A month after moving, a month after my father died, a year after my sister went through a divorce, seven years after having my “last” baby, during the tail end of the Covid drama, at age 40, I found myself pregnant. Growing up in a Christian home and being adamantly against abortion, I struggled to admit even to myself that I didn’t want this baby. Sure there were brief moments in the last seven years where my husband and I let go of the reigns to see what might happen. But this was not during one of those moments. This happened when it wasn’t supposed to happen. My body was like clock-work – even in my 40s. I was well past ovulation and approaching my next period. But, in the middle of grief, I found myself hunched over a toilet, exhausted, and well, well I was mad. Mad at God and mad at my Dad, whom I suspected had put God up to it.
When my dad was still alive, shortly after his first stroke and just after my much YOUNGER sister Kellie had had her final baby, my dad sincerely commented saying, “Carrie, when you gonna have another one?” to which I replied, “Ha… Dad, I’m almost 40. We’re not having more kids!” I thought it was just his dementia talking, but when I got pregnant, he had already gone to heaven and was in his glorified, perfect body still interceding with God to give me another child. Another child that I didn’t want.
Weeks went by and it was certainly obvious that my 40-year-old body was not carrying a baby the same way that my 30-year-old body had. It felt like a cruel interruption during a season that was meant to be focused on the grief of my dad and the excitement of a new home.
Months went by and I found myself dreading the long sleepless nights ahead of me. I wasn’t looking forward to starting all over again with the diaper stage. My kids were finally self-sufficient enough to brush their own teeth, make their own beds, get dressed, and even do school all on their own at times. The thought of starting all over again felt extremely overwhelming, and Kyle felt the same way.
Both my husband I struggled with depression, anxiety, and guilt for secretly wishing God might just take it away.
One day at Bible study, a friend suggested a course called Pain Free Birth by Karen Welton. It sounded intriguing to me mainly for the “pain-free” part. I was in my third trimester with only a few short weeks to go, so night after night I immersed myself in a crash course that completely transformed my outlook on this pregnancy.
In her classes I felt a power, a joy, an excitement, and a love that come over me far deeper than all of the anger, anxiety, depression, and guilt I had formally been feeling. I confessed to my baby that I was sorry for wishing her away. I was sorry for not wanting her and for not trusting what God was doing. I told her she is welcome in our home. That she is loved, wanted, and that she is not a curse but a blessing. Cleansing tears overcame me as I confessed my love for the little life inside of me. I embraced her kicks, and felt in my spirit her saying to me, “Mommy, I am safe with you.” She was already demonstrating to me grace and resilience.
I learned about and was reminded how my body was created for giving birth. It’s the beauty of womanhood – a treasure of femininity. Not something to fear, but something to appreciate and embrace. I learned about how the hormones or oxytocin and endorphins are uniquely crafted to block pain and how my body physiologically knows exactly what to do during pregnancy and labor. I no longer dreaded contractions but eagerly looked forward to them, knowing they would bring me closer to meeting the life inside of me.
Karen Welton challenges her students to envision the perfect birthing experience and to express it in some artistic kind of way. I hadn’t anticipated crafting together something that looked like my own house. The kids were tucked safely away at grandma’s house. The bathtub was set up by an open window with fresh air blowing in and robins chirping in the background. I pictured the food perfectly displayed on the counter for the midwives, the lights dimmed, and soft music playing in the background with candles lit, and the freedom to roam as I pleased and birth in any position that felt right. I imagined my husband rubbing my head and holding my hand.
It was nearly perfect – just as I had imagined. I was hoping my best friend might make it in time but Essie came a few days early so it was just me, Kyle, and my midwives.
My water broke around 2am. Something that had never happened with any of my other births. But I had prayed for this. I wanted it to be very obvious that I was in labor. I called my midwife and she encouraged me to get some sleep until my contractions began – which could take several hours. So like a good patient, I ignored her advice and instead began cleaning the house while Kyle prepared the food.
