I gave birth to my daughter 9 days ago and have been wanting to write out how much I appreciate that Jewish culture respects the autonomy of the mother during pregnancy. I mod a pregnancy subreddit and have heard from frustrated women among the following topics:
- Names: Lots of women would receive harsh criticisms for not revealing names, or if they do, for their choice of names. I was never asked for names (from other Jews), we just understand it’s not something shared until after the birth.
- Baby showers were another source of stress: the money, the planning, the registries, the invitations… I had a baby shower but all along I knew it was my choice to have the baby shower and no one would have blinked if I decided not to.
- Same story for nurseries; I could have not spent time and money on putting together a nursery, but I decided to anyway.
- Meals: on top of the stress of third-trimester pregnancy, lots of women (and men) are preparing and freezing meals for the weeks after birth. We have a meal train set up for us! We didn’t lift a finger in making extra meals or even organizing the meal train. It started tonight and will go until the 24th.
Not to mention the wonderful support I know we’ll be getting in the following years, thanks to the JCC, PJ library, etc. We even got a welcome basket with toys, books, lists of Jewish preschools, shabbat candles, and more!