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Was There a Midwife in the Manager?

Over breakfast with my husband this morning he made a comment about the birth of Jesus and I wondered why Mary would want all those men, the Magi, coming to see her after her labor. It seems odd that back then men would come to greet her and she would be the only woman. Labor was a woman's place and men rarely gathered after a birth to spend time with mom.

Then I thought that Mary's birth was the most famous unassisted birth around, but was it really unassisted? Does it make sense that, even though they were poor, there wouldn't have been a midwife around to help her? It seems odd to me.

And what if the story did include a midwife? How would that have changed the fate of midwives if one helped deliver Jesus? Would the church have still hunted and burned these women if they were responsible for his birth? Would we have lost ancient healing knowledge about women and children if the bible had penciled in a midwife?

Did the original story have a midwife, but was it edited out by the church to erase any 'guilt' they might have felt during their killing spree?


Elizabeth said...

In Eastern Orthodox iconography, there is always a midwife pictured in the icon of the Nativity of Christ. Actually, there are usually two pictured. You can see my blog post on that here, along with a photo of my icon:

Courtney said...


Thanks so much for sharing. That image is a much richer version of anything I ever saw growing up in the Catholic church.