Birth, first days of new mother and baby

Rose the guide

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Like many other society and culture we also have so many tradions, customs, beliefs and religious- spiritual processes about pregnancy and birth.

Natural birth and receiving child at home not at hospital, used to be very common in Turkey. There are bunch of reasons for it. Maybe their houses are too far from hospitals or they are too traditional e.g. it depends. Turkish has folk type of obstetricians in small towns especially. These ladies are in charge of natural births. Usually they are very good at their business and loved, respected a lot by locals.

Here we should include 2 important issues:

1. Pregnancy, the bridge to birth and 2. Infertility, barrier to birth.

Infertility is such a case that can turn a healthy woman’s life into nightmare. Unfruitful woman is despised, demeaned, doomed. Therefore people with doubt of infertility apply some spesific solutions. Visiting tombs, drinking holy water(?) there and eating soil around the tomb, some magical ways such like drinking water from a fruitful woman’s hand, some folk medicine like putting bottles to waist, sitting on various mists, rubbing the abdomen, visitin thermal baths and spas and eventually trying modern science are some of the practices applied.

Carving for sweet or sour?

Before the birth most serious level is craving. People usually relate craving for sugary to a female and sour to a male baby. Giving whatever mother craves for also related to a healthy newborn otherwise it’s common belief that baby will happen imperfect.

Most critical process during the birth is cutting umbilical cord. Whoever cuts it gives a second name(nickname) to the newborn baby. Umbilical cord is never trown away randomly. Up to the parents wish about baby they can bury around a mosqeu’s wall(to be religious person later), school garden(for a well educated future), under a family house(to be a good parent later) or throw into water(to have personality as clean as water).

Second critical process is confinement or childbed. Visits for mother first week and second is very common. During visit guests are delighted by some type of sweet liqueur called “sherbet”. They are expected to bring some food and beverages for recent mother.

With the fırst visit relatives shall pin a piece of gold to baby’s bed or cloth for good luck and start a first piggy bank for newborn.

First 40 days of birth is essential. Neither mother nor baby can go out during this period. They ougth to stay away from other recent mothers or newborn babies and animals in case of any problem. In 7th, 20th, 30th, 37th and 41th days of birth mother and baby are washed by water consisting of silver, gold, eggs, wheat, barley,gravel,beans, hazelnuts,iron. Some religious prayers follow.

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