Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Birthing Story

Once again, I am the mother of a teen-ager because my son celebrated his 13th birthday yesterday. (My daughter is 21, so I had a couple of teen-free years there.) Anyway, I believe 13 to be a momentous age, particularly for young men. While my son does not participate in a rites of passage program, I am aware of lessons that need to be imparted to him and I try to align him with people who can supplement what he learns from home. Although he has a heavy female influence, because he lives mostly with his sister and me, his father and other men are there to assist him in his transition to adulthood, which is crucial.

I believe a child's knowledge of his or her birthing story is also an important element of creating a positive self-image. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding conception (planned or un-planned, parents married or un-married, etc.), children need to understand that their existence is not an accident. With that in mind, I have a tradition (which started with my daughter) of reminding my son of his birthing story at least once a year. My goal is to reinforce the fact that he is a gift to his family and that there are expectations of him in life. Highlights of his story are below.

1. He was prayed for before he came. I was anointed by the Queen Mother of our church on February 8, 1998 and he was born exactly 9 months later.
2. His father and I were intentional about naming him. We want him to live up to his first name, honor his grandfather with his middle name and be proud of his family name. He should be mindful that he is the only male born in his generation, from his grandfather's line, who carries the family name.
3. As soon as he was born, his father lifted him up and dedicated him to God.
4. His sister was in the room while he was born, so he was welcomed by our whole nuclear family.
5. He was created with a purpose. God and his family have great expectations of him.
6. I am proud of who he is now and am certain that I will continue to be proud as he grows to adulthood.

At various times throughout the year, details are fleshed out as the conversation arises. For example, last week we were talking about his problem with being late but I noted that he wasn't always that way. He was actually born on his due date, in the wee hours of the morning. I also find that telling the birthing story can be a good segue into other family historical stories. All in all, this practice has been working for us. I would love to hear about any rituals that you participated in while growing up or that you instituted with your own children surrounding birthdays.


  1. What a wonderful way to create self affirmation! My daughter is turning 13 in January. Aside from her regular birthday celebration, she and I take a few hours on her actual birthday to celebrate her. It might be as big as going to a play, or as little as going for a bite to eat. The one thing she knows about herself is how her name came about. We don't discuss this every year, but it comes up a lot and she's proud of it.

    Her father and I came up with her name together. I've had the name Attiana set aside for my daughter in my head ever since I could remember. I used to write it on my notebooks in school. Not that I wanted to have a baby then, I just loved the name and didn't want to forget it. Once we found out we were having a girl, I told my husband (then boyfriend) then name I wanted. He didn't like it so much, but offered to compromise. With me knowing that it had to be some variation of the name I had picked out, we came up with Tiana. It just so happens that Tiana is also a Disney Princess, so she loves it. =D

    As for my son, the one thing that we try to get across to him is that his name is the continuation of a blood line. He's the only male from his grandfather who's carrying it on. Calvin III. He's only 6, so there's still time to start incorporating additional things into his celebrations.

    Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  2. I think its awesome that you and your daughter get alone time to celebrate her on her special day; I am sure you are creating memories that she will cherish for years to come. :-) And I see our sons have that in common, carrying the family name. Thanks for sharing!