Labor is, of course, a difficult and grueling process but it is so beautiful because it embodies everything it means to be a mother. While a woman cannot help but stare in constant awe at the newborn she delivered, what she may have trouble seeing is that the same difficult labor she endured to birth her child also brought to life an incredible creature that lives inside of her and goes by the name of mommy.
Nearing her due date, a woman cannot make definite social plans because the arrival of her baby is her priority. Later she will find that this hasn’t changed. Her child still has the ability to cancel any plans she may have made and she will have to occasionally leave social environments to tend to her child. However, she will find herself staying away just a tiny bit longer for some extra play time and giggles from her little one because even though she’s with him all day long, she still cannot get enough of him. She has learned to embrace a lifestyle that revolves around her child’s schedule because those quiet times alone with her baby have become one of her greatest treasures.
A woman in labor may not sleep for a day or two as she works to bring her child into the world. Pregnancy may have already robbed her of the ability to sleep comfortably which only prepares her for the long sleepless nights ahead with a newborn. Soon, however, she will find that she lives for the satisfaction of guiding that sweet babe back to an ever so peaceful sleep and climbing into bed again is the only prize she needs to feel like she has all she ever wanted in life.
A woman in labor is vulnerable and can no longer worry about looking her best or putting on a front for those around her. She may get overwhelmed, she may feel she cannot do it, she may need to ask for help. She will feel this way countless times as she mothers in the future but, just as in labor, if she allows herself to be honest, she will be able to connect with others like never before and their support can empower her, literally making her feel like she can accomplish anything.
A laboring woman does assume a certain amount of risk. Even though childbirth is perfectly designed by our Creator and the vast majority of the time it is safe to progress naturally, we do live in a broken world where things can and, unfortunately, do go wrong sometimes. The pregnancy and hard work of labor may be too much for her body to handle in one way or the other and in some circumstances she may have to undergo major surgery in order to birth her baby. While her child is well worth this risk, she may struggle with the fact that she cannot completely control everything. Likewise, even if she is perfectly healthy and she’s making progress, the agony of labor may leave her with no other choice but to call out in prayer to the Father, the only one who can truly call the shots. A new mother will have innumerable opportunities to practice this act of surrender and reliance on our God. When her baby cries inconsolably, is sick for the first time, or when she is emotionally drained by the demands placed upon her, she will know she has the privilege of getting on her knees and crying out to the God who hears her and will take care of her. She has learned she can trust Him and that peace frees her to truly enjoy life and be a better mom.
And lastly, a laboring woman will most certainly be in some pain. This likely isn’t new to her as carrying the weight of her child for nine long months probably tightened the muscles in her legs and back. But the pain of labor is unlike any other because it does not indicate that anything is wrong, rather that something is going right. Her body is making it possible for a child to enter the world and because of that, she finds herself eager for the pains to begin and even intensify. She doesn’t think she can bear it but her body urges her to continue and then somehow, through one of nature’s biggest miracles, she hears the sweetest cry and holds her tiny baby to her chest. Just like that, the pain becomes a distant memory and she knows that she would bear it all again just to meet her little one for the first time. Even though the coming days and weeks will still be painful for her, the needs of her newborn are her greatest priority. She can do this because she’s been through the worst of the worst but it brought her the best of the best and just like the muscles in her back and legs, she is much stronger now.
Her selfless love, even through ever changing schedules and sleepless nights, along with her humility and ability to lean on others and God prove that she hasn’t only birthed a beautiful child but a strong mother was born as well.