Today is a self-imposed low-key day for me: I am studiously avoiding any kind of strain that might make me have to go to that palace of delights known as labor and delivery, also known as The Place Where Good Births Go To Die.
That's perhaps harsh, because it doesn't take into account the good work by triage nurses and obstetricians and midwives who don't think of a pregnant woman as someone with a serious condition or someone who is irredemably sick and needs to be "fixed". However, since Western medicine can't leave well enough alone, I'd rather not go to a place where I'll be monitored for whatever could be wrong with me, even if I feel fine and the baby is currently kicking up a storm while listening to Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor— a piece that also has my cat, Mademoiselle Gracie, looking at spots floating in the distance– perhaps with the solemn feline feeling that this is one of the best things to have ever been produced by a lowly human being.
About that, by the by, it seems I cannot get enough Bach. I would blame my little nemeses, the Little Einsteins, for doing a show with one of my favorite pieces EVAR — Minuet and Badinerie from the Ouverture No. 2 in B minor— but really, for once there is no blame. But since reliving the joys of realizing that my cell phone ring tone was a beautiful, vibrant piece that existed beyond the realm of polyphonic arrangements, it seems I cannot get enough Bach today.
Earlier, reading my trusty and beloved Wikipedia, I was remembering also how I was brutally forced had to learn pieces from the Anna Magdalena notebook for my piano classes when I was little (I have since forgotten to play, as if it had never happened, which is a little sad in itself), and I clicked on Anna Magdalena Bach's page.
And I was stunned.
She was Bach's second wife, also very musical –which is probably why those notebooks of music suited for home use, if you will, are in her name. And she bore him THIRTEEN CHILDREN.
Thirteen. Children. Thirteen pregnancies– not just my one-and-three-quarters pregnancy. She was also a second wife, which meant that while she was getting knocked up THIRTEEN times, she was also taking care of all of the other children from Bach's first marriage to Maria Barbara Bach, which were SEVEN. Ok, granted, apparently Maria Barbara had twins who didn't quite make it (TWINS!) and later, closer to her death, another child who didn't make it either, so Anna Magdalena would have only (only!) been taking care of four other children plus being busy with her THIRTEEN pregnancies, and the seven subsequent burials of young children that happened.
I honestly don't know why I am making a big deal of this, as this was the way the world was before modern contraception was– women had as many children as their husbands impregnated them with, and as many children as their bodies allowed them to have. Big families may be a thing of the past, but they are not of the so-distant past and some people still strive to run their household that way (*cough* DUGGARS *cough* QUIVERFULL *cough*hack*). The part that hits me even harder is the losses of all those little lives, in a way. I can't quite reconcile what it must be like to carry a pregnancy to term and love that child, only to see that little life ebb away due to some now-preventable childhood illness.
But you know… I did start this blog post because I am craving Bach as if the music were made of the purest and tastiest lard available. So without further ado, I bid you a nice rest of day and I'm off to hunt me down some more Badass of Baroque (I think it's catchy, should he have ever considered a boxing career) to satisfy my musical craving.
Good day, Internets!