Travail Has Become Joy!

May 6, 2011

When Becky was born, I took 35 mm pictures and recorded the audio of her birth on a micro-cassette tape recorder. A few months ago, I dug up the recording to see if it still worked and transferred it to a digital recording.

I’m not totally certain it was a friendly act to send the audio to my then pregnant daughter, but she listened to it. It was interesting hearing it again. When time for the delivery came, things happened quickly. So quickly that Kathy wasn’t able to have a spinal block. It was all natural child birth whether she wanted it that way or not. When they wheeled Kathy out to the delivery room, I was told to change into my scrubs and wait. I told them I would change, but not wait. And it was a good thing I didn’t wait.

The recording has about 10 minutes of labor prior to the birth. Pain and stress are in Kathy’s voice. The doctor and nurse are business-like, and I’m trying to be calming and reassuring. Then the birth comes, and you hear that little cry, and the whole mood changes. Travail has become joy.

I recently confessed to Kathy that I felt more anxiety over the birth of our grandson than I did for our own children. I really hadn’t worried back then. I asked if I had been that naïve. With the reassurance that only wives can give, she assured me that I had indeed been that naïve. (Of course, it is easier being the breathing coach than the one actually going through the labor.)

Labor and delivery has a mixture of pain and joy, so does raising a child, although my experience has been that the joy far outweighs everything else. We may have a hard time realizing the pain and sacrifice parents make until we become parents. But we all have a debt of gratitude.

I’m looking forward to Mother’s Day 2011. Lord willing, I will spend it with my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and new grandson. I will be with my daughter on her first Mother’s Day as a new mom.

Mothers are special. They have experienced the travail of child birth and its joys.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:28–29, ESV)