|Mary was a teenage mum
Her babe born in a byre
Despite poverty and prejudice
She brought up the Messiah!
I wrote that.
It’s that time of year again when we remember the birth of a Palestinian Jewish lad 2,000 years ago. But we’d do well to remember his mum: a poor teenage girl, living in an occupied territory, who became pregnant before she was married. Far from home, she went into labour and -probably unaided- gave birth in a cowshed to a healthy son.
I had a son on Christmas Eve 12 years ago. I had a midwife, a sister-in-law and a husband in attendence. I had painkilling drugs and hygienic conditions. It was scary. So I have nothing but respect for all the women around the world who have and still do give birth with no help, no sanitation and have to bring up their children in complete poverty.
I also have respect for all the girls who, finding themselves with an unplanned pregnancy, and despite the fact that society considers teenage mothers to be a ‘problem’, bravely decide to go ahead and have their babies.
The problem is that young women don’t get the decent sex and relationships education they need. And then society blames them for the consequences of their ignorance. Although this wouldn’t have made much difference in Mary’s case.