(I am not quite a baby in the above picture, but you get the idea. And, I am crying, so maybe that halfway counts?)
Tomorrow is my birthday, and while I have always loved such celebration-days (both mine and other people’s), lately I have come to love birth stories. Thus, I have spent each of my siblings birthdays this past year, begging my mom for details: What happened that day? How did she feel? How did my dad feel? And so forth.
Thus I learned that before my oldest brother was born in Hawaii, my parents asked all of their friends with vehicles if they could borrow their car on the day of delivery, because the hospital was very, very far away, and that all of their friends said yes, but were sadly away on the day of delivery, so my dad frantically knocked on neighbor’s doors until he found someone with a car. He also told my mom that he was excited to deliver my brother himself. My mom thinks he was serious, but now my dad claims he said it to try to calm her, in case it became necessary. After they brought my brother home, Hawaiian women knocked on their door, to see the “pretty haole baby” with shocks and shocks of red hair.
My second oldest brother was paid for with some of my dad’s stained glass, and that the way the trade ended up working out the doctor owed them money after.
I learned again that one sister was a kicker, and that mine was my mother’s “most spiritual birth,” in part because of her remembrance and reliance on the hymn “How Firm a Foundation.” I heard again that my youngest brother was announced to my parents, not with, “It’s a boy!” (which would have been appropriate in the pre-ultra sound days in which they bore children) but “It’s Samuel!” because the doctor knew: she had been waiting for him for four births. My mom’s doctor also gave her a bouquet with one small flower for each of her children, and one very large, and very blue chrysanthemum.
My husband’s sisters told me a story that I had been told by my husband himself–how he was carried home in a Christmas stocking–but they told me something else too, that he couldn’t have shared, and that was exactly how excited they were to have a brother.
Now I want to know even more details about births in general and mine in particular: how did my mom feel the very first time she found out she was pregnant? How did she feel the subsequent times? How did she feel when it was me? (I was not the first nor the last–was she still excited?) Then what about the pain and the discomfort of pregnancy and birth? What was that like for her? Was she tired for me? Hungry? Did she get nauseous? How many times did she wake up in the middle of the night? Did she have trouble going back to sleep? How many times did she break into a grin when she remembered that she was pregnant? Were the hard parts later swallowed up in joy? Could that much joy be born without sorrow, or suffering? What about love?
How does this relate to Christ? Both to his birth and to his death. (I am always amazed at these two book ends of life. They are so radical, and disruptive, and changing.) How did Mary feel? Was it hard for her to keep it in her heart, and not tell anyone? Did she want to shout her good news from the rooftops? Hers was the child that so many had waited for, that so many had anticipated. Was the waiting greater for her? Did that first advent feel like a lifetime? How many people looked at her unkindly, because they didn’t understand? Who showed her kindness, still? I know Joseph, who was visited by an angel, but who else? Were her pregnancy pains like other pregnancy pains, her nausea and sleeplessness like regular nausea and sleeplessness? Or, perhaps might have it been more divine than human? (My intuition tells me that it was not.)
Oh that I could have heard Mary’s birth experience from her own mouth. Or at least from her own blog. (Too bad she couldn’t have been the first Jewish/Mormon mommy blogger.)
How much does birth make women like Christ? To me it seems like so very much. This is not to say that women (such as myself) who have not given birth cannot be like Christ, or that birthing children is the only Christ-like thing women can do, because I do not believe that at all. I simply think that birth is powerful, and even Godly.
(I love this statue below. To me it screams: Mother Goddess.)
For those who have given birth, what was your experience like?
How did it shape you? Was it a particularly spiritual experience? (It is okay if it wasn’t, I promise.)
For everyone, what is the relationship between women and Christ, or birth and Christ?
(Also for everyone) how is birth celebrated in your house?