Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happier Marriages

Just a quick thought and then I'm off to do the day's work:

When a couple remembers to keep the creation order in marriage, EVEN during childbirth (and all the other hard times), then they are on the way to building a stronger marriage.

I LOVE teaching young Christian couples because I love talking to them about God's order in marriage and what a blessing it is.

Then I get encouraged watching these same couples working that out during the birth of their child.

SUCH a blessing for me, Thank you Lord!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Husband Led Childbirth

Hi,  I’m a labor doula. The road I took to get to this point started even before my own first child was born. As I’m a storyteller you’ll probably hear more story than lecture, but the idea of husband led childbirth has been a constant theme as I walked this path.

Twenty five years ago I attended my very first birth ever. My husband and I had a young unmarried woman living with us while she was experiencing a crisis pregnancy. Hers was rather a typical story, college romance, a baby conceived and the birth father becoming absent. As she needed someone to help her I soon became her birthing partner. Imagine a young married woman, having never had children, all my friends were childless or single and here I was trying to tell this young woman what to do. However, by the time she gave birth I knew my life would never be the same.

But, it was not merely the realization that God might have been placing a call upon my life to serve the birthing community it was the beginning of a journey that led me to understand that the birth room, whether it be in a hospital, birthing center, a home, or even the back of a car is not removed from God’s created order of things.

22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.

24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;

29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

30because we are members of His body.

Yes, the woman’s body is doing the work. Yes, the woman is experiencing the pain. Yes, the woman is rather central to this issue. Nevertheless God still expects the husband to be the head of the house. Not merely a coach barking orders, but rather a godly man who is willing to lay down his life for his bride. He will not shirk the hard things, but that doesn’t mean he has to do everything.

I’d like to share some stories and help you see what I learned over 25 years.

That very first birth I attended to I’ve already mentioned. There was a mother, her baby and me. The father was notably absent. In fact, within the next two years he would have removed himself altogether from his child’s life, and from the life of the woman he had sworn to love. I learned that although women are very good at giving birth, and I can be an adequate to excellent birth partner, I can never replace the husband/father in the birthing room.

Several years later we gave birth to our first two children. Both preemies. Both a bit scary due to circumstances. But I recall that although I had no idea what I was doing the first time… we gave birth on the second day of childbirth classes… I was totally dependent on my husband’s voice and his touch. When all else was new, scary and out of my control I could look to him to keep me focused, to love me and to help me. The second time around was a wild ride as we gave birth 13 minutes after arriving at the hospital. We went to sign in, it’s one in the morning, my water has broken, my contractions are about 90 seconds apart and I’m seriously in labor. I finally told the person in the office that I HAD to get off my feet or I was going to have the baby. I’m not sure if she believed me or just wanted my panting body out of her office, but she called for a nurse and sent me upstairs. I was no sooner in my room than I wanted to push, BUT I held on till David made it to the birthing room. I needed him there. I knew what I wanted in the birth, but what I needed was my husband. I needed his strength, his sense of order, and his very presence. Not only that but as soon as our son was born and the room became still and my husband spoke the entire roomful of medical staff watched as our son turned directly towards him, recognizing the voice he had heard for months already. That moment once again established that idea of husband-led birthing. After that birth I trained to become a childbirth educator, and from there began accompanying clients into the birthing room.

Of course over the years not all my clients were Christians, and to be honest, not all my clients were married, but for married Christians I truly believe that the husband still needs to be the head… even in the birthing room.

One of the things I have learned through scripture, the preaching of the word, and good teaching is that the Bible never contradicts itself. So, as we heard earlier, the husband is the head of the wife, and that does not change merely because she’s demanding, hurting, or busy. It’s at those very moments where God’s love manifests itself so strongly.

Another year, another birth. This was my second time working with this couple. Their plans, as plans are wont to do went a bit astray. Childcare, in the form of a family member, just wasn’t happening. Despite frantic phone calls no one showed up to watch baby number one. Well, it seemed obvious to me that I would just step into the childcare roll and allow mom and dad to work together in the birth of their next child. But, I was suddenly confronted with a brand new issue. My client asked her husband to watch the child, and for me to be her sole birthing partner. While I understood that she wanted someone with experience, my presence upstairs while her husband was downstairs seemed to mock the very marriage God had created. And yet, was it? Who made the decision for me to remain in the birthing room?

