No, I'm not talking about Cabbage Patch Kids. I'm talking about the labor that brings forth bounty and produces life!
Cultural influences, social biases, and personal misconceptions all play a role in how we view birth. First, we will work on dispelling the myths, misconceptions, and biases attached to childbirth, and, instead, replacing it with Biblical truth. Labor itself is, when in reference to childbirth, simply the hard work which is necessary to bring forth a child from the womb.
To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” - Genesis 3:16
Many translations show the Genesis account of childbirth for women to read as it does above. This translation, for many reasons, is now thought to be incorrect. The word used for ‘pain’ the first time in this verse is the same word (itstsabown) used in the next verse to describe Adam’s ‘toil’ of the ground to produce fruit. Itstsabown is more accurately translated as difficulty, sorrow, hardship, or toil…the only place in the whole Bible that this is translated as pain is when writing about Eve.
The next ‘pain’ in this verse is etseb (etsev). Again, this verse is the only one where it has been translated into meaning physical and outright pain. A better translation again? Toil, labor, or hardship.
Finally, the word ‘childbearing’ in this verse (herown) actually means fertility and conception. Other verses that use this term are Ruth 4:13 and Hosea 9:11. More support for this translation is for the simple fact that discomfort in childbirth varies from woman to woman. Some women have difficult labors while others have painless labors.
There is only one thing that the Bible tells (not curses) us for childbearing in Genesis: hard work.
It is no surprise that God puts toiling for the fruit of the land and toiling for the fruit of the womb together - they are one and the same. Man is to toil the earth, hard work to bring forth the bounty of the soil, while woman is to toil through childbirth, hard work to bring forth the bounty of the womb.
Which brings up some questions: in what climate, and with what soil are you toiling your birth garden?
Dry, desert climates will produce dry, rocky soil - and planting in dry, rocky, soil may mean that you reap a small, ill crop. You have to work extra diligently to cultivate the soil, carry your water longer distances, sweat a little more in the hot sun while tilling, and tenderly nurture those crops to fruition if you hope to have a healthy crop. From sowing, to growing, to reaping, it is work to ensure a crop.
And conversely, rich, peaty soil in moist, temperate climates will provide a more bountiful and easily reaped crop. Your soil is already rich, your water already provided, you will work equally hard at reaping your crop, but the abuntant crop grows a little more readily.
So it is with pregnancy and birth. If you start at a place of healthy diet and exercise, with a healthy outlook on pregnancy and birthing, you are planting in an already rich and ripe garden. If you are starting from a place of unhealthy diet and little to no exercise, with a fearful outlook on pregnancy and birthing, your garden is more akin to the dry, desert climate - you will have to work a little harder to get a healthy and less risky outcome.
Both climates have work to be done when it comes time to bring forth your fruit, but even then, if you start from a strong foundation, the work is not as apt to deplete you before completion, and your fruit is less likely to be sown by other means (like farming equipment).
So many allusions to be gleaned from gardening and birthing. What are some connections you can make?