This paper reflects on childbirth and parenting on the basis of Marjorie Shostak’s book “Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman”. It is commonly accepted that childbirth largely depends on culture and the level of society development.
Childbirth processes are developed based on general biology and particular society. Thus, childbirth always has a social context. There are many societies where birth is considered as a vulnerable period for both mother and child. To address this variability, the society has come up with a set of practices which facilitate the physiological and social aspects of childbirth. In developed countries, birth is highly uninformed and regulated.
There are cultures where birth is extremely ritualized. It is important to note that childbirth practices depend on local history, social structure, ecology, level of education and economic development, as well as technological progress. In developed countries births usually take place in hospitals and are assisted by physicians and well-trained professionals. In some countries births are held at home, whereas women are assisted by midwife, husbands and family members. In the book “Nisa:The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman” By Marjorie Shostak, childbirth takes place “in in the shade of a tree” and women is not assisted by anyone (Shostak, 2000). !Kung children are very much linked to their parents, genitrix in particular (Shostak, 2000).
From the early childhood they have a continual access to the mother’s breast. Kids sleep next to their mothers. They follow mothers whenever they go. Usually kids and mothers are separated for a short period of time. Genitrix entirely takes care of a child. The biological mother sings to the child, talks to him and responds to all his requests. Separation from the mother starts after two and half years. During this time, the kid is brought into the group of children. A more profound separation from mother occurs when mother is pregnant for the second time. At this time mother stops nursing her kid. To help the child learn quickly, mother put bitter paste to her nipple and when the child tries it, he feels unpleasant taste which makes him unwilling to further suck the nipple. It is important to note that !Kung children love to be carried. They love personal contact with the mother and her attention. They like being carried and they even may refuse to walk to be closer to the mother.
Kids start to walk alone at the age of 6-7. It is important to note that !Kung fathers are also devoted. However, they spend less time with kids. They do not participate in many issues of child care. Different cultures have different perception of childhood. Some cultures ascribe a cultural significance to blood ties. There is a growing belief that parenthood derives more from nurture and not nature. Thus, people emphasize the importance of parenthood based on the social role of the parent, rather than his biological connection with a child. In the !Kung culture it was also acknowledged because parents were willing to …