Sorry, been rather ignoring my blog lately, will write about that later but just felt inspired by a post from the Curates wife about Mary...
When I was 21 I found myself pregnant. I was iingle and 21,000 (ish) miles from home in Australia. Of course when I say I 'found' myself pregnant, I was responsible for that, it wasn't a divine action in my case... I was, frankly, stupid and should have known better. I didn't realise I was pregnant until a few weeks in. (although I was late and feeling distinctly nauseous). When I did the test I was shocked, to say the least. A bit of background was that at the time I wasn't eating properly. I had self esteem issues and thought that I needed to lose weight (I didn't, I was very thin anyway). I was surviving on a cuppa soup and an apple at most, each day. On top of that myself and my then boyfriend both smoked and were taking a lot of drugs, mostly pot. I also had a job that required a lot of heavy lifting. So although I was careless, it hadn't even crossed my kind that I could be pregnant, I was hardly in the best of health and nor was my boyfriend.
So I sat in this little cubicle in the hostel I was staying in (Aussie backpackers), just staring at the stick and the blue line. I felt sick (more than I had been!). The first thing I did was smoke 3 cigarettes in quick succession (yes I know, but I was in shock ok, and they were the last of the pregnancy!). I was terrified. My job was about to come to an end, I had no money, we were living in a backpackers hostel that was about to be bulldozed and on top of that I was miles from home and no way to get back. My boyfriend was an alcoholic and had various issues, none of which would have made him suitable to be a good parent.
But, even in that fear I knew that I would have the baby. I wasn't anti-abortion, but even amidst that fear and emotion, I just knew. As I look back now I know that God was watching over me. Now I am not suggesting for one second that God made me pregnant or that this was some kind of diving interception, but at the same time I just know it was meant to be. Having that baby changed my life. I was in a dark place back then. I hated myself. I was being very stupid and not looking after myself. If I had not become pregnant back then I honestly don't know where I would be right now. So am I always thankful for the gift of that baby.
I know for some it isn't always a gift. For some it is hard or impossible to concive. For others babies are conceived out of great pain. But at the same time, a new baby is a miracle of life. aAfew weeks ago I was ill and spent 2 days watching daytime telly. Not the treat I thought it might be, but I did watch 'Pregnant at 16' on MTV. Far from being the trash that I expected it was actually very moving and brought back a lot of memories. I remember coming home from Oz and telling people I was pregnant. No one said 'congratulations'. People showed concern, asked 'are you keeping it?'... it? it? it is a baby, a new life. What any woman needs when she finds herself pregnant, in whatever circumstances, is support and love. The last thing she needs is condemnation, disain, judgement.
I do not begin to compare myself with Mary. But one can only begin to imagine how she was feeling when that angel appeared to her. I imagine some time must have passed, before she actually began to 'feel' pregnant. I wonder whether she told anyone, before she knew herself that she was. I wonder if she doubted the angel until she felt those first feelings of pregnancy. I wonder what she told her parents. I wonder what their initial reaction was. In parts of the middle east today woman are still sentenced to stoning for adultery. I imagine it was far worse back then. Did she have to hide in fear of her life?
My parents were not happy at my news, it's fair to say, but they did stand by me. I was lucky. I may have had the odd remark or disparaging looks, but I was not in fear of my life. Not only that but the government would support me so I would not starve or be homeless.
When we talk about Mary and what happened to her, it tends to have this rosy glow about it. Ah yes, wonderful Mary, who had an angel come talk to her adn tell her she was going to carry the son of God... but the reality? I am sure it was very different to how we tell it...