Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.
1. Visiting Cemeteries
While pregnancy brings with it great joy, it does not protect the expectant mother from outside sorrows. If someone close to her passes and she is asked to attend their funeral service, a superstitious mother-to-be knows to respectfully decline. If she chooses to attend the service, she runs the risk of having the soul of her unborn child switched with that of an unscrupulous spirit.
According to this piece of lore, unbeknownst to the living, displaced souls perpetually wander graveyards searching for a way back into the world they once knew. While it is nearly impossible to secure an adult form, the developing body of a child in utero is considered a perfect vehicle for a restless entity's rebirth.
Upon sensing the pregnant woman's presence, opportunistic spirits will vie for the soul of the fetus. The one that emerges triumphant will take the baby's place, the mother never the wiser. From that day forward, she will carry and eventually give birth to the changeling.
This scenario, while implausible, is so disturbing that those familiar with the superstition will often warn expectant mothers to steer clear of cemeteries until after they give birth.
2. Stepping on a Crack
As far as most people are concerned, cracks in the pavement are nothing to be alarmed about. For those schooled in the teachings of superstition, these harmless-looking fissures are believed to be passageways into other dimensions.
Somewhere along the line, the fear of what lies beneath these openings led to the oft-repeated rhyme: "Step on a crack, break your mother's back." The philosophy behind this was that to tread upon one of these fractures was to awaken the evil entities that reside just below the surface.
Should this occur, it was said that these volatile beings would exact their revenge, not on the perpetrator, but on the one they deemed responsible for their existence. The subsequent break in the back of the unwitting mother was said to emulate the crack that their thoughtless offspring had violated.
The moral of this story is, apparently, to be mindful of your surroundings. After all, one misstep can have dire consequences, not only for you, but for those you hold most dear.
There is a laundry list of admonishments regarding scissors, among them the ever-popular don't run while holding the implement in your hand, lest you fall and be impaled. For expectant mothers, however, the warnings are a bit more ominous.
Those wise to the ways of lore know to keep scissors, and other sharp objects, far away from pregnant women. To have these tools lying around is believed to play into the hands of unseen demons who wish nothing more than to sever the umbilical cord prematurely, resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth.
4. Exhaling Too Forcefully
This is a belief that a handful of my overcautious relatives used to tout, especially during birthday celebrations. If one or more of the attendees happened to be expecting, they were asked to refrain from helping inflate balloons or blow out candles, even if they were the guest of honor.
These precautions were not meant to put a damper on the festivities but rather to protect the unborn fetus. The theory behind this was that if a pregnant woman exhaled too forcefully, she could inadvertently expel the baby's soul. If this happened, the much-anticipated child, now an empty shell, would be lost forever.
5. A Sudden Fright
Another superstition that was batted about in my family dealt with the consequences a sudden scare would have on a pregnancy, especially if it involved insects.
As if to illustrate that this notion was true, one of my aunts was startled by a praying mantis one day while tending to her garden. Several months pregnant at the time, she immediately took to the house, overcome by the fear that the mental trauma she experienced would somehow impact the baby she was carrying.
To her relief, she ended up giving birth to a healthy baby boy. That would have been the end of the story had it not been for the way he came out of the womb. According to family lore, which was repeated endlessly, he was born with his arms crossed in front of him and his hands pointed downward, mimicking the pose of a praying mantis.
As bizarre as it sounds, those present at the time swore that the account was accurate. From then on, they doubled down on their belief that if an expectant mother experiences a sudden fright, her baby will not only retain memories of the harrowing event but also relive it as he or she enters the world.
6. Stay Humble
Let's be honest: while all babies are adorable in their own way, not many are painfully beautiful. Of course, that doesn't stop some people from exclaiming that every cherub they lay eyes on is the most gorgeous thing they've ever seen. As superstition has it, their well-meaning exaggeration could end up doing more harm than good.
If one truly wants to do a newborn a favor, rather than proclaiming their beauty for all to hear, they should downplay it by announcing that they've seen better. As cruel as this may sound, the intention is not to insult the infant or its parents but to keep the devil at bay.
You see, it is thought that the minions of the netherworld are always on the lookout for babies to secret away to their domain. These evil entities are, however, quite finicky and will only steal the most perfect of human specimens. By announcing loud and clear that the baby in question is ugly, for lack of a better word, the crass observer is looking out for the child's immortal soul.
So, if you ever come across someone who either holds their tongue when asked to judge a baby's beauty or blurts out something less than complimentary, don't take it to heart. They are simply trying to stay one step ahead of the devil.
It isn't unusual for a baby to come into the world sporting a birthmark. Normally, these tiny imperfections are harmless and serve only to enhance the uniqueness of this bundle of joy. How they got there in the first place is, as you will see, where superstition enters the room.
Some believe that birthmarks develop when a mom-to-be denies herself a food or beverage she is craving. For instance, marks resembling wine stains that appear on a baby's skin are said to be the result of the mother's having ignored her body's desire for a glass of port.
Others speculate that birthmarks mirror minor injuries sustained by the mother during the latter part of her pregnancy. An example of this would be if a woman happened to bump into something hard enough to leave a bruise while in her third trimester. As if to empathize with its mother, the baby will be born sporting a discoloration in the same size and shape as her contusion.
To round things out, there are those who believe that birthmarks are a gift from the heavens. A friend's daughter, for instance, was born with a pigmented patch of skin that they referred to as "God's thumbprint" for its undeniable resemblance to the appendage. Since no one has ever pinpointed the exact cause of birthmarks, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.