For those who celebrate, Christmas Eve is a time of expectation, of anticipation. Children are almost too excited to sleep, dreaming of presents in the morning. Parents wait for bedtime, eager to finish the last minute bike assembly, wrap a forgotten gift, or simply sit quietly in the darkness with a cup of tea, watching the lights dance on the tree. It’s a time of peace, of generosity, of sharing. It’s the last deep breath, an inward contraction before the joyous explosion sure to come in the morning.
My own daughter Anna is a Christmas baby, born in the wee hours of the 27th, so I spent that holiday being alternately completely blown away by the power of what my body was doing, and absolutely 100% certain that I was going to be pregnant until next Christmas.
Mary is described in the Bible as being “great with child,” on that Christmas Eve 2000 years ago. Well, for me, there was nothing great about it on that Christmas Eve 27 years ago. I would have described myself as simply bursting, brimming, exploding with child. Aching backs, heartburn, peeing every time I even thought about coughing… the list of issues at this stage of the game is long and universal, whether you live in Bethlehem or Del Rio, Texas.
Thank goodness we have the enormity of carrying a living soul inside of us, an emotional and spiritual distraction from the indignities of late pregnancy. And here we come to another universality: mothers have strong feelings about and around the little people they are carrying. They love, they worry, they care, they fear, and all these feelings are magnified in the last days before birth. Every feeling, every thought, every kick, is so HUGE.
And for the women of Haiti, whose lives are so full of uncertainty, of danger, things must feel even more colossal. The events of the past 18 months have been almost unbearable. How must it feel to be pregnant right now? How must it feel to be bringing a child into a situation that is so unstable?
I wish I had all the answers to Haiti’s problems. I don’t. What I do know is this: Midwives for Haiti stands with the mothers and families in the Central Plateau and beyond. And we know that you, our family of supporters, do too. You know so well that these women matter. Their children matter.
On this Christmas Eve, thank you so much for all that you do in supporting Midwives for Haiti. Your generosity and love enables us to care for our families the only way we know how: with every single bit of ourselves. See you next year!