Some recently finished projects!

Here is my little man modeling his new sweater. He is four sweet weeks old today, keeping us busy, and old-fashioned tired. Love him!  He is asleep right now, but when awake, he feels that life is not worth living unless he is nursing or being held, so I am in a hurry to pop in and leave a few short thoughts. Someone texted me a link this morning to a Christianity Today article that cites Mom, Bekah, and myself for our nasty views regarding birth and gratitude. If you, like me, are out of touch with the twitters, you can go here to read it.

I am not interested in a birthing brawl, but given the fact that this article was fired out no end and is all over the internet, something needed to be said in lieu of a response. I wasn’t joking about time – I have about 8 minutes of free hands right now, and I have to mop (badly), so that gives me about 4. That is not even counting the box of cereal that Blaire dumped out on the couch this morning, so I am actually in the negatives here! So this is admittedly a speedy fly-by.

The first thing that I have wanted to express is that we delegate a lot of our decisions surrounding birth, and we do that happily. However, we care a great deal about who it is that we are asking to make decisions on our behalf. I go to a Christian OB who is avidly pro-life, and that matters.  I understand entirely that if you cannot trust the ethical decisions that a doctor would make on your behalf, you cannot trust any decision he would make. I get it. That is why we care about who our doctor is.

In the article, Rachel Stone says something about gratitude being fine, as far as it goes. I think that this is actually a really important part of our disagreement. I can speak on behalf of all three of us here that we would never (ever, under any circumstances) argue that there is no room for improvement in the world of birthing. Of course there is. What we differ on is how that change is going to occur.

Gratitude is something that doesn’t stop going. Gratitude can be a vehicle for change. Gratitude is not stagnant, mindless, or reflective of deep laziness. Gratitude is actually, in many cases, the beginning of great change. So when we say “be grateful,” it is not a call for Christian women everywhere to stop caring. It is a call for Christian women to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for the mercy that God has shown us through the medical care that is available today. Gratitude is also a great antidote to fear. It is the easiest thing in the world to fall into a pattern of outrage, envy, and disgust with what we have been given – forgetting who it was that gave it to us. It is important to note that all the commands in Scripture, such as “In all things giving thanks” are not tethered with a contingency plan about whether or not you think unnecessary c-sections are on the rise.

God told us to give thanks, wherever we are. He did not tell us to do that so that we might remain stuck there forever. It is His plan for us to grow, and when we grow in that way, big things happen. Gratitude is not a greeting-card sentiment, it is a strategic weapon. If more Christian women would wield it without fear, we would witness a lot more change with a lot less fussing.

I am afraid that my birth plan was not completely represented – it actually had three points. First, to prioritize the health of the baby. Second, to go with the flow and trust our doctor. Third, to be grateful. We were given a great chance to do all three things, and we really are grateful.

I wasn’t joking about not wanting a birthing brawl! Look at that sweet boy up at the top – he is going to be yelling in a minute or two, and when he yells, he yells for me. I have my hands full – overflowing in fact, with blessings.

P.S. I am on standby to disable the comments if a brawl breaks out! So be good!

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39 thoughts on “Some recently finished projects!

  1. I am impressed with how many of your brain cells are working on so little sleep! I think this was a great clarification to what has been said previously. Shadrach is gorgeous and my husband is so jealous that you used that name! I put the kibosh on that one. lol!

  2. No brawl here. I just want to thank you for, what I felt, was gentle admonishment to your sisters in Christ. I have had 2 babies, both unplanned C-sections, and am currently pregnant with my 3rd. I have to say that I was not nearly as grateful as I should have been for my first birth. I pushed for 4 hours and he was just completely discombobulated and would not budge. My second was an emergency due to a prolapsed cord. I was a bunch more grateful for her section because of the bleakness of the situation. However, I have to say that I STILL wasn’t as grateful as I could have been. And now, going into this baby’s delivery, I can honestly say that I am grateful for whatever the outcome. We are praying for a VBAC but will be content and praising the Lord for a section if that is what He wills. Thank you for being a part of the process of my heart change. I am grateful.

  3. ugh. i cant believe how much you were misrepresented and misquoted in that article. i so appreciate your godly attitude and exhortation to honor the Lord. regardless of how or what happens in the delivery room. thank you!!

  4. Thanks for your constantly gracious attitude when the mudslinging starts. I’ve noticed that when it comes, it starts somewhere else aimed at you, rarely the other way around. Thank you for that as well. have a beautiful day with your blessings!

  5. Thanks for the encouragement!!! When I read the original posts, I was challenged to examine my own attitude, but I didn’t think you meant a woman couldn’t both be grateful for what God has given her and still think that, say, the policies at her local hospital ought to change. And I have a LOT more control over my attitude than I do over the hospital policies! For those of us who think some things should change, let’s do the best we can to change them, and let’s be cheerful and grateful while we do it.

