Remembering the Christmas story as women around the world give birth in less fortunate circumstances
Life & Style

Remembering the Christmas story as women around the world give birth in less fortunate circumstances

I'M sitting down to write this article on the day before I go to hospital to give birth to my first child.

I’m beyond excited. I’m overwhelmed with anxiety. But I feel two emotions more than all others.

The first of those is gratitude. I feel so grateful for all of the kindness and generosity that has been shown to me, my partner and this baby that we hope to be holding in our arms this time tomorrow.

For small, tiny people, babies require an awful lot of stuff. You could end up spending thousands of euros on prams, car seats, clothes and more.

But we’ve been incredibly lucky. Our family and friends have given us so much. However, they have also given us so much more than material items. What I am most grateful for is the help and advice that they have given us so far.

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I couldn’t begin to count how many cards, emails and Twitter and Facebook messages we have received, each and every one of them bursting with heartfelt congratulations and offering us all the help and advice we might need, whenever we need it.

The other emotion I’m feeling at the moment is a mixture of awe and pity for the women who give birth to children in the most difficult of circumstances.

I’m blessed with so much here in West Kerry. I live in a beautiful big house. Our child will be fortunate enough to have his own room and a spacious garden to play in.

The hospital isn’t very far away from us and I fully expect that my baby and I will receive the highest standard of care tomorrow.

I couldn’t ask for more than this and yet I feel anxious about what lies in store.

I haven’t had a single problem during my entire pregnancy and yet there have been times when I’ve found the experience to be impossibly difficult.

How do women who have children in war zones manage? How do they give birth in poor countries, when they have spent their pregnancies feeling hungry and when they find themselves miles from a hospital when their time comes?

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How do women who have children in war zones manage? How do they give birth in poor countries, when they have spent their pregnancies feeling hungry and when they find themselves miles from a hospital when their time comes?

How will women who give birth in Syria at the same time as me tomorrow fare?

Having spent almost 10 months carrying this child inside me, I feel only admiration for those women and for every single woman who has carried a child before me.

I know it’s something that has happened since the dawn of time. I know that it will continue to happen for as long as there are humans on this earth but nobody could ever say that giving birth was an insignificant thing.

I never understood that before now. I never understood just how much of a miracle every single child was. I never understood the huge achievement of the mothers who brought those children into this world.

The Christmas story itself is based on one of those miracles which is said to have occurred 2016 years ago in Bethlehem. We all ought to reflect on the details of that story as they were told to us at school.

Mary and Joseph were far from home when Jesus was born. They were from Nazareth but they were in Bethlehem on the night in question. They had nowhere to stay, which meant that Jesus came into this world in a stable.

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I think there is so much for us to learn from this story. As I prepare to give birth to my own child, I feel a sense of connection to all the mothers of the world, Mary included.

I also feel that Mary represents all of those women who have children in the most dangerous and darkest of circumstances.

Instead of constantly thinking about ourselves, when we and our children are blessed with such nice easy lives here in Ireland, perhaps we ought to think of others – and especially of other women and children – who live lives that are fraught with danger.

Even if this is the only lesson I learn from becoming a mother (and I know that there are bound to be many more lessons to come), it’s an important and worthwhile lesson to have learned. I’m more than grateful for it.