I grew up in Zambia and, let me tell you, there is nothing wimpy about the African bush women. They work all day, gather wood, build the fire, cook a meal and walk to the stream to carry water back to the village to clean the dishes. When they are pregnant, nothing changes. They still do all the work. After the baby is born, they tie it onto their backs and head out to the fields. Soon they are pregnant yet again and now work in the fields, pregnant, baby on back and then pile a bundle of sticks on their head to carry back home to their village to make the fire.
Once I visited Mashoko mission hospital in Zimbabwe. Outside the hospital, leaning against a wall, were about fifteen pregnant women, all in labor. This was the maternity ward. When their time to push arrived, they were escorted inside to the room where babies were born. I won’t call it a delivery room as you will picture in your mind the place your children entered this world. It is not the same. On this visit I was privileged to witness my first birth.
The woman never cried or screamed. Just moaned and pushed and…out popped a baby! While the nurse cleaned the baby and checked it over, the mother took the placenta in a bucket, walked about one kilometer away from the hospital, and buried it under a tree. I was told this was the Shona custom as they believed it would keep the evil spirits from entering the baby. The mother then returned to the hospital to nurse her baby.
Having grown up in Africa and witness this birth, I believed this was how pregnancy and birth occurred.
Soon after Mark and I married, we returned to the US to live in Charlotte NC and worked with a new church plant. I watched in amazement as my friends transformed into total wimps when they became pregnant. Our church met in a school and every Sunday we set up chairs and everything else to make the auditorium look like a ‘church’. Yet, because my friends were pregnant, they could not even lift a folding chair! I determined I would never be like that when I was with child.
Like the bible says, “Pride comes before a fall”. I proceeded to get pregnant and have two miscarriages. Then I got pregnant with twins, almost lost them at three months and spent almost the rest of my pregnancy in bed relying on my friends to do basic chores for me.
Not only did I become the ultimate ‘wimp’ but let me tell you, I did not handle birth like the African women either. I moaned and groaned and…well…you know how that goes. The pain was so bad I opted for an epidural, something I swore I would never do! And forget walking a couple kilometers, I could barely walk to the bathroom!
That experience was the first of many times that I can look back on how my pride got the best of me. I did not even realize until recently that I have a problem with pride. It seems to be a pattern. I think I know better than others. I would do things different. My way is better. And I vocalize it. That’s the worst part!
I am praying now that I will recognize the pride in myself before it gets the best of me, before it comes out of my mouth. For ‘out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’ (Matthew 12:34). God has humbled me a lot lately and it is not fun. I’m praying that I can recognize the pattern of pride and humble myself before he has to humble me. It is easier much that way!