This time of year we talk a lot of birth. The birth of our Savior was/is one of the most important events to come to pass in the history of humanity. We sing songs about this event. We read scriptures about this event. But really we know nothing about the details of this event. Our conversation lacks important elements.
We see depictions of that night and they always seem to skip the pivotal moment. The moment of birth. We hear a cry and a babe magically appears, all clean and swaddled in Mary's arms. It reminds me of my mom talking about my own birth. There's a video of my birth and my mom always complains that the person taking the video didn't capture the main event because of issues of modesty--but that's the moment that hits me at a birth every time. Watching a baby come slowly and gently into the world is one of the most blessed and holy things to watch. You feel you are at the precipice of creation and connection of body and spirit. Why would you skip that?
No one ever thinks about the process or significance if this event. The details of Mary's labor and birth. How did her young body handle the oncoming waves? Those strong surges through her uterus. How did she process that pressure of the wee babe descending down the birth canal. Was it hard for her to relax in that strange place? The stable, among the animals.
As she transitioned though to second stage, did she yell or scream? Did she curse God? Joseph? Or did she go deep into herself to find the divine strength of her Mother in Heaven to help her? Did she quietly labor or did she moan or hum or sing or cry? Did she move around the stable? Did she do a birth dance?
Who were the women who helped her? Who were the midwives? Were they just carrying through with their skills, not realizing the significance of this holy child? Or did they hear the angels singing Hosannas and join in the praises?
Was there blood? Did Mary hemorrhage? How long was she in labor for? How long did it take for her cervix to dilate? How long did she push for? Did her perineum tear? What healing herbs, salves and tinctures did her attendants give to her? Did she give birth standing up? On her hands and knees?
Did the little babe latch on to her breast right away? Did the wee babe get bits of colostrum full of important immunities and nutrients?
OH TO HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE SAME SPACE TO FEEL THE BONDING ENERGY from that post-partum rush of oxytocin between Mary and the little babe. Oh the tears. Of joy, of perineal pain, of post-partum contractions.
What did the placenta look like? Did they cut it soon after birth? Did they leave it attached till it dried up and fell off? Did they wait for it to stop pulsing with blood till they cut it? Did Mary consume the placenta to take advantage of those nutrients and balancing hormones?
Oh how I would have loved to have attended our Savior's birth. Oh how I would have loved to have been with Mary and supported her and guided her breath and helped her relax her shoulders and forehead. Oh how I would have loved to reassure her when her eyes filled with doubt. Oh how I would have loved to be with Joseph. Oh Joseph. Thank you, thank you Joseph. I don't know if you were even with your wife. I can't imagine that being with a laboring in women was a normal practice at that time. But I imagine that you were there with her in that small, holy space. How could you have ever dreamed of leaving your young laboring wife? I can't imagine. She needed you and I see that you needed her. This moment was intimate and lovely. To see your wife transcend human weakness and pain and be vulnerable and open. What did it feel like? This wasn't even your physical child. How did you process that? This birth would be different then the births of your other children that would follow. How connected did you feel with this child? This holy child.
Oh how I would have loved to be with that young, young couple. That primagravida and her husband. That special moment when a mother finally has the Being she has been growing in her womb after forty weeks and a father finally feels like a father as he holds his babe.
It brings me to tears to think of that birth. That very special birth. The energy, the love, the blood, the tears, the cry of the babe.
I love the song Silent Night. I love that it sings of the holy silence following the birth. But I wish there was a way to sing praise of the birth itself. Of the blood, of the surges, of the moment. I wish that in addition to songs about the shepherds and the wise men, that there were also songs about the attending midwives. I wish this all existed because I think it's an element of the birth of our Savior that we do not choose to think about nor comprehend.
Birth is a mirror of life. If you have ever participated in a birth you see and feel this. There are so many parallels.
Thank you Mary. Thank you Joseph. Thank you silent midwives. Thank you baby Jesus.