Old Ugandan woman standing in her cane sugar field

Postpartum Cultural Comparisons

I love that the world is shrinking. We have access to each other – other cultures and places – like never before. I first travelled to East Africa when I was 20 (a wee babe!) and it blew my whole world open. To see people happily living so differently than me was something I needed to see and experience. This experience, as well as others I was able to get since then, has taught me that differences are good and we can learn from each other. Maybe, even, we need to learn from each other!

As we’ve been developing our business, it’s been eye-opening to learn about the various lying in customs around the world. The thing is: it’s all mother-centric. It’s a foreign thing to me because we don’t have anything formal like that in our modern-day America. Most of it is about baby. Hopefully, we have friends and family who are intentional. But can you imagine being visited by your midwife for the first two weeks, like la cuarentena of Latin American cultures? Can you imagine living with relatives who give you constant care and warm-oil massages, like in India? Can you picture having others cook your meals, expecting you to nap while they bathe and dress your baby, like in the Ivory Coast? Can you picture a light burning in your home to honor the new life (what a ritual!) and having your midwife massage you, feed you, and wrap your abdomen, like in Indonesia? Can you imagine being banned for your kitchen until the cord stump falls off baby, like in Zambia? Can you imagine not having to introduce your newborn to strangers until six weeks, like in Vietnam?? It’s all so interesting and wonderful.

We could learn about these customs forever, but for now, we’ve put together a small graphic outlining the general idea of this throughout the world. Take a look, and maybe you’ll be inspired in ways to honor your next new mother friend.

A comparison of cultures around the world and the postpartum phase

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