Whether we realize it or not, we all have a “backpack” we carry around filled with everything we’ve been told about birth. And for most of us, it’s filled with pretty negative stuff.
- Our friend’s traumatic birth story (which she loves to re-tell for dramatic effect)
- The story our 7th grade teacher told us of how painful it was
- The well-meaning comment from a stranger at the store, “Don’t worry honey, just ask for the epidural right away and you’ll do just fine.“
- And the Hollywood dramatic birth scenes of moms screaming, hitting their husbands, and yelling ‘You did this to me!’
Right? And whether we want them to or not, all of these things shape our view of birth and fill up the “backpack” that we carry around. Maybe even your own past negative birth story is filling your backpack and causing fear at the thought of going through that again.
Once we hear or experience a negative story, it’s hard to shake it. We start putting ourselves in that story again and again and fear gets a powerful foothold.
What if that happens to me? Oh no, what if my birth is that painful and hard? I don’t know if I’ll be able to that!
But here’s the truth: These stories are NOT your story. (Even if it was your own story from your last birth, it’s not your story for this birth). No two births are ever the same (just like no two babies are ever the same) so there is no way that birth story is going to be your story.
God is going to write your story and it’s going to be beautiful and unique to you. He is the author and finisher of your story. And he’s an amazing author who writes beautiful stories!
But here’s the deal: if you want to have the amazing, beautiful, peaceful birth that God wants to give you (which, by the way is SO POSSIBLE!), you gotta get free from that heavy backpack and the negative stories you’re lugging around. You gotta unload those negative, unhelpful stories and replace them with beautiful, hopeful ones. You’ve got to re-train your mind and heart to view birth in a different light – to see it as God sees it. To approach your birth knowing God designed it to be amazing and beautiful – a love gift and blessing for you enjoy. You’ve got to empty that backpack and then fill it with Truth so you can enter your labor free from fear, expectant, and excited.
Cuz if you carry those negative images, stories, and comments into your birth, they will only cause fear, slow your labor, and make everything more painful. They will steal the joy, peace, and wonder of it all! And they will keep you from receiving the beautiful gifts God wants to give you throughout the day.
Ok, so let’s get rid of them! Here are some steps to unload that backpack, get free from fear, and fill it up with all the good stuff that will set you up for an awesome, peace-filled pregnancy and birth:
Step 1: Dump out the contents to see what’s in there
Go on a date with God to unpack your bag with Him. Either set aside a quiet evening at home with candles and worship music on, or head out to a coffee shop or beautiful place with Him. Give yourself the space and time to really unload your whole bag with Him.
Once you’re settled and sipping your tea together :), start pulling out the contents of your bag. As you pull out a negative birth story you find in there, write it down. Any negative comments that got stuck in your bag, write them down. Something from one of your own past births, write it down. A birth you saw in a movie. Something your mom told you one time. Something you read in a birth book. A scary birth story from Facebook. Write them all down.
And when you think you’re done, ask God if there are any others in there that you missed.
One way to make sure you got them all is to think, “What are my biggest fears regarding birth?”
Once you identify them, then ask the question, “Where did those fears come from? Who told me that’s what birth is like? What stories or comments have stuck with me and planted fear in me?” You might think of a few more that you missed.
Ok, so once you got it all out on the table, move on to step 2…
Step 2: Ask God for HIS insight into these stories and comments
Just have a conversation with Him. For example… “God, what was up with THAT birth? Why was that so painful and hard?”
I don’t know what He’ll say back, but it could be something like, “That wasn’t my intent for that birth. She was carrying a lot of fear because of her own backpack and made decisions out of fear that caused the birth to be more difficult than I designed it to be.”
Or you might ask, “Why does my best friend keep telling me I’m going to need an epidural? Is it really that bad?”
He might tell you, “No Beloved, it’s not designed to be that bad at all. But that’s her mindset right now because no one has ever told her how amazing it can be if you learn to partner with my perfect design for labor and how to relax and work with me in it. She’s only sharing what she knows from experience and her own “backpack” of stories.
He might have answers for all your questions, or He might not. But either way, give Him a chance to speak into them with His perspective.
With some birth stories, we just have to be ok saying “I don’t know why that happened. I know it wasn’t God’s will for that person or baby to suffer like that. I don’t know what happened or why that happened, but I do know that it wasn’t God’s will for them and it’s not His will for me either.
Step 3: Break any ownership or agreements you’ve made with those stories and comments
It’s really important to break any ties you’ve made with these stories. So below are some statements to declare out loud to break free from any ties or agreements you’ve made. This is warfare in the Kingdom and these declarations are powerful weapons to demolish strongholds and help you take every thought captive to obedience to Christ! (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Declare outloud with intention and authority the declarations below (if you’re at a coffee shop, you might want to go sit in your car for this part because there really is power in declaring them OUTLOUD). Do this for each story or comment that you unpacked from your bag:
- In the name of Jesus, I break any and all ties I’ve made with this birth story
- I refuse to own any of this story as my own (even if it was from one of your past births, refuse to own the story for THIS birth. THIS birth is a whole new story)
- I repent for making any agreement with the enemy that this birth story will be mine
- God is writing my birth story and it will be beautiful and unique, unlike any other birth story out there.
