When I married my husband, I inherited a religious tradition that his family has followed for many years. Baby showers and gifts for an unborn child are taboo. Decorating the nursery before the baby comes home is forbidden. Buying anything baby-related is strictly prohibited until your child is snuggled safely in your arms. Their belief is that preparing via gifts and decorations puts the baby in harms way by drawing attention from the evil eye or dark spirits. Plus, if you’ve completely outfitted a room for baby and G-d forbid, you don’t get to bring that baby home, the pain of disassembling the room would be unbearable.
Personally, I liken it to bragging about your good fortune, and Karma coming back to bite you on the backside later. I speak from experience. But not having come from a similar background, I was hard-pressed to fall inline with these rules when I became pregnant. First of all, I’m a planner so I was not about to bring a baby home without making sure I had everything in place.
Secondly, it’s just too darn fun to buy cute, little baby things. So I rebelled against the system and did some secret shopping during my gestation period. I’d bring home a cuddly sleeper or blanket and promptly hide it in the closet. I even allowed my coworkers to host a shower for me. I didn’t buy anything big like furniture, but by the time my daughter arrived, I had quite a stash of supplies.
Fast forward a year later and I find myself pregnant again. I’m shopping at a local store and discover the cutest Moses Basket. It came in blue, pink, or green, and it was irresistible. Not knowing the sex of my baby but hoping for a boy, I chose blue and hurried to the layaway department. I wasn’t breaking the rules if I had the store hold it for me for a few months right?
Two layaway payments and twelve weeks later, I found out via a sonogram that the baby’s heart had stopped beating. I was devastated. I mourned for a few days before I remembered the stupid, stupid Moses Basket that sat waiting for the arrival of my baby. A baby that would never be. A stronger person might have been better equipped to handle the trip to cancel the layaway, but I cried the entire time. I’m sure the store clerk thought I was nuts.
Afterwards, as I sat in my car attempting to regroup, I finally understood the importance of the family/religious tradition. And while I know it’s not the best custom for everyone to follow, I’m now a strong supporter. And hey, it might mean that I spend a lot less money on cute, cuddly baby things next time around.
By Mama Michele of Barefoot & Pregnant