.


The boy arrives. 
My deep and secret longing fulfilled.
The boy turns our sweet pink world
upside down.
Everything is different with a
baby boy: changing diapers, potty-training,
you name it.
How will I mommy a son?
Whew!  I am worn out.

five babies.

The fifth and final is on her way.
The pregnancy goes well.  No surprises.
I have been here before.
The labor and delivery are picture-book perfect.
The nurse comes in with a checklist of things
I must demonstrate to her to prove I can care for her
before they will let me take my baby home, things like
nursing her, bathing her, changing her diaper.
I have no strength to posture, but I ask the nurse,
“How many children have you had?”
She signs off on the checklist.
I am learning everyday.  I am becoming
an expert in the care and feeding of babies.
How will I mommy these perfect five?

One adult.  Two.  Three adults.  Four.  Five perfect adults and the ones they have married.

And again, I have no idea what I am doing.  I feel alone, afraid.  When they cry, I cry.  I wonder: how will I mommy these adult children?