It’s the “most wonderful time of the year” right now and radio stations across the country are playing our favorite holiday tunes. My kids and I love to crank-up Lite 106.7 and bust-a-move to Jingle Bells or Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Of course they throw in one of those slow Christmas songs, like The Christmas Shoes, which makes me weep and blubber… no, really, it does. And of course they play Silent Night, which is supposedly the most popular Christmas song of all time.
Earlier today as Silent Night played, I got to thinking, “Was it really a silent night? How in the world can childbirth be silent?” Poor Mary, she didn’t have an epidural or a C-section… so, there is NO WAY she was silent during childbirth. Dude… this song was definitely written by… a man…
Sure enough, Silent Night was a poem written in 1816 by Joseph Mohr, an Austrian priest. Two years later on Christmas Eve, the organ in Mohr’s church was broken. Consequently, the priest asked his friend Franz Xavier Gruber to compose music for this poem appropriate for guitar. Thus, Silent Night, the carol, was born. So, actually, for Mohr with a borken church organ, it was a silent night. However, rest assured, it was no calm and mild night for the mother of Jesus.
I have birthed three children. Prior to my first, I was bold and noble, proclaiming from the rooftops that I wanted an au naturel labor and delivery. Then labor began and I lasted a very long time, about 16 hours. And then my water broke and then… then… then I learned what pain really was. I received an epidural. Honestly, the anesthesiologist gave me way too much medication and my legs were numb for hours after the birth of my son. I made a mental note… if there were to be any future labor and deliveries, just a small hit of drugs… not a hookah full.
My second child was induced and I received just the right amount of epidural… just enough to take the edge off… feel the pressure and know when to push. He was a chunky monkey, 8.6 lbs., but a quite enjoyable labor and delivery. Then came the birth of my daughter, 4 days before Christmas last year.
She was due on Christmas day, and no, I was not going to name him or her (we didn’t know the baby’s gender) Christian or Jesus or Mary or Rudolph. But remember the big snow storm right before Christmas last year? Well, I’m here to tell you to believe people who profess to you that when the barometric pressure drops, get ready to birth. This time my water broke while I was asleep and it was off to the hospital with tons of snow on the road… thank goodness it was only 5 blocks away.
Once again, I wanted a comfortable labor and delivery. I got my epidural and I asked the doctor for the lowest amount of medication, just to take the edge off. Little did I know that chunky-monkey Barracuda Baby would have big shoulders and once I was fully dilated, she would want to come out in two contractions. During my two previous births, I did not moan and groan and yell and grunt and grumble and scream like you see on TV. Ok, so maybe I breathed a little weird and snorted a few times. But this time, oh this time, I barely had any medication and it hurt, hurt like… like… like childbirth. I was not silent. I remember when her shoulder was a bit stuck and the doctor was helping it along (read this, “stretching my… skin…”), I thought to myself, “Dear God, I honestly don’t want to push anymore… this freakin’ hurts and this is my THIRD kid.”
Dear God, what did Mary feel???? Jesus was her first child… and she was birthing in a barn with animals around her and mostly likely, HAY POKING HER BUTT!!! I am more than sure it was NOT a silent night. She was probably screaming and crying and praying to God to make the pain go away and be over as quickly as possible.
The truth is, in our modern world, there are women in economically underdeveloped countries and/or rural areas who birth without the amenities of our middle-America, not by choice, but by circumstance. And woman around the world still die during childbirth. The World Health Organization states that every minute a woman dies due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth. Childbirth was and continues to be dangerous for women.
With Mary and other brave moms from around the world in mind, I will bust-a-move with a little more thankfulness in my heart. I will try to be joyful every day, not just during the holiday season. And I won’t be so silent as I sing Happy Birthday to Barracuda Baby.
This is in an original post for Jersey Moms Blog. Brenda is a New Jersey mom.
Photo credit given to Elev8.