The contractions finally came. They were not pain-free, but in the midst of each one I had an inner peace and joy that this was what my body was crafted to do. I embraced each one, surrendering to the pain and doing everything I could to move aside and let my body lead the way. My midwives allowed me to birth in peace and quite, aside from the routine check ups to make sure baby’s heart was strong. I thought I was approaching the end, but in fact it was just transition. The pain was excruciating with little relief even from the warm bath and different laboring positions used to alleviate back labor. But even in transition, I still had joy and peace.
And then the awaited moment. It was time to bear down and push. I cried out with all the energy left inside of me as Esther’s head stretched out from one water to another. My midwife was so gentle, yet firm when a moment came to change position in order release Essie’s shoulders that were stuck in the vaginal canal. She was still under water and I had to act quickly. I switched to my hands and knees and then felt the release of the rest of her body being pulled out and brought to the surface and onto my chest. I had so little left in me that all I could do was sit up against the deep feeding trough full of murky water and hold my new little one against my chest while panting for air as though finishing a marathon – one that I had neglected to physically train for. Thankfully though I had received the spiritual and emotional training I needed just in the nick of time.
There she was. My tiny seven pound baby covered in white film that eventually absorbed into her silky-smooth skin. We waited until her cord stopped pulsing and the blood had totally emptied before cutting her cord. I mustered up the little strength I had left and climbed into my very own bed. Kyle handed me our baby girl and for the next hour she nursed with no interruptions. After the golden hour, I zoned in and out of sleep while the midwives did all of her scans and check ups and I think asking me questions like how I wanted to spell her middle name.
I had to be stitch up down below and my local anesthetic wasn’t working properly so that part was painful – and not like the joyful, eagerly-anticipating-meeting-my-new-baby contractions kind of pain. It was just painful.
Shortly after everything was cleaned up, Kyle and I were at home alone together with our new little one, fully able to take in all the beauty and love that floods and expands the heart bigger than you ever thought possible. A little piece of Kyle and a little piece of me snuggled up safely, skin-to-skin as I thanked the good Lord (and my dad) for this precious gift.
Essie is a gift that has brought me so much joy in the midst of my grief. She has filled me with so much gratitude, so much laughter, so many hugs and snuggles and … I just can’t say joy enough because that’s what she is.
And now my heart just breaks for all the mamas out there that feel like I felt during the majority of my pregnancy – lost, hopeless, anxious, angry… It’s such a vulnerable time in a woman’s life when she is pregnant. The morning sickness, the exhaustion, the strong emotions, and the hormonal changes taking place in her body can cause the mind to be cloudy and fearful. It can cause even the mamas who have planned pregnancies to wonder what the heck they’re doing and secretly wish for a miscarriage or…
It’s not hard for doctors or politicians or even well-meaning friends or family members to convince a woman in this delicate stage that opting out might be a better choice. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not a better choice. Those nine months seem like a blur now – the throwing up, the restless leg syndrome, the brain fog, the fatigue, the anxiety, the dreading… all that is nothing compared to the glory that awaited me as an expecting mom.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4 that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we are to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
This principle applies even to the things in this life. We might go through something extremely painful, but what God is accomplishing in that pain and the life that He is bringing forth is far greater than the momentary pain we might be currently facing.
I can say, on the other side of pain there is life. On the other side of agony, there is love. The late-night feedings are a pleasure. The diaper changing is not a big deal, and by God’s grace I am savoring every moment of the snuggles, the breast-feeding, the cooing, the smiles, and overwhelming joy that she brings me.
“There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
I hadn’t really written out my fill birth story until now, but felt a burden to do so – not only for my own benefit but because of the time we find ourselves in. We are at a crucial turning point in our country and in the state of Michigan. The “Freedom” to choose an abortion, in a mama’s most vulnerable time of her life, is being encouraged now more than ever. I say, let’s fight not just for the unborn, but for the precious mother as well.
Six years ago I wrote this poem, revamped it some, and wanted to share it again…
To whom much is given, much will be required.
We live in a nation that has been given so much.
But too many times we use it for our own self gain.
For our own fame.
Does it really help
A woman’s health
To watch every other child celebrate their first, second, or maybe their tenth birthday except her own
Because she’s been told
She has a choice?
Does it promote good in our society
When the consequences of immorality
Or perhaps the ramifications of promiscuity
Are taken away
In the name
We can kill. We can steal.
We can lie. we can cheat.
