The Labour Room

I met Rachel last year through Story Sessions, and I have appreciated her words ever since.  She is a woman on fire who speaks of purpose, passion, and fearless being.  Her take on pressing in will leave you uplifted.


pressing in is not always elegant. it is not always a tender touch of hands on shoulders, it is not always what happens in a jubilant moment at the end of a church conference. it doesn’t always happen in cherished community.

sometimes it’s a falling, a plunging of brokenness and tears onto the couch, a visceral sobbing into cushions as the vice of pressing in seems like it will crack you from head to toe like a china doll left in the ruins of an abandoned museum.

it can be the scariest thing you’ve ever experienced.

for me, it was the day my daughter was born. it had been nine months of preparation, and I knew what I wanted, knew how this process would go. it would be natural, no pain medication, no c-section, no one there but my husband and mother to hold my hands. but twenty-seven hours into labour, my birth plan was a discarded two-page document on a nearby table. the room was full, crowded with doctors and nurses and medical staff. there were words like c-section and emergent and heart rate dropping.

the day my daughter was born, I was sobbing with grief and pain. this was not how it should be. this was not the anointed sacred time that I had so readily prepared for all these months. then they ordered an ultrasound, just to be sure. she came in, the tech, pushing the machine, and met my eyes. I knew her, the familiar face of a friend from my youth. there was no hiding the fear, the guilt, the complete unknowing.

she touched my hand, and spoke. rach, do you mind if we pray?

I nodded.

and there, we pressed in. my mother-in-law holding one hand, my own mother holding the other. my husband at my head, my sister at my feet. my daddy and my father-in-law laid their hands on my stomach, and a nurse ran her hand over my hair. I sobbed quietly through the whole prayer, enduring contractions and clutching hands.

it was one of the holiest moments of my life.

that day, my daughter was born, pulled from my body by skillful medical hands. and now she is eighteen months old, vivacious and wild. she is the reminder of pressing in, of the way a vice can grip while everything groans. but not crushed.


Photo by NJB Photography

Photo by NJB Photography

Rachel Haas is a novel-writing, coffee-consuming, paint-flinging, wild-at-heart Jesus craver. She is married to Jonathon, as she has been for the past four years, and is mother to Marian.  She dwells in between Midwestern cornfields where she pours her heart out in lowercase abandon. She blogs at Dramatic Elegance.


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