I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus’ birth and the Bible’s telling of Mary’s pregnancy and delivery experience with him over the past few weeks. I’m not sure exactly why this pregnancy, #3, would be the one to kick off this line of pondering rather than the previous two, but today I wondered if maybe it has to do with my varicose and spider veins. I got them a little in pregnancy #1; they came out a little more in pregnancy #2; this time around they’re really glaring. I remember being a little girl and noticing that my mom’s legs did not look… well, like other people’s legs (no offense Mom), and now I see those same legs gradually emerging in my own.
It made me think: did Mary have varicose veins? Or stretch marks, perhaps? What a bizarre paradox to be Mary, carrying in her womb the infant – the “second Adam” – who would reverse the curse brought on to us by our first parents… And yet do so under the very curse that Eve accrued for herself and all womankind after her, the challenges and mars of childbearing. Even she, carrying the child who would wipe out the curse, still labored (literally) under it.
“To the woman (God) said,
‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.’ (Gen 3:16)
It’s interesting how the ramifications of the curse aren’t associated only with the delivery part of childbearing but also in the effects that childbearing has on the woman’s body (in the form of varicose veins, stretch marks, and the like) during and beyond pregnancy as well. I hadn’t really considered that before.
While I’m on the “imagining pregnant Mary” kick… Can you imagine riding on a donkey for days on end at 39 or 40 weeks gestation? Talk about uncomfortable. Her ankles must have been balloons. My family and I will be taking a trip involving air travel when I’m 33 and 35 weeks along, and people have asked me if a trip like that will be manageable for me at that stage – and what week the airlines cut you off, etc. But what about Mary en route to Bethlehem like an enormous lumpish sack of potatoes astride an animal? Really makes you realize the luxuries that we modern folks take for granted in our day and age in pregnancy…