Class 12 | Heritage of Words

A Child is Born

Writer: Germaine Greer


The writer shows many differences between a traditional and modern society in matters of pregnancy, childbirth and childbearing. The traditional society is full of different customs, tradition~ rituals and superstition. A pregnant woman has to follow all such rites. She doesn’t get proper respect at home and society unless she gives birth to a child. Because of the customs, traditions and the culture of the traditional society, pregnant women are loved, cared and supported by her husbands, members of her family and all the relatives. Because of this, she doesn’t worry much about the possible pain and danger in childbirth.

The traditional behaviours are responsible to increase her sense of security. However, in modern western societies, a pregnant woman has not cared like this. Since the people in modern western society don’t believe much on different rites, traditions and superstitions, the pregnant woman is not attended by her husband and relatives. She is not free from the mental burden. She is always worried about the possible danger and pain of the childbirth. She has to practice pregnancy exercises and make other preparations herself. She frequently visits doctors for advice and to get her pregnancy checked up. Her pregnancy is not given much importance by her family, relatives and society.

In traditional eastern societies, the infant and mother mortality rate is higher because of the lack of modern methods and equipment. The traditional childbirths are conducted among various superstitions, customs, rites, rituals and traditions. Pregnant women don’t visit hospitals to check up. Because of this, a large number of women and their infants die untimely in traditional society. In modern western society, however, the infant and mother mortality rate are very low. The pregnant women shouldn’t carry on various customs, traditions and superstitions. They frequently visit doctors and follow their suggestions. They practice many modern methods and equipment for the childbirth. If the life of the mother or the infant is in danger, the doctors conduct operations to save them. Thus, women in modern society give birth very easily and safely among modern methods and facilities.

After the childbirth, the women in traditional Eastern society are respected and praised much for their courage. Many people attend her with gifts to see the child and to congratulate the mother. People organize parties to celebrate the birth ceremony. There is feasting, singing and dancing. The mother is given permission to go to her mother’s house for a few months. The whole family helps her to rear the child. However, there is no such system in modern western society. In such a society, there is no one t home to welcome the child and to praise the courage of the mother.

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