- The labor and birth process is beautiful, natural, and designed perfectly by a really good God. He meant for me to enjoy it! (if you have trouble believing that, sign up for my Kingdom Birth Class where we’ll get you believing and experiencing this truth in no time :)).
Want more? Click here for a pdf of more declarations to prepare you for an awesome, fearless birth! These are super powerful in renewing your mind, getting free from fear, and preparing you to enjoy your birth!
Step 3: Now fill up your backpack with positive birth stories!
Replace those negative stories with some awesome ones! Find some beautiful and encouraging stories and comments to carry with you through your pregnancy and into your labor. To get you started, here are a couple comments I received from moms just this week:
“I had wanted above all, a peaceful birth. And that is exactly how my little Abby arrived – at home in such a peaceful atmosphere. I delivered her with absolutely no anxiety or fear. Exhausted but perfectly peaceful and drug free. God was so faithful!” – Amber (1st time mom)
“My second birth was smooth and only four hours from the beginning of my labor to holding my son. Thank you so much for your encouragement, breaking down fear and turning my first thoughts to Jesus, a sweet welcoming breath and smiling through my labor while I pictured how excited Jesus was for me to see my son!” – Laurel (2nd time mom)
And here are some places you can read some awesome birth stories to fill you with hope and excitement for yours:
- My Birth Stories Page. I’m committed to keeping this page filled with awesome birth stories to fill you with hope, faith, and excitement for your story!
- Beautiful Hypnobirth Stories (even if you’re not into hypnobirth, these birth stories are beautiful & encouraging)
- The books “Supernatural Childbirth” by Jackie Mize and “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin. Both these books have super encouraging birth stories in them!
Step 4: Ask God to give you His specific words and pictures for YOUR birth!
Ask God what he wants to do in your birth story. Does He have a special gift for you? A theme He wants you to focus on? A promise or scripture for you? Let the words, scriptures, and pictures he gives you begin to replace the negative words and pictures that have built up. Take some time to sit at his feet and listen to his heart and words for you. Then write them down, share them with your husband, and re-read them often!
Step 5: Plan your response to any other negative birth stories or comments you may hear
It’s really important to prepare what you’re going to say the next time someone tells you their terrible birth story or makes a negative comment about birth. Because if you don’t have a response planned, it’s easy to just agree with what they are saying and unintentionally put it in your backpack (the same backpack you just cleaned out). So let’s just keep it clean from this point forward.
You can brainstorm with God what feels right for you to say. It might be a little different for each of us. But here are a few possible responses to get you thinking:
If someone tells you all the things that went wrong in their birth – “Wow, sorry about that. But, it’s not helpful for me to worry about it, so I’m declaring my birth is going to be awesome.”
If a friend tells you how hard and painful it is – “I’m sorry yours was so hard. But I’ve been reading lots of amazing birth stories and I’m believing that mine can be too.”
If you read something negative in a birth book, declare out-loud, “That’s not for me” and move on.
If you read a birth story that scares you online, say out-loud, “I’m partnering with what God wants for this birth, not what she experienced in hers.”
And if you experienced a negative birth in the past, declare, “I’m partnering with what God wants for this birth, not what I experienced last time.”
Ok so decide on your responses (feel free to write your own) and WRITE THEM DOWN and PRACTICE SAYING THEM! Rehearse them in the bathroom, while you’re driving, and with your husband. Get them memorized so that when you’re put on the spot and someone is suddenly spewing their negative birth story at you, you are prepared and ready with an answer that will deflect that story and keep it out of your bag! You can do this and your baby will thank you!
Take the time to go through these steps. I’m telling you, it will make such a difference in your pregnancy, birth, and journey of motherhood. You may have to do it a couple times throughout your pregnancy if new fears start to build up. But that’s ok! God is excited to go through this process with you as many times as you need to. And the freedom and peace you will walk in will be SO WORTH IT!
Your story is going to be unique and beautiful, Mama! And if no one else has told you this yet, I’m here to tell you today that birth is beautiful, amazing, magical, supernatural, exhilarating, fulfilling, and can totally be one of the best days of your life! So get excited – you got a great thing coming!
Excited for you,
p.s. Karen Welton talks about the “backpack” of birth stories we carry around with us in this powerful teaching! She shares her journey of unpacking her bag, filling it up with positive stories and truth instead, and the supernatural, pain-free birth she experienced as a result. Such an encouraging story to put in your bag! Check it out!
p.s.s. Don’t forget to get this super powerful tool to get you free from fear and ready for your birth!