Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010.12.01 Pregnant With Boobs

It is well to begin the Advent season pregnant, willing to labor for something you have long wanted to birth.

What is your "baby" right now? Mine happens to be Jesus as his is the chapter of my memoir I’m at work to birth.

I first met Jesus, one Christmas in fact. My mother saved the evidence, a Christmas Eve church bulletin of 1946 with my eight year old small neat printing in its corner: Where did he come from? Some days I wish I had photographic evidence for Jesus. Some days I long to see what he really looked like. Some days I wish I could put him neatly between the pages of a scrapbook, saved forever. Men were short then. Maybe he looked more like Danny DeVito, chunky with a swinging perky gait, than El Greco’s long lean bearded version. One thing I’m pretty sure of is he wasn’t blonde! But maybe he looked like my Jewish grandfather I never met.

Thank God I am not pregnant for real. Only spiritually so. Pregnant with curiosity and wonder and a nagging occasional desire for proof.

But in the real world I am led back to remembering my own child birthings, not just the pain of labor and delivery but the thrill of giving it a big push and seeing a tiny bulge of slicked hair begin to emerge, followed by a squished up squinty-eyed little face, then a whole body about the size of a vole, naked and ugly except to parental beholders. A first draft.

In spite of your relief that it’s all over you can’t wait for it to begin, this new life you will love and share, hate and fight, worship and grieve. I have four children, now adults of wonder who belong to their own families and the world, not me.

The only grace birth doesn’t bear is beauty. There is nothing beautiful except in the eye of Love. It’s not a photo op beauty. The moment deserves to be spared advertisement. It deserves modesty. It’s a manger moment, but you don’t think the historical natural scene really looked like the icon do you? But that’s why we have icons to serve as windows into mystery, not reality shows.

So I am aghast that women in this process are being asked to smile for the little handheld devices pointed in their direction when they are sweaty, hair all stringed out, face stripped of all cosmetics. There is nothing glamorous about it, but everyone wants it on record.

Why? Because technology has provided a way that it can be.

Why not? Because this moment goes on record in the heart, not the camera.

What will we not trivialize next in 140 Twitter characters? What is sacrosanct from the eye of the touch screen? Where are the boundaries on techie addiction?

Leave the poor woman and her newborn alone please. Do not try to take away the holy from this picture by sending it out to 100,000 of your “friends” on Facebook. The kid doesn’t even have a real face yet? And his Mommy’s is streaked with strain and puffed with exhaustion.

And the same thing goes for breast cancer. There is nothing glamorous about it. OK so we’ve seen Demi More’s swollen belly and we’ve seen someone else’s noble scarred breastless space. Isn’t that enough showing off? Now we have to wear pink rubber bracelets that say I “heart” boobies, pretend that we are somehow proud to have survived the amputation or to still have intact nipples.

Ok, but only if all this display raises tons of money for research for cures and better treatments. Breast cancer is NOT a women's issue (not meant to be sarcastic)and deserves a campaign that is dignified, not tainted with sexist voyeurism.

Scandal of overexposure, immodest at best, exhibitionist at worst.

A woman priest friend would say, “Jesus would puke!” (Adult Jesus. Baby is entitled.)