Natalie Portman: ‘I’m Very Superstitious’ About Pregnancy

01/13/2011 at 03:00 PM ET
EPA/Paul Buck/Landov

Don’t ask Natalie Portman about the color scheme for her baby’s room — the actress says it’s way too soon to start planning the arrival of the child she’s expecting with her fiancΓ© Benjamin Millepied.

“I’m very superstitious,” Portman, 29, said Tuesday at the Los Angeles premiere of her new movie No Strings Attached, in which she stars with Ashton Kutcher.

“I’m very Jewish that way. We don’t do that.”

Considering the actress has been busy promoting three movies in the past few months, she says she’s ready to take some time off after the birth.

“I’ll be out of the public eye after [the baby’s born],” Portman said, adding that she will be laying low for a while and will just take any future career opportunity “as it comes.”

— Sara Hammel with reporting by Michelle Ward

FILED UNDER: Maternity , News

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Nella on

One of my friends is like that, she isn’t Jewish, but she is also very superstitious about pregnancy. She doesn’t even want to have a baby shower. She refuses any gifts for the baby until he is born. Didn’t paint the room yet or bought any baby items such as a crib, stroller etc…There is just people like that, I realized it has a lot to do with one’s cultural background as well, my friend is Eastern European and she said that her family is very superstitious about things like that so she was brought up with that way of thinking.

Catherine on

That certainly explains the loose dresses! I can see her point, though – I’m not Jewish, but I imagine I’ll be very superstitious when it’s my turn, especially after hearing some of the horror stories. But she doesn’t seem to be the celebrity who would share all that information anyway, superstitious or not.

Ashley on

I am not Jewish, but I am VERY superstitious when it comes to pregnancies. I don’t really start buying things until around 35 weeks (I wouldn’t have bought anything, but my husband wanted to be prepared). I am just so scared of having all the baby stuff and something going wrong. Also, I really don’t tell people I am pregnant until I am around 13 weeks. I am never really comfortable being pregnant (have been 4 times!), I am always sooooo scared of something bad happening.

harley on

Absolutely understand! My mom had quite a few things for what would have been my eldest brother, but…. I will be the same way as Natalie when I am blessed enough to be with child.

soph on

A well-deserved break — she was incredible in Black Swan!

Jacqui on

My family is Jewish and I’m superstitious about pregnancy, but I didn’t know it was a Jewish thing! Oh well. . . Happy for Natalie. Can’t wait to find out what she names the baby.

Daisy! on

One that my whole family seems to have adopted is not buying a pram until around the 30week mark and then not having it in the house til after the baby arrives. Discussing this with friends we have come to the conclusion that it’s a country thing, both my parents come from small villages and our generation is now more urbanised but hanging onto the countryside traditions.

Shoshana on

You don’t have to be Jewish to be superstitious (even though I am — on both counts..haha!), but I will agree with Nella in that it is definitely a part of Eastern European culture. I have a lot of Russian friends, and though they were raised (for the majority of their lives) in America, they and their parents are extremely superstitious — with both big and little events.

Anyway, love, love, LOVE Natalie!! She will make an amazing mom, and I couldn’t be happier for the amazing year she’s already having!!

rachel on

It is definitely a Jewish thing, even if it’s also present in other cultures (presumably it’s no coincidence that it’s also an Eastern European thing, as most Jews in the US are Ashkenazi – i.e., Eastern European Jews). According to my mother, Jews traditionally don’t have baby showers or buy things for the baby before it’s born, and they definitely don’t pick out a name until after it’s born. Of course, many in the US have been influenced by the culture here, so it’s also not surprising that some Jews might not be aware of such superstitions. Anyway, I remember Gywneth Paltrow (whose father is Jewish) making very similar comments when she was pregnant.

tink1217 on

I had a few Jewish friends that told me about buying anything and if anything was bought by others…it wasn’t to be in the expectant mother’s home until after the baby was born.

Devon on

I’ve had a couple friends who have given birth to still born children and it’s freaked me out. I definitely won’t be buying things until late in any pregnancy. I don’t want to tempt fate! Things can be done and gotten afterwards.

Lisa on

It might not necessarily be a “Jewish thing”, but as a Jewish-Italian woman I agree with what Natalie’s saying. I’m not ultra-superstitious, but I’m superstitious enough to not tell anyone I was pregnant until I was out of my first trimester.

Sus on

I like Natalie. She seems very down to earth. πŸ™‚

sarawara on

I’m also Jewish and we didn’t tell folks we were expecting until well after the first trimester with all 3 of our kids. We also didn’t decorate, talk about baby names… etc. until the babies were home. I don’t really consider that superstitious, though. Is it? Just trying to take things one day at a time– as they come. Not put the cart before the horse.


GloryBee on

I’m not Jewish, but am from the South. My grandmother would not talk about the pregnancy, buy anything for the baby, let anyone talk about the baby in her presence (or mine) or attend a baby shower before I was in my 36th week. She made beautiful crocheted baby clothes, but would make things between pregancies and not give them as gifts at all until a baby was born. She was brought up that way and she was emphatic about this, well, I guess you could say tradition. She never stated she was superstitious, but I do know she was very modest and did say that when she was a young girl, pregnancy wasn’t spoken of in her presence and she would hear whispers that so-and-so was “in a family way.” It was always so bizarre to me, but that’s how she was brought up.

Mina on

I didn’t know she was Jewish!

Stef on

@sarawara: I don’t think that’s superstitious, I just think it’s being cautious. It’s better to wait to tell others than wind up in an awkward situation if something were to go wrong.

Corie on

To each their own I suppose. I had a miscarriage last year but I still feel I will have the right to feel as excited and positive about the pregnancy next time it will happen for me. I guess I will wait the three months mark to tell people but after that I will allow myself to be ”baby crazy” because I feel that’s part of a positive pregnancy experience and I will believe in my heart everything will go right. Refraining myself to be enthusiatic and decorate and buy baby stuff just in case something goes wrong is’nt something I could do.

biscuit on

She is such a beautiful woman best wishes to her and her new family.

