Yesterday I was part of the birth-support team for one of my dear friends and mentors. This is the third of her deliveries I have been involved with. Being part of her team is a gift I can never repay. It’s an incredible experience that, these days, is often only available for daddies and sometimes other close family members.
I am not part of her family. I am not a surrogate sister. I really have no right to be in that room.
Here’s how it came about:
– For most of my life I’ve dreaded the actual “having” of birthing babies.
– Five years ago, my husband and I felt God show us it was time to start our own family, I actively pursued getting free from the fear of childbirth.
– My friend was pregnant and offered to let me walk side-by-side through her pregnancy and delivery. I got to be part of doc appointments, ultrasounds, and regular chats where I could ask any (and many stupid) questions.
– Then came delivery day! Incredible experience! So many of my questions were answered just be seeing it all first hand.
– For the months after I was able to watch her care for her baby. Each moment was a first for me. I had never been around babies before.
Some months later I was thanking her, once again, and she invited me to part of the journey with their next baby, whenever that would be. She was already pregnant but didn’t know it.
At that baby’s birth, I was seven months pregnant. Being part of a birth team whilst being pregnant takes the experience to a new level!
I asked her to be part of my birthing team. I also asked several other women if they would like to be there. It’s not that I “wanted” a bunch of random women in the room. It’s that I so highly prized my experience that I wanted to offer the same thing to other women.
Hear me now: I was NOT thrilled at the idea of laboring in front of people. Who knows what I would be like?! Jekyll or Hyde?! I was NOT excited about opening myself to the potential judgement and criticism that comes when you allow people to be part of the most vulnerable times of your life. But how could I not pass on the gift she had given me?! Honestly, it was an honor to do so.
Fast-forward a few months: Our baby had a health issue and I had to have an early c-section. Only two people allowed in the OR. I had to cancel my birth team.
Fast-forward two and a half years: Our second baby was late and never came on his own. Against my desire, I ended up having another c-section. Birth team cancelled again.
Fast-forward a couple of years to yesterday: I’m back in the delivery room supporting my friend through the birth of her fourth baby.
I’m in that room despite my inexperience. I had two non-labor c-sections. I literally have no idea what she’s going through.
I’m in that room despite my inability to reciprocate. She’ll never be part of my birth-team. I am destined for only c-sections.
But I’m in that room with a purpose. She wants me to be me. Funny, helpful, loving me. She has given me a place by her side.
What a gift: To be part of “regular” births when I haven’t had any of my own. To be valued for who I am, not what I’ve been through. To be invited into the most vulnerable day of her life.
There is no way to measure how great her influence has been in my life.
I hope her example will inspire other women to open their lives to others. Woman, share your ups and downs! Invite other women to be part of your pregnancies and deliveries and early baby days. Invite them to be part of your work. Invite them to be part of your play. Invite them into your grief and sadness. Invite them into your successes and celebrations.
The way to gain sisterhood in your life is to become a sister to others despite the risk of it all failing terribly. Isn’t it?!
I know, real friendship is hard to find. I know, woman can be nasty. I know, we’ve all been hurt. I know, we all don’t want to try again.
But don’t give up on sisterhood. Keep pursuing friendship. Keep showing up and opening your heart. Real, good, beautiful community is worth all it costs to get.
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Philippians 2:1-2
Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as… models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. Titus 2:3-4
My community is not perfect. In fact, I often want to run away. There is conflict. There are very hard times. But I am determined to try to daily choose to invest and seek love and give my all. The heart of the Acts church is alive in all of us through His Spirit. It’s so worth the effort.
How are you? Have you committed to a church family? Have you found ways to get involved and sow seeds towards friendship and sisterhood? It’s hard work. Don’t give up.
Want to read through the Bible with me? Today’s readings are: Psalm 106; Acts 11:1-18
The part that stood out to me today is: “The Holy Spirit told me to go…” Acts 11:12 // Love being part of a kingdom and plan that is so big and spans the generations.