To the woman he said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labour you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
That is what the Bible says in Genesis 3-16. The last sentence in the verse may appear to be feminist in the minds of the present generation of gender equity proponents. So, I will ignore it and concentrate on the first part- that which describes the pains and suffering of women during child birth.
Question: Does the verse refer also to female animals? If the curse was meant for the human species, why then do animals go through the same predicament as the humans?
In my life with the wild animals in the conservation areas, and indeed within the domesticated animals, I have watched births in wildebeests, zebras and even our cows in the rural home. One cannot help noticing the pains of childbirth. Yet there is no mention of that in the Bible. But if, by interpretation of the book of God by the learned theologians, there is a link that puts the wild animals within the same cauldron with human females, then it means all the female animals must suffer the pains of childbirth as God commanded. If that is so, then the interpreters did not understand the world of animals well enough to know that there are animals that do not know the suffering of childbirth. A good example would be the well known Australian national animal, the kangaroo. Why would I say the kangaroos do not know the pains of giving birth?
A kangaroo is in the group of animals that is known as marsupials. Animals that possess pouches in which to raise their young ones. A full grown kangaroo stands taller than a man, and weighs more than 120 kilos. His huge hind legs have a steel spring power that can send him sailing over nine foot fence with ease. Yet a new born kangaroo is less than an inch long – about the size of a bee, or the big house fly. To make it easy to understand the size of a new born baby kangaroo, you would like to imagine the size of the little finger of a new born human baby. That is what the mother kangaroo brings forth into the world. I would like to invite you again to imagine such a big animal giving birth to less than an inch of a baby. Would that be painful?
The baby of a kangaroo is born semi transparent. It is so pitifully small, it looks like an earthworm. The only part of the baby that is fully developed is it’s little hands that it uses to grip to it’s mother’s fur, and hitches his way towards her protective pouch, ordinarily making the trip entirely on his own. On the rare occasion when he needs help, the mother takes him gently with her lips and tucks him away in the pouch, which will be the new home for the next four months.
As soon as the baby is installed, he takes hold of a milk gland, which would resemble a nipple, and hangs on to it with an inseparable grip. He is not strong enough to suckle. He has no developed muscles to move anything other than to hold on to the tit for dear life. It is the mother who nature has favoured in this regard. She has special muscles by which she pumps milk into the baby’s system. No pains at all even in the initial upbringing of a helpless little “Joey”, which is the name given to the tiny baby kangaroo.
It used to be a puzzle how the baby breathes while attached to the mother’s nipple. This was until the scientist found that an elongated part of the Joey’s larynx connects with the back part of nasal passage, so air passes directly into his lungs, and he does not choke on his milk.
By the time he is four months old, he has grown some fur coat, and can detach himself from the mother’s tit, and take a peep at the world outside.
Up to this point, there is nothing that would associate a painful birth to the kangaroo. So if females live with the curse of painful birth, how was the marsupials exempted? Let’s hear a comment from theology experts.