CelebBabyLover on

Mina- Natalie is indeed Jewish. I remember reading that somewhere. In fact, her family is from Israel orginally (she was born in Jerusalem)! (not that everyone in Israel is Jewish….but Judasim DOES seem to be the most dominant religion over there! :)).

Anyway, she seems very down to earth, and I’m not surprised she intends to take a break, as she said a couple years ago (in early 2008, to be exact. I recently came across the article again while browsing the Moms & Babies/CBB archives!) that she was going to quit acting for motherhood. Now, it’s pretty obvious from what she said here that she isn’t going to quit for good…but she never said that in the other article either. Looking back, I think she just meant she was going to quit for awhile. πŸ™‚

On a somewhat sillier note….I’ll always see her as Padme! πŸ™‚

SAR on

Wow, Ms. “Won’t Do Nudity” actually kept her clothes ON for this picture! I guess she had to, since it’s at the premiere for her dumb-looking movie. In which she has a nude scene.

Her topless Dior ad is making the rounds. And anyone who dares criticize her inability to keep her clothes on is “just jealous.”

JMT on


Though I think your phrasing is a bit harsh, I have to agree that I was disappointed by how quickly she abandoned her former moral standards as she moved into “mainstream Hollywood”. But congratulations to her.

SadieA on

Mina- Natalie Portman is actually just her stage name, she was born Natalie Hershlag in Jerusalem

Jennifer on

SAR– wow, a post about her superstitions about pregnancy sure seemed to spur up a really off the subject rant for you. Not sure why this warranted bringing up her past and current views on nudity. You come off quite snarky and as though you’re looking to bash just for the sake of bashing–even giving such a flippant comment about her latest movie. But that’s just my opinion. I guess I prefer to stick on the subject of her pregnancy since that is the actual point of this blog and this specific post.

JMT–I do understand your meaning, but people often change their views on things as they grow and mature. She certainly has a right to change her mind. To quote Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” As far as her entering ‘mainstream Hollywood’ quite frankly I’d say she did that a good 12 years ago when she starred in Star Wars (a mainstream Hollywood flick and worldwide blockbuster.)

That said, Congratulations to her, and I perfectly understand her hesitancy regarding the subject of pregnancy. I wish her all the best for a safe and healthy pregnancy and baby. πŸ™‚

Indira on

lol @in a family way. Judge Joe Brown says that on his court show.

erika on

with my first baby, i was busy study for and then taking the Bar Exam at 38 weeks pregnant (I passed!)- and so I didn’t buy anything before.

with my second pregnancy, i had a miscarriage…

with my third pregnancy, i was pregnant with twin girls and they were both stillborn late in pregnancy.

so, needless to say, for my fourth pregnancy i was REALLY freaked out. i didn’t even tell anyone i was pregnant until I was about 7 months along (I didn’t hide it but didn’t talk about it). And I didn’t buy anything for the baby except one outfit (in case I needed burial clothes) until after she was born.

I realize some people might think that is freaky- but it was my way of coping through a very stressful, anxious pregnancy.

I am hoping to have one more baby, and this time I probably won’t tell anyone until I am 6 months pregnant and I probably won’t buy anything until really late either. I can still be excited about it in my own way, but I just can’t go through the heartache I went through when I had to return EVERYTHING for my twin girls- you know, that really sucked and it’s something I’d rather not EVER repeat.

kmb on

Here we go, another nasty, bitter post by SAR regarding Natalie Portman. If you despise her so much (as you’ve made glaringly apparent in this post and ones before it), then a simple solution would be to stop reading/commenting on articles about her. An article that wasn’t even relevant to your hate-filled rant. I honestly feel bad for you, that you have so much hate inside you for someone you don’t even know, who is far from being an “offensive” person. I hope you find a better outlet for your anger problems.

MomofmySon on

Congratulations to the new family to be! But every expecting mother/ father should try to put their fears away and enjoy the most exciting months in their lives!

In my opinion its a very important thing to think positively and embrace this time. Its nearly impossible to buy the cute things for a baby, when the baby is born and I wanted to pick everything by myself. Superstition just spoil the great time for expectant parents.

Pregnancy is a blessing not a curse – to the most of us.

CelebBabyLover on

Jennifer- Exactly!

B.R on

I come from the Balkans we were all the same way regardless of religion. I have seen my mother pregnant with all of my 9 brothers and sisters, and there was never a conversation about it. One day I would look over and there was bigger belly on my mom, and that was it. My old baby cloths and crib (me being the oldest it was looked upon as good luck to have the new babies in my clothing/crib since I was healthy and growing up well) didn’t come out till the new addition/additions were home after a minimum three week hospital stay (once up on a time that was normal for any new mother, after every one was home we talked about baby names and who was moving into what room, it was just the way things were done and many other families that I grew up with were the same way. Even though the country has changed for me and my friends, along many other things, the way we treat pregnancy has not, children are way to important to all of us, so we follow the old rules when it comes to that. My guess it that the poorer the country and the higher mortality rate of babies the more superstitious the mothers. But that is my own opinion.

I wish her all the best, and I am glad she is taking a break to be a mom. She has worked hard since she has made it to Hollywood and I am sure that the trip to get there was not easy. I do hope that she will announce the babies birth picture and name, I for one would love to see what her future child looks like.

SAR grow up Natalie has, and with age she changed how she feels about doing nudity and how she feels about her future husband and child seeing her in the movies and nudity. She is allowed after all it is her life and her body.

Bancie1031 on

I’m not Jewish but I’m very superstitious! I won’t tell anyone I’m pregnant until I’m 4 – 5 months pregnant. I ask people not to buy anything for the baby until after birth. I won’t buy anything myself until after the delivery. At one month old my daughter was at her own baby shower and that’s when everyone met her πŸ™‚ Like I said I’m very superstitious and not just when it comes to being pregnant … In general I’m always VERY superstitious. When my husband and I first got together he used to always talk about how superstitious my whole family is and how “silly” it was to him … now after being around for as many years as he has AND has seen our families luck as he has his opinion now is “I NOW KNOW WHY YOUR FAMILY IS SO SUPERSTITIOUS!” Not only does he understand BUT HE himself is now also very superstitious …..

