In the months of pregnancy leading up to the birth of a child, there are always a number of conversations between the parents-to-be. With so much to plan and prepare before the baby arrives, conversation topics vary from surface-level things like nursery decor and sleep logistics, while other may go a little deeper.
After years of navigating my husband and my two different cultures and learning how to embrace special parts of each throughout our marriage, it’s no surprise that we questioned how to make sure we did the same as we started this next chapter together. Expanding our multicultural family means there is an opportunity to teach not only our future child about both cultures, but to celebrate them from the very beginning.
Finding Small Ways to Incorporate Both Cultures
From adding a bilingual greeting on our baby registry to buying English-to-Spanish children’s books, my husband and I have found small ways to celebrate both mommy’s and daddy’s cultures when preparing for our little one’s arrival. In your own family, find the simple things that help carve out space for your different cultures to shine through. It may be artwork, music, recipes, holiday celebrations, and other special things. Those small gestures create representation in your household and beyond and can set a strong foundation as your child grows, seeing different aspects of his or her identity.
Choosing Traditions That Are Important to Both of You
Many people grow up experiencing different traditions, whether around holidays or special milestones, without ever really realizing that what they consider “normal” truly isn’t normal at all, when looked at through a global lens. Only a year or so into our relationship, it was easy to see the difference between our family traditions, as well as spot the similarities. As our baby boy joins the mix, we’re excited to incorporate favorite family dishes, games, and music from both sides, while creating some new ones of our own. If there’s a holiday one side celebrates and not the other, explore the purpose behind it and make the reason clear why your family observes the holiday.
Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion Outside of Just Your Family
Not all children are raised seeing families that don’t look like them or learning about cultures that are different than their own. While it’s important for us to raise our children in a way that embraces parts of both of our cultures, we also look forward to finding intentional ways to celebrate diversity as a whole. Think about the toys children play with or the books they read or the cartoons that they watch. There is an opportunity to be found in each of these categories to introduce characters and stories of different races, skin tones, body types, disabilities, and more. My niece, for instance, may be a white little girl, but my sister has made it important for her to have baby dolls of different races represented. Looking at the friends, family, church congregation, and other social circles your family finds itself in may also help to find an opportunity to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
Remember What Really Makes Your Family Special
While it’s important to embrace our family’s blended cultural and racial background, that’s only one part of what makes our growing family special. Allow your family values, beliefs, culture, traditions, and unique take on life to shine through to all and be celebrated! Our hope is to introduce our little one to the many differences within his or her family and beyond, reminding him or her that our differences are part of what makes our world beautiful.