Some years back I wrote a post on why Amish don’t discuss pregnancy:

I never know when Amish friends have one on the way. I show up and there is another baby or one clearly about to happen. And even when it’s obvious, it never comes up, even as a mention. …

You’d think it would be hard to contain the excitement. Yet I believe, like with many things, there is also a tempering humility–a baby is a gift, a child of God–nothing less, nothing more.

amish pregnancy storkThat said, the topic can come up on occasion in an oblique way. Or, in some cases it could be discussed in specific, more private settings.

But broadly speaking, pregnancy is not spoken of publicly in anything like the degree of detail that seems to have become the norm among English people.

At the same time, as they say, “one size doesn’t fit all”. That phrase happens to be in the title of Amish Cook Gloria Yoder’s latest column.

In the column Gloria opens up on the topic, answering reader questions on her own pregnancy and soon-to-be-born baby.

First, Gloria confirms that “many types of Amish don’t feel comfortable talking about Baby until after the birth. Still, like any other ‘Amish’ subjects at hand, it just won’t be a one size fits all answer.”

However, she is comfortable sharing some details about her own pregnancy and happily-awaited bundle of joy. Here are a few snippets.

On her sheer wonder and love for her unborn baby. We cannot see it yet, but it is already part of the family:

For us, we feel like the baby is a part of our family long before he or she is born and deserves love and recognition just like each of our other five little ones. I have been astounded many times since I’ve been doing research these last months, on how much an unborn baby senses and the love and acceptance they receive long before birth. Amazing.

No family is perfect but the baby is God’s blessing:

Now I know our baby is not being born into a perfect family; many times I pray like an older lady shared with me how she often prayed when her children were young, “Lord, fill in what my children need that I’m not giving them and to take from their hearts anything I put there that wasn’t meant to be.” How precious.

God knows I won’t be perfect. He is my perfection.

Yes. we are unworthy and blessed beyond measure to think that God is actually giving us another bundle to love and care for.

Image: Bill Coleman

Next, on the specifics of the birth. How will the baby be delivered? Gloria does have a midwife who does some checkups, and she is open to using a doctor.

But as to who it sounds might do the actual delivery, that might surprise you:

Julia was born in a birthing center, and as unreal or crazy as it may sound, Daniel was the “midwife” for our last two babies. The stories are too long to relate how our unique situations came to pass. Let’s just put it this way — God sent Jesus to be with us, and there was one daddy as happy as a lark to be able to take care of his wife and deliver his two sons!

And:

If need be, we do go to the doctor. We are ever so thankful for the medical world, though with many reliable home remedies, it seldom reaches the point of actually having to go.

Now the big question about who will deliver this baby. Only God knows for sure. We do have plans of having the midwife here at our house, but most likely, the new Daddy will be the primary doctor. I just pray that God will have His perfect in it all.

I will admit I have not heard of Amish husbands ever being in charge of the delivery. Gloria mentions the stories behind these “unique situations” of Daniel doing the deliveries.

It sounds like Daniel may have been recruited for the job when other options were not available. Maybe the midwife or other delivery person could not reach them in time. It sounds like Gloria has a good husband, one with rare but useful experience.

Image: Dan Callister

Gloria also discusses some technology they are using at home. They have both a Doppler machine and an ultrasound machine.

The ultrasound is a model meant for people, though they originally got it for their animals, she explains. These devices help them be more confident handling more things about the baby’s care and eventual birth on their own.

One size does not fit all

I thought Gloria’s column really illustrates the title it was given, “One size doesn’t fit all Amish.” You would be hard-pressed to find an Amish person from one of the plainest churches publicly going into such detail.

Gloria as a member of a New Order church is more open about these things. I would call this discussion uncommon coming from “the Amish” in general, but less surprising coming from someone of a New Order background.

On that note, one of our commenters on my original Amish pregnancy post, “Plain Lady”, shared this:

In the New Order church where the women do wear maternity clothes pregnancy is a more open subject. Once a woman shows up wearing a smock dress, her way of publicly announcing she’s pregnant, then there will be much talk of ‘the baby’.Of course in both cases, there is hardly ever ANY chance of a man saying anything about being pregnant to a woman. However, there is a VERY GOOD chance that a woman will see that another is pregnant and tell her husband and he will then make mention of it to the father to be…..and the news gets around and thus the subject is acknowledged, just in a more round about way than the ‘Englishers’.

Whether the world knows about it or not, Gloria and Daniel’s new baby is fortunate to be coming into a family so ready to love and treasure him or her.

Stork image: Leszek Leszczynski

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