Autumn is a season of birthdays. My granddaughters, plus one daughter and one daughter-in-love all have a birthday in September, October or November.
I was blessed in being able to attend the birth of each granddaughter—one at home and the rest in the hospital. To watch each of these babies grow into little girls is a delight.
As I look back, each labor and birth was unique. My daughters were prepared for labor and still encountered challenges. In each situation the goal was to minimize interventions, while being open to appropriate medical care. When the moment of pain and exhaustion came during labor, their husbands and I prayed with them. God blessed them with healthy births.
We have well equipped hospitals in the United States. But along with medical care, wisdom and guidance from the Lord is an invaluable help. I have witnessed and participated in prayers that took place during labor when I attended home births as a nurse. Less often (rarely) prayer was included in the hospital labor and delivery unit where I worked.
My own first labor/birth was an unexpected cesarean section. I still remember the name of one nurse who was supportive during labor, but her shift ended before the cascade of interventions and cesarean section took place. The communication from my doctor was cold and unkind. My daughter was healthy but it took time for me to put the experience into perspective.
According to Post Partum Support International some women suffer PTSD following childbirth.
Approximately 9% of women experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth. Most often, this illness is caused by a real or perceived trauma during delivery or postpartum.
Emotional support and encouragement are vital during labor and birth. Prayer provides spiritual support. Here are some ways that an expectant mom can plan for good support.
- Consider having a midwife for birth attendant. Do some research on home birth, freestanding birth centers, and midwifery practices.
- Choose a doula to attend the labor and birth, in addition to the doctor or midwife. Doulas are trained in comfort measures for labor and positioning techniques to assist the progress of labor. Some doulas will attend hospital births.
- Have a close family member go to prenatal classes with you, being prepared to give support during labor. While Lamaze classes have typically expected the husband to be the support person, sometimes another woman is more able.
- Develop a practice of prayer and trust in the Lord.
My daughters’ husbands were with them throughout labor. I was the extra support. Assisting my daughters and praying with them has been a wonderful experience.
If you have a daughter or friend who is pregnant, perhaps you will have the opportunity to pray with her and encourage her.