Raphaella on

I’m west African and we’re also superstitious when it comes to pregnancy. We don’t buy anything for the baby and we don’t have baby showers. We also don’t check the sex and we name the baby after its born. To my English friends that seems weird but this is one tradition that I agree with. I really don’t understand why you’d need to buy a pram at 30 weeks?! In our culture, the one thing we’d buy would be a crib a few weeks before. When the baby is born, everyone who visits will provide clothes, nappies and other supplies so that’s our equivalent of a baby shower.

It not really caution because even thinking about anything happening to the baby is considered bad luck..

Regarding finding out the sex of the baby, I recently had argument with my friend about that (she is British). I said I would never want to know the gender of my baby and her response was “but how will you know what colours to buy?!” I just have to laugh. Sums up the world we live in.

Dee on

I’m not Jewish, I am from the caribbean and we are superstitious about preganancy as well. When I was pregnant I didn’t paint the room or started buying anything until way into my third trimester. My friends threw a shower for me and I didn’t want to open anything, my family and other friends threw one after the baby was born because we didn’t find out the sex.

It’s not only a Jewish thing, I have friends from other different cultures who are the same. I think its one of those things you inherit from your ancestors.

My fiancee is white and he doesn’t believe in superstitions so he was out buyng stuff, him and his family and sometimes it seemed like they were more excited than me. Truth be told I was just scared and worried about bringing baby to term and having a healthy child, especially when you read or meet people who have had miscarriages etc.

Thank God today my baby boy is 6 months old and beautiful and healthy!!!

I am happy for Natalie though, she is an awesome actress, seems so down to earth and will make an excellent mother πŸ™‚

Sarah on

What does that have to do with superstition? I feel it’s more about one’s emotional status if something happens to the baby.

I was hesitant about a shower or preparing too much because I did not want to deal with all the baby things around if I had lost my baby during pregnancy. I didn’t feel I was going to kill my baby by buying baby stuff but rather that it would be horrible to put away a fully furnished baby’s room if he died.

I’m German and there are no showers before birth in Germany. Presents arrive after the birth (although parents certainly will get ready for the baby!). A friend offered to host a shower and I did have a shower around week 34. It was awesome – we knew what we still needed to get after his arrival and felt prepared for the birth! And all went well… πŸ™‚

c on

If she was really that superstitious, she wouldn’t be talking about her pregnancy and using it for publicity. I used to be a huge fan of hers… but I don’t respect the fact that she went after a guy who was clearly not single

Mom Of Twins on

I think all mother’s-to-be are very cautious with their first pregancy. I think so may start to relax a little more when it’s their second,third child. Being a mother of twins and having two miscarriages prior, is try to tell mom-to-be to enjoy every moment because somethings are just out of your control.

Ashton Fallis on

I don’t believe in buying anything until you know the sex of the baby, that way a little girl’s room isn’t full of sports stuff (though there’s nothing wrong with that, football is awesome), and a little boy’s room isn’t full of cutesy girly things, but reading this and the comments makes me glad I’m not that superstitious. I believe in being prepared, and waiting until the baby is born to get everything done? When you have a screaming new baby and are really tired all the time? That just seems crazy to me.

PeopleMover on

Life is never guaranteed, pre or post birth. Superstitious or not, there’s not a whole lot that can be done about that.

petuniafromhell on

I’m not superstitious, but hopefully once i’m pregnant, i’m not spreading the news after 3 months…I was arguing with my husband, because i believe people should know the babies name after the babies born. I don’t like it when pregnant people start taking about the baby is not born yet and they are referring him/her by name. I think i’m just worry that something would happen and that would make the heartbreak even bigger.

SAR on

Natalie seems like such a sweet, down to earth person. She will make a great mom.

Linda on

Does anyone know if her boyfriend is jewish? but since she is jewish the kids are born jewish, but just curious about her boyfriend.

my background is jewish but I dont practice it but my family does and some are very religious, they dont tell until they start showing, buy nothing, they dont find out what it is until the baby is born and the name if its a boy is announced at his bris (i hope you all know what that is) and a girl is announced after she is born and has a baby naming anytime after that.

Jana on

I am Jewish and I am in the same way as Natalie. I am not religious by any means but I still follow the supersition thing as does my mother and many other people that I know. About a 15 months ago I went to a baby shower for a friend who was NOT jewish but married someone who is, although not very religious I got the feeling that his family followed the same thing, because the gifts that my friend recieved from his family was mostly money and giftcards, someone ask me why they did that and I just told them that in the Jewish culture it is just way they do things. I did get my friend a gift, but I sent it to her mother’s house for the same reason others have stated above.

mary on

Funny! My mom was Norwegian. I was born 2 Β½ months premature (1968). My mom had nothing for me. Nothing! When I came home I slept in a drawer for 2 months until my father finally convinced my mom that I was going to survive. (And My dad was a cardiologist! LOL) it was only then that she put me in a bassinet. I guess everyone has their little hang-ups!

auuc on

i was not superstitious about baby things or pregnancies until i had several miscarriages and still borns. after this fear has a way of working it’s way into you enjoying the experience to the fullest. returning baby clothes for babies who die is horrendous. i’m an afro-american so i was brought up with the baby showers and knowing the sex and fixing the nursery, and choosing a name. this is a hard road to follow when the pregnancy doesn’t go as planned.

as for natalie portman i wish her the best with her child, marriage and career. she has been a great actress and role model for young hollywood. she is humble, beautiful, and talented. this is something you don’t see much in hollywood.