Again, another few years, another birth. An odd call from a mom close to her due date and every 2-10 minutes the phone went dead as she dropped it and breathed heavily. Finally her husband came on the line and I asked what was happening when the phone went dead each time… “Well,” he says, “she sort of doubles over, holds her stomach and starts breathing.” I tried to keep a calm voice as I asked how long this had been going on, meanwhile trying to figure out the timing of running back to our picnic site, establishing a ride home for my family and zooming to the hospital. I learned this had been going on for about 6 hours and her husband finally convinced her to call me. Although no pattern had been established, she was close to delivery. She would not believe she was in labor because the contractions were not setting up a pattern. But, she would listen to her husband who suggested she call me and that’s when she learned she had to get to the hospital, fast. By the way… she arrived fully dilated to 10 cm. and had a baby within 2 hours.

As you can see time after time women doubted, needed help, needed guidance and their husbands stepped in. Some by direction, some by stepping back and having someone else do what they felt needed to be done.

When I spoke to several couples about the expo and this talk, one of the husbands wanted to know how I defined “husband-led.” He was afraid, or perhaps concerned, that what I expected was for the husband to always be present at the birth, for him to have done a huge amount of reading, and for him to make all decisions on his own.

Let’s step back and see what I really mean. One of my favorite quotes regarding childbirth is taken from a sermon preached my Martin Luther in 1522. The sermon is entitled “The Estate of Marriage” and in section three he has the following to say:

A wife too should regard her duties in the same light, as she suckles the child, rocks and bathes it, and cares for it in other ways; and as she busies herself with other duties and renders help and obedience to her husband. These are truly golden and noble works. This is also how to comfort and encourage a woman in the pangs of childbirth, not by repeating St Margaret legends and other silly old wives' tales but by speaking thus, "Dear [so and so], remember that you are a woman, and that this work of God in you is pleasing to him. Trust joyfully in his will, and let him have his way with you. Work with all your might to bring forth the child. …If you were not a woman you should now wish to be one for the sake of this very work alone, that you might thus gloriously suffer and even die in the performance of God's work and will.

This then is the first work, and main work of husband led childbirth. Husbands are to lovingly remind their wives that their very bodies were created for this purpose. They are honoring God as they strive to deliver their child. There need be no fancy rhetoric, barked commands, or fearful suggestions. The wives are to take strength from their husband’s words.

I know, I’ve already heard it, some woman may say, “But my husband is not that interested.” Or perhaps, “He wants to be there, but doesn’t want to upset the doctor.” Or again, “I’m not sure I trust him.” Wives, your husband is not called to suddenly have both a medical and counseling degree in order to be the perfect caregiver and advocate. What he is called to do is to love you and care for you. This can look different in different births. It may be the husband knows his wife needs a certain person in the room with her, or that she needs to call for help, or simply that she must do what he says at that moment until something else comes for her to do.

About three years ago I was asked to be a doula for a young couple having their first child. The husband is a godly man, and has a strong personality. The wife is also strong with a strong sense of order and how things must be done. The pregnancy and then the birth was a time of testing for her to learn to step back and listen to her husband rather than her own desires. It became easier for her over time and it was beautiful to watch. But, I still hear that question from the other night. WHAT is the husband to do? Well, this husband basically told me that he would deal with “this area and up” and my area was everything below that line. He did not abdicate, he made an informed decision. I was the one who had studied this and experienced this. But, as regards to loving his wife and encouraging or even exhorting her, that was his place.

