The world is comprised of various cultures and religions, making our universe a melting pot of diverse sets of thinking. Being different is what makes the human experience such a special one. Each religion or culture tends to follow their own set of values and morals, believes in their own deities and stories, and abides by their own rules. Some larger religions, like Christianity, are widely known about, but within these larger religions are smaller, more specific sects that are less understood.
Take Christianity, for example. Under that one religious umbrella, there is Catholicism, Baptist, Lutheran, Protestant, and Mormon. Each of these specific areas of belief has a different twist on the general and overall idea.
Mormonism is one of the branches of Christianity that is lesser known, especially compared to the more widely common religions. These are the people who come knocking on our doors passing along pamphlets describing their faith, asking that others join them in their beliefs. This is the picture of Mormons that most people conjure up in their heads, but there is much more to these people than stereotypes. Mormons approach their religion differently than other Christians, but they also approach other aspects of life uniquely. Here are 20 little known details about pregnancy and childbirth in Mormonism.
20 The Mormon Dress Code Does Not Apply During Labor
Mormon women are known for their modest fashion choices. They follow a dress code that allows for very little skin to show. During the labor process, however, some flashes of skin are pretty much inevitable. Mormon women grant themselves a pass when it comes to labor and delivery and their fashion choices. Sure, they are in a space with strangers, are vulnerable, and are lightly dressed, but this is labor! You can't have a baby wearing pants. These mommies might return to long skirts and long sleeves once their baby arrives, but when they are in the hospital, it's gowns galore.
19 After Childbirth, Moms Are Off Duty
Some cultures are better at this than others, and when it comes to making sure a new mom gets her rest, the Mormons got it right. After Mormon mothers birth their babies, they go on a bit of a mommy vacation. She is relieved of her childcare and household duties while she recovers from her delivery. Family members and other church members will pitch in and make mom's life more comfortable as she gathers her bearings. This practice is vastly different from mainstream folks who have a baby and are then expected to resume life as if the birth never even happened.
18 A Morman Woman's Primary Role In Life Is To Be A Childbearer
The Church of Latter Day Saints is pretty clear on what they consider to be a woman's role and what is the man's position within the family unit. Women are expected to bear their husbands' children after marriage. Creating a Mormon family is a female's number one goal in life. The men are not totally off the hook when it comes to the children though. They are responsible for presiding over the family and making sure that all family members physical and spiritual needs get met. Mormons raise their daughters with their concepts of gender roles from the very start.
17 They Believe In Eve's Curse
Most Christians are well versed in the story of Adam and Eve. Mormons, like so many other followers of the Christian faith, believe that because of Eve's choices, they often undergo consequences for her actions. Sure it feels far fetched for some people to grasp this idea, but this is what they believe. Mormon women think that they undergo the pains of labor because Eve made a misstep. It's their punishment for being born a woman. This way of thinking is commonly known as Eve's Curse. For the Mormons, it is a way to justify excruciating pain that often accompanies childbirth.
16 They Have The Highest Birth Rate In The US
The birthrate of Christians has steadily declined over the years. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study, however, that result does not include Mormons. They have been working to repopulate the earth at steady rates throughout time. Generally speaking, Mormons, are more likely to marry, be fertile, and have lots of children.
Overall, Christian people have on average 2.2 children in their lifetime, and Mormon couples have 3.4 children during their lifetime. They are also more likely to have adult kids living in their homes with them when compared to other sects of Christianity. This statistic is not all that surprising when you consider how important family is to a Mormon couple.
15 Making Things Official Before Marriage Is Prohibited
Like many Christian religious sects, getting down to business before you say "I Do" is prohibited. Mormons take this practice very seriously, and children are taught this value from a very early age. Once a couple becomes one in the eyes of God, they can start building their family. Stepping out with a person that is not your spouse is also completely forbidden. Once you become joined in the eyes of the church, a lifetime commitment has been made. Should a married Mormon see a better option out and about, they can't pursue that person. Marriage before the age of eighteen is also extremely rare in this culture.
14 Thwarting Pregnancies Is Not An Option
Mormons staunchly believe that the more babies, the better. Adult lives are devoted to building up the religion by adding as many believers to the group as possible. A married Mormon couple would never take action against becoming a parent. To do so would be heavily frowned upon by the church and community. Mormons devoutly believe that the heavens are full of millions of spirits who are patiently awaiting a human body to envelop. To ensure you don't become pregnant would mean denying that spirit a chance at an earthly body. They welcome pregnancy and view their babies as genuine gifts from above.
13 They Prioritize Prenatal Care
Some cultures are known for shunning modern medical practices and doing things the old fashioned way until the end of time. The Amish, particularly, tend to go through pregnancy with little medical monitoring and assistance and often give birth within the confines of their homes, just as they have done for hundreds of years. The Mormons, on the other hand, consider prenatal care highly critical. These believers consider a woman's body to be the "tabernacle of the spirit" and a woman is set upon the earth to house the children of the Lord. That's a pretty tall order, so moms-to-be make sure and receive prenatal care whenever they can.
12 Nursing Is Highly Encouraged
In terms of infant feeding practices, it is widely accepted that fed is best. While some people staunchly believe that nursing is the only way to go, and others are bent on formula feeding, all professionals can now agree that so long as nutritional requirements are getting met, then mom is doing a great job That said, different cultures place varying degrees of emphasis on infant feeding practices. Mormons prefer to nurse their babies, as opposed to formula feed them. They believe that nursing babies creates an unbreakable bond between the mother and the child and also think that nursing holds ample health benefits.
