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Did you know? Men give birth…


Last week we celebrated Women's Day.


I found an interesting custom related to pregnancy and birth in friendships.

It was found that there is a lot of similarity between pregnancy and birth rituals in different places. In 1865, the anthropologist Edward Taylor claimed the term “couvade” which comes from the French verb “to cover”, or incubate the eggs in order to hatch them.

There are societies where pregnant women continue to work. It is the man who acts as a pregnant woman and makes sure he eats well and so on (couvade). They work less, eat well and during the birth fake labors, lie down and scream.

This ritual is common in all parts of the world. In fact, it grew out of the needs of society. In South India, men take a medication to strengthen their body after childbirth. The man is also confined to bed for several days.

In the Caribbean, it was found that women return to their occupations after giving birth and the man remains at home lying down.

Seems distant?

Not so much

There is a custom in France to place men's clothes next to the mother in order to help her get through the pains of childbirth. Similar customs were found on the Russian border with Belarus until the 19th century. The man whose wife gives birth is dressed in a dress or skirt, covers his head with a scarf and moans. The

Sounds strange?

The tribal explanation is that every illness and injury is caused by harmful demons who try to harm happiness. For them, childbirth is considered dangerous due to the high mortality rates, in these tribes, of women and young children during and after childbirth. The technique to change their influence is to deceive them. The man pretends to give birth to deceive them.

Another explanation is paternity appropriation. It is a proclamation of the father's ownership of the child. That is why these rituals can be found in matriarchal societies, or societies that have become such. The father becomes a "second mother".

Interesting isn't it?

Customs associated with a belief system as an explanation for phenomena.

Western medicine has found that there are about 11% of men with couvade syndrome.

What customs do you know from the society you live in that you find puzzling? Every custom has a social and cultural explanation.


Dr. Efrat Tzadik

Coach for personal development and empowerment

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