Christian reflections · Family life · women

Holy Labor * Book Review & Giveaway!

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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.

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In her book Holy Labor: How Childbirth Shapes a Woman’s SoulAubry 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.

Yes. YES.

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

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7 thoughts on “Holy Labor * Book Review & Giveaway!

  1. I generally dislike “natural birth” stuff, just because my births have all been, well, not that. But if there is truly a theological lesson in here, I’d be interested!

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    1. She’s great on a variety of birth choices (and non-choices, as is often the case in labor when things go differently than we expect!). I think it’s a read you’d truly enjoy.

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  2. I’m pretty sure I’m done having babies. . .but someone very special to me is just starting and I’d love to give her a copy! Thanks for reading and reviewing—good recommendations are my favorite way to find new reads.

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  3. This books sounds like it could bring me great peace. I had my one and only child almost 3 years ago and the birth and first year postpartum was full of ups and downs. God was with us through it all but I am still healing over the trauma of it all. I know God will use our story for good and has laid a desire on my heart to become a double in the future. I would love to have this book in my library to help other women keep God as a focus during pregnancy and birth. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to receive this gift.

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    1. Absolutely, Erin! Good luck in the drawing and thanks for sharing part of your story. I’m so sorry for the trauma of your birth – you’re a warrior for making it through, and a double-warrior for continuing to pursue healing.

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      1. Congratulations, Erin! You’re the winner of the random drawing for a free copy of Aubry Smith’s Holy Labor! Send me an email at courtney (dot) b (dot) ellis (at) gmail (dot) com with your full name and address and the copy will be on its way!

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