Once I started looking pregnant, strangers started treating me differently.  My own policy is never to assume someone with a little roundness in the abdominal region is pregnant – it just seems safer that way, right?  But it turns out this is a less popular approach than I’d realised, and pretty much every day from about six months along someone in a shop would ask ‘When-are-you-due-do-you-know-what-are-you-having-oh-i-suppose-you’re-buying-green-and-yellow-then?’

A car even stopped for me in the middle of a block seeing that I wanted to cross the road.

I felt pretty special that the whole world was excited about this baby.

At nine months pregnant, it was coming up to Christmas and I thought a) I would emphatically not want to be walking to Bethlehem right now, donkey or no donkey, and b) did no one in Bethlehem see a pregnant woman looking for a place to stay and want to accommodate her?  Seriously?

I’ve never before appreciated how isolated Mary must have felt.  Not only was she on her own with Joseph having her first baby without her family around her, but she was the exception to the seemingly universal rule that people get excited about pregnancy, even that of a stranger.  How sad.

Anticipating your labour is scary enough in modern Aotearoa, let alone in occupied Israel, centuries before Entonox, antibiotics or ultrasound.  The Message begins John’s Gospel with ‘the Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood.’  Mary’s role in offering her flesh, her blood, to that endeavour, while being shunned by whole neighbourhoods is pretty astonishing.

If you are pregnant right now, if you have been pregnant before, or if you’ve ever walked alongside a waddling, aching, heroic pregnant woman, I’d like to invite you to read Mary’s song at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel.  I invite you to think about her swollen ankles, nausea, fatigue and fear, and ask yourself, what sort of woman could sing that song, bear that child, swallow those tears?  I reckon Mary’s son isn’t the only one we have a lot to learn from.

This is just one way I found my experience of God intersecting with my experience of pregnancy.  What about you?  How has your experience of being pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or being with someone who is pregnant connected with your spirituality?

Where is God in pregnancy?  What’s been your experience?

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Thalia Kehoe Rowden began 2011 as the minister of West Baptist Church in New Plymouth and ended it as the mother of a charming newborn baby. She's also an awesome parallel parker, a wannabe runner and enthusiastic but rubbish at gardening. She blogs at Kiwi Families on the spiritual practice of parenthood: listening to God as we parent our children, hearing God's voice through them and through the delights and despairs of bringing them up. Thalia also blogs at www.sacraparental.com

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[…] can read the rest here. I’d love to hear your thoughts – there or here – about Mary, Christmas babies, […]

Robyn Ryan

Hello Dear Thalia 🙂 … this surely does make “one” think/wonder & “remember” … All I ever wanted was to become a “Mum” … My chosen career was “Maternity Nursing” & I was told I was a “good” one!  You think when you decide to “have a baby” it will “happen”.  You never expect that you may have problems conceiving.   You see your family/friends “having babies”, apparently easily.  But parenthood didn’t come easy for us.  Eventually we had Son No.1 “gift from God”, the meaning of the name we chose for him 🙂  We were told he would probably be “an ownly child”.   Two years later… Read more »

Rachel

Wow, Thalia – we could sit down over coffee and discuss this for hours! (I’d love to do that one day if the opportunity presents itself!)  I read your post and remembered a facebook status I wrote a while back. I’ll paste it here. xx Rachel P “Having just visited my newborn baby niece, I find myself pondering, this Christmas, weird stuff, like “what was Mary’s labour like?” “was Baby Jesus a good feeder?” “did he have colic?” “reflux?” “did Mary get PND?” “what did they do with the placenta?” “what kind of mother was she?” Irrelevant stuff, I guess,… Read more »

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