We always enjoy visiting with our Amish friends and neighbors about their customs and traditions, and I believe that they enjoy hearing about our "English" way of life as well. As we worked together yesterday, an interesting topic arose....pregnancy. There were two English men, one Amish man, and myself, a 40+ English woman all working together. One of the English men told a memory of he and a childhood friend playing together one day, and the preacher coming to the house to pick him up and take him to the hospital, saying that his mother had miscarried a baby. He remembered he and his friend being in such shock, because neither had any idea that his mother had been with child.
Joel, our Amish friend, whose wife is expecting, immediately began saying that they do not talk about the baby or the pregnancy in front of his children. "It is just not done," He said. In the Amish community, things like pregnancy are very sacred and secret. People's privacy is important, and intimate details are often not shared with other members of the community until it is more than obvious. For instance, wedding announcements are made only two weeks before the wedding ceremony, for the sake of privacy and protection of the couple to be. Same seems to go with child-birth and other life events.
Joel said, "I remember right where I was when I learned where babies come from!" He remembers being a wide eyed 10-year old who was amazed at the things he was hearing, although the tale teller didn't include all of the details. Growing up on an Amish farm, he was around animals and understood the process, although he just couldn't figure out how the babies got into the stomach of a woman to begin with. These details would come later as he grew and matured.
As we continued to talk about the birds and the bees, Joel continued on, and explained that as a small child growing up with several brothers and sisters, he was told that babies would arrive when the good Lord would lower the new baby down from heaven in a pail tied to a long rope. He always remembered he and his siblings being sent to his grandmother's house and when they would arrive home there would be a new baby in the house! He and his siblings would carefully watch the sky for any sign of the rope lowering a pail down, but would never be able to see it! They just knew that the good Lord would wait for them to quit looking and send the baby down quickly where they wouldn't be able to see it! Disappointment would always quickly turn to joy, as they admired the family's new arrival.