“A mother is a gardener of God tending to the hearts of her children.” Amish proverb
In the Old Order Amish district in Indiana where Joe Wittmer was raised, the birth of a baby was greeted with love, joy, and “sweet coffee.”
“Siess Kaffi,” says Dr. Wittmer, “is what neighbors do when a new baby arrives. The mom is given a week or so to rest, then folks start coming by with a meal and to see the new baby. They all have ‘sugar in their coffee.’”
Some say there is no better babyhood than that enjoyed by an Amish baby. The Amish baby is an integral part of the family from the moment of birth. Even when asleep, the infant is often held in someone’s arms. The Amish rarely, if ever, use babysitters. It’s customary to take the baby with them wherever the parents go, even to long church services.
Children are considered a gift from God and family size attests to that: the average Amish family has seven children. Parents practice no birth control and pray for children. With such a high birthrate, the Amish have become the fastest growing population in the United States. As of 2012, the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania calculated there are over 267,000 Amish. And over half the population is under eighteen years of age.
Dr. Wittmer says he’s never known of a time when the birth of a child is an unwelcomed event. “A baby means another corn husker, another cow-milker, but most of all, another God-fearing Amishman. The birth is always seen as a blessing of the Lord.”
Excerpted from Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life with permission by Revell Books.