I walk up a flight of stairs feeling like my belly’s about to detach and fall off, and the thought that’s been occurring to me lately is, “And Mary did this whole pregnant thing, a month farther along, ON A DONKEY?!” I’ve had Mary on my mind a lot lately this Christmas and feel a ton of sympathy for her, as a fellow preggo lady about to give birth to her first child. And I know that even though we celebrate Christmas around the time of the winter solstice, it’s not actually when scholars say Christ was born. And I know that there’s been no prophecies about Rynn and she’ll likely not be very Messianic (which, truthfully is fine with me, since 1) the world’s already got one of those, and 2) just look at the occupational hazards…). But this is the time of year where you always hear the story, which is one of my favorite ones, so it’s been at the forefront of my mind and has had more impact to me than it has in past years.
I know that I’m finding myself getting a lot more (uncomfortably) nervous and worried about giving birth and what can go wrong after learning 1/18th of EVERY SINGLE THING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT IT from our Childbirth Prep classes (and, honestly? Would’ve been MUCH happier just doing my own thorough research to learn about what to expect). This is after centuries of medical input and knowledge have been compiled and made available at the literal touch of a button. And as freaky as it is for me, I wonder if it was the same kind of scary for Mary, too? She was probably around the births of other women in her day, but I wonder how much foreknowledge she had going into this? She didn’t have the luxury of WebM.D. to tell her that her heartburn and sudden, aching hips were perfectly normal. And, if you go on the assumption that she’d helped or at least been around other birthing women before, think of the infant and maternal mortality rates that must’ve been going on back then…how many babies and mommas did she maybe see die in childbirth or at least hear about? Wasn’t the mortality rate something like 1,000%? (Ok, maybe not that high. 900%? I was never very good at statistics…)
Also, as if that’s not scary enough, who did she have to help her? A midwife and a gaggle of women to bring water and cloths and wipe her forehead and cheer her on? No. She had Joseph and a couple of goats. And maybe that donkey. (I don’t know how helpful donkeys are in that sort of situation but, in my professional medical opinion, I’d imagine not very.) Did Joseph study medicine at all? The Bible doesn’t mention any Natural Childbirth courses, so I imagine he’s not studied as hard as he should’ve, so how much did HE know going into his wife’s birth? Since she’s a virgin, he hasn’t even seen her downstairs—does he even know where Baby Jesus is supposed to pop out of?
This makes me all very concerned for a dead woman that gave birth to a kid thousands of years ago. But it does also make me think that perhaps I can pull this off. I’m sure the team of medical staff at the hospital will have a couple of cumulative more years’ birthing experience than Joseph. Or that donkey.
That’s just one of the things that’s been randomly bouncing around my brain over the last couple of weeks. Overall, this was definitely a more reflective Christmas than in years past and unique on a couple of levels. This was our first Christmas spent at home since moving to VA. Which meant our first hosting of Christmas dinner—which was AWESOME, since the food was great, and my mom and Zack were there, and we had Sir and Madame J over, plus one of Clayton’s coworkers and his family who were super nice, so the company was great.
And it was the first time we got to spend a quiet Christmas not running around to meet everybody and hit several Christmas parties in one day. It was just the pets, me and Clayton, and the additions of my mom and Zack (which, of course, was ridiculously traumatic for Nell since both Zack AND some strange woman were both lurking around the house for several days in a row and every time she turned around it was like one or both of them was RIGHT THERE and they were always looking at her and she couldn’t eat because you never knew when they might just try to talk to her or pop out from around a corner or come down the stairs or walk into the same room and LOOK AT HER and there was baby stuff everywhere and presents and the living room was decorated and rearranged with the tree so the ENTIRE WORLD had changed and….it was just exhausting for our little dog so her Christmas sucked. So, we’re going to ignore her Christmas, since it’s nothing but a downer. Way to go, Nell.).
But, as I’ve mentioned before, it will be our last Christmas as Just A Couple. Heck, our last YEAR as Just A Couple, for a very long time. And next year, Rynn’ll be just under a year and we’ll have a ONE YEAR OLD wandering around the tree, drooling on presents, and generally looking adorable. (Hopefully. It’d kinda suck to be stuck with an unattractive baby for Christmas. Especially since there are so many cute holiday outfits to cram babies into—you’d hope the whole package worked out to one big ball of adorable, if only for the sake of the Christmas cards. THINK OF THE CHRISTMAS CARDS, RYNN! Start working on your dimples now. Otherwise, we’ll stick Nell in a Christmas dress and hope none of the family notices the switch.) The idea of this being our last quiet Christmas as a couple is really big enough that my brain can’t handle thinking about other, non-baby-related ways that next Christmas will be different because it would explode.
So…all kinds of random Christmas reflections this year. On Mary. And life changes. And baby-birthing donkeys.
Though, on the subject of Random Things I Learned This Christmas, I’ve decided that I’m wearing pregnancy/obesity well, since I am 36 weeks along (8 mo.), due to give birth on or around January 23, and I got definite confirmation this week that some of my co-workers, whom I literally see for about a half hour every day, haven’t known I was pregnant. I had the Maternity Leave chat with my company President this morning and as I’m nervously outlining the 12 week leave I’m hoping to take, he just starts to sink in his chair and turn really red. Which made me more nervous because I thought he was getting, I dunno, mad or outraged that I was suggesting 12 weeks off or…some other negative emotion. And finally he asks, really tentatively, “Did I know you were pregnant?” And I was like, “I’m thinking that apparently you didn’t…. but, if you ever see anyone getting this fat this fast, that’s a health issue and you really should have a chat with them about it. I’m talking, like, an Intervention-level chat.” And that’s when I realized he was just really embarrassed at not noticing 8 mo. of baby poking out of the front of me. Which makes me think that I’m pulling this obesity-look off with fanTAStic flair, since I’ve managed to sneak this kid around in full view for some time now without them noticing.
Related: Clayton pulled a Me the other day after a pot-luck I attended at his work (for his co-workers and their families) and some of them, afterward, were like, “Dude, is your wife pregnant?” and he was all like, “No, she’s just REALLY getting fat this season” with a completely straight face. And his co-workers who DID know I was pregnant all gave him death glares that he’d make such an awful admission. This story made me laugh until my stomach hurt. 🙂
I hope y’all had an awesome Christmas this year. And if you didn’t, just think—at least it was better than Nell’s.