Some Things They Never Tell You About Becoming a Parent

Becoming a parent can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling rites-of-passage in your life. To pass on your DNA to the next generation, who will hopefully improve the world for the better leaves you feeling proud and that you’ve truly accomplished something great with your life. Of course, not everyone wants to be a parent and some might say kudos to you for helping keep the population down. All too often many parents forget that to have children is a choice and one that needs to be made with care.

parenting

So, you have heard about how fulfilling it is to become a parent, how wonderful it feels to see your baby, to experience that love, all of those positives keep blowing up your Facebook feed… but what about the secret dark side to it all? What don’t they tell parents before baby arrives?

Financial Bliss

Well, they don’t tell you that every cent you earn will be swallowed by a non-stop eating, pooping, and crying machine. Sure, you love the little tyke regardless, but it would have been nice to have known just how expensive kids really are.

Better sell those grown-up toys you keep in your garage! A boat, fishing tackle, motorcycle, mountain bike – those are the possessions of non-parents (at least when the kids are babies).  You’ll need the money you get from selling your playthings to put into baby’s playthings – and budget some for a 529 or other college savings plan.

Meltdowns

Another thing they don’t tell you is how the wrong color drinking straw can be the end of the world and completely ruin your day. Or that a face-down screaming protest in the canned goods aisle at the supermarket is something you’ll likely experience. These moments will test your will.  All the baby advice books tell you to stand firm and not give in to your child’s tantrums, but when you’re in the trenches and your eardrums are waiving the white flag, you’re going to have yours periods of weakness and surrender for the sake of a “quiet-fix”.

A New Appreciation for Earplugs

While we are talking about quiet, it will soon become a word that seems to exist only in print. Where did quiet go? They don’t tell you how much you will miss relative silence and that you will savor every last second of it when it comes along. And make sure you do savor it because you can guarantee that in 3, 2, 1, someone is either screaming or crying again. As a heads-up, you’ll also find that the noisiest toys are the most popular in your house.  And your child won’t get bored pushing the button to repeat whatever ear-piercing sounds she currently finds herself enamored with.  So picture alternating screams with singing dolls and that is the horror movie soundtrack your life has now become.

The Fibbing

Talking about your dishonesty here, not the child’s!  They fail to tell you that you will never be able to eat chocolate again in plain sight, and must resort to stealth tactics and trickery in order to do so.  Someone else needs it more, after all, and so you will have to retreat to a closet, bathroom or garage when you indulge, while claiming to be “looking for something”.  Other fabrications you’ll employ: the ice-cream truck is coming, and you tell your kids that the music means it’s sold out. You see them eyeing up your dessert, so you tell them that they won’t like it because it’s too spicy. You tell them to be good, or Santa won’t come, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter bunny! Lies become commonplace and easy all of a sudden.

But the thing is, none of this matters when you and your kid are laughing and playing together. When you sit and clean up their cuts and scrapes, your protective nature kicks in. When they make you that first breakfast in bed, or simply hug you and say they love you.  They tell you that everything is worth it, and they are right. They tell you that it’s rewarding, and it is, even if we do miss that chocolate, money, Foosball table, and quiet moments. Would you change anything? Absolutely not!

8 Surprising Birth Rituals from Near and Far

baby naming ceremony

8 Surprising Birth Rituals from Near and Far

 

Globally, the birth of a baby is celebrated in a variety of creative and spiritual ways. Viewed in many cultures as a sacred event, participating in various rituals has become the norm for new parents around the world. While some of the more controversial rituals are presently contested by modern science, many are nonetheless still practiced in religious communities, just the way they have been for centuries.

NOTE: Some of the rituals described in this document are not suitable for all audiences. Since a glimpse into the real world of global birth rituals is the main objective, no efforts were made to obscure the details.

Notable Birth Rituals from Sea to Shining Sea

Although there are birth rituals practiced in almost every region of the world, some are more bizarre or heart-warming than others. Furthermore, the rituals described here are deemed the most popular because there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people who participate, with many of the followers spread out into different regions of the world. It’s obvious that some of these habits have taken on a special meaning for their participants, having inspired them to bring their beliefs along with them to new areas of the globe.

