Throughout time and across all spiritual traditions, people joyfully pray for happiness and wisdom for new mothers and for health and love for their babies. Members of religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Hindu traditions, bow their heads and raise their voices in prayers at these times of blessings. The details reflect each religion's sacred texts and traditions. Despite differences, these prayers share gratitude, celebration and hope for bright futures.
Buddhist Ceremony for Parents and Newborn
In the Buddhist tradition, new mothers and fathers and their newborn children gather for a ceremony in which parents and infant extend blessings. Buddhist blessings acknowledge that the baby belongs to all of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas (savior beings). The blessing from parents may include such ideas as commitment to show the child its Buddha nature and to cultivate the child's progress to enlightenment. In such a ceremony, the leader expresses the child's aspirations for its parents, which include gratitude to the new mother for carrying the child in her womb and for kindness in the child's life. The ceremony ends by chanting the mantra of the Buddha of Compassion and blessings by the leader.
Catholic Prayers for New Mothers and Babies
In times of birth and new motherhood, Roman Catholics often turn to the Virgin Mary, who exemplifies motherhood and submission to God's will when bringing a child into the world. While Catholics do not deify Mary, they call on her as the mother of Jesus to intercede with her son on Catholics' behalf. An intercessory prayer to Mary for an expectant new mother and her child would include introductory words acknowledging Mary's gift to the world. The person praying might ask Mary to tend to the safety and health of mother and child before, during and after delivery.
Members of the Jewish faith support mothers throughout their pregnancies, during and after birth. When a child comes into the world, the community prays and showers blessings on the mother and the infant. The birthing event, called techinot, acknowledges the presence and power of God throughout the arduous, yet, happy process. The mother joins in prayer for God's favor during birth and while nursing. During labor, attendants can pray such words as "May it be your will, oh great, mighty and awesome God, that the merits of this poor woman who is trembling and crying out in her pains of childbirth, be remembered before you." After the birth, an attendant washes and prays on behalf of the infant, with words of gratitude for life. Specifics vary for male and female babies.
Hindu Tradition Prayers
Because Hindus believe they must continue their lineage, they begin to pray for conception soon after marriage. After conception, Hindu baby rites begin before a child comes into the world. In the seventh month, the Simantonnyana (satisfying the craving of the pregnant mother) ceremony includes prayers for the mother and unborn child. Welcoming a new baby in the Hindu tradition proceeds through many ceremonies. In the Jatakarma ceremony, a baby receives a taste of honey on his tongue as someone whispers God's name in the baby's ear. Additional sacramental ceremonies consist of naming and ear piercing events.
- Zdenka Darula/iStock/Getty Images