Offering Up Labor Pains


Catholics have this great thing about sacrifice and suffering.

We like it.

Perhaps that’s a little misleading.

I think I can rightly say we appreciate it.

You see, when Jesus chose to die on a Cross for us, to suffer, He gave meaning to suffering.

Your suffering, my suffering, the pain of the cancer patient, the grief of a widow, the terror of the warstruck…all of it plays a role in the salvation of the world.

God doesn’t send suffering. He doesn’t like it. He doesn’t plan it.

However, because suffering will happen in this fallen world, thanks to Satan and the original sin of Adam and Eve, God will use it for good.

I truly believe that if I choose to offer my suffering, joyfully (hopefully) uniting it with Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, God can and will use that suffering as a prayer for my intentions and the good of the world.

Please don’t ask me where this is sourced; it’s good Catholic teaching that you can Google as easily as I can, only I’ve got my hands full right now… Thanks! [I was writing this while in early labor with my third child…]

I’m not always good at remembering to offer up my sufferings, unfortunately, because it’s certainly easier to worry, complain, fret, get grumpy, and ask “Why me?” during one’s own private pity party.

Labor, however, is the perfect time to remember.

I plan it in.

For both of my previous labors, another friend was due about a month after me. She has terribly challenging pregnancies and, as it turned out, incredibly rough labors as well. I was so pleased to be able to offer the fruits of my labor for hers and connect via the Mystical Body of Christ in that way. And now it’s pretty cool that our kiddos are so close in age!

I also tend to offer up labor for other new moms who are experiencing sleepless nights, trouble latching, and the general craziness of newborns. This, by the way, is what I think of when I am awake in the night and do not want to be – I offer up my maternal sacrifice for the faith of my children and for other friends’ holy motherhood as well.

Two Great Holy Men

For this labor, I’m thrilled to be wearing a medal of the pope of my youth, Blessed John Paul II, blessed by the current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

I put it on immediately when it came in the mail from Lisa Hendey, our fearless leader here at, who was blessed to attend John Paul’s beatification.

John Paul, pray for us!

Copyright 2011 Katie Kimball


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  1. This is such a timely article for me — we just announced our brand new pregnancy, and I told one of my friends today that I planned to offer this labor up. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, labor is a beautiful time to “offer up” one’s suffering. My husband and I like to make a list prior to labor. We write down all of the people whom we want to pray for while I’m in labor. Then as each contraction comes/starts, my husband held my hand and looked at the list, “Offer this one for your cousin who wants children.” Then the next contraction, “Offer this one for Jason to return to the Church.” It really is an intense time for prayer. My future pregnancies will need to be a c-section, unfortunately, but I should probably make a list for offering up suffering each time my incision hurts for the months after:-)

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