“A woman giving birth to a child has pain, because she knows her time has come; but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”
John 16:21 (NIV)
I have received several different reactions when people hear the name I chose for my business.
What does it mean, to me, to birth “in joy?”
For my own personal journey into motherhood, it meant birthing out-of-hospital, surrounded by midwives, my husband, and my mother. It meant having absolute freedom to let my body do what God created it to do. It meant feeling everything, accepting and surrendering to what pain might be necessary to bring each precious child into my arms. It meant being surprised by the sex, and having my husband announce it. It meant having my mom sharing my journey as only a mother can. It meant being in awe of the awesome privilege I now share with billions of other women around the world in becoming a mother.
Many assume that I desire this same exact joy for all women I meet. In one sense, I suppose that is true. I do, very much, desire that every woman who births her baby experience the forgetfulness of joy that is such a huge part of my memory of each of my four births.
I do not, however, expect each mother to apply the same decisions I made for my births to their own. I have no agenda other than education and support, with the ultimate goal in mind of helping women come to a sense of accomplishment, joy, and thankfulness in and for their birth experiences – no matter what the experience looked like outwardly.
Even if a planned normal birth ends in a necessary cesarean, I want that birthing family to come out of it ultimately satisfied and empowered by the knowledge that they did what was right for them and for their new child. There is very little moral value in many of the decisions to be made surrounding birth. Epidurals, cesarean sections, and natural vaginal births are all morally neutral. There is no black and white here – unless you count certain practices surrounding those things, but that is a whole different topic.
As much as I desire to help birthing families achieve this sense of ownership in their births, I can only do so much. I can inform, encourage, teach, and support. Then, I must stand back and let women and their families go for it. Then, when they turn to me with questioning eyes, my job is to stand firm beneath them and hold them up. Only they can truly know if each decision was the right one for their situation.
“Birth in Joy” best reflects what my goal is for each family I serve, no matter their outward circumstances. I desire to use my knowledge, my heart, and my hands to minister faithfully to women during their childbearing year. There is nothing better than seeing a woman, radiant with the hard work of labor behind her, gazing lovingly into the eyes of her new child and exclaiming to all within hearing distance: “I did it!”