This post is written by contributing writer, Alina from Good Old Days Farm.
When I had my first baby everyone was very excited! When I had my second baby everyone was happy. After all, a second baby is expected. But when I had my third baby… well, some people just thought I was being excessive. That’s when the “Don’t-you-know-what-causes-that?” jokes started.
Comments like, “You’re going to stop after this, right?” or “Don’t you know it’s not ‘Green’ to have more than one child?” made me sad. Why wasn’t my community welcoming this precious little life as warmly as they had welcomed my first baby? Was this child worth less simply because he happened to be the third-born child instead of the first-born? Isn’t complaining about a child’s birth order just as discriminatory as complaining about someone’s gender or race? I think it is!
The Bible calls children a blessing. It doesn’t say that first children are a blessing, or that only first and second children are a blessing. God says that all children are a blessing:
“Lo, Children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them…” Psalm 127:3-5
When a couple has a child, they are being rewarded by God. He is the author and creator of life and each new baby celebrates and honors God and His power to create. God gives these little babies to us for a time, so that we might train them and prepare them to live with Him for Eternity.
Living in the society that we live in – a society that no longer honors motherhood and welcomes babies the way it once did – it is so important for us to come alongside expectant mothers and provide a warm and loving community for them. Mothers need a community that says, “We love your new baby!” “We are excited to welcome this new little life among us!” “We are thankful for this new little blessing God is sending to all of us!” “The world will be a better place because of this baby.”
Here are some tangible ways I have found to celebrate a baby while showing my love and excitement to an expectant mother:
- Take a meal to an expectant mama! She’s probably exhausted… especially if she also has little children to take care of! A meal is nurturing, encouraging and practical all at the same time!
- If there are young children in the family, offer to take them out or watch them at their home while Mama has a nap or a long quiet bath.
- Do some housework… Fold some laundry… And be sure to tell Mama that you are excited about the baby and this is your contribution so that she can focus on gestating for a little while.
- Talk to the baby! Always ask permission before touching Mama’s belly, but lean down and say things like, “Hello Sweet Baby! We are so excited to meet you! I can’t wait to hold you!”
- Be sure to hold a baby shower! If the family already has all the baby-gear they need (and even if they don’t) A Celebration of Pregnancy such as Doran Richards writes about is a great way to bless and pamper Mama all while giving thanks to God as the creator of this baby.
For the Birth:
- At the baby shower, hand out candles as the take-home gift. When Mama goes into labor, ask everyone to light their candles and place their candle in an obvious spot. As people see their candles throughout the day, they are reminded to pray!
- With the mother’s consent, consider hiring a Doula to be with the mother throughout the birth. (This might be something several people go in on together.) Doulas offer emotional and physical support for the mother throughout birth and the presence of a Doula statistically results in shorter labors with fewer medical complications.
- Make sure Mama has a good meal for after the birth. Don’t assume that someone else took care of this. Even if she’s in the hospital, she still might need food. (After I gave birth the cafeteria sent up a plate of cabbage and beans… and the nurses wouldn’t let any of us eat it for fear of a nursery full of gassy babies!)
- Offer to watch any older children and bring them to the hospital shortly after the birth. It will relieve Mama’s mind to know that her other little ones are in great hands!
After the Birth:
- Go see the baby! Call ahead and make sure this is ok, but most families love a short visit! There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a hospital room and feeling like the whole world has forgotten you. Don’t bring sick children and don’t hold the baby for more than a couple of minutes, but do go to share their excitement and shower the family with love!
- Don’t forget meals! Mama needs to be resting… not cooking. My friends from India tell me that it is their custom for Mama to stay in bed 40 days. They also have very low rates of female-type reproductive system diseases later in life which they attribute to this custom. Giving the body ample time to recover is always a good thing! (By the way, did you know that the Bible requires 33 days to recuperate from the birth of a boy and 66 days from the birth of a girl? Look it up in Leviticus 12:1-5!)
- Be a servant. Look around and try to anticipate Mama and Daddy’s needs. What can you do that would make their lives just a little bit easier?
- Pray! Pray for the baby, pray for the Mama, pray for the parents, pray for the siblings, pray for the grandparents… The most important thing you can do for this new little person is pray, pray, pray!