More recently still I began to actively teach the idea of husband led childbirth. The birth I attended was very sweet and touching, again a young couple, first child. I had told them during classes that there may come a point when the wife lies to the husband. I know this shocked them, it shocks most couples. But, I added, she is not meaning to lie, it’s just that there’s a point at which her body wants, NEEDS< HAS TO> start pushing. The problem is that sometimes it’s not quite ready, or you’re without someone to actually catch the baby. Imagine her surprise when this happened to her. I was behind her, watching, her husband was holding her hands, and I happened to notice that she had stopped her breathing pattern, tucked her head down and was holding her breath. I bent forward and whispered in her ear, “Look at your husband and submit to him. “ I figured this was the moment when I’d either get a tongue lashing or I’d see the power of God at work. She looked up, her husband looked her in the eyes and said, “Jess, put your head up, blow and stop pushing.”

Funny thing is at the time I didn’t realize what had happened. But as Jess and I spoke later she said that was a memory that was stamped on her heart forever. She had to stop doing what she wanted, trust her husband and follow him. She told me, “It was the biggest relief I had felt in a long time to know I could depend on you to guide us, Paul to lead me and know that if I followed I was not stepping outside of God’s will and could trust that I was doing the right thing.”

That’s the moment when I knew I wanted to share this with all of you. As I said earlier I’ve attended births for 25 years now. I’ve been to births where the husband was a college frat guy watching a game with his buddies as his wife labored, I’ve been with a single mom who had no one else and I’ve been with husbands and wives where the husband continued to be the head of the household. It won’t always make for a “perfect birth”, as a matter of fact, things may appear to go terribly wrong, but in the end you will know that your marriage will go stronger, you’ll love your husband more than ever, and he will love you even more for walking this path… the woman’s path of birthing… and for listening to him, trusting him and honoring him with your respect.

God cares for us in many ways. During birth he gives us doulas, midwives, nurses, doctors, family and friends, but the biggest support he offers to you is a husband who is not afraid to lead… in whatever way that works out in your birth story. May God bless you all as you walk this path.

Please note... as I approached my time to share this I edited the talk a bit, sadly I cannot find the edits. But, as the time approached it became obvious that the expo was over and I should not have them draw it out in order for me to talk. So, after some discussion we cancelled my talk and ended the expo.

A minute later I had a request to share my talk anyway as two women had been waiting to hear what I had to say. God was merciful as I was able to not only share what I had been learning but I was able to briefly share a bit of the gospel as well.

He is always in control. May His will be done.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

First ever Indiana Christian Childbirth Expo

I'll be one of the speakers, speaking on Husband Led Chidlbirth.
I'll also be hosting a vendor booth with my art.... which you can view at Whimsy and The Word.

We have a number of women covering topics from God's Sovereignty in a difficult pregnancy to miscarriage and many in between. Every hour, on the hour, we'll have two new speakers to share.

Doulas will be present to answer questions and offer business cards.
Lending library.
Birthing information


Monday, March 8, 2010


I am pleased to announce that I have completed my doula certification. I am now ready for full time business. Just in time as a number of us are gathering to host the first ever (in these parts) Christian Childbirth Expo. This will be open to any who wish to come. If you're at all interested as a doula, midwife, doctor, nurse, expectant mother, grandmother, hope-to-be-a-mother-someday, please email me and I'll be happy to pass on more info.

At some point this site will become defunct and I will open a website, but I foresee a few months before that can realistically happen. In the meantime please don't hesitate to drop me a line if you need a doula in south/central Indiana.

Blessings, Kim

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Closer to Completion

Greetings All...

I just found out that my header had gone inactive. So sorry to all who might have thought the whole site was inactive. Just the header... and now it should be "fixed" or as fixed as I can manage right now.

All my births are done and reported. Books are read, just need to write the last report. Have studied much, if not most, of the physiology text. I'm not actually sure why I'm worried, except that it's been a while since I tested on physiology for my CBE certificate. (Childbirth educator... with ASPO/Lamaze)

I guess I should make a few things clear here. I have many techniques and principals at my disposal for each birthing family. I tailor what I use to suit THAT family. You will not find me forcing you to have a birth a certain way. I think in the past doulas might have gotten a bit of a bad rap as those who MADE you give birth without drugs, at home, in a certain position... you fill in the blank. While we are certainly able to work with many scenarios our goal is to support you in YOUR birthing experience. That is one of the reasons that it is so important for a doula and her clients to get to know each other before the birth. While I "could" walk into a room having never met a couple before (and I have done this) it is easier for me and helps your birth more to have spent some time together.

