Sarah's Birth Story
It’s so easy to get caught up in the Christmas season. To practically lose yourself searching for the perfect gift, putting up the perfect decorations, hosting the perfect party. If you are growing a little person in your belly in the midst of it, the stresses can mount to a point where you feel like you might explode. Twelve years ago this month, I found myself at the end of my 3rd trimester, with aching feet screaming at me to remind me that my priorities might need to shift if I was going to keep both myself and my baby healthy in the midst of the December frenzy.
On Christmas Eve 2008 as my husband and I, along with our two year old daughter, enjoyed our simple evening festivities after attending our church’s Christmas Eve service with my parents, I had this growing sense of calm. I couldn’t explain it. It was as if someone had pressed the pause (or maybe the mute!) button on the noise and chaos of the world going on around me. Somehow I knew that this baby was about to make his or her (we didn’t know if it was a boy or girl at the time) way into the world the next day. Nothing else mattered at that point. It didn’t matter if our tree looked perfect. It didn’t matter if we had hung lights outside of our house or even if I was pleased with how our Christmas card had turned out. Those issues quickly disappeared into oblivion as the only thing that mattered was to bring this child into the world as healthily as I could.
The next afternoon (Christmas Day), my husband and I walked into what felt like a surreal setting in a hospital. Half of the lights were off, there was no one going in or out of the hospital at that time, and we had to walk quite a ways before we even saw any person at all! As the contractions kept coming, for a moment, I reflected on how Mary of the Bible must have felt as she sat atop a donkey, walking bumpily (ouch!) across a vast field where there were no lights or people awaiting her. At the heart of it, there was one commonality we shared...our bodies were made for this. Your body is made for this. The beauty and delight (and pain-with-a-purpose) of bringing a baby into this world is at the very design of who we are. You and I need not fear it.
While there were some minor complications during my delivery, the sheer joy and delight that I felt once my daughter was born was a feeling like no other. The extra noise surrounding all of the preparations for the season of Christmas got drowned out by her lively scream and constant need for affection and care. My mind and my attention could be given to no lesser calling at that moment.
If you--like myself so many years ago--are with child during this beautiful yet frantic season, I encourage you to give yourself grace as you think about all of the preparations that “need” to get done. Some of those things may need to take a back seat to the little guy (or girl) growing inside of you. Choosing to take care of yourself this season is truly a massive gift you can give to your little one that can affect his or her little life for years to come. It is, after all, the season of giving!