The Royal Writhe
“How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension.” Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, will certainly be remembered for these affirming words following the birth of his first child. The “woman” on his mind is Duchess Meghan Markle, and his reference is most certainly to the birthing process.
Indeed, a woman’s willingness to endure the trial of childbirth is universally and historically acclaimed. Biblical authors use birth as a default metaphor when they want to describe a time of intense trouble or trial. A Psalmist once wrote of enemy kings who experienced “pain like that of a woman in labor” as they approached the intimidating grandeur of Mount Zi0n (Psalm 48:6). In a prophecy against Babylon, Isaiah wrote, “Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame” (Isaiah 13:8). And the Apostle Paul used childbirth to describe the state of a world in need of redemption: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:22).
“Terror, pain, anguish, writhe, aghast, flame, groaning and pain.”
Whew! How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension.
I suspect, if Harry maintains the same level of introspection in the future that is evident today, he will broaden his context. Yes, moms are amazing, but not just because they give birth, as incomprehensible as that might be.
“Writhe.” I can’t get that word out of my mind.
How moms serve and bless their children throughout their lives is beyond comprehension. Whether a mom adopts, fosters or births, the demands of parenting require heroic devotion. And the work isn’t getting any easier.
Loving moms commit their lives to the task of helping their children navigate the world, and preparing them for adulthood. I don’t mean to suggest they do it alone, and I am also aware some children are raised by fathers, grandparents or other guardians. But for my purposes here, I am focusing on mothers who pour themselves out for their children, and the honor they deserve.
Children come to us as mysteries. We may know a few things about them, whether they are a boy or girl, easy going or prone to discontent. Do they sleep through the night? Will they have curly or straight hair?
As our children grow many mysteries are revealed such as personality traits, natural giftedness and personal challenges. Perceptive Moms take note of these revelations as they emerge, and strive to prepare their children to take on the world.
I admire the nurturing process Moms pursue on behalf of their children. Mothers are talent scouts, career counselors, therapists, doctors and theologians wrapped up in one. And all of this before a child’s first day of school.
There are dark days too. Days when a two-parent home become a single-parent home. Medical tests that indicate the role of Mom is going to be a lot harder than expected. Financial struggles. A “falling out” with a neighbor. Car wrecks. Emergency room visits. A call from the Principal’s office. A call from the police station. The door slamming on its hinges and the words no mother wants to hear: “I hate you!”
It’s not just something that happens in childbirth.
And yes, Harry, you were most right. If anything, your comment was just a bit narrow. But then, people understand you were merely speaking in the moment. How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension. Obviously, this is true of women in general, with or without children. But we get it, and I am sure Meghan loves you for it!
Now, we await a name. I personally believe “Larry Ray” would be quite royal.