L.R. on

I think it’s great she is doing it! I think she may be doing it for her own sanity and peace of mind. She is obviously going to be out promoting movies during a majority of her pregnancy but that is her job. I give her the utmost respect for saying she will be out of the spotlight and laying low to take care of what is now the most important thing in her life. It show’s that she doesn’t need to shed all of her pregnancy weight the day she leaves the hospital in order to be in a movie 2 weeks after her child is born or be out shopping for the newest clothes. She is taking on her mother role to the fullest and seeming like she is looking forward to it. As for being superstitious, well, it is what it is. I don’t think it comes down to religion or region, albeit those might be factors. I think she is following her own instincts. When I had my son my husband and I waited until I was through my 1st trimester to share the news. Regardless, I send well wishes her way for a healthy pregnancy and delivery and a life full of love with her child.

chelb on

My Great Grandmother immigrated from Germany in 1918 and was spanked by her father at the age of 19 for saying the word “pregnant”. My mother told me this story and my GGMa explained it to me (she was 99 at the time) that you never were to speak of a woman being in a “family way” while she was pregnant because it was considered rude. You were never to use the word pregnant and it was treated like a bad word in her family because it was rude and disrespectful. She wouldn’t even use the pregnant term telling me the story. GGM had 11 children and lived to the age of 102.

Lou x on

Erika: I’m really sorry to hear about your experienced, my heart goes out to you. I hope you are about to go on to have a successful 4th pregnancy and are able to enjoy it as much as possible πŸ™‚

Mina: i too didn’t know she was Jewish!

life of dad on

Woah..just watched “Black Swan” this week…great movie, but can’t imagine natalie being pregnant now. congrats!

Cristina on

Mozel tov to Natalie on her pregnancy. She has the right to do whatever she wants both during and after the pregnancy.

J on

A comment about people not realizing that Natalie Portman is Jewish. She is and from what I read when she was growing up she was somewhat observent, ie she went to Temple every Saturday, and followed the Kosher diet that many Jewish people do also she was born in Israel and I think she might even have relatives that live their although I am not to sure. Not sure how observent she is now but growing in Long Island, NY she was.

Debbie on

I’ve had 4 pregnancies and have three children. The first, my Jewish mother-in-law was so superstitious that when my father-in-law died in my 16th week, she didn’t want me to attend his funeral, which I didn’t. Two other very close relatives died during that pregnancy and I didn’t go to those funerals either. We didn’t have any baby things in our posession until I gave birth…the crib and layette were on order to be picked up after the birth. I was comforted by “you can take out a drawer and put the baby in it” until you have a crib or bassinet. Also, we didn’t tell anyone about the names we discussed. The baby was healthy!

The second pregnancy, I threw all that out the window. I painted a crib and dresser and set up the baby’s room, I visited sick people in the hospital, we discussed names, we put baby clothes aside. Devastatingly, my second baby was stillborn.

Though I never thought I brought on the death of my second baby, we went back to being EXTREMELY superstitious during the next two pregnancies, not even telling anyone until I showed in around the fourth or fifth month.

B.R on

I am really enjoying reading all the stories from different people of different backgrounds, traditions and countries. By far the most polite posts I have ever read on this site. I just have one comment to make some women on here have said that being superstitious will prevent you from enjoying the full experience of being pregnant. I am sorry but I don’t agree with that. Only cause some choose not to shop, and have a party till after the birth of their child doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the pregnancy, it is quite the opposite if you ask me. Women get so carried away making sure they have anything and everything for the baby, shopping, decorating, some are modest, some go overboard. But to me if you took all that time and energy spend running around buying things, and focused on the baby and your health there for babies health would be better. You could work out, plan eating really well, or just taking the time to rub your belly and tell you unborn babe how much you already love them and how smitten you with them and becoming a mom, and seeing the man you love (hopefully) become an amazing father you always knew he would make some day.

But that is just me.

Tiff on

Superstitions are silly…I have 3 children and as soon as I found out their sex, I went out and started buying things…nothing happened to my children. They are all happy and healthy.

Nancy on

I wish her good luck, hope she has a great pregnancy like I did. I love Natalie, she is such a sweet heart and so classy. Best of wishes to her and her family. πŸ˜€

Indira on

I guess some parts are superstition but, other parts just seem pragmatic. Until a baby is “born” they aren’t here. As messed up as it sounds– buying clothing and prams, setting up a nursery is literally counting your chickens before they’ve hatched.

lcs on

I have have 7 grandchildren with number 8 due in April. We always waited until after the big arrival to do a baby shower. My oldest, who is now pregnant, is very specific about not wanting anything until the baby is here…making it even more interesting they don’t want to know if they are having a boy or girl until it arrives…

Ashleigh-Faye on

Tiff your lucky. No nothing happened to your babies. But things do happen. If you have a moment look up “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” and see how not everyone has it as easy as you….

nette on

Superstition meh. It’s a biological process. Most work out, some don’t. For most of those that don’t work out, it is a blessing for both the parents and the child (that would have been handicapped in the majority of cases.)

heidi on

i’m not superstition by any means when it comes to having a baby, but I still don’t buy anything until after the baby shower. why spend my money on items that others might buy as gifts? So, i wait until after the baby shower (in this case, it will be when i’m 8 months along) then i will go buy whatever else i need.

Trish on

Having had my first 2 children be stillborn, I understand superstitions, but since I have gone through it I honestly can’t say I would have felt any better if I hadn’t had their things already set up in their room. Actually, I think it made me feel closer to them and allowed me to say goodbye. If I had come home from the hospital empty handed twice to a house that did not show the change my life had been taken, it would have been much harder to deal with. Fortunately, my third pregnancy ended in me welcoming a beautiful daughter into my life. I didn’t follow any superstitions on that pregnancy either. Sometimes things just happen.

The only thing I have learned about pregnancy is to enjoy every moment of it, because that is time you are spending with your baby, and if you pay attention you will already know your child, even if that happens to be the only time together you get. Congrats to Natalie, may her pregnancy be joyous and her baby be healthy!

Meredith on

It boils down to this: If you believe in those superstitions, it will happen. There’s no science that backs any of this up, so why don’t you just live life, think positive and be prepared?

elliemae on

I have a feeling that Millepied is Jewish. I don’t see Natalie going for anyone who is not.


