Tuesday, June 19, 2007


As I observe new mothers and their babies, new dads, and new families, I see wonderful patterns in the natural order of life. Being a midwife allows me a special closeness, and I witness life’s miracles every day. My job is to protect and support that woman’s and her baby’s own natural abilities. I remind myself, and anyone who’s listening, of the profound reality that birth is not an illness. I encourage the mother and father to learn how to optimise their family’s health and wellness within any limitations that their own situation presents.

There are two principles that are foundational to all of life:

Principle 1 The natural process is good. God the Creator looked on the whole creation, including man and woman who were made in God’s image, and God saw that it was good (Genesis 1). Our bodies and minds, their functions and abilities, are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Principle 2 The natural process is limited, and imperfect. Disease, decay, corruption and death are, since the fall when sin entered God’s creation, as much part of the natural process as are all the beautiful and wondrous moments of life.

Applying these principles to some of life’s big questions, I offer my comments with the prayer that some insights will be useful to those who are seeking, in dependence on God’s loving guidance, to make good decisions. I write about childbearing with the authority of my qualifications and lifelong learning in midwifery, which require me to be answerable and accountable in all professional activities. I write on matters of Christian faith with confidence of an elder in the faith, and one who has experienced and observed the sufficiency of the God of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and His Son, our Lord Jesus. I write about matters of love and family life from my own experience with one life partner, and my observations of others.

As there is no part of the natural process that is perfect, there can be no guarantees about any natural process. Advances in knowledge of health care, medicines, and technology have protected and extended the lives of many people who would, in a world without these capacities, have died or been severely disabled. Although I accept the fallen nature of all creation, I reject any notion or teaching of total depravity. I hold to the basic Christian teaching that although all human nature has been corrupted by sin “there remain tokens of [all people’s] greatness as created in the image of God, that [s/he] posses a knowledge of God and of duty – that … [s/he] is yet capable of affections and actions which of themselves are virtuous and praiseworthy.”[1]

Although I have focused on the natural process, that’s not all we have to work with. There are times when our instinct is to look after ourselves, and ignore the needs of another. As responsible adults we must weigh up our instinctive or natural directions against our knowledge of our relationship to another person, whether that’s a professional or ethical duty, or family duty to care for our children. In providing for our children we can enjoy all the intuitive provisions, but we are also responsible to protect and provide for our children, whether that comes ‘naturally’ or not.

[1] Presbyterian Church of Australia, Declaratory Statement, 117 (iv).

No comments: