Category Archives: Thoughts

Reflections on Christmas, by a Doula (me), and not a Theologian (the hub).

I love Christmas. There is so much to love about it – the food, the festivities, the giving, the joy. Only this year did I calculate exactly how many family traditions (or events) we shmoosh into this beautiful period of celebration. There are many.

Between my husband and my family, I could count over 10. From baking our own mince pies, to acting the nativity scene (dressed up and with specific roles!), to Uncle Paul’s Christmas Party and Carols at Kirstenbosch. This season is full – and wonderful.

And so full of WONDER. For so many years we celebrated Jesus’s birth – in the manger, with angels and shepherds and that all important star – all so neat and tidy and lovely sitting in the church pew thinking ‘let’s hurry home now and open presents’ (a firm childhood memory of mine)…

Only after having my own kids (and falling in love with birth) have I begun to imagine that birth differently. I love to imagine how hard it must’ve been for Mary and Joseph to (physically) escape to Bethlehem. (If you’ve had those STABBING pains UP your vajay-jay as if you’re about to give birth there and then can you imagine what that must have been like for Mary). I wonder how often she thought she might not make it – with the bobbing up and down on a donkey and Jesus most likely decending into position, pushing on her bladder. I imagine her fear and desperation not finding a place to stay, and then the mix of relief and discomfort finding a stable, a place to finally sit down, and then ‘prepare for the birth’. I wonder how long her birth was, how long did she push for (birth-nerd talk), and how the baby was delivered? At what point did her waters break? Was he breach? Was he posterior? How did Joseph handle it all? Did he freak out? Had either of them seen birth before – they were young… What did they do with the umbilical cord? Was there a moment of divine intervention from heaven above, or was it all really… human. This is BIRTH. Real, raw, scary, beautiful, empowering BIRTH. Yet the birth of a King.

Was there a split second of Peace on Earth? I doubt Mary was wearing white cloths neatly wrapped around her body (for one, there was no Aerial or Omo back in that day). If you’ve seen birth, nothing remains white. The cloth Jesus was wrapped in must have been covered with amniotic fluid, vernix and blood. This was the very messy, very real, very on-the-run birth of Christ. The Christ, the Saviour of the World. I wonder how long Mary and Joseph stared at Jesus wondering if he really was their Saviour.

And so as I reflect this Christmas, I think what I’m realising is that things often don’t look ‘right’. Surely Jesus should’ve had more to wear than swaddling cloths and a more comfy bed than a used animal trough? This picture is nothing like immaculately wrapped up gifts under the tree and the perfectly roasted gammon presented on a Pinterest worthy dining room table. There is nothing wrong with those things – I too love to celebrate WELL – but it seems the picture of Jesus’ birth and the deeper truth sometimes don’t seem to match up in ways we might imagine. This messy birth, and our Saviour on earth. This confusion leads us to Trust; to have Faith – two things it seems we need to possess in larger and larger quantities nowadays, in a world spinning off its axis and one in which we control far less than what we like to believe. Life is hard, and life can be scary; there are unknowns, and mess seems to be everywhere. In our humanness, we cannot understand it – well, I sure can’t.

Luke 2:12: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men.”

Wherever you find yourself currently… It’s coming. He is Hope. Be it in your heart, or here again in his Creation, we await his coming. We sit in the labour pains of the mysteries to come.

It’s almost time. Keep pushing, keep breathing. Behold, He is coming soon.

Image Credit: Photo by Jaimie Trueblood/newline.wireimage.com, https://brandonacox.com/advent-always-hope/.

The Annual Parental Boast

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – right? The madness of nativity plays and Christmas shopping, decorating, holiday biscuit making, red nose reindeer foot-printing, credit card maxing, food, festivities, and EXTREME BUSY-NESS. You see it everywhere.

Parental boasing hits an all time high this season (well-meaning boasting of course 🙂). The “here’s Johnny’s graduation day in Gr 000”, and “Awwww… Polly is a reindeer hoof in the school play” and “look at how beautiful Sammy’s homemade Christmas toilet paper angel is”, and and aaaaaaaaand. I can understand why these pictures can be a bit irritating for those without a reindeer hoof, toilet roll thingy-magig or Grade 000 graduation certificate. I mean I’m a parent, and I feel bombarded by FB’s plethora of random kid accomplishments.


DIGRESSION WARNING: Let me stop here to say I have numerous friends who are longing for children. LONGING to the point where communities have prayed and pleaded with God, and where I have physically and emotionally ached for them. Friends who have blessed MY family and MY children more so than I have ever properly acknowledged. Many are still walking this journey. This post is NOT for/directed at you. Please forgive our ignorant slapping of pictures onto Facebook which, I can only imagine, may cause a deep sting. May we all open our hearts, minds and homes to those who we know are walking this road… You are loved. May you feel this deeply this Christmas.

Back to the kids and their random kids accomplishments. Oh friends, they’re not. THEY ARE NOT.


You moms and dads out there: you’re Heroes. The relentlessness of parenting and the never-ending need experienced day-on-day… there are not many appropriate words to describe it, other to say that parenting is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There are not enough adverbs, both good and bad for how unbelievably intensely, beautifully, damn-bloody difficult it is. From the mental strain of remembering every single tiny little thing (darn you ‘show and tell’, why do you ALWAYS sneak up on me), to the physical exhaustion of a baby on a hip, broken sleep for the rest of our lives, the driving to and fro, sheltering your kids so you can get caught in the rain, the stepping on LEGO, to the emotions around playground talk, to emergency hospital visits, a scary diagnosis, indescribable fears…

Guys, the reality is that kids are insane. “They are tiny little dictators with unpredictable mood swings afraid of the most absurd things and cry for no apparent logical reason whatsoever”. How are you supposed to appropriately deal with that? It is like that ‘putting a jersey onto a octopus’ analogy. A bit like breastfeeding the baby while you’re on the toilet explaining to the sibling why you can’t butter their toast simultaneously. No wonder parenting is a big fat guessing game to which we all question whether we’re doing it right? There is no easy answer, ever, and we’re left wondering if all our impatient screaming has undone all the nail-bitingly difficult intentional “let’s make homemade Christmas paper with these potatoes and paint” moments. And I have a theory.

Those moments; when your kids eyes light up seeing Father Christmas, or when that Donkey (who is a kind, gentle, introverted thinker) actually sings a solo on the stage in front of 100+ people, or that ‘i love you’ they’re able to scribble for the very.first.time – that’s it. That’s the affirmation us parents are CRYING for. For the every-day, never-stopping, never-giving up day-in and day-out thing we do called Parenting. That’s it. That’s the glimpse of beautiful BRIGHT HOPE that we’re doing something, maybe very little, but something… right. They are it. It’s in these kids, and these moments that we see it. There is a tiny voice whispering from that graduation certificate/toilet roll angel/reindeer hoof performance proclaiming “well done mom/dad, you did okay, in fact you’re doing freakin’ awesome”.

Fellow (parenting) Comrades, You are PHENOMENAL. Post those end of year pictures everywhere you possibly can. Bombard us with them. Lock in those seemingly-absurd achievements… those joyful memories.

Celebrate loudly, celebrate richly, celebrate well. Because, man alive. You deserve it.