Below are 8 still practiced, yet most unique, ways that modern spiritual families welcome their new bundles of joy into the world.

Parents Shave the Baby’s Head

Within the first few days of being born, and certainly within the first 3 years of life, new parents will shave their little one’s head in certain corners of the Hindu and Muslim traditions. In Islam, it’s a sign of servitude to Allah, while it’s seen as a means to rid the baby’s aura of negative energy by the Hindu believers. Either way, the chopped locks typically end up being thrown into the local river or traded for its equal weight in precious metal.

Family Members Honor the Placenta

As a group event, the baby’s detached placenta is honored in a ritualistic fashion by certain religious denominations. Seen as a dense source of vital nutrients, some people are inclined to perform some odd rites with this otherwise disposable reproductive organ. Among the rituals are activities such as burying it, eating it, and even making jewelry with it. While there are proven nutritional benefits to consumption, medical professionals do not typically recommend it.

Male Circumcision

Viewed as an acceptable ritual in most parts of the developed world, removing a male baby’s foreskin is commonly known as “circumcision.” Started in ancient Judaea and practiced by many Islamic, Christian, and Muslim faiths today, this removal process is not seen as traumatic in any way to the baby who is, for the most part, less than 8 days old at the time of the procedure.

The Baby Is Submerged in Holy Water

Typically referred to as “baptism,” submerging a newborn baby in water that has been blessed by a religious officiant is a common ritual that’s been practiced for millennia. Believed to be a way to cleanse the child of its original sin, Catholics and other Christian denominations ritualistically baptize their baby in a holy ceremony by either dipping the child into a large bowl or by gently sprinkling its head.  In the modern European pagan perspective the Baby Naming Rite – normally held on the 9th day of the infant’s life – resembles this practice except that the child is blessed with an evergreen sprig dipped in holy water.

The Child Is Given Godparents

Godparents are people assigned through a union between God, the biological parents, and the child for the purposes of ensuring proper care for the child in the unfortunate event of the deaths of the biological parents. Seen as a wise plan of action by most, Godparent rituals often have guest lists that include religious and public officials, family members from both parties, friends, and church members. In fact, most Godparent Ceremonies are viewed as legally binding contracts.

The Baby Gets Its Ears Pierced

Some Hindus believe that piercing their baby’s ears in a ritual known as Karnavedha will keep evil spirits from inhabiting the innocent souls of the young. With a dual benefit of being a positive acupuncture point, the ear lobes are pierced in a ceremony that happens on either the 1st or 3rd birthday of the child. At times, it’s even done at the same time as the head shaving ritual since it’s practiced by the same group of religious participants.

Naming the Baby Is Done by Randomly Flipping to a Page in Holy Text

Welcoming a baby to their awaiting community is often done with great fanfare. Parents take their newborn to a temple (usually within 40 days of it birth) to present it to a priest. There, a holy book is opened to a random page and the contents are read aloud. Parents then name their child based on the first letter of the hymn found on the page. Once the baby’s new name is announced to the congregation, a traditional treat is served, and the ceremony comes to a close.

The Baby Is Given Something Sweet with which to Start Life

Families from the Middle East have several mysterious superstitions, but some of them are sweeter than others. For instance, newborn babies are given something sweet tasting within hours of being born. Followers of this ritual believe that it will make the baby speak sweetly as it learns to talk. While honey is typically the food of choice, sweets of all types are used by those who practice this ritual which is most commonly known as Jatakarma.

The List (and the Love) Is Endless

The variation of birth rituals around the world is astounding, not to mention fascinating. The sheer number of naming rite ceremonies alone is enough to fill an entire book. People from all walks of life tend to regard the birth of a child as a sacred experience, reserved for somber celebration by families who value a quality life and commitment to tradition. And while some of the rituals seem off-putting, unhealthy, painful, or even dangerous, it’s still obvious that there’s a lot of love behind them all.