Growing up in a christian home, I remember hearing numerous sermons about the curse God put on Adam and Eve in the garden due to their disobedience. The one that stuck with me most due to my gender, was that God would "greatly increase our pain in childbirth."
As if the message of a painful labor and birth didn't have to be reinforced, the message is everywhere. Every childbirth scene on television is extraordinary, and not in a pleasant way. I grew up in a houseful of nurses and I remember looking at my parents' anatomy and physiology books trying to figure out how something as big as a newborns' head can come out of something so small. Needless to say, I was slightly terrified of the day I would give birth.
With my first child I surrendered to the fact that drugs would be my answer to escaping this inevitable trauma. With my second, I knew there must be a better way than medication. I didn't want to feel like birth was something that was done to me, but that I experienced myself and really let God walk me through.
I started really digging into scripture and looked past Genesis 3. I knew that the God I loved must care deeply about this part of my life. If one of the main callings of a woman is to bear and raise up children, why should it feel like a curse? And if the same Christ that was beaten for our transgressions, also took up our infirmities and promises us healing; why does this not apply to childbirth? If Jesus took the pain and the curse that ultimately we deserved; why would he not also grant us a comfortable, easy birth experience?
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
Instead of focusing on the curse of Eve, I started focusing on the heart of my God. Here is a list of my favorite scriptures to meditate on during pregnancy and birth.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
In my opinion, giving birth is such a "mind over matter" experience; it is imperative that the laboring mother have peace. Fear causes tension, which increases pain. The opposite of fear is peace. Letting go and relaxing, trusting, surrendering is what made my second birth a much more pleasant experience.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
This tells me that it is not God's will for me suffer, I can rest in Him.
"He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power." Isaiah 40:29
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
"I can do all things throughout Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and he helps me." Psalm 28:7
"Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand. For I am the Lord, your god, who takes hold of your right and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:10, 13
For those days you feel like you'll be pregnant forever...
"Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery? says the Lord." Isaiah 66:9