If you’ve heard anything about child birth you know that it’s not a woman’s favorite thing – at least not the pain. As I entered into my third trimester of pregnancy I had to have several “come to Jesus” moments with myself and acknowledge that the end of this pregnancy would only come from our baby entering this world through me. The acknowledgement yielded a bit of anxiety and so instead of psyching myself out about how painful it would be, I educated myself on the process of birthing a baby.
Through conversations with friends and family and taking a Lamaze class I learned there are 4 stages of labor.
- Early Labor – this is the longest part of your labor and is usually notated by the start of regular contractions, lasting 60 seconds, occurring every 5 to 7 minutes.
- Active Labor – this is the part of labor where you will most likely head to the hospital. At this point your contractions are 4 to 6 minutes apart and have been that way for at least 2 hours.
- Transitioning – In the transitioning stage of pregnancy your baby changes their positioning in preparation to exit the birth canal. It can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours and is thought to be the most painful part of labor. Your contractions are only 30 seconds apart and last up to 90 seconds.
- Pushing – this is the part we all see in the movies (after the dramatic water breaks) and it’s the shortest part of your labor and naturally the most rewarding because in the end you get your baby!
Note the progression from one stage to the next. Your contractions start out slower, spaced further apart and less intense. But as it gets closer and closer to the point of your baby’s big exit, contractions intensify and hit one after the next. I feel like these stages mirror the stages of life we go through as we prepare to birth something new. Depending on where you are in your walk, you may have to do one of the following:
Let go of old places
When birthing something new this is often the beginning stage. For me, my old places were my workplaces. As I shared last week, I left both of my places of employment suddenly. And while it hurt to let go of places in which I saw a possible future, I knew that God was doing something new in me so I had peace about transitioning.
Let go of old habits
Once we cut out the places we attended regularly, we’re often left to find a new routine. Where most of my day was once made up of being at the office and commuting, I now had more time for writing and reflecting. I did more prep work for baby and spent more time with family. In the beginning, this was hard for me. I was so used to waking up early and getting home late, but again, I remembered that that particular season of my life was changing and it was up to me to embrace the new possibilities of what my current season would bring.
Let go of old friends
Similar to the transitioning phase of birth, this particular stage can be the most painful. Especially when we don’t see it coming. But eagles don’t hang out with pigeons so the friends that were right for a season may not always be able to go where you’re going. What’s more, holding onto them could cause you more issues on the back end and you may keep yourself from experiencing the fullness of all God’s got up next.
Similar to the stages of labor, none of these stages of letting go are comfortable. But we can find comfort in knowing that the new thing that comes as a result will far exceed the pain it took to get there. I can say this with confidence because in John 16:21, it says “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”
- John 16:21
No matter how uncomfortable your labor pains get, keep pushing, because the newness you’ll experience on the other side will all be worth it.