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Pregnancy: Understanding rainbow babies and Hebrew births

The desire to become pregnant can vary among women. Some of the reasons include the natural biological instinct to have children, emotional fulfillment to nurture, care and bond with a child, having a sense of purpose and legacy whereby they could pass down their values, beliefs and experience, society and cultural expectations to have a family; and personal growth and self-discovery where they get to learn more about themselves, their capabilities and capacity for loving and nurturing another human.

For many women, getting pregnant and giving birth is effortless. It can be as simple as them relating with their partner and finding out they are pregnant weeks later. Their pregnancies may be smooth rides and the birth a normal experience; and they get to go home with their bundle of joy.

However, for some women, this is far from the reality. First of all, getting pregnant can turn out to be an uphill task due to medical issues or simply her time to get pregnant is not upon her yet. A woman may also have to deal with a complicated pregnancy if indeed she does get pregnant and has a doctor breathing down her neck.

The long desired pregnancy may terminate before it matures due to various reasons including hormonal imbalance, infections and diseases, maternal health conditions such as thyroid disorders and diabetes, cervical abnormalities and chromosomal abnormalities among many other reasons.

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For such a woman, in addition to dealing with pregnancy related difficulties, this is accompanied by financial, physical, emotional and mental strain on both the mother and her partner, especially if it has taken years and a lot of money to get pregnant only for her to unfortunately miscarry.

But then, once in a while, fate smiles upon such a woman who has been longing to carry her own baby and she manages to get pregnant after many failed attempts and miscarriages. She is able to experience what many women experience during pregnancy and finally able to hold that long awaited baby in her arms.

This baby is referred to as a Rainbow Baby. This is the baby who is born after several pregnancy losses and the concept of a rainbow baby is rooted in the idea that a beautiful and bright rainbow appears after a storm, symbolizing hope and healing after a period of darkness and grief. The term signifies the joy, gratitude, and renewed hope that comes with the birth of a healthy baby after the pain of pregnancy loss.

The birth of a rainbow baby does not erase the memory or significance of the loss, but rather represents a new chapter in the parents’ lives. It can be a source of comfort and a reminder that healing and happiness are possible even after experiencing profound sadness.

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And for such a mother, fate may smile even brighter on her and allow her to have a Hebrew Birth. Have you ever heard women wish a pregnant woman to have a Hebrew Birth? Well, this is rooted in the book of Exodus 1 at a time when Israelites were in slavery in Egypt. As the Israelites grew in population, the new King of Egypt felt that they would become stronger and a threat to Egyptians. He then devised a way to keep them from increasing their numbers and so he had Egyptian slave drivers crush their spirits with hard labour. The more they were oppressed, the more the Israelites’ population grew.

The King then spoke to two midwives and ordered that should they help any Hebrew women, they should kill the baby if it is a boy and allow the mother to keep it if it is a girl. The midwives feared God and disobeyed the King; and he realized as much. He questioned why they were not following his orders.

“The Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they give birth easily, and their babies are born before either of us gets there,” said the midwives, according to Exodus 1:19.

And so, when women wish a pregnant woman a Hebrew Birth, they use it to pray that her labour would be extremely short compared to women who labour up to three days; and may she have a safe, healthy delivery with or without a doctor’s presence.

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