I am Chinese. Chinese are very superstitious too. We usually do not tell people (except immediate family) about the pregnancy in the early stage because we consider this the most vulnerable period. After the 3rd month of pregnancy is considered “safe” or stable and we start to tell friends about the good news.

We are also careful about things happening around the house. No paintwork done, no drilling, or moving of furniture around the house for fear that it might disturb or affect the unborn baby.

And more so for the bedroom that the pregnant mother is sleeping in. No cutting is allowed on the bed believing that it might cut the unborn child in some way or other.

Painting work is also not allowed for fear of red patches on the face or body on the unborn child. These are some of the common things that we are very superstitious about.

We don’t have the practice of baby shower. But we do buy baby stuff before the baby is born. Most of the time, we are able to know the gender by ultrasound and in most cases to be very accurate and that make shopping easy.

elizabeth rupe on

There’s one thing I hate reading like so-so has a baby bump, I’m sorry but I don’t gawk at womens stomach and find it extremally rude why dont they just state the facts this star is extremely healthy and pregnant Then when they tell you the names of the children are you suppossed to jump up and cheer? personally some names are downight sick and make me fill sorry for the child. I even know some women who have already named the baby before its born and know it’s going to be a boy. So I dont understand this article why is it considered superstitious to wait on certain things, if you have a baby shower it might be one of the gifts.

jennifer cobb on

I dont know about it beeing superstitious,but when i found out i was pregnant i was very careful about it. I didnt really want to tell too many people or even start picking out names until i was about 20 to 25 weeks. I think it really is just a female thing. Its something a man could never understand, you find out you have this little life within you and your immediate response it to do everything in your power to make sure that the child makes it full term and is born happy and healthy.

I know i was super paroniod my whole pregnacy even knowing that everything was ok. I think its just the biggest fear for a mother to be. I dont know about anybody else but if anything would have happned and i would have lost my son during the pregnacy i would have felt like a complete faliur. I would have felt that i must have done something wrong…even if i hadnt.

S Miller on

I am a mom of three grown adults and a grandmom of 3 grandchildren with another on the way. It doesn’t matter what religion or what superstitions we might be slaves to, if a baby isn’t meant to make it into this world then there is not a thing we can do to prevent it.

I enjoy the process of being pregnant, well (at least most of it), and the best part is the planning for me. It helps me enjoy the not so great parts of it such as the nausea and back aches, etc.

The main thing is to enjoy it and to hopefully bring a healthy baby into the world and help them to grow into thriving adults one day.

I’m very glad to see a celebrity that is down to earth and isn’t promoting her pregnancy to earn extra points on her acting career as a few have implied. her career speaks for itself and it has grown and matured and changed as she has, and I might add it has been in a good way.

For those who don’t care for her…oh well she isn’t about to lose sleep over it, her life will go on just as it is and she doesn’t need approval from a couple of the snarky b!t@hes that commented on here.

Lisa on

In my opinion I didn’t find out the sex of the baby. But, I did buy things before he was born, and I did set up his furniture. We did a jungle theme in yellows and greens, and it came out amazing for boy or girl. We could accent with pink or blue, so it would work either way. We didn’t pick out a name until 2 hrs before we left the hospital, becase we only had a girl’s name, lol, so that was by accident, but not superstitious.

I cannot understand not buying things for your baby, because when I went into labor, it was super helpful to have a car seat installed, a crib and bassinet set up, clothes to put him in at the hospital, and laundry/towels so I could bathe him.

I can’t imagine doing that on a few hours sleep. Of course, celebrities can pay people to do all of that for them.

Also, with SIDS and things like that, you’re not necessairly gauranteed the life of your child anymore after birth than you are during pregnancy.

But, everyone’s different, and I think comfort levels vary based on experience. If something had happened to my son, I certainly wouldn’t find blame in my preparation or lack of superstition.

Anonymous on

here in germany, you wouldn’t tell anyone about what name you have chosen for your baby – not so much because of superstition, but you wouldn’t want the name to be “spoiled” by anyone (“oh, you want to name your child XYZ? I had a kid in class who was called XYZ and nobody liked him/her!”). we also don’t have baby showers, you give your gifts when you visit the new baby and its parents for the first time.

KB on

Many cultures have superstitions about pregnancy and birth (as a practical matter no less – miscarriages, stillbirths, infant mortality and maternal mortality were all so common until modern medicine and sanitation).

But Judaism still holds on to those superstitions pretty strongly, even though the belief in demons has been almost entirely lost to most modern Jews. But back in the medieval days, Jews believed quite literally in many demons, including Lilith. Lilith was thought by many to be Adam’s first wife, before Eve, but left the Garden of Eden when she refused to be subservient to Adam. In her demonic incarnation, she was thought to be a demon of lust (men blamed her for nocturnal emissions and being “led astray”, and those nocturnal emissions were thought to “mate” in a way with Lilith and create demons). She was also a demon who prayed on the unborn and just born, as well as their birthing mothers. She was blamed for miscarriage and stillbirth, as well as infant and maternal death. It was felt that celebrating pregnancy and a new child were bad luck as this behavior drew the attention of Lilith, who would then harm them. For a long time, it was thought that Lilith could strike for as long as a mother was ritually unclean following birth (about 2 weeks for girls, and 1 week for boys), but this eventually became a superstition for up to a month after birth.

Even today, many Jewish mothers do not name their girl children for a month. Boy children are not named until their brit milah on their 8th day of life. And we do not traditionally have pre-birth showers or celebrations. Preparations, though, are not discouraged – but only the basics. Of course, modern american culture which celebrates and anticipates babies with great enthusiasm are altering this tradition, and many Jewish women celebrate, decorate and shop with enthusiasm before birth.

Again, while belief in demons in general, and Lilith specifically, are almost completely absent from more modern Jewish belief (for a couple centuries at least), the superstitions about celebrating babies before they are born remain. In addition, a basic Jewish trending toward pessimism and caution also continue to affect this tradition.

OK – academic ranting over. Congrats Natalie!

