Many years ago, when I was living in Colorado, I worked as a nurse case manager in a prenatal clinic, We primarily served poor and undocumented Hispanics. One day, I was seeing a married woman expecting a baby. Nothing particularly unusual about her, except that she was a virgin. Yep. She was young, beautiful, in love, married, pregnant and had never had a penis inside her body.
This tidbit of information was shared during a routine prenatal visit. The pregnant client and her husband were careful and deliberate about sharing this intimate detail. They were concerned that being a virgin might make her upcoming childbirth difficult. First, I assured her that this didn’t concern me; a full term baby is always bigger than a penis (no matter what the penis owner might say), a baby coming out of a vagina is very different than a penis going in and besides, the Blessed Virgin Mary did it, right? (This got smiles and small laughs from them both). Next, I asked if they were willing to let me know any more about their ‘relations’ (code word in that community for ‘sex life’). Their body language led me to believe that they had a very loving and trusting relationship. I had no idea how right I was.
The husband, tall, dark, handsome, young and Hispanic, looked like a Malboro Machismo Man. Speaking quietly, he sounded exctly like a man that dearly loved his wife. Softly stroking her hand, he explained that she had ‘many fears’ because of things that had happened to her as a child, that they had tried to have ‘marital relations’ (code for sexual intercourse) but it was not possible without her becoming scared. He did not want to hurt or scare her. And they very much wanted to have a child. So they had gotten creative. They had, um, made sure that his seed was ‘placed close to the door’.
They were thrilled to be pregnant. Watching them with their fingers intertwined and eyes sparkling, that was easy to see. It was also easy to see that sharing this very private information was difficult for them but they wanted to do what was best for their baby.
About now, my time with this couple was almost up, soon the midwife would come in to review their chart and quickly palpate the pregnant abdomen. I squeezed their joined hands and told them how lucky this baby was to already be loved, how lucky they were to have found each other. Also, I restated that I was not concerned with Virgin Birth (it worked the first time, right?). I suggested that pregnancy was a time of growth (pointed at belly, got a laugh) and maybe, just maybe, ‘martial relations’ would not be so scary now. I said that it was important for this pregnant virgin to feel good, safe and loved. I said that it was ok for them to keep enjoying each others’ company (wink, wink) in whatever ways felt good and not scary for this brave woman. Enter the midwife. My time for this prenatal visit was up.
A month later, I saw this couple again. She was beaming. She wanted me to know that even though she conceived as a virgin, she would not be having a virgin birth. She smiled and said that we could leave that title for the Madonna.
May all babies be born into loving hands