December 21, 2016
Born on Christmas Day; 3 points of view
When my phone rang at 7am on Christmas morning and Leilah’s husband James, told me she was having irregular contractions, my ears pricked up. This was Leilah’s first baby and the expected due date was 25 December. Throughout her pregnancy Leilah was adamant it wouldn’t be Christmas Day, just too inconvenient for everyone. I agreed with her, it would most likely be after and possibly in the New Year. When James rang again, and told me she was sitting on the loo and making lots of noises, I knew that today would in fact, be the day. I live very near to Leilah, so I was with her in minutes. And with two hour of me being there, a lovely baby girl was born at home as planned….just NOT on the day we had planned! What a lovely, happy experience it was for me as Leilah’s midwife. Working closely with women and their families, you have time to build up a close relationship, so being present at any birth is a privilege and honour.
‘It was really magical and special, Alani was born next to the Christmas tree, and it felt nice and peaceful’ Leilah said.
For me this was the cherry on the cake as my first Christmas Day birth as an independent midwife. And so quick too! I was home by 2pm in time for Christmas dinner and all my family and friends thinking it was so cool that I’d delivered a baby on Christmas day. And I agree with them. I’m not religious, but Christmas after all, is a celebration of another birth 2000 years ago. For me it’s about being with loved ones, kindness to others and appreciating what we have.
After I’d gone home Leilah told me ‘We spent the rest of the day staring at her, in shock and amazement and eating cheese and biscuits’.
Chatting with Leilah last week, I asked what she felt about having a baby on Christmas Day. ‘I really wasn’t prepared but I think that’s why I was so chilled, and not worrying when the baby would come.’ She added ‘I’d rather she wasn’t born on Christmas day, for her benefit really.’
To celebrate Alani’s first birthday and future one’s Leilah said ‘For the moment we’ll have a segment of Christmas Day to celebrate as her birthday. But as she gets older we’ll probably give her, her own day, a half birthday probably 25th June’. Being a Christmas day baby means waiting a whole year to celebrate your birthday and Christmas, when the focus of the celebration is likely mostly Christmas. I can appreciate parents wanting their children to have their own special day and not feeling they are missing out.
I asked Debbie Beaven, another woman I’ve been a midwife for about her experiences and thoughts about being a Christmas Day baby. Debbie never felt this was a disadvantage as a child.
She says ‘I remember it being lovely because mum always made it extra special as you just get one day rather than two, but first and foremost, it was my birthday’.
One of the big benefits is no school and family will always be around celebrating with you. Things are different as an adult though and especially since having children herself when the focus is on the family with less time for your grown-up friends.
Debbie says ‘I don’t think I’ve celebrated my birthday with friends for a decade or more’ and ‘Big’ birthdays, like a 40th just don’t happen at Christmas, as it’s far too busy.’ When asked if she’d ever considered celebrating a half birthday in the summer, Debbie says if her childhood birthdays hadn’t been so special she probably would have done so. One thing Debbie did point out though is ‘You’ll get a Christmas card with ‘Happy Birthday’ written in it, and one present rather than two!’
I’d like to wish a very Happy Birthday to Alani and Debbie on 25th December and a very Happy Christmas to everyone else!
Kay Hardie is an independent midwife who cares for women in Kent.
When my phone rang at 7am on Christmas morning and Leilah’s husband James, told me she was having irregular contractions, my ears pricked up. This was Leilah’s first baby and the expected due date was 25 December. Throughout her pregnancy Leilah was adamant it wouldn’t be Christmas Day, just too inconvenient for everyone. I agreed […]