Childbirth is important for the continuation of the human race, and different societies and cultures recognize this fact in a multitude of different ways. The purpose of this essay is to explore some of the cross-cultural approaches to child birth and how they relate to the culture which they represent.Childbirth in many societies is intertwined with the problems of marriage and lineage. For a Papal woman, for example, childbearing and birth is an important requirement because she needs to ‘not break her line of descent’ (Einarsdottir, 2004, p64). In Papal society, lineage is calculated on the mother’s side, and this means that the woman has the added pressure of requiring a girl with pressure from her brothers who are considered to be more related to her children than her husband is (Einarsdottir, 2004). In this case, the Papal woman may be placed under pressure to have children against her will, and to continue having children until she has done her job. Evidently, this could cause a number of problems, particularly if the woman’s health is not conducive to having multiple children, or even giving birth naturally.In the same society, it is ‘normal, and in most cases preferred, either to be pregnant or breastfeeding a child’ (Einarsdottir, 2004, p67). This suggests that the society sees women as a necessary component of prolonging life, and that one of their main duties is in childrearing. Women can die from childbirth and pregnancy, which is seen as a contagious factor, and ceremonies are often performed to prevent the transmission of the ‘disease’, even if it is not related to her pregnancy (Einarsdottir, 2004). After going through the long period of pregnancy, a woman has a choice of locations in which to have her child, and is supposed to ignore ‘the pains’ (p73) for as long as possible. Women may choose to give birth alone, as a way of avoiding the beatings that come from not giving birth quickly enough (Einarsdottir, 2004).
Childbirth Cross cultural approach