  6. What a cutie!

    All these Rachel Held Evans’ and Rachel Stones are almost making me sorry I named my daughter Rachel. Fortunately, you more than make up for them as far as namesakes go. :)

  7. Well, shame on me for nearly ruining the good name of Rachel!

    That’s a gorgeous sweater (I’m a knitter too) and an more-than-equally gorgeous boy inside it.

    Perhaps our perspectives on gratitude are our main point of difference; perhaps it is our perspectives on delegating birth decisions. I can understand that this is very different in different contexts, for different people. When I lived in the UK, eg., my British friends typically would go with the flow.

    Maybe I’m just excessively American!

    (Thanks for taking the time to read the CT post.)

  8. Your little boy is adorable Rachel and its making me all clunky again. Lol I totally understand your thoughts on birth. Well said and I hope you really enjoyed your 8 minutes to yourself. Blessings!!

  9. Hi! Thanks for your posts. I read them often and after just delivering my third via C-section six weeks ago, I thought I would thank you for pointing out the Biblical, Christian response to all of this “brawling” over births.

    I experienced a LOT of guilt after my first c-section as it was completely unplanned. The Lord taught me a lot about myself and showed me how I lacked in trust and how my controlling tendencies had gotten completely out of hand.

    With the second, it was a failed VBAC and from the lessons learned from c-section number one, I am happy to say that I experienced no guilt, only peace – the peace that only the Lord gives.

    With the third, my doctor’s policy is planned c-section. I trusted not really the doctor, but my God. In the first two deliveries, I learned then (and because of some medical procedures recently, I learned now) that my body cannot have babies vaginally.

    If it weren’t for the wisdom and care of the doctors and nurses, I would have died and probably my baby would have died back four years ago with my first son. I am thankful to the Lord for three healthy babies (and hopefully more via c-section…my doctor is more than willing!).

    I am grateful for you and your family as well. Thank you for showing me what a Biblical response should be when faced with those that question my method of delivery.

  10. Thank you so much (all of you) for these lovely and encouraging posts about childbirth. They are well-timed for us, as my husband and I are expecting our first child in March. Like many others, we have done lots of the research and have a “birth plan” inasmuch as we have envisioned how we would *like* for things to happen, and have prayerfully made the choices available to us to get us us as close to that desire as possible. Of course, states have laws about these things, and whether or not I agree with all of those laws, Romans 13 tells me how I’m to subject myself cheerfully to this authority while still recognizing and trusting God as the ultimate authority in ALL things — including childbirth! Thank you SO much for reminding me during a time where my husband and I are hearing from all sorts of friends and acquaintances “how we should do it” and receiving numerous unsolicited opinions / horror stories about childbirth just how BLESSED we are and how grateful we should be that God orchestrates all things to His glory. I love how when we focus our hearts on thanksgiving and praise, there is little room left for fear. God is so good!

  11. Grateful for the advances in medical science that saved the lives of my twin grandsons by delivery via C-section this week. Grateful that God chose to demonstrate his love to my daughter-in-law by preserving her life as well. Grateful for a young woman (Rachel) with such insight and Godly heritage and lack of the fear of man. Happy mothering to you, it is a job that just keeps giving.

  12. He is super cute Rachel, congratulations, and I’m amazed at your wise post here in the midst of sleepless nights! I think this debate must be a cultural thing, as I’ve not come across anyone here in the uk being bothered by how the birth turns out once they have their precious bundle! There’s only so much we can plan isn’t there , but it often turns out differently to how we thought. Praise our God that He knows best.

  13. You know I’ve done c-sections and I’ve done VBAC (two of each as I have four children) and every time I read one of these discussions I’m bothered.

    I’m bothered because I have sisters and sisters-in-law who have had all kinds of birth experiences and who hold all kinds of birthing positions from enthusiastic home birthers to “no way would I have a baby anywhere but the hospital”. Not one of us judges the others for the way our babies were born. We are family, we love each other, we pray for each other to have safe births and healthy babies. We discuss our positions and experiences sometimes, but with kindness and love.

    Now expect people who don’t have Christ to need something to center their lives around so I’m not surprised that there are people who center their lives around child birth. But “it ought not to be so among us” (to paraphrase Paul) we are to be known by our love and kindness for each other. None of us is less of a woman because of how our children were born and none of us is more of a woman because of how our children were born. We need to stop fussing at each other and get on with working out our lives as women and mothers with kindness and love and support for each other.

    Do you know a mother with a new baby? Rejoice with her, take her a meal and don’t comment on the delivery. Do you have a new baby yourself? Rejoice, adjust to this new little image bearer in your life and trust God’s sovereignty in the manner in which he came.

    Our children’s births are just that. They are beginnings not ends….K

  14. I think you hit one important nail on the head when you mentioned being wise in your choice of doctors (or midwives). Where I live, the majority of both OBs and midwives have no problem aborting a baby in the morning and then delivering one a few hours later.

