Andy has been going in late to work once a week these days so that I can work on my Masters thesis (entitled Birthing Conflict: Childbirth and the Battle of the Sexes in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama) and I have been seriously loving every waking minute I spend working on it! I go to a coffee shop to work for a couple hours while he has DFD (Daddy Fun Day) at home with the kids. This week while I was reading some 500-year-old birth stories told by historian David Cressy, I was struck by a sentimental epiphany. I realized that these women–who lived so very long ago and who lived so differently than I–had labors that sounded just like mine. And like other birth stories of contemporary women, that I am so fond of reading. They gave birth just like I did. It really struck me how cultures and customs change, our attitudes and behaviors toward childbirth change, our birth attendants and medical procedures change, but birth itself does not. Pure, natural childbirth is unchanging. It is a human constant.
This, I find to be very inspiring. To think that I shared something with women that came before me so very, very long ago. To think that what I experienced was also experienced by some of the most phenomenal women in history– Catherine Aragon, Anne Boleyn, queens, princesses, wise women, and peasant girls alike. This is why I get soooooo sentimental at Christmastime. And why every Christmas play I’ve ever directed has strong moments that linger on the beauty of the bond between Mary and the baby Jesus. I relish the thought of the mother of Christ sharing in the same emotions and feelings that I did when I birthed my babies.
So that was my epiphany of the week. Tune in next week for more heart-melting stories from the land of theatre research.