Happy4Natalie on

Can we ALL just stop w/ the superstitions?? Let’s just wish Natalie all the BEST, and stop scaring her w/ all the horror stories… last thing she needs is nightmares…
And now: CONGRATULATIONS NATALIE!! May God bless you & your Pregnancy!

really? on

Natalie can’t seem to get through an interview about anything without mentioning that she’s Jewish but whatever. I agree with her being careful about her pregnancy in that way. It’s not only a Jewish tradition – many cultures and religions feel the same way, mine included. While I think showers (baby, bridal, etc.) are stupid in general these days, I don’t think you should have one until after the baby is born. May sound old fashioned but it’s just something I happen to believe. Great luck to her and her beautiful baby!!!!! Gorgeous!

JM on

um Happy4natalie, i don’t think natalie portman actually reads this site πŸ™‚ i’m sure she has better things to do.

having said that, i totally agree with meredith. superstitions only cause unnecessary worry and can’t influence actual events. so why not think positively and trust the science?

I'mamomtoo on

Natalie is maybe not a “practicing” Jew, but she was born in Jerusalem, Israel and her parents are Jewish. She attended a Hebrew school as a child too. I adore her and I hope her pregnancy goes smoothly. Best wishes to her and her baby!

Dee on

I cruised through two pregnancies with no problems. Then I became pregnant again and was cruising through another when at 14 weeks I had problems-placenta abruption. Doctor said I didn’t even have a 50% chance of carrying to term. From that point on I didn’t buy one thing EVER until I was 35 weeks. I wasn’t superstitious until then, so I understand what some other readers have said. P.S. my baby girl was born at 37.5 weeks and she was perfect! I learned never to take things for granted πŸ™‚

Leah on

I wish Natalie would stop saying she is Jewish in every interview. Natalie it is getting embarrassing. You do not and will never represent the Jewish community. Especially since you were screwing your co worker before any commitment. And you had a child before any ketubah. Sorry for anyone who isn’t Jewish. She gives Jewish women a bad name.

MIlly on

@nette- To use the word Blessing when talking about M/C, still birth, etc is sickening! There is no blessing in losing your child! Many woman are faced with knowing they have a child with special needs and love that person unconditionally! Yes these things have Biological causes and eating a certain food, or buying baby clothes early on didnt cause it. But many women who have gone through loss will be extra cautious and maybe a bit superstitious with their subsequent pregnancies. What a harsh uneducated person you are!

Amy on

I have 3 kids. I started planning as soon as I found out I was pregnant with each one. With my first, I had EVERYTHING done by the time I was 6 months along, including clothes in the closet, diapers in the stacker and even her name on the wall. Luckily, all the of my kids were born happy and healthy and on time. I do, however. understand being cautious. I have several friends and family members that have lost babies, at various stages of pregnancy. I also grew up with a mom that had multiple miscarriages. In the end, you need to do what is right for you. I am sure Natalie will be an awesome mom and I wish her all the best!


I’m 29 weeks pregnant and Jewish. I have always grown up knowing that you dont buy for baby until baby is around. Some of my friends will store certain gifts at another location, if given preterm. No one in my communtiy usually has a baby shower… when the baby is born, a bris is performed a week later and that tends to be the time of gift giving, if a boy. If its a girl a baby naming can be held. knowing Natalie’s background, I would expect this of her.

terry on

Mariah Carey isn’t Jewish and she expressed the same sentiments. People feeling that anticipating things about babies before they’re born could be bad luck is cross cultures. It kind of like the old saying: “Dont count your chickens before they hatch”.

fuzibuni on

KB thanks for your post! I loved reading all the stories from everyone, and found yours to be particularly interesting and well written. I’ve heard of “Lilith” before, but didn’t know all the details that you wrote about πŸ™‚

My husband and I are planning to start trying for a baby soon, and when we do I already know that I’d like to keep it a secret for as long as I can. Nothing to do with superstition, just that once you let people know, some can’t seem to help themselves from getting involved in your business and start telling you what to do and not to do.

My well intentioned, but rather invasive, in-laws are always asking when they are going to get grandchildren, and I can’t even imagine how insane they are going to get when it finally happens. The longer I don’t have to tell them, the better. πŸ˜‰

Plus, hopefully nothing will go wrong, but if it does I would rather grieve on my own without having to tell a bunch of other people that I miscarried. I imagine that seeing the disappointment on everyone else’s face would make it harder.

So yeah, I understand the desire to not talk about a pregnancy very much, or buy a lot of stuff, until the baby is born. I don’t like a lot of attention anyhow, so I think it would be especially overwhelming while pregnant.

For this same reason, I imagine that Natalie is going to use the “Jewish Superstition” line whenever the press ask her questions, because it is a good way to avoid having to talk about such a private thing publicly.

JG on

My heart goes out to all of you who have lost a child due to miscarriage or stillborn. I have never been superstitious on pregnancy until my first child was a stillborn and it was the hardest thing that I or anyone can go thru as a mother. I have since had two children (girls – love them to death) but it is always stressful for me to be pregnant.

asiya on

I don’t understand why everyone is using the term “superstitious”? this has nothing to do with superstition – baby showers were a uniquely US tradition, just like Halloween parties.

Thanks to Hollywood movies and globalization of information people all over the world start organizing baby showers or Halloween parties. Other countries, continents, cultures or religious traditions simply never celebrated baby showers and people there believe that you can just as well give the gifts after the baby is born. I would most certainly do the same – not because I am scared that receiving gifts in advance will in any way harm my potential baby, but simply because I would not want to look at all the baby clothing, toys or nursery if anything happens to the child.

And no, this does not mean that people in Europe, Africa, Asia or the Middle East (Jewish, Muslim and Christian, by the way) don’t even talk about the pregnancy, they are happy, they enjoy the pregnancy… you can actually be happy about a pregnancy without a baby shower.

