Updated: Jan 7, 2020
By Erin Boado
God's Brave Women - Erin's Story
My most vivid memory of the birth of my second son is his first lusty newborn cry. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. It stands as an ebenezer, a stone of remembrance in my mind, of the loving and powerful God I serve. There in the birth pool, I clutched my chubby, healthy baby to my chest as tears poured down my face. Birth is an absolute miracle, a blessing from God.
Unfortunately, birth isn’t always so beautiful, a fact to which I can attest. But it is always a blessing. Birth is raw and excruciating, and women giving birth are brave and powerful, yet vulnerable. In this place where pain, emotion, excitement and joy collide, many women have experiences that leave them feeling traumatized and broken.
My first birth was just such an experience. In my life, being brave has looked like coming to terms with my traumatic birth, seeking help and allowing God to heal and redeem all of my brokenness.
My First Traumatic Birth Experience
Sweet friend, if this resonates with you at all, let me offer you some hope by telling you a little bit about my traumatic first birth experience. After a 27-hour labor, my son was born with a congenital lung and heart condition that required a lengthy NICU stay. I had decided on a natural, unmedicated birth, so following the physical pain and exhaustion of labor and a manual placenta removal, I faced the emotional and psychological pain of not being able to take my baby home. I was devastated and distraught.
After my traumatic birth experience and the overwhelm I felt about caring for a chronically ill child, who was a frequent flyer at the children’s hospital, I didn’t know if I would ever be ready to have another baby. However, when my first son was less than two years old, I unexpectedly became pregnant. At first, I was not at all excited with the news, but God. He had a plan.
God Can Heal Our Most Broken Circumstances
During that pregnancy, I sought healing and prayed for surrender to that plan. I prayed for joy. I prayed for my heart to expand to love this new baby. I chose to take God at his word and believe that all children are a gift, and that began to give me peace.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.”
-Psalm 127:3-5 NIV
That peace allowed me to overcome my insecurity and get help. I began seeing a therapist and going to both a moms’ mental health support group and a birth trauma support group. One of the exercises was to actually put pen to paper and write my whole traumatic birth story and, when I was ready, read it with the group. I can’t even describe the weight lifted from my shoulders when I was able to tell my story in a safe environment, free from judgment, advice or the annoyingly sympathetic reactions of those who have never experienced that type of trauma.
"I can’t even describe the weight lifted from my shoulders when I was able to tell my story in a safe environment, free from judgment, advice or the annoyingly sympathetic reactions of those who have never experienced that type of trauma."
Healing Doesn’t Mean Freedom from Pain, It’s Placing the Pain in the Right Hands
It wasn’t easy, but over those seven months from when I found out I was pregnant until my second son was born, God took the pieces of my broken heart and made them whole again. I’ll be honest, though. Healing doesn’t mean that those painful memories and my ongoing circumstances with my medically complex son no longer cause me pain. Healing means I decide day after day to keep placing my brokenness in God’s hands and allowing Him to make me whole.
Dear friend, our God is so good. My second birth came after a fast and furious four-hour labor. To cope with the pain and to keep my mind focused on the redemptive birth experience I sought, I had my mom and midwife read these Christ-Centered Birth Affirmations. Hearing and reciting these phrases really helped me to draw my strength from God and to allow him to do his redeeming work through the beauty and pain of that birth.
After having two natural births, I truly know the meaning of Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I believe that natural birth, with its pain and beauty, is a gift from God. He loves his daughters enough to give them exactly what they need to accomplish the hardest task on earth.
"I believe that natural birth, with its pain and beauty, is a gift from God. He loves his daughters enough to give them exactly what they need to accomplish the hardest task on earth."
God’s Redeeming Work Gives Me the Strength to Be Brave
What a blessing that our God doesn’t just reserve feats of strength and daring for men, as society often does. He allows us to stand on the edge of life and death, to overcome insecurities, pain and fear, and to usher new life into the world. The strength that I discovered in those teeth-clenching moments, as I poured sweat and yelled at the top of my lungs is a strength I carry with me. When I find myself in situations that require superhuman strength, I remember what my God and I have been through already. I remember what he has redeemed on my behalf and am filled with the courage to face whatever comes my way.
To the mama who had a traumatic birth experience: please know that you are not alone. You are held, dear mama, and cherished by your Heavenly Father. And thanks to the work of Jesus, your story, like mine, can be redeemed.
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave! No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means you are full of His strength and grit. I would love to connect with you more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my lovely email tribe.
AS A BONUS… Subscribers will also be the first to receive news regarding the BRAVE WOMEN BIBLE STUDY coming out later this year and a sample chapter! *insert happy dance here* Sign up for more info on the study’s release and availability!
Erin is the mama behind Lullaby Lark. She has a passion for helping discouraged and special needs moms find hope and healing. She lives in Augusta, Georgia with her crew-- her husband, Ben, two sons, Griffin and Caspian, and two fur babies, Ollie and Izzy. Griffin was born with a chronic lung disease called pulmonary hypertension, as well as some other complicating factors. Erin and her family have spent the past four years learning and growing together and relying on the hope they have in Jesus. You can connect with her on Facebook page or through her new online support group, Motherhood with Lullaby Lark. You can also gain access to her exclusive printables library and resource page, which includes printable scripture cards, coloring pages, birth affirmations and more, by joining Lullaby Lark’s email subscriber list HERE.