Birth, A Glorious Mess

Pop, burst, trickle,
a puddle at my feet.
A flood of mess,
the start of ‘next’.
Silence and sounds,
yet no fear in sight.
Ebbing and flowing,
stillness is my delight.
Finally the moment,
two worlds collide.
Our daily destinies,
now intertwined.
Red stained ground,
marked by true love.
Forever changed by,
a glorious mess.

Mess gets a bad wrap.

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” But what about the real and raw experience of birth? It’s VERY messy—yet I can’t think of anything more life-giving.

There’s blood, mucus, amniotic fluid, baby urine…and sometimes there’s poo. And the labour noises—the heavy breathing, the deep ‘ooo’ exhalations and apparently there can be ‘mooing’?!

I sunk so deeply into a primal zone during my labour that I didn’t see or care about any of this during my first birth—but that doesn’t make it less true. (And no matter how blissfully oblivious I was to all the mess, my husband, James will probably always remember the look of my placenta and the natural flow of blood post-birth!)

So why doesn’t anyone talk about this stuff? Is the raw mess of birth ‘unclean’? Let’s take a look at the concept of ‘birth mess’ through the lens of scripture.

Scripture says that nothing is unclean in and of itself (Romans 14:14). Glory! To think body fluids and blood are in some way less-than-holy is to divide the world where there is no division. Christ was fully human (1 John 4:2). He lived with skin on his bones and blood in his veins. The belief that the spiritual world is ‘holy’ and the physical world is ‘unclean’ is found in dualistic Greek thinking¹—not Gospel thinking.

Jesus became flesh to blow this ‘myth of separation’ away (John 1:14). Now, there’s no division between the spiritual and the physical (1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). This is significant because if there’s no separation between the spiritual and the physical, then even the messy parts of birth are sacred and holy. It’s all God-breathed and divine!

In a sweet and tender way, birth proves that holy moments are wrapped in humanity.

That ‘mess’ is part of being human.

And that birth is an invitation to wholeheartedly embrace the mess.

Footnotes

1. Dualism is the idea that there’s a separation between the physical and spiritual worlds. This concept is pervasive throughout our modern world, yet its origin is pagan and founded in Greek philosophy. From the minds of Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, it weaved through the ancient religion Neoplatonism. This concept of separation is so ingrained in our cultural norms that most people hardly see its influence on modern living. Gospel thinking is different. In God, all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). Jesus continually said ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand’ (Matthew 3:2)—not far off and separate, but here with us now.