  15. I didn’t read the article that you and your wonderful family were cited in, and I have no desire to, but I do want to say thanks for the upbeat, encouraging, and challenging things that you three write on this blog (and in your books). You are a blessing to me!… also, as everyone else has commented, your baby is darling!

  16. I keep seeing people claim that I’ve “misrepresented” the Femina Girls. Yet I don’t see the Femina Girls claiming that, nor do I see any substantiation of that claim. Certainly the Femina Girls and I have points of disagreement, but that does not equal “misrepresentation.”

  17. Rachel J seems to clarify her points here though? It does seem like the Christianity Today article is making out that the Femina girls believe we should submit to whatever the doctors say, and that you should have no birth plan at all. Which they aren’t, as far as I can see. I’m confused! Surely a Christianity Today article wouldn’t challenge the Bible when it says “be thankful in all things?” Isn’t Mrs Wilson just challenging us to be Christians while we give birth? Even when it doesn’t go as we planned? Maybe people are upset that she used some strong phrases? Which are fitting, if I think of my “Mom-zilla” style delivery (unplanned c-section after a “planned” midwife delivery!)I certainly could’ve done with a good talking to from the lovely Femina ladies! God simply must be glorified in me, in all things:-)

  18. Love your thoughts on the power of gratitude.

    Enjoyed your post and I thought it was pretty nice that you were well defended in the comments of the other post. I am saddened by the fact that i have seen women alienated and even leave churches because of the strong assertions women are using about birthing options. I am glad you guys have been addressing it.

  19. What a cutie! Thank you for being a faithful woman of God’s word and spurring us all on to display his grace beautifully!

  20. It reminds me of Nancy’s wise words about the wedding being a ‘decorated door’. Decorated to within an inch of its life, it’s still a door, and you don’t end up spending a great deal of your life in it.

    (Which is not saying you shouldn’t decorate/plan etc.)

  21. I love this: “Gratitude is not a greeting-card sentiment, it is a strategic weapon. If more Christian women would wield it without fear, we would witness a lot more change with a lot less fussing.”

    Maybe in your next 4 free minutes :) , you could elaborate on what it means to “wield [gratitude] without fear”.

    (I am just now myself seeing some longer-than-4-minute-free-time-sessions, since our “high-maintenance” little guy is getting a bit happier about being in our world! Celebrating his 6-months of life tomorrow :))

  22. I am so glad you have an OB that you trust but the reality is many women don’t have that choice. For example there are a few good OB’s here but if you get their on call you could get the worst OB you have ever met in your life. I have personal experince with the OB’s in our town and there is a wide range. You could do research to days end pick an amazing OB and on the day your baby comes you get the worst. I agree be thankful the LORD gave them to you even if you didn’t pick them. On that same note he may have given them to you so you can stand up for what’s right. I think that is what is lacking here. Be thankful in everything yes but that doesn’t mean we don’t stand up for what is right. When speaking about birth remember not everyone has wonderful OB’s they can trust with everything and that OB’s are still human. I had one definitely unnecessary induction and c-section that I am grateful for because it forced me to research more about birth and the LORD led me into relationships where hopeful real change can happen.

  23. I’ve been trying to find time to comment on this post for days…now that I have the time, I’m having trouble organizing my thoughts in order to leave a brief, concise comment instead of a 12-paragraph ramble! Here goes:

    I am a home-birthing mama who is very passionate about natural birth and informed consent…and I LOVED your posts on childbirth! I honestly don’t struggle with gratitude regarding my own daughter’s birth, even though I had an intervention that was not part of my birth plan. What I do struggle with is unreasonable frustration with my friends who don’t make the same birth choices I do. I really appreciated the reminders that our fellowship is in Christ, not in childbirth methods.

    I think you do a good job of clarifying any misunderstandings in this post (as I recall from the comments, there were a lot when the posts were first published!). I think a lot of ‘natural birthers’ assumed the posts were somehow aimed at them, when nothing was intended but to rebuke sinful attitudes, whatever one’s philosophy of birth is (as I recall, Bekah clearly included women who complain about not getting an epidural in time in her post, as well as women bitter about not getting their natural births).

    Just going to conclude with a quote from my mother (veteran of 10 births including successful home VBACS, a planned c-section, a traumatic c-section due to an unnecessary intervention and a traumatic stillbirth due to insisting on having a high-risk delivery at home): ‘There is no wrong way to have a healthy baby!’ :)

    Oh, and congratulations on sweet Shadrach’s birth!

