It’s my birthday today, thanks mom for the pain…

Suffering and the gift of life...


Today is my 52nd birthday. I didn’t think much about it until yesterday down by the river swimming with my daughter Sharai and 1-year-old grandson Bram. After jumping off the cliff across the river into the emerald green waters below, I swam back to shore and sat there in the hot sun observing mother and son. I witnessed a tender moment turn odd when Brammy gave his mum a kiss on the lips only to become fixated for several minutes thereafter attempting to swallow whole his mother’s nose… [Ed. Note: this behavioral gene is derived solely from my wife’s side of the family and has no relation with my own].

Anyway, the mother-son scene spurred birth-day thoughts…

As father to 5 children I’ve attended many births as well as those with close friends, including a stand in role as support for a C-section birth. And of all these, each shared one common denominator during the mysterious miracle of childbirth : PAIN...

008Now, experience has proven to me over time this truth:

There is no child birthing class in the world that can adequately prepare man and woman for the experience of childbirth…

There are deeper things at work here [notice I didn’t say play] that can only be explained theologically.

For you doubting Thomases out there—see if this commentary from the catechism on Genesis sounds familiar concerning the Fall of Man and repercussions on childbirth as experienced from within the birthing room:

As a break with God, the first sin had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman–

At this point, all is well within the birthing room, the mother is placidly accepting cups of ice from the dutifully attentive husband, as each share moments of adoration looking deep into the others eyes. The man thinks to himself: “I’m so proud of her”, quickly noting within himself with self-assurance, “everything’s allright so far… No problem… I’ve got it down.” The woman on the other hand: Apprehensive at the growing labor pains, nonetheless appreciates the loving support and true bonding…

And then, out of nowhere it seems, all hell breaks loose… PAIN…]

Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations, their mutual attraction, the Creator’s own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust;

Woman from the depths of pain: “What did you do to me?

Man: What? Thinks to himself, “I didn’t do anything to her, did I?.”

Man: “Want some more ice honey?

Woman: “NO!”

Man: Contemplating the sudden permeation of inadequacy, quickly looks about for a nurse.

Woman gripped now by pain: “This is all your fault.”

Man to nurse–Is the Doctor coming? The Doctor enters before the sentence is finished.

And the beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the toil of work. [1607 CCC]

The woman, man, nurse, and doctor each busy themselves together in what needs to be done…

A child is born… And the mystery carries on.

Now I think I understand the origins of the saying: “You’re a pain!” And as many other parents, nurses and doctor’s would no doubt concur, I’ve cleaned up above alot of other possible expletives overheard in the birthing process…

043Despite the pain envolved, however, the fruit of giving life far exceeds the pains of childbirth and those of life too. And as Grandfather now, I appreciate even more all my children today. Each year around my birthday we pack the kids into the car and head south down to Santa Cruz, California. This is the place of my birth and birthplace of 3 of our 5 children… But, in all these years of spending my birthday in Santa Cruz, I realized only yesterday at the river that I’ve never properly thanked my own mother for the gift of my life and birth:

Thanks mom.

From your first pain…




3 thoughts on “It’s my birthday today, thanks mom for the pain…”

  1. Thanks Esther!

    Wonderful day with the family down by the river. Nice floaty flotilla w/grandson Bram at the helm–pictures to follow soon.
    Boy, do I need that Mass… Especially for the start of our first home school year in September…

    Grace. Blessing. Peace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s