THE BLOG

After the Birth, Do Not Forget the Labor

Tuesday morning: The Kate Wait is coming to a conclusion. I write this as an American in London. "Breaking News" here (while my friends in the U.S. still sleep) has newscasters outside the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital trying to fill in broadcast reporting during what is still at this hour "early stages of labor" for the Duchess of Cambridge What can a newscaster say? How long will it be?

One male reporter, perhaps wondering how long the day would be for him, commented, "These hours must be boring for her." I wanted to shout through the tele, "Boring? labor and birth are anything but boring!" Granted the reporters have been waiting a long time, "trying to fill air," one said, "for the past two weeks." But have they been bearing the weight of a child?

I remember so well, no matter how many years ago, the long months of expectation, growing larger and larger, week by week. My babies were large; sometimes I wished I could just take the weight in the womb off for a few hours to rest a bit. It was joyful hard work, a constant commitment. And then the labor itself. For some women it begins in the middle of the night. It seems that was the case for Kate. Unlike television shows and movies, it is not often dramatically in an elevator. Slowly at first, but ever closer and ever stronger, the contractions build. This is adventure. This is dramatic. Women shed blood to give birth. Historically this has made women unclean. The bloodshed of war has historically been seen as heroic. Those who have endured the bloodshed of war know it is more tragic than dramatic. Men and women both bleed and beget.

Make no mistake, I am pro-choice, pro-choice so that I can truly be pro-life. I am for the life and the living of all women and men and babies and children, and for the collaborative adventure of the blessing of participating in this creative gift. Why, then, oh, why then, is war glorified? Why is the taking of life, the strategic planning of killing seen as the great adventure? Why would anyone think the labor of giving birth is boring?

I remember so well -- yes it was years ago -- my husband and I in a hospital in Detroit, just as William and Catherine are in hospital here in London as I write this. For us with our first birth it was 20 hours. The pain grew more and more intense. Labor is work, hard, hard work. Co-labor is important, sharing collaboratively in bringing life into the world and raising children in community. As the people of London wait, the regular news of the day concerns online restrictions of pornographic images of child sexual abuse. The case is made that such access has led to people being able to, "think the unthinkable," murder children. While we wait for birth, the question remains, how do we care for the well-being of all the world's children?

How many children will die today around the world in the adventure of war? Inevitable? Why? While I write, the waiting continues. I am writing this blog with the adventure of the great global, historic adventure of the labor of birth in process.

Later: Now, at the end of the day (Kate's labor was long, too), the baby has come. The birth of this baby boy is a cause for celebration throughout the U.K., the Commonwealth and the world. It is a political event. Wars are political events. Who and which people are encouraged to have more children and who are not? There is joy in London today. After the birth, do not forget the labor.