This month I’m doing a Women in the Bible reading plan with a coworker friend.
Today’s reading was the precursor to the birth of Mosses. A backstory synopsis: Joseph had a dream, his brothers didn’t like it and sold him into slavery. Joseph continued to do lots of good and found favor everywhere he was put. He helped the Egyptians prepare for a major famine so they were they only folks with food. His people, the Israelites, had to come ask for food and he was kind to them and reunited with his family. They settled in Egypt…years later they were still there but eventually the Egyptians forgot the good work that Joseph did so they enslaved the Israelites to keep them from leaving.
Today’s reading summary: The new Pharaoh commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill all the baby boys because he wanted to stop the Israelites’ population from growing. They didn’t listen and made up a story on how the women pushed out babies faster than they could get there 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣
Now, I like this story for two reasons. (1) It reminds me that I need to know about my own history. The turn of events happened because there came to be a generation that forgot (or perhaps didn’t care about or believe the old stories from their elders). There are famous sayings that tell us when we don’t know or forgot about our history/past, then history is doomed to repeat itself. As an adult I’m trying to learn what I can about my own family tree so that I can one day teach my own children about their ancestors.
(2) The second reason is because it’s about MIDWIVES – the women focus for today. Despite orders from Pharaoh, the midwives continue to carry out their job duties of carrying for mothers and babies. This passage reminds me of one of my favorite tv shows: CALL THE MIDWIFE – a BBC drama that follows midwives in East London through the late 1950s to mid 1960s. These women had so many obstacles to jump over to safely help women give birth without many of the technological medical advances that we have today. But they had immense experience and were experts in their career field. I recently saw an episode where they were the ones training male medical doctors in what appeared to be an early version of what we would consider medical specialty rotations nowadays.
I remember learning about midwives when I was a kid and at one point wanting to pursue midwifery as a career. Nowadays I’m see an increase in birthing coaches and doulas as support for mommies and babies throughout the pre/postnatal journey. This extra support is particularly important for women of color because we have drastically increased odds of suffering complications at some point throughout the journey. Black maternal health week was back in April and honestly the blatant disparities rising from systematic racial oppression are an atrocious breach of human rights.
So, just like in history, women had the complete care and support from midwives, there is a need to ensure women have the support that they need throughout the pre and postnatal journey relative to any additional risks that they may develop. Babies are precious. Mothers are special. They both need to be cared for and the people who do so with a heart for the work are people after God’s own heart.