This meaningful trend during COVID-19 may continue long after as a way to show love and support for your spouse when a new baby arrives.
In countries like France, where physical distancing currently imposed by the COVID-19 epidemic has prevented husbands from being with their wives in labor at the hospital, some couples are adopting a gift-giving practice to help mark the occasion. “They prepare boxes for each other in advance, which they open only after the baby is born, when the mother is in the maternity ward and the father at home,” says Camille de Bonnechose, a midwife at St Joseph’s Hospital in Paris. It’s a concrete way for spouses to show their love and to support and pamper each other at a time of special vulnerability.
But preparing a small gift box for your spouse on the occasion of a new baby is a thoughtful practice for any time — pandemic or not. So if you want to plan one, where do you start?
What to put in the box?
The goal with this gift is to show love to your spouse and express joy at sharing the gift of parenthood together. The first thing to put in the box is a letter or note, to celebrate the great event. You can reiterate your commitment as husband or wife, thank your spouse for their support and presence, tell them again how much you love them. With humor or heartfelt candor, it’s a chance to put into words your feelings, desires, and plans for your family.
Other ideas about what to place in the box include a parenting book, a T-shirt or sweater, and a tea or coffee mug. But beyond these generic ideas, your knowledge of your spouse will help you fill the box in a personalized way: a favorite snack, a face mask or beard balm, a bottle of champagne or beer which you can share together when the time is right.
If you are both people of faith, it’s also great to include a little prayer you can say together, whether in person or over video chat if you’re not together. It’s the perfect time to entrust your child and your family to the Lord. You can also place a small cross, medal, or rosary inside.
Here’s a prayer to give thanks for a birth you can include:
Thank you, Lord, for the precious gift of our child’s life and for the boundless joy with which it fills us.Thank You for the trust You show in us, by placing this little being at the heart of our family.We entrust to You the doubts and fears that sometimes assail us. Strengthen, in these moments, our confidence and our courage, in order to accomplish hand in hand this beautiful and great mission of being parents.May the fire of Your merciful love burn within us, so that we may be tender and loving parents, as well as loving and caring spouses, in all the circumstances that life has in store for us.Help us to raise (child’s name) in the faith and to help him/her discover the power of Your love.Amen(Prayer translated from Le livre de prière du couple (“The Couple’s Prayer Book,”) Isabelle Chevignard et Mathilde de Robien)