Confession #115: I am Terrified

Jillians Maternity Photo-0777

Today I am confessing something that has nothing to do with being a missionary in Haiti but about being a woman. So all you men out there who read my blog, I apologize in advance.

3 weeks and 1 day. According to my What to Expect app that is my official countdown until Benjamin “Jake” Kittrell makes his grand entrance.

And ya’ll…I must confess…I’m terrified.

Since the announcement of our pregnancy I have been asked tons of different questions:

Will you have the baby in Haiti or in America?

Will your baby be an American citizen?

Are your parents nervous for you? I bet they are.

If your baby is born in Haiti will it be black? (This was my all time favorite.)

Will you have access to an epidural?

What if you need a C-section?

Do you trust the doctors in Haiti?

What if there is an emergency with the baby?

Will you have air conditioning? 

Choosing to have our son in Haiti isn’t exactly what most people expected us to do. Heck, a few years ago, it wasn’t what I expected us to do either. And doing it all natural, without even the option of an epidural, has made us sound even crazier.

I’ve gotten a lot of you’re so brave comments and I hope Hunter is prepared. I smile and go along with it. I mean, what exactly am I supposed to say?

(I am) more than a conqueror through Him who loved (me). (Romans 8:37) 

I’ll confess- I’m terrified of labor. TERRIFIED.

But it has nothing to do with delivering in Haiti or even the pain for that matter. Choosing to do this the all-natural way is something I believe I would do even if I had access to the typical American luxuries. I’m not a “granola” type person by any means. After all, I could live off of Double Stuffed Oreos and Peanut M&Ms. But there is something appealing about trusting my body and God’s design without the assist of medical interventions.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, 

I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)

What terrifies me (And please forgive me if this is TMI) is all the other stuff like…

  • Not being in control of my body
  • Bodily functions in general
  • Afterbirth (come on, that’s just gross)
  • Blood (I can’t even pull my kids’ teeth because the blood freaks me out so much.)
  • And having to be vulnerable enough to share all these fun/gross things with those assisting me…including my husband

I realize all women who deliver babies deal with these things. I realize this is normal, natural, and how God designed it to be. And I realize in the moment I probably won’t care as much as I fear I will. But today, this is how I am feeling.

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

I have been trying to learn to relax and meditate lately- two things I have never been able to do really well. Breathing techniques, massage, soothing music, and scripture affirmations have become my tools. And bless Hunter who has become my ultimate support. I’m thinking he should be a doula in his next life.

For real though, I have no idea if any of these methods are going to work come game day, but for now they are at least helping me to mentally prepare. With God as my strength, I am daily trying to trust that He is going to carry me past my fears and help me deliver a healthy baby boy.

 May God strengthen you with power though his Spirit in your inner being. (Ephesians 4:16)

There you have it- my pregnancy confession- I am terrified of labor. So much about it just goes against my normal character: always wanting to be in control, modest with my body, a fan of cleanliness, and not always the most vulnerable with others. But in 3 weeks in 1 day (maybe) I will be forced to put those characteristics aside. And that, my friends, terrifies me.

So maybe you can pray for me. Or, perhaps send me some reassuring and encouraging thoughts. All you mamas out there who can relate, please tell me I’m not crazy. Please tell me that my fears are normal and that it is going to be alright. And tell me…please…that all this gross stuff that is about to happen to me isn’t as terrifying as I am making it out to be. Please.

3 weeks and 1 day…deep breaths…deep breaths…

~Jillian

12 Comments on “Confession #115: I am Terrified

  1. So glad you shared, Jillian. YES, it is normal to be afraid. That’s why “fear not” appears so often
    in the Bible. He doesn’t judge us for it, He just offers His presence and strength. In Psalm 56
    David said, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You”. I try to act on that every time I feel fear creeping up.

    I was terrified when in labor with my first child. God blessed me with a bed in the labor room that
    faced the window. I was alone and very much afraid. Then the sun began to rise and shine it’s beauty through the window. And the words of Psalm 27 began to pore into my mind almost like
    music; The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of
    my life; whom then shall I dread?

    And with the knowledge of His presence, His peace settled over me. He’ll be there with you too.

