Labor Pains: Enjoyable?

So I've been thinking about labor lately... naturally.  :)  I'm at 29 weeks and my belly is bulging (proof in the Thanksgiving family picture below) and Theo is getting more and more active, bumping his little rump and elbows and fingers around in there.  And of course, each time pregnancy happens, the baby has to come out.  I've been thankful to have five healthy births and am planning our first home birth this go-round.

When I recently commented that I actually *enjoy* labor, a friend asked "why."  So I thought I'd go ahead and blog about it.  :)

Now-- here's the deal: I am no yoga-master-mindgame-guru... and I'm not in the "supernatural-childbirth-camp" that believes that if you just have enough faith you won't experience pain (frankly, I think that contradicts the Word of God all over the place... from Genesis all the way through to when Jesus describes the end times)... and I'm not psycho, nor am I in denial.  I am completely aware that labor pain is crazy painful, and my labors have ranged in length (26, 8, 4, 4, and 9 hours).  I've had back labor and done it with and without epidurals, with and without pitocin... believe me, I *get* that labor pain is massively PAINful.  

But I have found some things that I really have come to appreciate and, yes, ENJOY, about labor.  
  1. I enjoy the process as part of the process of life... the way God built things to work.  We as women have this miraculous ability to be used by God to create NEW human beings... which, to me, is just stinking amazing.  And so, like any productive process, whether baking or building a house or keeping a strong marriage, there is a "cost" and there is some "work" to it... but it is part of a process.
  2. The pain is productive pain.  There is plenty of pain in life that doesn't really serve a purpose... or that we just have to get over.  So, yeah, labor HURTS, and hurts MIGHTILY... but it is productive and will end in bringing my precious baby into my arms.  
  3. Even in the midst of the pain, there is anticipation.  It's like the frantic work of baking and cooking before Thanksgiving, or baking and wrapping and preparing everything before Christmas... there's such a delight in knowing: THE WONDERFUL MOMENT IS ALMOST HERE!!!!
  4. It means the waiting is over.  Ugh!  Those last few weeks, ya know what I mean?  They can seem interminable.  But once I'm in labor, I know, they have reached their end.  My baby is coming.  Now.
  5. It is such a unique part of the human experience-- more than half of the people on earth will never be able to experience it... so there is a unique perspective that can come with it.  And those of us who have gone through it know it... it's why women sit around and tell labor stories, and once they get on a roll, it's like they can't stop.  Each of us, whether we claim to enjoy it or not, relishes the uniqueness of the experience.
  6. I appreciate that Jesus compares it to the time leading up to His return on earth.  (In Matthew & in 1 Thessalonians) Isn't it amazing that as laboring women, we get the "inside scoop" of insight and clarity into how that time will be.  At first, you're not quite sure, "is this it?", "maybe it's about to start?"... but eventually, it becomes clear that labor is happening, ready or not.  It's a productive pain that starts out slow, coming closer and closer together and growing in intensity, but all the while you know it's leading to something WONDERFUL.
  7. I like doing something that is such a challenge but that I know God created me to do.  Maybe it's my competitive side, but I really like knowing that there's this big challenge ahead of me, but that I can do it.  That God made me capable of birthing this child... He made my body capable, He made me to mother this child... that He has uniquely created me for this moment.  

So these are some of the reasons why I really have come to enjoy the labor process.  Not because it's easy or quick for me (it's not!  Last time-- with #5-- I labored longer than I had in the previous 3 births...), and not because I'm delusional, but just because I've come to appreciate the process, the productiveness of it, and the person it ultimately brings into my arms.

Hope this helps encourage others too.  :)


Anonymous said...

I totally agree! Love your list of reasons and I'm glad I'm not the only one (though I have only been through it twice...the first about 23 hours, the second 6 hours)...

May God bless your childbirth and new baby!! <3

MrsDandy said...


Yes, yes, great points, and so positive! I am always so glad to be near the end, to know I will soon hold my sweet little baby in my arms. The labor and deliver, although painful is my favorite part, because it means the end is in sight!

Blessings on you, your family, and upcoming birth.

Tara said...

Strangely, I am starting to feel the same about the adoption process. ;)

Jess said...

:) Tara-- I can see that! Adoption definitely has all kinds of echoes and implications and explicit references throughout scripture.

Leah Spencer said...

I much rather go through labor a dozen times than the pregnancy part. With both of my children, I spent half of the labor denying that I might be in labor. It didn't seem intense enough!

The problem with that attitude is that if you have a 3 hour labor, and you've spent the first 1.5 hours questioning if you're actually in labor, and if your midwife takes 1.5 hours to get there.............. you're gonna have a baby before she comes. :P Her assistant did walk in the door 2 minutes before my son was born, and my sister was also ready to catch.

I've been trying to ease the idea to my husband that he's going to have to call the midwife on HIS say so, not mine. That, or suggest he prepare for some catching. ;)

Kacie said...

Childbirth really is a unique experience, isn't it? In some ways I dread it, but in some ways it is so awesome.

For instance, there never has been another time in my life when I could NOT multi-task. I had to give my full focus on the laboring process. There were points where I couldn't even do simple put on pants...because all I could do was simply be in labor.

It's kind of like an out-of-body experience (I think? I have no idea what that actually is like) but an in-body-experience where you fall inward and are relying on the Lord so fully.

Anonymous said...

I had two pretty "bad" births and really would be thrilled to do it again! My aunt also who reallllly suffered in childbirth 6 times said she always was gratful for a break of a year or two but then was excited to get to do it again. No one ever says to women what an adventure birth can be , always the focus is on pain relief! Can you imagine if all anyone said to mountain climbers was " how are you going to manage the pain"?And they don't even receive the very cool gift of a BABY at the top!! It is by far the most wild experiance I have ever had both times! And I agree seeing my cousin go through adoption..that labor of love took years!Karen

Nancy said...

Jess, Thank you so much for posting this! My due date for my 3rd baby is today (!), and I have been so nervous and scared. This really helps a lot, and is SO timely.


Catie said...

What a great perspective. :) I don't love being prego and labor is no walk in the park, but of course, it's all worth it.

Congrats on your pregnancy, btw! I haven't been to your blog in a while so I didn't know until today. :) Glad to be back though!! God bless!

Jess said...

Nancy, so glad it encouraged you! :)

Charisa said...

Thanks for this post! I've commented a few times now that I actually kind of enjoy labour, and I get the strangest looks from people! And then I always have a hard time putting into words what I mean and why I say that. So I agree with you, and now I feel like I can better explain why. I'm due with our 3rd in just 6 weeks, and I'm looking forward to it. I've always been induced in the past, so I'm hoping for natural labour so I can experience the "real thing"...I hear it's less intense, and I'd be happy for that! :)