To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

–Genesis 3:16 {ESV}

I’ve been thinking a bit about how the curse to Eve and her daughters applies to my life right now. Obviously, at 7 months pregnant, the foremost thing on my mind is the whole “pain of labor” which is fast approaching. (Side note: This delivery will hopefully be a labor free, scheduled Cesarean, which is still painful but not nearly as painful as the two previous unmedicated “natural” births I’ve had. ::cough::)

However, something that struck me as I was talking with a friend is that pain doesn’t end with childbirth. The pain of bearing children starts before that child is born and I don’t think it ever ends. There is pain when you have to discipline your child, pain when they are hurt, pain when you see them make a poor choice, pain as you watch them grow up and rely less on you. There is pain when you feel like you aren’t able to give your child the things they need, whether it’s the walk in the park that you’re physically unable to give, or the more difficult discovery that your child will have needs and pain that you can really do nothing to cure.

Another type of pain that I think is prevalent but rarely talked about is the pain of losing a child in the early part of pregnancy. Most of us understand the pain of losing a child near the end of pregnancy or shortly thereafter, we can imagine how heart breaking it is. I think it is a much more subtle pain that accompanies the loss of a child during the first half of pregnancy. When you lose an unborn, “unseen” child (having had no ultrasounds to “prove” the baby was there), you feel guilty for grieving for “so long.” You feel guilty for feeling this empty spot in your heart, and you feel guilty when you get pregnant with children after that loss, because you still miss that child you never met. The pain is there, for every milestone that your successive pregnancy reaches that you “missed” with the loss, for every moment when you view the pregnancy from an detached viewpoint.

I have had one loss, at 14 weeks gestation, and when I got pregnant with Quietest just a few months later, I had the most difficult time attaching emotionally to the pregnancy. I viewed much of the first 14 weeks of that pregnancy as if it were a piece of ice that was going to melt away and leave me empty again. I couldn’t bring myself to become really excited about being pregnant, and I grieved over all the things I felt I had “done wrong” or “missed” with the miscarriage. I had a lot of “what if’s” that ran through my head, and I didn’t know how to cope with them.

I was under a lot more scrutiny with that pregnancy than I had been with the previous ones, and so I was also under the care of a Perinatologist until 20 weeks when we had a Level II ultrasound and got the “all clear” for any developmental or physical issues being present with me or baby. That ultrasound was definitely the turning point in the pregnancy for me, I had been able to see Quietest’s face (so very feminine and tiny!) in 3D and I just fell in love with her. That was when we settled on a name, and the names we picked were special to me because they were the hope I had clung to for the first half of the pregnancy: that God would renew His light in my life. (Quietest’s first name means “Light” and her middle name means “Renewed.”)

The pain and uncertainty has followed me a bit with Littlest’s pregnancy, though not as much as it did with Quietest’s. I have more uncertainty in regards to how I can best help him after he’s born, what all his needs will be and how I can help him cope as best he can with the difficulties and pain he will face in life.

So how do we cope with this pain that is present through all of motherhood?

What was the thing that Eve had given up in order to eat of the fruit? Was it not pure fellowship with God, an ability to walk with Him in purity and truth? I know that when I focus on the work Christ has done, I am able to cope with the pain I am facing much more effectively. When I focus on Him, my eyes are taken off of myself, and even though I still feel the pain, I am able to keep from focusing on it, and it can then become the tool that He uses to mold me more into His likeness. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, but it’s necessary.

Fellowshipping with others who have gone through similar grief is also beneficial. Not just the “grief sharing” but actually talking to people with fellow beliefs that have gone through the same or similar things, and encouraging each other through conversation or just a hug while someone cries. For me, I have gotten a lot of comfort from being able to use my life to encourage others, letting them know they’re not the only ones, and while their grief is theirs, I can empathize and would like to help them cope with it as much as I can.

Opening up to growing past the initial “overwhelming” grief. We will always carry the pain with us, and that’s okay, we just need to not focus on it and let it rule our lives. There is going to be a special part of our heart for the child we lost, no other child can fill it (nor should we try to make another child fill it). We will always have the pain of a child’s pain, or the decision they made that causes them harm, or whatever the case may be: pain is a part of the mother’s life. We need to accept it and not let fear of pain keep us from enjoying our children or our lives.

Eve’s curse wasn’t without a promise, though that promise is attached more to the curse God gave the serpent, that Eve’s offspring will overcome the serpent, and Christ has done that.


I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

–I Corinthians 15:50-58 {ESV}

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