I remember laying on the floor of my (Christian) college dorm lamenting the curse of Eve.
“Why did she have to eat that stupid apple?” I wailed. It was that-time-of-the-month and I was wracked with cramps and bubbling with angst.
Women often joke about the difficulties our fair sex faces, childbirth chief among them. We expect pain, suffering, anguish, and maybe even terror in labor. At first glance, Scripture seems to agree.
After Adam and Eve sin by taking that which God tells them not to, God speaks to Eve:
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.”
Huh. Seems like a clear-cut case of Eve-ate-the-apple-and-now-labor-is-the-pits, doesn’t it?
Aubry Smith would beg to differ.
In her book Holy Labor: How Childbirth Shapes a Woman’s Soul, Aubry thoughtfully digs into this and other Scriptures about birth in an effort to find God’s intention for the hard work of labor, from conception (including the struggles of infertility and miscarriage) to motherhood.
Though she believes natural birth is possible and can be a great goal, her vision isn’t to change a woman’s mind or disparage anyone who births another way, whether by choice or by circumstance. Her hope is to help each of her readers find God and claim his goodness in their own childbirth story, whether it’s just beginning or far in the past.
You guys, this positive Christian account of childbirth is so needed! As I prepared for my first birth I was struck by how easy it was to find hundreds of beautiful Christian accounts of motherhood but very, very few about labor itself.
There were oodles of New-Agey childbirth preparation tools, but since I didn’t want to find my chakra or see with my third eye (I mean, what now?!), I had to cobble together my own theological preparation for birth.
You don’t have to do this! Aubry’s got you!
She is a doula as well as a mother of three, so her own experiences in labor shape her story. She’s journeyed from her first birth, full of fear and pain, to her third, full of hard work and the peace of Christ.
“We understand God better when we understand childbirth better,” she writes.
Though she believes natural birth is possible and can be an admirable goal, Aubry’s vision isn’t to change a woman’s mind who would prefer a medicated birth or disparage anyone who births with interventions, whether by choice or by circumstance. Her hope is to help each of her readers find God and claim his goodness in their own childbirth story, whether it’s just beginning or far in the past.
Holy Labor is a thoughtful guide to approaching birth with wisdom, grace, and yes, even joy! It’s a must-read for expectant and experienced mothers, as well as anyone seeking a deeper understanding for how the love of God shows up in the meaningful labor of childbirth.
In addition, each chapter closes with a section called “Laboring in Christ,” a short devotional guide that offers opportunity to dig deeper into beautifully biblical spiritual practices.
Want to read Holy Labor or gift it to a friend? Comment below AND share this post for a chance to win a free copy! To be entered into the drawing an additional time, tag a friend! The random drawing will take place Monday, October 31.
I was given a free copy of Holy Labor in order to review it. This free copy in no way biased the review. It just really is that great. (It’s so great I am one of the endorsers on the back cover!)
Featured photo courtesy of Amazon.com