How to Have the Luck of the Irish During Pregnancy and Postpartumby Elizabeth MacDonald
As shocking as it sounds, drinking green beer, giving out kisses, and hanging up rainbows may not actually bring you good luck. However, there are many Irish traditions that are believed to ward off evil, increase wealth, boost health, and ensure happiness. Even if you aren’t exactly of Irish descent, you may want to implement a few of these rituals into your life, especially during pregnancy. A little extra luck never hurt anyone, right?
Irish Superstitions and Traditions for Pregnancy
While some Irish traditions and superstitions are still believed today, many have been left in the past, but all stemmed from a belief that during pregnancy, a baby was easily impacted by outside conditions. These included everything from foods, animals, spirits, and powers and meant that the baby needed constant protection. (Remember that none of these are actually true, but they can be fun to laugh about and try out.)
Never enter a graveyard while pregnant.
It’s believed the spirits of evil would starve a baby and leave him weak. If you happened to find yourself in a graveyard, do not twist your ankle on a gravestone. It could lead to your baby being born with a club foot. (Just skip graveyards for the next 9 months.)
Wear a medal of your patron saint.
If you do not have a patron saint, stick with St. Brigid or St. Elizabeth for protection. You can also wear blessed holy water.
Avoid rabbits and wear skirts.
A rabbit that crosses your path is believed to mean your baby will have a cleft lip; however, you can prevent this if you rip the hem of your dress or skirt immediately after the bunny encounter.
Say no to cats.
Cats are believed to steal a baby’s soul during pregnancy and infancy. (If you love your furbaby just skip this superstition!)
Pour on the honey and toss out the spice.
The more honey you consume, the sweeter your baby will be. (Make it Manuka honey and get the health benefits, too.) It’s also said that you’ll have trouble on your hands if eat a lot of spicy foods. Perhaps you’ll want a good balance of the two?
Make sure you eat your carrots (for your baby’s eyesight), corned beef, and cabbage, but skip green potatoes, they can cause birth defects – yikes!
Hold off on becoming a godparent.
The Irish believe that if you become a godparent while pregnant, only one of the babies will survive. It can’t hurt to accept the role after your baby joins you earthside!
Leave the cleaning to someone else.
It is believed that cleaning windows or lifting both arms above the head can twist the umbilical cord around the baby’s neck.
Irish Superstitions and Traditions for Postpartum
Tie a bow on the bed.
To protect your baby from being stolen by fairies, you should tie a red ribbon on the bed where he sleeps.
Never rock an empty cradle.
It’s believed that rocking an empty cradle or rocking chair will curse a mother and her baby.
Eat your meat and veggies.
To keep your milk supply up, have energy, and keep your baby happy, it’s believed that plenty of meat and vegetables should be eaten every day. However, you may want to skip the onions, as they are thought to cause colic and crankiness. A cup of warm milk with cinnamon in it can calm you and, in turn, your baby through your breastmilk.
Spend 30 days together.
The first 30 days after birth should be spent only with immediate family. The Irish believe that a newborn is susceptible to the evil spirits that come with visitors.