Heck, we can be whatever we want to be.
Even a monkey.
And a vulnerable woman is taught to say,
“It’s my body.
It’s my voice.
It’s my right.
It’s my choice.
When did we become a nation so focused on “ME”
Instead of how we can be
We applaud “It’s not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
But the idea of “Mine”
Trumps nearly every time.
Too much has been sacrificed
For us to live a life
When an unborn child
With a heartbeat , a smile
Is not longer considered worth it
For the sake of, let’s face it… in most cases…
Then we’ve melted deeply
Into a pit of inhumanity.
Like during the time of slavery.
When a life is defined by IF it is desired or how it was produced
Defined by anyone but our Creator, then it’s abuse.
And we’ve tried to play the part of God.
The last time a great and mighty being
Tried to play the part of God, he was cast down from heaven and is now defeated.
He now exists among the realm of the dead
To eternally burn with “guilty” on his forhead.
So take heed certain doctors and politicians of our day
It was never Roe v. Wade
Nor the the state
That defines a life.
It is not our right!
And let’s not bury our heads in the sand and pretend we don’t know
Or that it isn’t so…
Or that it’s to overwhelming to fight
To stand up for what right,
Or even let our minds go there.
But we must go there.
No matter how it happens,
It is still conception.
A life begins a heart is beating
Blood flowing through her veins
Her form begins to shape
and she’s looking like mommy.
A little thumb in her mouth and her little webbed toes…
Her toes being fit to walk.
But she’ll never walk.
She’ll never take her first step because mommy was convinced to say so.
She was taught to say,
“It’s my body.”
“It’s my choice.”
Little one you don’t have a voice
That is loud enough to tell of the pain that you’re feeling
As you’re being pulled apart, poisoned, and bleeding
You’re body parts, perhaps their stealing.
Yet somehow, mama, you know what they’re saying is all wrong!
Not just the baby’s
Is being compromised.
You’re mommy instincts despised,
Being ripped away by a strong…
Feeling of fear.
Fear to please others.
Fear of responsibility.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of humility.
But it’s not too late.
Your health IS at stake.
But not in the way you’ve been told:
You’re emotional health,
The doubt you’ll feel every time you see
A little baby.
Safe in his mother’s arms.
Secure, protected from harm.
Protected from the lies mama could have believed.
LIES that would have stolen her blessing!
You’ll watch every time there’s a baby that cries
And clings to her mother’s breast with the milk she provides,
And you’ll wonder:
Did I make the right choice?
But the truth is,
It’s not up to you.
You don’t have a choice,
(Though in some states you do)
But the One who created you says,
“Leave it to Me.
I am forming inside of you a masterpiece.
I am the giver and taker of life.
My child, you’re going to be alright!
What’s inside of you is no accident,
It’s my providence!
The chances of this life being born is one in an octillion.
It’s more than you can fathom.”
The plans that God has for mama and child are great!
But they are at stake.
There’s help for you mother
From a true Father
To foster a love you never had.
Help from a heavenly Dad.
Help to raise a child in a home where he or she
Can fluish and be
The kind of life they were created to be.
So don’t let society
Tell you it’s your right,
Their kind of freedom only leads to pain,
Let’s leave choice in our Creator’s hands,
Where it should stand.
Not in our government’s.
Not in our own.
But in the One who is able to make life unfold
Into a beautiful display of hope.
Mama, God loves you!
He is for you and not against you
And He is knitting together the one inside of you.
So don’t let a doctor unravel the beautiful tapestry
Of your sweet and precious baby.
And for the mother out there who’s already taken a life…
This is not a sin
That God cannot forgive.
Look at some men from the Bible.
Men, who repented and were used for revival.
Moses. David. Saul…
Who was given a new name: Paul.
If God can use them,
He can use YOU.
Give you hope and a future
And change your identity too.
In our nation we’ve been given so many freedoms,
But our moral decay has abused it with reasons
For self-promotions and freedom of choice.
Even choices that lead to regret
And ultimately to death.
But it’s never too late.
We can still take
A stand for what is right.
Because God’s choice
Is the voice
That leads us to Life.
Please vote “No” on Proposal Three.
Save the babies and the mommies.