On Becoming a Mother Welcoming Your New Baby and Your New Life with Wisdom from Around the World

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-04-15
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications
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Having a baby is a private miracle, yet it is also the source of much shared joy. For this reason, women and families in every country and every culture have customs to ensure that the journey into motherhood is marked and remembered. From the Mexican rebozo used to rock the belly and ease back pain during pregnancy to the Bengali practice of taking off a woman's bangles to help her visualize a speedy labor, from Arianna Huffington's advice for getting sleep in the early days of motherhood to Davina McCall's tribute to her midwife, from the proverbs printed on the kangas used to carry East African newborns to the Japanese ritual where Sumo wrestlers are asked to make infants cry, each page of On Becoming a Mother is filled with inspiration, humor, and insight about the beginnings of parenthood.

Author Biography

Award-winning journalist and filmmaker Brigid McConville is a director of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, which is based in London and Washington, D.C. When she is not traveling the world to ensure the alliance’s mission that pregnancy and childbirth are safe for all, she divides her time between London and the west country of England.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Before Birth
1. Sharing the News: Shaad (Bangladesh)
2. Finding Support: The Haraobi (Japan)
3. For Safe Keeping: “Secret Mothers” (Malawi)
4. The Hózhójí: Making a Blessingway (Navajo)
5. Deluged with Love: The Baby Shower (USA)
6. Anoint the Belly: The Oil of Joy (Nigeria)
7. Rock the Belly: Lenggang Perut (Malaysia)
8. Do This, Don’t Do That: Taboos
9. Blessed Curd for a Boy... or a Girl (Nepal)
10. Vauva Laatikko: A Box Just for Baby (Finland)

Part 2. Time for Birth
11. It’s Your Time, Take Your Time (Liberia)
12. Take Off Your Bangles: Opening the Way (India)
13. Mothering the Mother: The Midwife
14. The Circle of Labour (Mauritania)
15. Father’s Day Too (Quichua)
16. Before the Last Push: Building a Sacred Chakra (Achuar)
17. First Sight: Between Shock and Love
18. Sweet Whispers: Al-Tahneek (Islam)
19. Whenua: Home for the ‘Second’ Baby (Maori)
20. Jubilations and Thanksgivings: A Moment to Pause

Part 3. After Birth
21. A New Ekyogero for Grandmother (Uganda)
22. Outcoming: Meeting the Family (Cambodia)
23. Smoking the Baby (Aboriginal people, Australia)
24. Latching On: A Time of Riches (Nepal)
25. You “Ugly Rat”: Naming Names (Vietnam)
26. Afartanbah: Forty Days and Forty Nights of Rest (Somaliland)
27. “She Has Just Given Birth!” (Tanzania)
28. Naki! Naki! Naki!: Sumo-weight Soothing (Japan)
29. A Mother’s Touch: Wearing the Kanga (East Africa)
30. Going Hot and Cold: Zuoyuezi (China)
31. The Chain of Godmothers (UK)

Part 4. The “First” Year
32. A Cup of Forty Keys: A Year of “Firsts” (Persia)
33. Baby’s Weight in Gold: Aqiqah (Islam)
34. First Date Night: Reconnecting at Home
35. Letting Go: First Taste of Pasni (Nepal)
36. Mama, Baba, Nana, Papa: First Words
37. First Steps: Tedak Siten (Indonesia)
38. El Salto del Colacho: Protect This Baby (Spain)
39. A Nudge into the Future: Doljabi (Korea)
40. Final Wisdom: Coming Full Circle

About White Ribbon Alliance
About the Star Showers Campaign
Thanks and Acknowledgments
Art Credits

Rewards Program

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