Kierra Blaser shares her story of learning to ‘co-labour’ with God, and started the Kingdom Childbirth Class to prepare women both physically and spiritually for birth
I held my firstborn child in my arms moments after his birth and felt utterly elated. I was in awe of what my body could do and felt so empowered. But, despite the giddy joy and bliss, the birth had not been what I had expected.
In the following days and weeks, my joy became entangled with sadness and disappointment. My well-placed longing to have a peaceful, candlelit birth at a birthing centre had been so specific that when events took a turn in a different direction – towards the hospital and an induced labour – I struggled to see where God was in the midst of it all. But as I reflected and prayed, I discovered that he was there; his loving fingerprints were in every detail. God showed up, but not in the way I had expected.
A safety net of hope
When I fell pregnant with our first child eleven years ago, I longed to find a birth class that placed God’s truth at the centre. I wanted to learn about birth from his perspective. But no such class existed, so I opted for a traditional birth class, which was helpful but lacked depth. The book Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize (Harrison House Publishers) filled so many gaps for me at the time. She explained how Jesus’ death and resurrection has freed us from the curse of Genesis 3, including the consequences for women in childbirth. Her reasoning made so much sense to me, so after reading her book, I was inspired and ready to experience a redeemed, pain-free birth, with no effects of the Fall. I approached my labour in faith that this is what God wanted for me.
What I’ve learned since is that there is no formula when it comes to God. He cannot be put in a box. Life with him is about a loving relationship – he is not a vending machine. I had subconsciously been trying to maintain control of what my birth would look like by declaring certain scriptures and believing without doubting. I had assumed that a redeemed birth would look a specific way. But God wanted me to share the desires of my heart with him, lay them at his feet and trust in his goodness, however he chose to bless the birth.
I longed to find a birth class that placed God’s truth at the centre
As I processed my first birth experience, God showed me that I had gone into labour with faith, but that I also needed to go into it with hope. God loves it when we write out the specific things we are having faith for – when we’re honest about the desires of our hearts, this moves his heart. But he also wants us to go into every situation with hope. Hope is the safety net that catches us if what we’re having faith for doesn’t turn out as we expected it to be. Hope says: “Wow, God, if what I had faith for isn’t happening, I can’t wait to see what you have in store, because it must be even better!”
What if I had gone into that labour with both faith and hope? Maybe I wouldn’t have missed the beauty of his presence in the moment. I felt motivated to approach birth differently in the future. So, I laid the disappointment of my first birth at his feet, embracing an element of mystery, and felt freed to move forward.
Co-labouring with God
Amidst the flurry of life with a baby – the endless nappy changes, feeds and sleepless nights – I decided to train as a childbirth educator and doula. I combined this knowledge with scripture and God’s heart for women to create my Kingdom Childbirth Class. This is the class I’d wanted and not found during my first pregnancy; a class that prepares women both physically and spiritually for birth.
Books like Supernatural Childbirth are incredible resources, but can leave some women – myself included – feeling unprepared, confused and disappointed when they face painful births that don’t seem to go to plan. My Kingdom Childbirth Class is about partnering with God in birth and encountering the beauty of his presence in the birth experience, however it pans out. He designed our bodies so well and his desire is to deeply bless us. I believe it’s possible to feel his joy and his presence if we place our faith and hope in him as we journey in labour.
As I dug more into scripture, I loved what I discovered. Did God really curse women in childbirth? This is not what I saw when I looked at the Hebrew of Genesis 3. He cursed the ground and the serpent, but the consequence for men and women was esteb, most frequently translated as toil or labour. Childbirth would be harder, we would labour, but women were not put under a curse. We have experienced esteb as a consequence of the Fall, but even this has been redeemed by the cross. When women go into labour we should call it co-labour, because this is what it is! Labour was a consequence of the Fall but co-labouring with God is what we were designed for, and what Adam and Eve experienced in the garden of Eden before the Fall.
A heavenly welcome
I was immersed in this way of thinking when I was pregnant with our second child, excited at the prospect of partnering with God in my next birth and co-labouring with the Holy Spirit. But I found myself, at times, subconsciously worrying about a repeat of my first birth. What if medical complications led to another induction and a transfer to hospital?
I practiced something I teach in my birth class: ‘Worrying with God’. It’s so hard not to let our minds run away with us to worst-case scenarios, but these worries lose all power when we welcome God into them. Instead of entertaining anxious thoughts about painful induction, I would worry with God, placing him in my worst-case scenario and imagining him showing up in the most incredible ways.
Hope is the safety net that catches us if what we’re having faith for doesn’t turn out as we expected it to be
I would imagine turning up to hospital so full of the Holy Spirit that I couldn’t stop laughing, causing the midwives and doctors to ask questions about Jesus! Suddenly a potentially stressful situation would seem amazing. When I turned my anxieties into a cascade of God-ordained imaginings, my worries lost all power.
So, I went into (co-)labour with my second child full of faith and hope that I would see God’s goodness…and I did! The experience was heavenly. Over the course of seven hours I had such a close encounter with the Holy Spirit, and experienced God’s waves of love rushing over me. I felt the contractions as strong as menstrual cramps, which were manageable and enjoyable. Luke received such a heavenly, peaceful welcome into the world.
In the apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he explains how women will be: “saved through childbearing” (1 Timothy 2:15). The word saved is sozo in the original Greek, which means ‘made whole, restored to health, delivered, kept safe and sound’. It encompasses all our wellbeing. I’ve watched God do this again and again, bringing deep healing and restoration through childbirth – whether through caesarean-section births, pain-free vaginal births, births with intervention. God’s heart is to deeply bless women through their birth experience. It’s time to change the narrative to reflect this truth.
Kierra lives in California with her husband Michael and three children Ben (10), Luke (8) and John (4).
Find out more about A Heavenly Welcome at aheavenlywelcome.com
You can hear more encouraging birth stories of women experiencing God’s joy and presence through a variety of births on Kierra’s Podcast, Birth in God’s Presence.