All this to say, as I near the completion of this process I have learned how to serve the birthing family and NOT myself. That's a good distinction, don't you think?

For those new to this site here is a brief overview of who I am:

I have four children, two of whom I gave birth to in a hospital setting. One was with an epidural (6 weeks early) and one was with no meds at all.

I have been a La Leche League leader in the past and counseled numerous nursing mothers in our hometown area.

I trained and received my ACCE certification from ASPO/Lamaze and taught childbirth classes in our community for 9 years before "retiring" for a bit when our adopted daughters arrived. I have since continued to teach within our church community or by word of mouth, although my ASPO/Lamaze certification has expired.

I have helped as a "doula" with births for over 24 years and am now seeking to finish my certification through CBI. While not "necessary" per se, it makes many people happier for me to have formal training. I can supply references from former clients and another doula in the area (I was her doula and CBE for several of her births).

Well, there it is. I'm hoping to finish by this summer, if not before. I just have to fit this in with the rest of life. Feel free to stop on by my other blog if you want to know more about me personally.

Blessings and Happy Birthing,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moving forward

So, hello anyone? Is there anyone who even reads this blog? I started this blog so that my doula and childbirth services would have an online presence. However, it's taking a bit longer to finish this certification than I thought.
I have completed the first "textbook" and it's assignment. I have helped with two births and written up the reports. I have just about completed my first book for a book report. But, I have to finish Physiology... YUCK!... and the doula "text"... saving that for last as it looks to be the most enjoyable.
I have another birth coming up in November for which I am very excited. God continues to teach me and I pray He uses me in the lives I touch. Sometimes it is so hard to sit back and say and do nothing, but sometimes that's all that's needed.... simply a presence in the room so the birthing couple can feel secure that "help" is always present.
In my more recent births I continue to learn about how important it is for us as believers to recall that just because a woman is giving birth does not mean the husband is not still the head. Over and over I see how this role in a marriage and more specifically in a birth can be such a blessing, not to mention it's biblical.
God continues to show me new truths in each birth... not new to all mankind, but new to me. I was so steeped in modern birth ideals that I forgot to build it all on Biblical truths. This last birth I was so encouraged to have a few minutes where I was not needed. Instead I found myself reading scripture and feeding my hungry spirit. Then, later when things were a bit tough all that "food" was there to nourish and sustain. Prayer became an obvious answer and I found mself NEEDING to pray, not just wondering if I would be intruding. God is good, all the time. He is to be trusted because He is always truthful, always present, all knowing and all powerful. What a blessing!
Happy Birthing,
Hey, if you all are interested in more about male headship in a birth room just let me know and I'll be happy to write more about it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Welcome! Please note... the posts following this are copied/pasted from my previous doula blog. Although I moved sites I did not want to lose content. Please feel free to visit me here at the new site where I hope to be a bit more active in my writing.

This is just the beginning, but I am so excited. For the past 22 years I have been serving pregnant women in a variety of ways. Currently I am completing my doula certification through CBI After my certification is completed I hope to fully open my business "Positive Approach to Childbirth", this will include birthing classes, refresher classes, private classes, and doula services.

If you are looking for any of these services, or simply for some information, please leave a comment. If you’re in my area I’ll be happy to help you if I’m able. If you’re nowhere near I’ll see what tools I can find to help you locate who/what you need.

I hope to post things such as my birthing philosophy, tips from past classes I have taught, helps that I have learned along the way, and most importantly, why I think many, if not most, women would benefit from having a doula present at their birth.

For the time being let me just say welcome, and please continue to check in. Even if I don’t post, just comment and ask a question. Remember 22 years of experience: teaching, birth assisting, La Leche League Leader, ASPO/Lamaze educator, and now a CBI student.

Happy Birthing!, Kim