So here I am, in the last month of pregnancy. Itâ€™s a strange time. I vacillate between feeling dewy and radiant and Earth-Mother-like to feeling like an elephant lumbering through the savannah, inadvertently crushing things in its path.
Make that an elephant with chronic heartburn.
Still, as pregnancies go, this is perhaps the best time in history to be in the family way. I was thinking about this earlier, reflecting on what Mary had to go through two thousand years ago as the birth of her own child drew near. A comparison chart might be helpful:
ME: I complain about having to drag my unwieldy body approximately five steps down into the garage to load laundry into the machine.
MARY: She had to do it by hand, no doubt leaning her pregnant body over a tub on a dirt floor.
ME: My feet ache as I dump a bag of frozen Trader Joeâ€™s pasta into a skillet, add water, and stand stirring for five minutes.
MARY: She probably had to make every meal from scratch.
ME: I have a massive bottle of TUMS, my new favorite snack, at my disposal.
MARY: No TUMS. (Were there home remedies for heartburn in Biblical times?)
ME: At the end of this â€“ God willing â€“ Iâ€™ll deliver in a sanitized, clean, well-lit hospital, in a wing designed for maximum birthing comfort. A call button will bring trained personnel to me within minutes. Meal trays will appear,Â bearing Jello and hot tea and other things I feel like eating and donâ€™t have to prepare myself.
MARY: She gave birth in a barn, surrounded by dirt and manure. Instead of nurses, she had cows and sheep looking on. There were no trained personnel that we know of (Joseph, though strong in many virtues, surely did not count midwifery among his skills). Who brought her food? What did she eat, after that exhausting delivery? Who helped her clean up, regain her strength, swaddle the baby?
So I have it pretty good, Iâ€™d say. But thereâ€™s one more thing to add:
ME: Iâ€™m so eager to meet this little acrobat whoâ€™s been rolling around inside me, the baby whom I love already, the peanut who is poised to utterly transform my life.
And so –Â I know –Â was Mary.