First of all, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mommies out there. You make our species survive so, that’s great and stuff.
Yesterday I was talking to some women who were recounting their birthing experiences. As numbers like 10LBS 5oz were being dropped, my heart started to race. Ever since the birth of my daughter, I get a bit of anxiety when the topic of child birth comes up.
I guess you could call me anti-birth. It’s just so brutal. I know that there are many many people who see it as a beautiful and holy thing and some who actually enjoy the travailing. I do not judge those who think this way. Obviously, I haven’t experienced it first hand.
I have a standard line that I pull out in situations when people are talking about child birth. I guess it’s a sign of my getting older. I usually say something like,
“I can’t wait for science to fix birth with teleportation.”
I usually get a nice laugh out of it and so I’ve used it several times now. This time was different though. One of the women in the group responded by saying,
“I don’t think that’s what God had in mind.”
Someone else chimed in something along the lines of,
“We’ve all got to pay for Eve’s sin.”
The conversation digressed into a pit of myths.
I was speechless. This is one of the most heartbreaking topics for me in the entire canon of Christian ideas. The thought that God would punish all women with pain in child birth is completely unthinkable to me. It’s creepy in the worst way. I guess that what God had in mind was for every mother in history having to suffer in order to perpetuate human kind. All I can think of are the thousands of generations of scared young women going into labor with little to no medical knowledge. Surviving birth was a luxury for the vast majority human history and in some places, it still is.
For me, I look at Genesis and see nothing resembling truth. Beautifully written myths, yes. Historical accuracy, no.
Then there is Mary. It seems so rude and cruel that God would supposedly use her like that. Even if she did happily agree to it, how could she have known what she was getting in to? There is a great video out there by Steve Shives called Rescuing the Bible from Christians.
He talks about how unfair it is to the Bible to take it so literally. To demand that everything in that specific collection of ancient books is true, is to detract from the literary value of those writings. I think that it also gets in the way of actually learning from the stories in the Bible.
So, that’s my rant for today. I really hope that science fixes birth. Mothers are amazing to take on the task of birth. The good thing is that things are getting better for mothers.
Addendum: I don’t want to imply that someone who found the experience of birth to be beautiful and transcendent is somehow crazy or masochistic. Birth itself is not wrong. Someone purposely designing it to be that way as a punishment would be wrong. It is the way it is though and I hope that science continues to make birth a less dangerous thing. I know many who have had wonderful and empowering birthing experiences and I would never want to diminish that in any way.