Birth sto­ries

Weekend Herald - - News -

An old Rus­sian proverb claims that

labour will go more smoothly if both par­ents-to-be con­fess the names of all their pre­vi­ous lovers. In Kur­dis­tan, swing­ing a chicken

over a woman’s head was thought to ease labour pain.

As well as be­ing en­cour­aged to let

their hair down in prepa­ra­tion for birth (so there are no “ties” that could im­pede birth), Turk­ish women are ad­vised to smell the roses while preg­nant be­cause the sooth­ing and beau­ti­fy­ing ben­e­fits will be passed on to their un­born child.

Mex­i­can tra­di­tion holds that plenty

of nau­sea in preg­nancy equals plenty of hair on the baby’s head (sci­ence, ac­cord­ing to Lit­tle Gems, seems to back that one up). In Sarawak, Bor­neo, birth is thought

to go more smoothly if no “pesky” tur­tles sneak into the room. Why? The tur­tle’s neck, which can go in and out of its shell, is thought to re­sem­ble a baby not com­ing out prop­erly.

Many Bri­tish and Amer­i­can

par­ent­ing books talk about the im­por­tance of putting baby to sleep in the same dark­ened room for ev­ery nap; in Den­mark, par­ents and care­givers aim to give their lit­tle ones as many out­door naps as the weather will al­low, be­liev­ing ba­bies eat more and are more alert af­ter sleep­ing out­side in the fresh air.

Lit­tle Gems: Mar­vels and Mus­ings on Moth­er­hood From Around The World, by Jane Lan­g­ley, Brid­get Fog­a­rty, Becky Ol­livier ($30)

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