I have an aversion to reading birth stories on the internet. It’s not that I don’t care about birth stories—quite the opposite, in fact. I love hearing them told in person, when I can watch a new mother gesture with her hands as she tries to wrestle those first moments into words. I love laughing with her over the things people said, the things she said, during labor, and over how far away it all seems now, as though she has crossed a great chasm and we’re standing there together, looking back at the bridge that brought her to safety.
Birth stories are personal stories, and not just because they have to do with bodily functions: their power lies not in the litany of details—minutes, centimeters, hours—but in the fact that each story is truly unique to the woman who lived it. No one else can share your story with you—not fully, anyway. And while the rest of us can enjoy your story and be moved by it, we eventually have to back away and leave the experience with you, where it is meant to stay. Telling these stories on the internet, then, feels to me like shouting from a platform what ought to be treasured among close friends.
Yes, I have an aversion to reading birth stories on the internet. And so it is fitting (and just this side of hypocritical) that my first full essay for Deeply Rooted opens on a scene from the night of Phoebe’s birth. It seemed right, as I was writing, to include that moment, and so I did. That took me down a peg.
From there the essay moves into a consideration of the birth of Christ—what we know happened that night in the stable, what might have happened, and what it might have meant to Mary. But the essay isn’t a birth story: it’s mostly about Mary. And it’s in the newest issue of Deeply Rooted. (You can purchase a copy here.)
Deeply Rooted Magazine
Issue 04, Winter: Root