Religion is still considered a “hot” topic. This means that it is still something not a lot of people want to discuss. The old rule of not mixing church and state is still followed, and is still a good idea. There are many different beliefs, and forms of religion out there. There is a group who believe in nothing, that there is no higher being and that when we die, we just cease to exist. There are those who go to church every Sunday, believe in a God or some higher being and believe in some form of life or existence after death. Then there are those who do not belong to any from of organized religion, but do still believe in a higher power.
No matter which category you fall in, as long as you are not hurting anyone, it really shouldn’t matter. Yet, it still does, and it may always. Religion has been the cause of many battles and wars across history. It has even caused battles in health care. Some refuse life-saving blood transfusions due to religious beliefs. Others believe in no treatments at all, as to not interrupt God’s plan. This must make us think that religion can play a part in conceiving, carrying and birthing a child.
What part does it play? If you are someone who does not know a lot about different religions, or practice anything, you may be very curious about this. Even if you do belong to a religion, maybe you are curious about how other religions see and treat pregnant women. Is it a good thing or bad thing? In this article, we are going to discuss the role religion plays in being pregnant that may not make it such a good thing.
It is always interesting to learn about different religions and cultures, and while they may seem absurd to us, they are quite the norm to them. In Hinduism, they believe that the fetus is vulnerable to evil spirits at any point throughout the mom’s pregnancy. To protect the developing baby, there are certain rituals that are performed. They are performed during very specific months of the pregnancy.
The rituals do vary depending on the different Hindu community, but they can be both social or religious rituals. The important thing to remember when we speak of different cultures and religions is to be respectful. If we do not believe something, it doesn’t make it any less real or believable to them. No one likes being told that what they believe is wrong, even if you believe nothing at all. Believing that your child is vulnerable to evil spirits is definitely an added stress.
14First Comes Marriage …
This is probably the most well known “rule” when it comes to conceiving a child, in most religions. The rule states that a baby should not be born out of wedlock. That a pair needs to be married before having a child, and this is the way it is, because a lot of religions tell you that sexual intimacy should not be done until marriage.
This is simply not the way of the world anymore; a lot of people are having children without having that marriage certificate. While this is acceptable and fine to most people (provided you can care for this child), it is still frowned upon by a lot of churches. If you are part of a religious family and community, and find yourself with child, this can be a very hard time for you. This is when women are forced to make decisions that they may not want to make.
It is always fascinating to learn about different beliefs, it is one way to erase any stigma and ignorance about a certain group of people. Ignorance breeds hate, and I think we have enough of that in this world. In Judaism, they truly believe pregnant women are beautiful and that pregnancy is a challenge and a destiny. While that seems sweet, they also have a set of beliefs when it comes to pregnancy.
They believe that a pregnant woman should not walk in a cemetery or be around death or dying in any way, because that will bring bad luck to the baby. Those who practice Judaism also believe that a name should not be given to a baby before it is born, because that will draw attention to the baby and bring it bad luck. These do sound more like superstitions than religious ideals, but it is still something to worry and stress and expectant mother out.
Another ‘rule’ that those who practice Judaism believe is that a mom-to-be should always be in a state of calm and tranquility. That she should never feel anxious because if she does it will affect the baby. Easier said than done in today’s world. With the influence of social media, it is harder and harder to remain calm when you are expecting a child, and it only gets worse when the baby comes.
When religions have their own ‘guidelines’ or ‘superstitions’ that depict what may happen if you do something, it can also cause a bit of anxiety. If you are not to be near a cemetery, but you accidentally drive by one, this may make your anxiety grow. It seems like the only way to make sure a mom stays calm is to place in her a bubble and padded-room where she can meditate and live out her pregnancy in peace, without the influence of the outside world.
A lot of religious practices have guidelines on what you should or should not eat. Jewish eat Kosher foods, and Muslims do not eat pork. Not all the rules are followed, but there are still groups out there who follow these guidelines absolutely. There is nothing wrong with that, unless you are pregnant and extremely religious.
For a Jewish woman, the religion dictates that nutrition is very important and vital. We all know this, but it means that she is only allowed to eat Kosher foods. Which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but what happens if mom has a craving that is not exactly Kosher? This happens, and if she is forced to follow the rules, she won’t be able to partake in these cravings. Might not seem like and end of the world situation, but it can sure suck sometimes.
10Spread The Word
When a woman finds out she is pregnant, she can’t wait to shout it from the rooftops. She is so excited that she can not wait to tell everyone about her exciting news, and to start celebrating. Most women, regardless of religion, wait until the end of their first trimester. Usually in case a miscarriage occurs, it is awful to announce a pregnancy and then tell everyone repeatedly that you have lost the baby.
Judaism dictates that a woman can not announce her pregnancy until the fifth month. That means that until she has reached the 5-month mark, she can not share the news with friends and even family. That is one way to take some of the excitement away. You also only have 4 months to celebrate the arrival of the newborn. It is also just hard to keep it a secret for that long, both because you are excited to share, and you may be sprouting a baby bump well before that.
9Say ‘I Do’
We already briefly talked about conceiving a child before marriage, and how it is generally frowned upon by many religions. Muslim is no different. They also believe that intercourse should not occur until marriage, that it is something saved for man and wife. Therefore, if a baby is born before marriage, obviously that rule has been broken.
