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Is The Bible a Relevant Lens for Childbirth?

I hope you don’t mind my sharing some deeper questions I’ve been pondering lately. I’ve been enjoying taking a new look at the Bible, and like any learning, leaves me with more questions than answers.

This year I have challenged myself to read the Bible looking for the power dynamics in relationships.  Questions such as “who has power” and “why do they have power” have lead into questions such as “what do the people without power think about that?”
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So this is my big question as I stay aware of power dynamics of what was written….If the Bible is written by men (and in many cases men who probably view a wife as a possession), can I trust that what they say about childbirth reflects what a woman at that time thought of childbirth?

I know this will bring up debates about whether the Bible is to be taken literally or figuratively, and if the Bible can be trusted as the unerring Word of God.  But I don’t mean it to.  Remember, this year I am reading the Bible in terms of the power dynamics – and it is from this position that I pose this question. If the authors and the translaters have been men, would they use the same words to describe pregnancy and birth that women would use? Would they put the same value on the process?  At its most basic the question is this…If God had used a woman to write the parts with a birth or pregnancy, would it present the process differently?

I don’t know.  I’m not sure how I could even tell without a thuorough study of history. But it is a question I am willing to ask myself to consider prayerfully.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas and childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student in a nursing program learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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