Concerning the comment about the greatgrandmother who migrated from Germany in 1918… you don’t get slapped for pronouncing the word “pregnant” in today’s Germany… If you remember, Hollywood stars never talked about pregnancy until after the 1960s – so I guess the “taboo” did not only exist in Germany.

loren on

@fuzibuni: enjoyed your post especially “I don’t like a lot of attention anyhow” I was the same, not because of superstition (well a little bit) but more because I didn’t want people telling me what to do or giving me advice, or poking my stomach. I was a young mother to be (21) so I avoided all the advice and did you have the baby yet? comments that I had seen my peers experience, oy πŸ™‚ Congratulations to Natalie and all the best with her new family.

showbizmom on

I’m happy for Natalie, but I have a question to the Moms or Mom’s to be. My sister just found out she’s having a boy after three girls. I was wondering are we to give her a baby shower even though it’s her fourth baby? I live in LA so any excuse to throw a party is great, but what’s the etiquette in a situation like this?

Sorry to go off topic, I wish CBB had good ole’ fashioned forum. Hint Hint CBB:)

Normana on

Believe me it is not only a Jewish thing,I am from the Caribbean and we
do not buy baby clothes,crib etc until the very end of the pregnancy.I was in the hospital when my husband got the crib and other baby aaccessories,we did paint the baby’s room when I was almost nine months
and since we did not find out if the baby was a boy or girl the room was painted in a pale yellow color.
All the best to Natalie…………………….


marli watts on

You don’t have to be Jewish to be afraid of something going wrong. It is a woman-thing. Maybe if you worry something won’t go wrong.

I had two babies die at 4 months, then 3 weeks, lots of medical bills, but I prayed like crazy to God that he had a son, and I should get a child….let this one be a blue-eyed blond girl…while you are at it!!

And he listened. I got both!!

loren on

@showbizmom yes, I think here (NYC) people who have showers have them for every baby (I didn’t have showers for either of my 2 children but like I explained above I don’t like attention, I also got married at City Hall πŸ™‚ ) Congratulations to your sister on her pregnancy all the best πŸ™‚

Jennifer on

I don’t think it’s superstitious as much as she is lazy-she’s putting her career first and not getting anything ready for the baby’s arrival.Besides she’ll just hire somebody to do it for her anyway. I am tired of hearing her in every interview say she’s Jewish. Who cares. Like that means anything?

Ruth on

Congratulations to Natalie and her partner on the wonderful news and I hope she has a good pregnancy and birth.

As for her comments, I don’t think that many cultures hold “baby-showers” during pregnancies as is so common in the United States. As a mum of three who gave birth many years ago, I prepared very little for my babies but had lists ready for my mum and mother-in-law so that they could collect everything after the safe delivery. I didn’t regard it as being superstitious but it simply wasn’t the custom and I also knew women who had lost children at birth, something which would become even more difficult if the couple then had to remove all the nursery.

However things were very different with my own daughters. We live in Israel and the custom is to choose everything at a specific shop before the birth and only collect it afterwards. It makes it easier for all concerned, my daughters got exactly what they wanted and we were able to collect everything before they returned home with their babies. Of course pregnant women today know far more about their babies than we did due to the scans etc. and generally know the sex of the baby as well.

I find Natalie’s pride in her culture and people refreshing and honest considering that there are so many Jewish actors/performers who try to hide their background. It seems incredible that in this day and age antisemiticism still exists but it does and I commend her for her attitude.

Ruth on

I wish Natalie would stop saying she is Jewish in every interview. Natalie it is getting embarrassing. You do not and will never represent the Jewish community. Especially since you were screwing your co worker before any commitment. And you had a child before any ketubah. Sorry for anyone who isn’t Jewish. She gives Jewish women a bad name.
Natalie is Jewish and has every right to identify with her culture and people. She doesn’t claim to represent anyone but herself but she has as much right as anyone else to her feelings. As for the comments about marriage, this is strictly her business and no one elses. I think she is a source of pride for our community, whether in the Diaspora or in Israel, and she certainly doesn’t deserve such comments from anyone.

Waverly on

Why are people having a problem with Natalie mentioning she’s Jewish?? Prejudice much?? It’s no different than various stars and musical artists going up to the stage to accept an award and thanking Jesus. It’s about being proud of who you are. Plus, she’s just explaining why she can’t help but feel superstitious. It’s so sad how some people will find anything to complain about — and even sadder is the fact that some people apparently don’t like hearing about other people’s religions.

Judy on

Not a Jewish thing – just a cautious mother-to-be thing. I am Catholic and have a number of Catholic and Protestant friends and it is the same thing. Many of us have had miscarriages, but is kept sort of quiet. I had one in my second trimester, so I really wanted to wait until the next baby was born to celebrate. I had two friends who had to deliver stilborn babies at full term because something happened at the very end. Let’s be honest — it’s not a Jewish thing, not a Catholic thing, not a Protestant thing, it’s just being cautious about getting excited about something that may or may not happen.

SAR on

I am sick to death of hearing about how “classy” Natalie Portman is and how she’s “such a great role model.” If either was the case, she wouldn’t feel the need to get naked for the camera every other week.

Oh, I forgot. It’s for “art.”

Yeah right. It’s for publicity.

Deanna Smith on

“To each his/her own”. I had two healthy pregnancies, and started buying things as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Whatever works for each person.

Kristin on

I too thought that it was ok to have a baby shower because my first two children were perfect pregnancies. My third and fourth pregnancies ended in a miscarriage and losing the fourth due to placental abruption at 21 weeks and 4 days (5 1/2 months). So now I am very superstitous about pregancy. With the fourth baby we had the nursery decorated because I was 5 1/2 months along and we almost had a shower. Thank God we didn’t because it would have made it worse. Now a days anything can happen when you are pregnant. I don’t know if you just didn’t hear about them back then or if it’s the environment we have created that the world is losing so many babies. More women are having miscarriages and complications.