If this situation occurs for a Muslim family, what would happen is both parents of the newly expectant parents would discuss and try and arrange a marriage between the two as soon as possible. I don’t think this would be a great thing if the pair didn’t love each other. Accidents happen, and sometimes it is between two people who are not compatible for marriage. Doesn’t mean the child won’t have a loving mother and father, so being forced into marriage can be a way that the pregnancy is ruined.
Pregnancy and child birth may be common, and something that happens every day, but it doesn’t mean that they safe. With all the changes your body goes through, added with the stress of childbirth, it has the potential to be the most dangerous part of a woman’s life. Thankfully, with modern medicine the way it is, a lot of women’s lives are being saved. Whether through medicine or medical intervention.
If you are a Jehovah Witness, there is one life-saving intervention that is strictly prohibited, and that is receiving blood transfusions. This is particularly relevant to childbirth. If a woman finds herself in a predicament where she is hemorrhaging after birth, she will not be allowed to receive any blood transfusions that could potentially be life saving. There are cases were a substitute could be used, a synthetic product that does not contain any actual blood product in it.
7The A Word
Sometimes women get pregnant and they do not wish to continue with the pregnancy. There is no use trying to get around this topic, because it happens. It is a woman’s choice and her right to decide on whether she wants to continue with a pregnancy, but religion can play a part in this decision. Catholic’s define a life from the very beginning. As soon as a sperm meets the egg and fertilizes, a life is created. Therefore, it stands to reason, that any termination of that life is murder.
For a woman who comes from a largely religious family, this can be an awful situation to be in. She may deep down know that she can not handle this pregnancy, but will continue to carry the baby to term, because she has been fed her whole life that abortion is murder. Therefore, if she aborted her baby, she would be a murderer.
Some churches and religions, specifically those of the Christian nature, really drive home a lesson about Eve. If you don’t know, Eve was considered a sinner for eating the forbidden fruit, and there are those that believe women are still paying for her sin. Now, not all churches (very few now) believe this, but there are still groups out there that say that childbirth hurts for a reason.
They state that the reason childbirth hurts so much, is that it is still God’s way of punishing us women, for what Eve did in that garden. Now, this can seem a bit unfair, and can challenge how people view God. If you are a largely religious person, who believes in this theory, it may make you even more terrified of the upcoming childbirth. As well as a little resentful that you are paying for someone else’s sins.
5The B Word
While we are on the subject of Christian beliefs, I want to revisit the whole rule of children being born out of wedlock. It is a common school ground teasing game that children who were born before their parents were married, were ‘bastards’. Heck, I was one, and I got called this name on the playground every now and then.
The Christian’s really believe this. They truly believe that children born out of wedlock are ‘bastards’. Why? Well, because the bible tells them so. Biblically speaking, if a child is born out of wedlock, this means that they are not truly sons. It also means that their mere presence will somehow taint their surroundings. This just took the school yard teasing to a whole other level. Not a great way to enjoy your pregnancy when all you can think about is you ‘bastard’ child.
It is the worst nightmare of every expectant woman out there. Something going wrong with the pregnancy, something which requires you to get to a hospital as soon as possible. Picture this, something has gone wrong (doesn’t matter what) and you rush to the nearest hospital. The first one you come across states on their sign that they are a ‘Catholic’ Hospital. You think that they will still help you, but they don’t, they turn you away. You are having an emergency concerning the well-being of your unborn child, and you are turned away because you are not Catholic.
This is a problem, and sadly, it is something that happens. These hospitals, run by very religious individuals, are usually private and they are allowed to turn anyone away. This could not only ruin your pregnancy, but it could tragically end your pregnancy.
3What Year Is It?
When a woman is pregnant, she likes to feel like she is in control, somewhat. There is only so much that we can control when it comes to pregnancy, we like to hold on to the little we have. This is normally fine, unless you are part of the Islam religion. Islamic states that a wife needs to get her husbands permission before making a lot of decisions, even those ones pertaining to her pregnancy and childbirth.
Decisions such as having a hysterectomy, must be made with the husband’s permission. This may seem a little absurd, because a man does not need his wife’s permission before having a vasectomy. I don’t mean to imply that the relationships are controlling or one-sided. Most relationships involve open communication on both sides, and is not a husband ordering a wife around. It is just a rule of the Islamic religion.
No matter which religion you belong too, there will always be some form of pressure when you are pregnant. You will have multiple opinions from many different generations. Are you choosing a biblical name? When are you getting the baby baptized? These are things that will just be assumed you are doing. They are not asking if you are doing these things, but rather when you are doing them.
The pressure can even come if you are not religious, but your parents are. This is when they may start to pressure you into choosing religion for your child, because (to them) it is the right thing to do. No matter your stance on the matter, or your reasons for why you do or do not want to raise your child as part of an organized religion will not matter to them.
1It Can Be Wonderful
While we have talked a lot about the different ways that being religious can ruin pregnancy for you, no matter your religion, there are also reasons why it can be a blessing. Organized religions can be a very welcoming and supporting group. The congregation (people of the church) may turn into a small community, full of love and support.
They are also a great source of different resources in your community for assistance. Even the minister can turn into a listening ear when you are burnt out, and need an impartial ear to vent too. There are many reasons why religion is good or bad, but it is ultimately up to you and the father to decide if it is best for you when you are pregnant and for when the baby comes after. If it is something that supports you and provides you calm, then it is the greatest thing. If all it does is cause you added stress and anxiety, it may be best to skip it for now.
Sources: al-islam.org, valerietarico.com, prezi.com, classroom.synonym.com, religiouseducation101.weebly.com
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