GIVING BIRTH to children is a prospect that is both exciting and sobering. It has happens everyday.
Whatever the home-life is, it will show in the infant child. Work hard to make your baby’s world one of warmth and love, peace and security. The baby that is loved will absorb these qualities and they will shape its emotions accordingly. Your feelings will be sensed, your examples followed. A child needs both a father and a mother who love each other and who will love and cherish their offspring. The newborn child needs the warmth and security of a home, with a father and mother who want him and who will provide the environment needed for his growth and personality development.
Consider the cost
A husband and wife who are considering having a baby should ask themselves: Do we want a baby? Are we ready to accept the responsibilities parenthood brings, accept the sacrifices involved? Can we provide for its needs—not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually? Will we train the child properly, setting the right examples for him or her to follow?
Foods and drinks to take
As a pregnant woman, there are things you must eat, and others you must avoid or limit. More importantly, you need foods rich in iron, more milk (cheese is also good) to supply the calcium your baby needs for building bones. A very balanced carbohydrate intake will help to avoid excessive weight increase.
Other factors may or may not need to be considered, depending on the way you live. Alcoholic drinks send alcohol to the fetus, so caution is needed, as an excess could affect the speed of development. True, some babies have been born drunk because their mothers were heavy drinkers.
Care for yourself
Emotional stress in the mother can change her hormone output and make the fetus overly active, thereby causing the newborn child to be restless and irritable. The growing baby may be ‘screened off in the belly of its mother,’ but it would be a mistake to think that it is totally cut off from the world around it. Through the mother it can be affected; she is its only connecting link with the outside world, and that puts her primarily “in the driver’s seat” as to whether the effect is good or bad. The way she cares for herself and how she reacts to circumstances will make the difference. It goes without saying that in this she needs the cooperation of those around her, and especially the love and care of her husband.
Hospital or home
Will you have your baby in a hospital or at home? In some cases there may be little choice. In many areas hospitals may not even be available. In other areas having a baby at home may be a rarity and may present risks due to lack of experienced help, such as that of a midwife. Wherever possible, it is always good to be examined during pregnancy by a doctor, to know whether you can expect a normal delivery or one accompanied by complications.
The emotional bond
Psychologists have known for decades that the first year of a baby’s life can have an enduring impact on his later mental and physical development. It now appears that the baby’s first day—perhaps even his first 60 minutes—is important. The emotional bond that the mother forms toward the child, and the kind of care she begins to give him, are particularly crucial after delivery. Recent research also proves that the first hours may have a lot to do with shaping the mother’s attitude toward the child, the strength of her commitment to him, and her capacity for mothering.”
If the mother does not have general anesthesia during the birth, the baby will be alert, have its eyes open, look around, follow movements, turn toward human voices, and be especially aware of the higher-pitched female voice. Eye contact between mother and child can be quickly established. This seems to be important, and in some studies mothers reported that once their baby looked at them they felt much closer to it. Body contact, skin to skin, of mother and baby right after birth is considered advantageous to both.
Will you breast-feed your baby? There are many advantages to both you and your baby. Mother’s milk is the perfect food for infants. It is easy to digest, and it protects against infection, intestinal disorders and respiratory problems. For the first few days the breasts secrete colostrum, a yellowish fluid especially good for infants because (1) t is richer in immunity factors than the mother’s milk that will come in a few days, (2) it is low in fats and carbohydrates and hence easier to digest, and (3) it has a slightly laxative effect that helps clear out the cells, mucus and bile that collected in the infant’s bowels before birth.
Breast-feeding benefits the mother. It reduces bleeding in the mother because the baby’s sucking stimulates the uterus to contract.
Train your child in right ways but do not force it into a predetermined mold that will not allow its distinctive personality and inherited gifts to find normal expression. Give yourself time to come to know this child you have produced. Then, as with a tender young tree, give your child guidance that is strong enough to protect and support it in a right direction, yet gentle enough not to cramp the child’s development to its full capacity for good.
Of course, before getting married, a man should weigh seriously whether he can support a wife and children.
Fulfilling your obligation to your children, together with your responsibility to God, can bring you a sense of true accomplishment in life.