11 Mormon Moms Start Teaching Responsibility Early On
Mormon kids don't get much of a free ride when it comes to household tasks. They are taught by their mothers from a very early age to help out with the household chores. They help out around the house and are expected to help care for their younger siblings. Being infused into the family's everyday culture and the routine is part of practicing Mormonism. The Mormon family functions as a whole unit, which is vastly different than many other cultures, where the home and childcare responsibilities solely fall upon the mother's shoulders. Everybody pulls their own strength and contributes to the wellbeing of the family.
10 Most Mormons Deliver In A Hospital
Home births are not highly prevalent in the Mormon faith. They are not frowned upon or prohibited; it's just that the majority of Mormon mothers prefer to deliver in hospitals, where modern medicine is widely available should they need it. The safe delivery of the baby is the most important thing to a Mormon family, and the hospital helps to ensure that all goes well when a baby comes into the world. Mormon mothers and fathers are not opposed to pain-relieving meds or interventions to help safely deliver their little bundle of joy. When it comes to childbirth, they have one overall goal in mind that it is ensure everything runs smoothly.
9 Parents May Have Particular Hospital Needs
While hospital births are the preferred method for infant delivery, Mormon couples might have specific needs and religious requests for the hospital staff to abide by. Hospital personnel should be conscious of the fact that Mormons follow a patriarchal structure, meaning the man is the head of decision making. They may have to run everything by both the husband and the wife, even though the woman is the one doing the pushing. Couples might also have requests for priesthood blessings as they undergo the transition into parenthood. They may also adamantly deny any contraceptive practices at their six weeks check up.
8 Baptism On Hold
Unlike some of the other branches of Christianity, Mormons do not believe in baptizing a child during the infancy stage of life. Children of this particular religion go through baptism rites around the age of eight or older. Instead of believing all humans are born with the mark of sin, they think that children are born perfect and should they pass on early, then they will be atoned by the Lord. When it comes to the actual baptismal event, they are all reasonably similar. They don't exactly put a spin on the event and are far more likely to follow religious traditions.
7 Their Bodies Are Temples
An expectant mother's body is a temple and should be treated as such. Pregnant Mormon women, and even not pregnant women who could bear children someday, take incredibly good care of their health, so that they can be their very best when housing a fetus. They follow a health code known as The World of Wisdom. This code encourages women to refrain from drinking and participating in other unhealthy activities. They eat as healthy as possible and live as cleanly as can be. They treat their bodies as best they can so that their infants benefit in the long run.
6 Emphasis On The Baby Bag
The Mormon Church is a worldwide religion, and because it's practiced in all different corners of the world, there are varying views on some aspects of childbirth and general lifestyle practices. Different regions have different twists on things like taking motherly organs home with them and burying them in the backyard. Some people do this while others would never consider it. Dragging the baby bag home likely depends on the practices of the Mormon people in a particular region. Components of the religion are pretty standard across the board; this is one that varies depending on regional culture.
5 Blessings Behold
Even though Mormonism is a heavily patriarchal society, Mormon women have been performing church rituals for hundreds of years. These blessing rituals commonly get performed at times of marriages and births. During a blessing, women of the faith would place their hands on the expectant mother's belly and pray for a safe delivery and future blessings for the baby and the family. This culture also has a ritual called the Washing Ceremony, which has historically taken place during the pregnancy phase of a woman's life. These female-led rituals are rare now because members have shifted to rely on priesthood blessings.
4 Couples Are Open To Various Ways Of Expanding Their Family
Becoming parents and having heaps of children is the ultimate goal for most Mormon couples, so if married partners have been trying to get pregnant for a long time and it just isn't happening, then they can look for help in that department. They can even go ahead and investigate family expansion through foster care and adoption if that strikes their fancy. They might also be able to explore what modern medicine has to offer up in this particular department. In the end, the Mormons don't care how their religion grows, so long as it does just that.
3 They Are Fine With Medical Intervention During Childbirth
The Mormon people sometimes are seen as old fashioned and conservative, but when it comes to modern medicine and childbirth, they are all for it. Unlike other religiously conservative groups, like the Amish for example, Mormon mothers have no issue receiving an epidural when the pain becomes all too much to bear. They see no problem with a room full of strangers assisting their child into the world. Whatever their personal preferences are during their everyday life when it comes to childbirth all bets are off. They might not be progressive in life components like fashion but are incredibly progressive in regards to modern medicine and labor and delivery.
2 The Snip Is Up To The Parents
Mormon parents can choose to circumcise or not, that is a decision that belongs to them, and not to the church. Some religions strictly believe that baby boys should receive the snip regardless of parents' personal views on the procedure, while other faiths are laxer in their thoughts on the whole thing. When it comes to Mormonism, parents get the final say in this arena, and they can't go wrong because their religion has no issue with either snipping or leaving well alone. A healthy Mormon baby is all that the church is concerned with. Everything else is fair game and up to mom and dad.
1 Immunizations Are Also Up To The Parents
Like other new parents, Mormon parents must decide to immunize their children or leave everything up to nature and the fates. Some cultures feel very strongly that immunizations should be avoided at all costs, but Mormons are not one of them. They don't take a stance on the subject and prefer to leave the choice up to the parents. That said, the Mormon Church has been known to provide and assist with immunizations in underdeveloped countries. They also require their church members who go on missions in other countries to get immunized beforehand. So, it sounds like they may lean in one direction over the other.