Waverly on

Jennifer: Being Jewish DOES mean something — just like I’m sure your belief system and religion means something. Your comment is borderline antisemitism, extremely hateful, and undeniably ignorant — and I will be sure to report it and you to the appropriate people on this site.

edda on

I cant believe that people are capable of judging others so harshly. Let me tell you something, sometimes things don’t go as planned and in this day and age being engaged and expecting is absolutely respectable and acceptable. Natalie identifying with her religion is for her a source of power and strength–how dare you think that feeling belongs to you! I doubt you have the scrutiny that she does but I can bet you are not perfect yourself.

CC on

Does VERY JEWISH mean have babies and dont get married until later? Real Moral and decent but very jewish BULL S

Judith on

She is very refreshing. She will actually take time after she has the baby to spend time with him/her.. I am Jewish, too, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with planning a baby’s nursery before his/her birth. For my last child, we found out the sex before hand; a boy. He had a name picked out– James Wyatt..

Vardit on

Today my daughter is 28 years of age. When I was pregnant with her some Gentile friends of mine, made me a surprise baby shower in which my mom was also invited. That is when I learned from my mom that she would take home all the baby gifts as Jewish people do not bring home gifts for baby before it is born.

Marigolds on

You don’t have to be Jewish or eastern European or country to be superstitious about pregnancy. When a good friend’s baby dies less than 48 hours after he was born, you won’t want to go to ay baby showers again.

Kay on

Are all of you too young to remember that it hasn’t always been an option to find out the sex of the baby in advance? Up until about the 80’s you only discovered the sex of baby on the delivery room table! In the 70’s they developed genetic testing for things like Down’s and those tests could determine the sex, but were only done in special circumstances. During the 80’s they developed ultrasound and then it went mainstream. Now it is very common to know the baby’s sex. when my first was born (1972) there was no ultrasound. I was told that I had a boy in the delivery room. By the second, I had an ultrasound (1983) and found out that I had a boy.

I wonder if all of this you’re talking about is really “superstition”. I was a pediatric nurse and had a baby to die. I planned to attend the funeral. My boss, who was pregnant planned to go at first but later declined; not b/c she was superstitous, simply because she thought it would bother her more b/c she was pregnant. And I could understand that. But that wasn’t superstition.

Anyway, it has been interesting reading all of this.

TJ on

Mazel Tov to Natalie who is intelligent, educated, and has vast capacity for making her own decisions. I hope she enjoys her pregnancy, birth, baby, and marriage, in as much privacy as is possible.

I will miss her work. I have loved her in everything she has done, first “meeting” her in “Where The Heart Is”, as the WalMart mom. She is a lovely person and I wish her every happiness.

maya on

Since when is being superstitious about pregnancy exclusive to Jewish women? *rolling eyes* I hate generalizations like that.

noa on

Relax people, she didn’t say other cultures didn’t have similar superstitions.
She’s jewish and it’s just something we don’t do… like tell people the name (especially a boy… since we wait 8 days after birth at the Brit milah before naming a boy)… or like saying Mazal Tov to a pregnant woman, (we say B’shaa Tova= which means “in it’s good time”). We don’t announce pregnancy in the first trimester because the first 40 days are considered “like water” and not viable, we wait as long as possible to avoid “ayn hara” (the evil eye… lol). It isn’t just European jews, but also us Moroccan jews… as well as our non jewish moroccan neighbors, a good deal of muslims, africans and I’m sure hundreds of other cultures…. but she just happens to be jewish and yes we know most of you think we’re annoying and we still don’t care.

Evelyn B. on

I respect people who are superstitious and who aren’t. I think it’s a personal thing as well as cultural. Certain cultures embrace pregnancy and do baby showers, preparing for the baby, picking out the names etc…while others not so much.

One of my friends who isn’t superstitious had her first baby, she told everyone, bought tons of things, painted the room, picked out a name and had a healthy baby girl. She did the same things with second child and unfortunately had a miscarriage. Of course some people started telling her she lost her child because she prepared for it and told people about it etc..basically making her feel guilty for something that can happen to anyone and isn’t her fault at all! After relying on science she realized she actually had problems with her fallopian tubes and that is why she had a miscarriage. So after couple of years she decided to do an in vitro and got pregnant again! Threw all the superstitious beliefs out the window and just started thinking positive! She had a baby shower again, painted the room and prepared. She had a great pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Sometimes things happen and we cannot control everything. What matters is when you’re pregnant to have good medical resources and be stress free and just positive about the pregnancy. If you still want to be superstitious that is totally an individual’s right and opinion, just like it’s my right not to be superstitous.

Elizabeth Solis on

I didn’t consider myself superstitious but just practical. I didn’t do anything for the baby until my 3rd trimester started. Too many things can go wrong.

IMO on

Maya….she didn’t say it was exclusive to Jewish women…..she just said it applied to her.

guest on

Mila k is jewish too! i loved this movie.both actresses are amazing and beautiful and talented

K on

I think a lot of people are like that…not just jewish people

sortacrunchymom on

She didn’t say Jews are the only people who are superstitious about pregnancy/childbirth, just that it is a Jewish thing. That doesn’t mean it is *exclusively* Jewish.

dixiemoenoe on

in my opinion i think it is good to be superstitious and all that because you never know what could happen, i mean your only human, we can’t plan everything. so i’m with natalie…she’s an amazing actress who deserves her break. and to have her child how she would like too… i am happy for you natalie!!!!

Jenny on

I understand being scared that something will happen to your baby so not buying things…I just dont know that I would call it superstitious…its being careful. I am a Chrisitan and I believe that God’s will is going to be done no matter what, it doesnt seem to matter if you buy a bed etc. ahead of time…if the baby is going to be born its gonna be born, if not then its not…I doubt that buying something before hand is going to change that. (Now dont start jumping on my post…that is just my opinion). I have lost more babies than I have given birth too..I have 2 great kids!! But I have lost 4 and 1 was later in pregnancy, so I agree with the above posters who said they didnt tell anyone until the 2nd trimster, I know alot of people that do that πŸ™‚ Its just playing it safe, even doctors will tell you that you should wait until the 2nd trimster to tell people b/c your chances of losing the baby go down. No matter what my opinion is I LOVE Natalie, she is my favorite actress and I think she is going to be an awesome mom!!