World Building: Customs Surrounding Birth

Pregnancy is considered a delicate time in a woman’s life. Since there are many things that can occur that might harm the unborn child, pregnant women are excused from the normal social occasions that people are expected to attend. If they don’t feel able to attend worship or go calling, no one will feel slighted by their absence. When they do attend social functions, they are treated with care and extra courtesy.

During the birth of a child, the women closest to the mother are usually on hand to assist her. Also, a female doctor will be there to see that the mother and child are well throughout the procedure. Although they are not generally in the room during the birth, men are expected to be close at hand, so that they can be among the first to see the newborn. Some men will sit by their wife’s side, to support and encourage her through the ordeal.

Following the birth of a child, the woman is able to rejoin her usual social circles. Most women bring their newborns with them wherever they may go. It is rumored that fae will come to steal children away when they are left unattended. One protection is, when the child cannot be brought with you, to hang red ribbons over their beds or to have them attached in some way to the child’s clothing.

As soon as possible after the birth of a child, the parents bring the child to their church, so that the child can be blessed, as a further protection against fae. If the child dies before reaching its majority, the parents might request that a death portrait be made, so that they can have a memento of the child’s brief life.

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