  24. I like the point about gratitude. It is something with which I struggle in giving birth to my own little ones. My first baby was an emergency c-section and I sometimes wonder if it was caused by poor choices on my doctor’s part (I was induced a little before 41 weeks). For my second, I desperately wanted a VBAC but when the baby measured in the 5th percentile, my doctor determined I was going to have a c-section. I mournfully continued to attend my pregnancy support group which spent time discussing natural delivery. But, God surprised me. The second birth was much more joyful (having not had the shock of an emergency) and was wonderful overall.

    I really hope for a VBAC for baby number 3. Primarily because, I would love to have more than 3 children! I would also love to continue to have my children close together and not have the doctors freak out because of the past C-sections. But, God knows my limits better than I do. It is a good time now to wait and pursue the plans for more children several years down the road, Lord willing. I will probably continue to pursue the possibility of a VBAC when the time comes, but only if it is a wise decision. I’m praying that I’ll be grateful, whatever the outcome.

  25. I really appreciated your article. I am an American living in the Indo Pacific. When I first moved here, I was so taken aback at the number of women and babies who died in childbirth. One friend gave birth in a room with 3 other women who were also delivering babies. One woman and two babies died that night. It is a reminder for those in the west to be full of gratitude for the health care opportunities that are available. I delivered both my babies here and praise God that they were born healthy.

  26. I enjoyed this post…growing in gratefulness is something the Lord is impressing on me these days, and I appreciate your exhortation, Rachel! I am a midwife myself, although not attending many births these days, due to being busy with my three little boys (5, 3, and 1). I had an unplanned c-section with my first, after a difficult labor. It was a humbling experience, with so much experience of the tricks of the trade! I am truly grateful for the kindness of those who cared for me and our firstborn and for a healthy baby. I have been blessed with two VBACs since then… I think we have to give one another a lot of room. We are responsible to make wise choices and employ wise care providers, but the mind of man plans his way, and the Lord ultimately directs. We need to trust the loving heart of God and rejoice always!

  27. I haven’t been able to read the article you are addressing yet, but I’m learning a lot from your response. Namely, that when you put your opinion out there or what you’ve done, people will inevitably attack and/or be offended or take it somewhere you didn’t mean for it to go. This has happened to me recently, as well. I wish I could say I responded as graciously as you. I’ve tried, but responding without defense, graciously, and in love is not easy. Thank you for giving me a great example of this.
    Also, I’m a huge fan of your book Loving the Little Years and also your blog. You’re a very encouraging light for the Lord. Thanks, Rachel.

  28. I just had a baby 6 weeks ago too! He is my 8th. I did not want to have him in the hospital. I wanted another home birth. However, my midwife was adamant and I trusted her. After a wonderful delivery, in the tub assisted only by my husband, I had an extremely rare, but very serious complication. I had undiagnossed placenta accreta. I almost died. The OBGYN on call at the hospital saved my life. Wow, am I grateful! I am so glad that I trusted my midwife, and ditched my plan, and I am alive to tell the story (and more importantly raise my children). I am so grateful God had me in the hospital that night!

  29. It is always such a blessing to come here and read what’s on your heart. God has blessed you with such a beautiful gift for writing. Your stance on gratefulness is so good, and a needed reminder. I admire your graciousness. Thank you for being a willing vessel for our sweet Lord to use.

  30. Ps…it was super fun meeting you at Costco!! (in June as we were on our way to go camping) You’re just as sweet and genuine in real life as you are here.
    Take Care, Diane

  31. Hey there Rachel, I too am appreciating “Loving the Little Years” I love those “2 stolen minutes” long chapters :-)

    Just a couple teasing out thoughts. I am shamefully prone to defensiveness and judgment about family choices. It seems motherhood makes those feelings inescapable, but what an opportunity! When all those sinful desires to control others have risen to the surface, they can be easily seen and with God’s help slain. After all motherhood didn’t create this sin in me-just exposed it.

    How beautiful it would be for one woman to tell another of her choice in any matter with out the other’s mind responding “Well bless you in that but not for me!” (Bless you almost never means bless you, does it?) I can’t wait till my response is simply “Wonderful!”

    Your point about being in sync with whoever is delivering you is wise. My first ob warned me that a hospital birth would be stacked in favor of interventions, but I (wrongly) thought I could make it different. If you want a beach wedding, don’t hold it in the mountains :-)

  32. Thank you! As someone who had 3 medically necissitated c-sections and felt very judged by the natural birth crowd, I find so much freedom in the thought of just gratitude!! Believe me, we were so grateful each time, and knew in our family we made the right choice, but boy were we careful to keep it as quiet as possible because of the comments we would receive! But gratitude is freedom from undue guilt and I appreciate this reminder!!

  33. The devil, such a sly guy! Encourages infighting amongst Christians so we’re distracted from our true purpose in life! Let’s put more focus on salvation issues & less on matters of preference! I love your encouragement to be grateful and to pray! Continue living lives focused solidly on Jesus and shining His light to the world! And of course encouraging the rest of us to do the same! :-)

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