Did you ever notice that the Christmas story is essentially a birth story?
I didn’t. Not really. Not until this year. I mean, I knew it was the story of Jesus’s birth – but I didn’t think about it in the context of birth stories in general, like the ones you might read in Spiritual Midwifery.
For someone who’s just lost a baby, it makes this time of year just that much harder. It just doesn’t seem fair. How come Mary can give birth to a healthy baby boy in a stable in that day and age, and Lauren couldn’t be born healthily with all our modern medicine and technology?? Even if you believe that Jesus was God’s son and that there was some divine intervention involved, it still doesn’t seem fair. He couldn’t intervene a little on our behalf too?
I’ve read that 80 babies are born still every day in the U.S. alone. That’s 80 families every day suffering the same heartbreak that we’ve suffered. And if you’re one of those families, for a while, hearing any story about anyone’s healthy baby and successful birth brings mixed emotions.
On the one hand, I’m relieved that they have no idea how I feel. On the other hand, some strange part of me wishes that they did. Because then they’d know exactly how lucky they are.
We fully expected that this Christmas, Lauren would be in our arms, and our lives would be completely different. I was planning on dressing her in cute clothes, showing her off to the family, taking lots of pictures, building memories of her first ever Christmas – the one that she will be way too young to remember at all. This was going to be the first opportunity for many family members to meet her.
Now they never will. And our lives are completely different, but not in the way we expected.
Had all those things happened the way we presumed that they would, would we have known exactly how lucky we were? I’m not so sure. I think we’d know that we were lucky, but we didn’t really know that stillbirth was so common. We thought once we passed the first trimester, that we were pretty much guaranteed to be taking a baby home from the hospital.
Not so, my friends.
It’s strange – had Lauren been born healthy, we would know we were lucky to have her. But not like this. We had to lose her to truly appreciate her. Isn’t that odd? That’s not how it should be. But that’s how it is with many things in life, unfortunately.
This Christmas, I remember my Lauren, and I regret that she isn’t here with us. I remember all those who are also without the babies they expected to have in their arms. I remember those in my life who are celebrating their first Christmas with their babies this year who have never known this pain and will never know exactly how lucky they are.
And I remember the story of the remarkable birth of a baby boy in a stable in Bethlehem, and feel hope for the future.