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  2. Wow, there is SO MUCH I want to say to you. I had my 4th over the weekend and it was, by far, the hardest birth. Birth is always a little scary because there’s so much that falls neatly into the unknown category. Sharing the weird labor stuff with other people (bodily fluids and nudity and vulnerability, Oh my!) is actually easier than you think. God really did know what he was doing because something about labor makes you just not care.
    My favorite part of labor is actually discovering (over and over again) what a fantastic man I married. Whether it’s because of his ability to help me when i’m in pain, or the beautiful prayer he prayed over me when I was in the middle of the hardest part of labor, or the tears in his eyes when we got to see our baby… it’s just beautiful to get to watch him become a father.
    You’re going to do just great, and I’ll be praying for you.

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    • Chara- I love hearing how powerful labor has been for your marriage. It is something I haven’t given a whole lot of thought to- how blessed I will be to go through this with Hunter. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I had all those exact thoughts when I was about three weeks out! That’s when it gets real. You begin to feel the weight of your very real baby descend and become one step closer to the inevitable. I was most thoughtful about the pain and responsibilities afterwards. We planned an all natural home birth and with God it was the best experience of my life. The labor being so wonderful!! Yes painful… But I have never felt so much in Gods hands! During transition all I coul think of was “breathe, breathe, breathe…and in between breaths how Jesus was in more pain on the cross than what I was in during that moment. And every aspect of Everett’s birth was an answered prayer; the day he was born was the day I prayed, the quick labor and intense contractions, the healthy baby in my arms, and the wonderful support group that I had there with me. After he was born everyone said “good job!” or “I can’t believe you actually did it!” And the only response I had for them was “I didn’t, God did” it was a complete work of His. My body was the tool- but ultimately, I had prayed for a servant of the Lord’s to be born that day. It was like an out of body experience, and right after birth I was on an adrenaline rush like no other. I thought “did that really happen?”. But it was the best day of my life ( including bodily fluid, sutures, contractions)! And the afterbirth is pretty amazing if you ask me! A contraption that God designed to nourish and protect your baby those 9 months! I hope this wa helpful! And I will be praying for you! By the way midwives rock!

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  4. Jillian, I remember being so frightened, too. I was afraid because of all of the unknowns of childbirth. But, I can assure you that you are experiencing a miracle, and it’s going to be an experience like none other in the way it will draw you closer to God, to Hunter, and to all of life. Remember to do your breathing, try as best you can to relax reminding yourself often that you are taking part in an eternal miracle!!! PS I’m a real wimp when it comes to pain and I didn’t have a drop of pain medication with any of mine. You’re going to do just fine!!!! I can’t wait to see pictures of your little man!!

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  5. Yes it is normal to be scared of birth. It is the great unknown. I had my first via c section for breech and second a VBAC. I was not a first time mom but still had no idea what labor was like. It wasn’t what I expected and yet it was wonderful. I did have an epidural (Matt and I hadn’t prepared a way to deal with the pain…) but it really was beautiful. I’m pretty sure you won’t know if you lose control of bodily functions so don’t worry about it and when afterbirth is going on you will be cuddling a precious baby and not care about anything else. I think my mom put it well…that when the time comes if you thought the janitor could get the baby out better/faster you would call them in ;). I think when it comes down to it a primal part of you turns on and you just go for the ride. I’m very modest and I’m sure the nurses and doctors got an eyeful but in the moment I didn’t care. I also hate blood and surprised myself that I wanted a mirror to see her born. Anyways all this to say. Worry is normal but know that God made us for this purpose and when the time comes nature takes over.

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  6. Jillian, have you ever read or listened to Ina May Gaskin? She talks a lot about the “fear culture” we’ve created surrounding childbirth, and the first part of her book “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” is full of positive birth stories. I think the expectation of pain leads to more pain, and I have known women who have said, “I wouldn’t say it was painful.” There’s also a Facebook page called, “Tell me a Good Birth Story.” I teach the Bradley Method (I was Ciara Parker’s teacher, from the above comment!) and I point out things in the videos we watch like the doubtful looks on mother’s faces when her husband says he can see the head- because obviously if it hurt as much as she’s expecting she wouldn’t be surprised by that!

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  7. Jillian, you’ll do fine! You’ll be focused on the birth, and most other worries and fears will fall away. Then after you hold him, the birth details will fade away as the love for your little man kicks in full force! My prayers are with you at this amazing, joyous time in your life. The birth of a little one is such a miracle, and God is with you every step of the way. So are the prayers and love of mothers everywhere! God bless you.

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