Monday, June 16, 2008

Does 'miracle' need demoting?

Last week New Zealand Woman's Weekly had a headline on the cover announcing that a former All Black and a former Silver Fern were celebrating the arrival of their 'miracle baby.'

Now let's stop for a moment and consider the word 'miracle'.

Wikipedia will tell you that a miracle is 'a fortuitous event believed to be caused by interposition of divine intervention by a supernatural being in the universe by which the ordinary course and operation of Nature is suspended, or modified. '

And The Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionary (revised edition) will tell you that a miracle is a supernatural event.

In my world (and I accept my world can be a rather delusional one) a miracle would be say, Stevie Wonder regaining his sight. Or if a baby had been discovered alive seventeen days after the Sichuan earthquake, that I would consider a miracle. Peace in the middle East - miracle. Myself becoming a respected opera singer - giant miracle (a stapler could hold a better tune than me).

So you can understand why, when I saw a shot of two apparently fit and healthy looking individuals accompanied by the words 'miracle baby' I was a little intrigued as to why this baby was a miracle? I know people claim birth to be a miracle and all that, but really isn't that like so beginning-of-time school of thought? Isn't birth more of a really bad physical equation? (Have to say, whoever invented the whole child birth caper was obviously rubbish at geometry.)

But back to this baby, why was it a miracle? Had its mother previously been a man? Did the baby's mother cough it up like a fur ball? Could it change water into wine? Did it whisper the final score of a yet-to-be-played game of the Lions versus the All Blacks into its parents' ears?

Surely, something had to be up with the little bundle of joy cause we're not talking a couple of drug addicted, chain smoking, heavy drinking fifty year olds having a baby. We are talking two relatively youthful national sporting heroes, after all?

Well, er, no actually - not that much was up at all.

This baby was heralded a miracle because it, apparently, was delivered by Cesarean section. Just like nearly thirteen thousand other babies did in New Zealand in 2003. (I accept that they're not exactly up-to-date stats, but they're the best I could do on my twelve second Google search.)

Since when did arriving into this world via the sunroof become a miracle ? Is it just me or is that a rather liberal stretching of the word? Perhaps it's time to downgrade the word 'miracle' ? A mediocracle maybe?


Anonymous said...

"Mediocracle" - that's a brilliant word and one I will forthwith be adding to my vocab. Love it!

laughykate said...

Why thank you!

Medbh said...

LK, c-sections are getting to be standard procedure in the U.S. as more and more women want to schedule their delivery dates. Can't say that I blame them. Who wants to push it out if they can take it out?
But yes, it's hardly a miracle.

laughykate said...

The rate is going up here too, as i said i only found the 2003 stats, but at that stage about thirty percent of births were c-sections, compared with 1988 when it was around the eighteen percent mark.

surfergirl said...

In short...yes

(PS 2007 Stat were released this week I think)

E xx

laughykate said...

Maybe a factracle could join the language as well?

Sunshine said...

Send this blog to as a letter to the editor and see if they publish it

laughykate said...

Somehow I'm sure they'd be able to crowbar some sort of languagey justification into their answer.