Did Mary have labor pains and did Jesus have a belly button?

Father Simon answers many questions—some with very complicated answers and others that are simpler, some that are very serious and others somewhat lighthearted. During a recent program, he answered two separate questions about very specific details of the birth of Christ.

Lily: Did Mary have any labor pains when she gave birth to Jesus?

Unfortunately, this question doesn’t have a clear yes or no answer. “This is very controversial because you see, labor pains are associated with the fall from grace. But if you look at the verse closely in Genesis, God doesn’t say that Eve had no labor pains, [he] said, “Your pain in giving birth will be increased.” So Eve may have had labor pains. And I maintain that just as her divine son allowed himself to suffer—he too was immaculately conceived and not subject to the effects of original sin, though he in his humility consented to suffering—I have no problem thinking that our Blessed Mother, though she was free from the obligation to pain, in love for her divine son might have also suffered,” explained Fr. Richard Simon, host of Father Simon SaysTM on Relevant Radio®.

“So I think either may be true, that she may have had no pains and it may have been an absolutely miraculous birth, or she may have had pains though she did not have to have pains. So … it’s one of those things that we’ll have to ask her on the day after the Resurrection, God-willing we are worthy of heaven.”

John : Someone from another religion was talking to me about how Jesus didn’t have a belly button because of the way he was born.

“The Bible says clearly: He was like us in all ways but sin. I assume that includes a navel! This is one of the most interesting Scripture questions I’ve ever heard,” laughed Fr. Simon. “The idea is that I’ve heard it said, Adam and Eve wouldn’t have had a belly button because they were born directly from the mind of God. But if Jesus just appeared on—I think some people have said that seriously—that if Jesus simply appeared on the lap of the Blessed Mother—and there’s some thought that that’s what the virgin birth means—he wouldn’t have had a belly button. Well, he was like us in all things but sin, and that includes a navel!”

For more interesting questions and answers from Father Simon, tune in to Father Simon Says weekdays at 2pm ET / 11am PT.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.