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Posts Tagged ‘giving birth in a manger’

Just last weekend I got the closest I’ll ever get to feeling truly Divine.

I had just finished having breakfast at my favourite cafe when I was offered a complimentary glass of eggnog – with or without the alcohol. A good shot of brandy might have helped with the Christmas shopping I had ahead of me (that and a bottle-of-vodka chaser) but, alas, because I’m still on my P plates and thus have to have a zero blood alcohol when behind the wheel (possibly a good thing), I opted for the non-alcho version. The waiter passed my order to the drinks waiter who looked me over at me and said, registering the order, “A virgin”. Well, it had been a long time since anyone called me that and I have to admit that I felt almost flattered.  

Five minutes later, when I went to pay the bill, the owner noted that I had asked for the big breakfast without eggs – the last time I had done that in his cafe was when I was in the early stages of pregnancy of Tiddles McGee. “You’re not… are you?” he asked, somewhat incredulously (I mean, the man has seen me wrangling the children I already have and probably would like to think I know my limits. For the record, I do know my limits and it was definitely one child).

Anyway, there I was, being called a virgin AND accused of being pregnant all within five minutes. Now I know EXACTLY how the Virgin Mary felt,  though I expect old Mary didn’t get herself offered a complimentary glass of eggnog or have to face the Christmas Open Shopping Season at the local Kmart.  In any case, it certainly got me thinking about how, for most people, Christmas has become all about Jesus and/or Santa (my friend Miss A’s son actually asked her the other day “Which came first? Santa or Jesus?”) and how Mary’s role in it all gets a tad overlooked (at least by the non-Catholic world). 

I mean there she was, married and a virgin (what went wrong with their wedding night, I ask? I’m thinking Ian McEwans “On Chesil Beach”, aren’t you?) and heavily pregnant (Joseph must have been a Very Understanding Man). She then ends up giving birth without any medical support in somebody’s back shed, surrounded by animals and, while she’s still recovering and no doubt trying to establish breastfeeding and all, she’s got these three Foreign Guys rocking up. And not to seem ungrateful or anything for the gifts they bore, but you’d think they might have brought something a little more practical like some baby clothes, a bumper pack of Huggies or a bottle of nice fizz to wet the baby’s head. Still, that’s men for you. And then there’s that whole steep learning curve of the First Time Mum, which is hard enough as it is without the whole added pressure of knowing your baby is the Son of God. It was a tall order and, by all accounts (whether you think those accounts are pure fictition or not), she seems to have risen to the occasion.

So this Christmas, I’m going to make it All About Mary. Or rather, All About All Mothers throughout the world and throughout time, without whom quite possibly none of us would be able to tie our shoelaces or find a matching pair of clean socks or remember to rug up warm because it’s cold outside or to stop making That Noise on the recorder, So Help Us All.

And without whom, none of us would be here. Full stop. Think about it: if there hadn’t been a long chain of women stretching back through history all having to go through the agonising process of childbirth in a whole manner of  different ways and locations, I wouldn’t be writing this blog and you wouldn’t be reading it. As someone who knows what labour and a c/section feels like, it’s a sobering thought – although only momentarily. Pass us another glass, dears – it’s Christmas time, after all!

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