Have you ever heard a mom, nurse or doctor talk about skin-to-skin? I first heard this phrase about four years ago when I was pregnant with our first child, a daughter. In an effort to prepare well, I took classes at the hospital where I would be delivering. Over and over I heard about the value of resting your unclothed newborn on your bare chest after he or she is born. The benefits seemed endless. Here’s just a few:
- body temperature, breathing and heart rates are stabilized and regulated
- regulation of blood sugar for energy and better feeding
- transfer of good bacteria from the mother to the baby
- fussiness and crying is reduced
- pain relief from birthing trauma, heel pricks etc
- easier transition from the womb
- maternal-child bonding is heightened, and communication is enhanced
In essence, skin-to-skin is instrumental in bonding with and soothing your child, but it is also an important building time for the baby. As I thought of the benefits of skin-to-skin and momentarily reminisced over my own experience with my two kids, I remembered a young woman in the Bible who may very well have experienced some if not all the same moments and emotions I had. Well probably not the joy of having an epidural, but perhaps the rest of it. Feelings of pain, exhaustion, joy, overwhelming uncertainty with perhaps even the thought of “What do I do now?” And unfortunately, like many of us (myself included), the mother of Jesus may have walked through a period of postpartum depression. See, we read Mary’s story of the angelic visitation, her humility and honor in being chosen to carry the Savior of the world (not to mention all the scandal!). She was engaged to another man, and pregnant by the Holy Spirit! But we forget she was also a first time mom. Skin-to-skin may have been one of the first things she did with her precious new baby boy.
And because the effects of childbirth made the mother unclean by the law, she was unable to clean, cook, or interact with anyone or even be in the temple. Can we bring this back? New baby. No cleaning, cooking or other responsibility for forty days?!?! I would be a whole new woman! But during this time of seclusion, she probably had plenty of time for skin-to-skin with her baby. Can you imagine? The raw, bare, innocence and purity of that sort of connection with the Savior.
What if I were to tell you today that our Savior still wants this type of connection with you and I? Obviously, I’m not talking about lying in the bed holding your bible and singing the Barney theme song. But I am talking about being real, raw, and uncovered with the Savior. In Psalm 62:8, the scripture tells us to pour out our hearts to God for He is our refuge. Other scriptures talk about how intimately God knows us like Psalm 139. In other words, Jesus invites us to be real before Him and in our realness, we get to experience His faithfulness.
See, He knows that it’s in those intimate moments that our heart and strength can be renewed. His peace can calm and soothe the tumultuous situation we’re facing. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” God’s desire is to be skin-to-skin with us and for us to experience all the benefits of being His child.
Prayer: God, thank you for sending Jesus. Thank you for the beauty of nearness to You. We long to be close to You, to hear Your heart, to know Your love. Give us the grace to just be with You. We love You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Meet Erin Lewis
Erin and her husband, Jelani, have a daughter, Judah and son, Jadon. They live in the DFW metroplex but love to travel. She is also a pastor’s wife who loves to write, edit, teach and lead small groups at the church. Erin’s passion for people, especially women, drives much of what she does. Her desire and eye for excellence through grace, gives her an opportunity to present Jesus as attractive and approachable. Erin’s heart is to always honor and encourage those around her, and to learn from those on the journey ahead of her.