International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe on 8th March every year. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate mothers around the world.
After all, motherhood is something that is experienced and celebrated on every corner of the globe.
The very first International Women’ Day occurred in 1911 and was supported by over a million people. Today, IWD celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world.
This blog is going to focus on pregnancy, motherhood and parenting and share fascinating facts that highlight how they differ from country to country.
Celebrating Pregnancy And Birth Around The World
When it comes to pregnancy, there are some things that do not change, regardless of country or culture. Every mother is pregnant for around 9 months, and every mother experiences labour – something that is truly unpredictable on every continent.
But here are some interesting facts about pregnancy and childbirth around the world:
- In Korea, pregnant women are supposed to share their news with loved ones in a particular order. For example, they usually tell their mother-in-law first, followed by their husband and then their mother.
- In Bangladesh, many people believe that if the expectant mother’s skin is radiant throughout her pregnancy, she is carrying a baby girl.
- In the South American country of Guyana, expectant mother’s do not have a baby shower whilst they are pregnant. They have a baby shower when the baby reaches 9 days old. Gold bangles are traditional baby gifts.
- Mothers of the Jewish faith are not encouraged to ‘nest’ or prepare for their baby’s arrival. They also prefer not to share the name of their baby whilst pregnant.
- Pregnant women in Ireland are told to stay clear of graveyards.
- In Guatemala, pregnant women stay at home for almost their whole pregnancy.
- In the Jamaican culture, mothers have an open bible in the room when they’re giving birth.
- Both Japanese and German women aim to give birth without the aid of pain relief.
- The South American country of Brazil has an incredibly high volume of elective caesareans. There is also a growing number of elective C-sections in Turkey.
- In Mongolia, pregnant women are not supposed to touch each other.
Parenting And Motherhood Around The World
There is something intriguing about motherhood in different countries. As a mother, or as a parent in general, we are shaped by many factors. From our culture and beliefs to the family and friends around us.
But regardless of these factors, motherhood is a beautiful journey, which is why we believe in the importance of celebrating mothers around the world.
Here are some parenting and motherhood practices from around the world:
- Bulgarian mothers get 410 days of Maternity leave.
- Parents in Denmark leave their babies in their strollers outside whilst they shop and dine.
- Similarly, parents in Norway put their babies in their strollers and leave them outside to nap. Even when temperatures are cold, babies are bundled up and placed outside. The parents believe the fresh air will benefit their babies.
- Spanish and Latin American parents tend to keep their children up later in the evening. They believe children should enjoy family time in the evening rather than going to bed early.
- In many of the African countries, including Kenya, mother’s share breastmilk and it is considered a shame to waste it.
- Swedish parents share 80 weeks of paid leave. They receive their full salary for up to 65 of these weeks.
- In Finland, every baby born receives a present from the government, which is a box filled with newborn essentials.
- In Egypt, new mothers are encouraged to drink Moghat. This mix of hot water, sugar and premade herbal powder are believed to encourage breastmilk production.
- In the tribes of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, a new mother has a lot of support from fellow tribe women during the first few days. The men tend to take a step back for the first few weeks as the female tribe members care for the new mother and baby.
- Japanese men aren’t allowed to be in the room during childbirth.
- In some countries, especially in the US, some mothers are reactive and wait for their children or babies to cry before responding to their needs. Whereas, in Japan, mothers aim to anticipate the needs of their babies before they cry.
- In Scandinavia, mothers encourage their children to be independent and make their own decisions.
Celebrating Mothers Around The World
Although there are so many thought-provoking differences when looking at and celebrating mothers around the world, there are also many similarities. Belgian-born photographer Pascal Mannaerts spent over ten years travelling around the world to document mothers with their children.
The photographer wanted to capture the beauty of motherhood. He stated that regardless of where he was in the world, he always witnessed “a sense of pride, love, and grace coming from the mothers”.
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