Mary's take on the nativity



I was nine months pregnant and travelling 90 miles with an embarrassed husband and a donkey.  You can understand why, when we eventually got to Bethlehem, I was fantasising about a clean bed  and a welcoming Inn, preferably one that employed a midwife.


But no.  The embarrassed husband hadn’t booked a bed ahead.  We ended up in a cave which doubled as a stable, replete with at least a week’s worth of soiled straw and excrement.


Of course, we were there for census purposes.  We had to return to my husband’s family home, but did he call on them?  Did he hell.  He just couldn't square introducing me as a virgin visited by an angel and  my whopping belly.  He kept a low profile because of me.


The inevitable happened.  My waters broke and I went straight into labour, with my husband flapping about, without a clue from which part of my body the baby would emerge.


In case you haven't noticed, labour is not a clean process, a variety of bodily fluids are involved.  Not that this is evident in any of the nativity scenes that feature us. 


Now I've seen births, so in general terms mine held no surprises.  You’re squeezing something the size of a melon through a gap the size of a ping- pong ball.  Well imagine doing this in such a way as to accommodate a halo.  


A baby’s head does get a bit shaped by the journey through the vaginal canal.  We know that.  But when my son came into this world, his halo and not just his head had a fine time getting out.  His halo was more pointy than round, for a while.


Once the baby was here, Joseph did a quick clean up, fair play.  Then the shepherds arrived.  Who invited them?  Who said to them, ‘ take a sheep or three with you and at least one dog’?  More poo. 


A few days rest and then these kings arrived.  Camels…more poo.  The shepherds had come with their good wishes.  The kings came with wishes too, plus much bounty. I could have screamed.  Perhaps if they had been queens they might have thought to bring some cleaning products,  nipple cream and a change of clothing for me.  But no.  Damn it.

© Gaynor Kavanagh