1. Entering a covenant with G‑d.

Brit milah literally translates as a covenant, an eternal bond. Perhaps it seems odd that a tiny newborn baby can make such a powerful statement in his relationship with G‑d. He can’t talk, walk, or even hold up his own head! However, that is the very essence of a covenant; it is beyond intellect, reason and abilities. A covenant persists when all the external factors change or fade away. Just think: Your baby will be forever connected to G‑d, on an essential level, no matter where his life takes him. The brit will remind him of this relationship through all the hardships and triumphs of his life.

2. Joining the line of Jewish men since Abraham.

With this one small procedure, your son is joining a line of Jewish men going all the way back to the first Jewish man to have a brit: Abraham, our father. G‑d came to Abraham when he was 99 years old, and commanded him to circumcise himself and his household. Talk about devotion! Even in times of persecution and scarcity, Jewish parents went to great lengths to ensure that their sons would have a brit. What a tremendous honor for him to be part of the ranks of tzaddikim (righteous men), scholars and G‑d-fearing Jews of all types.

3. Trust the mohel.

Ask around to find a mohel you are comfortable with and who has good references. Once you find someone reputable, there is no reason to be worried. He has probably done this many, many times, and is well-trained. Doctors in the hospital do hundreds of procedures, but the mohel is specifically educated and often more experienced in performing a circumcision. Don’t worry, your baby is in good hands.

4. You don’t have to stay long . . . or even go at all.

You may be ecstatic and full of pride that your son is having a brit; however, eight days after giving birth means that you may also be recovering, exhausted and uncomfortable. You do not actually need to be at the brit if it will be too much for you to handle. If you do go, you can be there for the ceremony, greet your guests and then go home to rest. Everyone realizes that you just gave birth and are still recovering.

5. The pain has a purpose and will pass.

No parent wants to see their children in pain, much less to willingly inflict it. Yet we subject them to shots, braces and other painful things for their own good. Most mothers cringe during the brit at their baby’s cry and feel terrible for being the cause of it. However, the baby is probably crying in part from being cold and exposed. The quick pain of the brit is dulled by a tiny taste of wine and will be forgotten; the infinite blessings and holiness of the process and results last a lifetime. Focus on the meaning of the brit, and that the pain will quickly pass.

6. Connection above Torah and mitzvot.

In general, Torah and mitzvot are the most significant channel in the world for us to connect to G‑d. However, the brit milah actually allows a Jew to reach a higher place than even Torah. This is because the Torah was given to man and therefore needed to descend down into the world, whereas a brit milah reflects a heavenly service that transcends our world. Simply put, during the brit your baby is tapping into a tremendously high level of spirituality that raises him out of the limitations of the physical world.

7. Receiving a name.

Often, the most exciting part of the brit for the guests is finding out the baby’s name. Besides being a wonderful surprise in most cases, a Hebrew name reveals the essence of a Jew. A Hebrew name is the revelation of a person’s soul and inner self. The meaning behind it will profoundly reflect and shape your child. Parents even receive a flash of prophecy when naming their child. Listen closely after the brit happens, because the name is given amidst a number of other blessings.

8. Don’t disappear with the baby.

After my son’s brit, I was so excited to see family and friends that when he was handed back to me, I quickly headed downstairs to the celebration. A few moments later my husband found me and said, “You disappeared with the baby!” It turns out the mohel wanted to check him and show us how to clean and take care of the area. Before going anywhere with the baby, consult with the mohel about what still needs to happen after the brit.

9. Trust the process.

After all the hard work of labor and recovery, having a brit only eight days later can be overwhelming. But this is what G‑d wants, and He certainly knows what is best for us. I hope the list of advice above will help bring out the beauty and holiness of the occasion by mitigating any concerns.

Enjoy the momentous event of your son’s entry into a covenant with G‑d and the Jewish people. It is a tremendous blessing and, after giving birth, you deserve to enjoy it!