The Amish community tends to shy away from publicity and the media, so it's no surprise that when Breaking Amish started airing on TLC, it captivated Americans from across the country. It's clear that people love learning about lives different from their own and since this group is typically never exposed to the world, it makes it even more alluring.
It's clear from the ratings and the expansion of the show to Breaking Amish: LA that people can't get enough of the life in this community.
Our imaginations definitely can run wild with what it would be like to live a true Amish existence. Specifically what pregnancy and childbirth would be like for a woman living in a community that doesn't have electricity or modern medical equipment. Would it be a scary experience or would the simple approach make for an easier ride?
Take a look at the list of things they do differently, and you can be the judge.
1. There Are No Ultrasounds
What mom can resist a sneak-peak of their baby-to-be before they enter the world?
Even more exciting is finding out the gender so you can start planning your nursery, making your baby registry and putting together your gender reveal. Don't forget the important results of finding out any issues that may need to be addressed at birth.
The Amish however, skip past the ultrasounds because they do not use medical interventions. So every birth into the community is a surprise!
2. They Don't Follow Their Due Dates
While we may have countdown calendars telling us which fruit our baby measures up to each week, it's not the same for the Amish.
If you are an Amish women, you do not count on your due date. As most of us know, this is just a window when the baby is expected to arrive. In most of America if you go past your due date, you will often be induced so your bundle of joy arrives in 42 weeks or less.
With the Amish, they are not induced to meet a specific date, so babies arrive when they're ready. Because of this, the birthing process tends to go much quicker.
3. You Have More Children
In 1976, most American families had an average of four children. Today, that number has dropped to 2.4 kids per family. In Amish communities, it is not uncommon for women to have an upwards of ten children during their childbearing years. This means that many women are familiar with pregnancy and are pro to the whole process.
Amish people tend to have more children for several different reasons. The first being they don't believe in medical interventions, that includes means of birth control. They also don't believe in birth control for religious reasons, so you can be sure there are a lot of babies made each month. Finally, since there are many chores to be done on the farm, many hands make for light work, so the more people to help, the better.
4. Babies Aren't Going To Break The Bank
Sure, diapers, clothes, strollers can add up to a small fortune, but most people who have had a baby know the real expense is when the hospital bill comes in. Depending on your insurance, the cost of having a baby ranges in each state. A routine vaginal birth in California can range from $3,296 to $37,227 with insurance.
The Amish community doesn't have insurance- at least not like the rest of Americans. If they can't pay a hospital bill, the Amish church pays it on their behalf. When it comes to pregnancy, however, Amish mothers use midwives and all those costs are pre-planned, so there is no surprise bill at the end.
If a true emergency comes around and the mother has to go to the hospital, the entire community gathers to help out.
5. Pregnancy Isn't The Time To Relax
While many pregnant moms are tempted to take it easy in their third trimester of pregnancy by skipping past their household chores, expectant Amish mothers do not indulge in this luxury. While we may think it's okay to leave a pile of dishes in the sink or the laundry in the basket, an expectant Amish mother is not excused from her duties.
During their entire pregnancy, Amish mothers continues their regular tasks until they physically can no longer work. Think about it, if no one milks the cow, the family won't have any milk, butter or cheese. Amish women even continue their chores while they are in labor. Mending clothes, sweeping the floor and churning butter could actually be a good way to distract yourself from the pain.
6. Home Is Where The Heart Is
It comes as no surprise that since the Amish reject medical intervention, most Amish births, (unless an emergency occurs) occur at home. Home births were common across America until the 1920's when people started to head to the hospital to give birth.
While those who choose to do a home birth in an inflatable birth pool, Amish mothers give birth on their bed in a white nightgown.
7. No Pregnancy Announcements
Most pregnant moms can admit to spending hours on Pinterest looking up the best way to share their pregnancy with the world. From cute photo shoots to pranks on their parents, the internet is filled with photos and videos that are unique to each couple.
Amish mothers, on the other hand, won't be buying "Big Brother" shirts or taking pictures of shoes in a field. Amish couples not only don't announce their pregnancy to anyone but their midwife, but they even go as far as to not acknowledge it to everyone else around them/ Many times people don't realize Amish women are pregnant until after the baby is born.
8. Limited Audience
If you've given birth in a hospital you know that you were surrounded by a spectacle of doctors, nurses and residents, most of whom you never found out their name. Add in mothers, friends, sisters and the delivery room gets crowded fast!
Pregnant Amish women do not have to worry about birthing in front of a room of people they don't know. Their births only take place in front of their husband, midwife and sometimes a "birthing mother." A birthing mother is an experienced mom of the community who acts like a doula and helps guide the first time mother. Not every expectant mother relies on a birthing mother, as they tend to only be for a woman's first labor.
Do you think this would be a less stressful way to bring a child into the world?