biblical instructions for NEW MOMMY and NEW DADDY (4 of 4)

>> Friday, April 2, 2010

Did you know that the Bible has some great advice for new mothers?

Lots of people seem to think that the book of Leviticus is outdated, old-fashioned, and generally inapplicable to modern life, but I don't see it all that way. I'm not writing this to argue about old health and dietary laws, or to debate what should be imposed on us today.

I'm just saying, check this out before you assume that it wouldn't make your life easier as a NEW MOMMY.

Leviticus 12:2-5 says:

If a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, she will be ceremonially unclean for 7 days, just as she is unclean during her menstrual period. On the eighth day the boy’s foreskin must be circumcised. After waiting 33 days, she will be purified from the bleeding of childbirth.
During this time of purification, she must not touch anything that is set apart as holy. And she must not enter the sanctuary until her time of purification is over. If a woman gives birth to a daughter, she will be ceremonially unclean for 2 weeks, just as she is unclean during her menstrual period. After waiting 66 days, she will be purified from the bleeding of childbirth.
Whether you do or don't circumcise doesn't matter. And while many people seem to think that this passage is sexist and biased against women, I think it's the exact opposite.

Think about it. God is essentially saying that for 1-2 weeks a woman is ceremonially unclean. That meant you had to wash your hands before and after touching her or the baby. It also meant that most people didn't want to get too close, or they'd become ceremonially unclean too. Result? A cleaner, more germ-free environment for mother and baby, and a minimum number of guests.

During the mother's "time of purification" she couldn't travel, have sex, go to church, or do housework. That meant she had unlimited time to breastfeed, bond with her baby, and stay home and rest while other relatives and friends did her heavy work. It also meant that she got to avoid big crowds where there are lots of germs. And that her husband was banned from pressuring her to have sex before she'd had time to heal and recuperate.

And why was it longer for baby girls than for baby boys? Well, here it says that even today baby girls tend to have lower birth weights and higher mortality rates. So staying home and resting was the best way for a new baby girl to get a healthy start.

Sounds like God was protecting new mommies and new babies, to me. As I got closer to having our son, the idea of 6 weeks at home without much housework sounded better and better! I wanted that time to figure out mommyhood, bond with my baby, and get my energy back.

What does this mean for new daddies? Since we don't live in the "village" society anymore, where your wife would be surrounded by female relatives and friends to do her work - it means you probably need to pick up the ball. Either do your wife's work yourself, or make sure that someone around you is consistently helping in your house.

Do this, and you will be your wife's hero forever.

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© Sarah K. Asaftei, 2009 unless otherwise sourced. Use allowed by express written permission only.

2 comments:

April Johnson,  April 2, 2010 at 1:59 PM  

Thanks for the insightful words! We do tend to focus on the negative too much don't we. God does everything with a loving purpose in mind.

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