A Child is Born Class 12 English

 

BSEB Class 12 English Rainbow Book Chapter 7 A Child is Born Summary, Explanation, Question Answers from Rainbow Book 

 

A Child is Born  BSEB Class 12 English Rainbow Book Chapter 7 A Child is Born Summary and detailed explanation of the story along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the summary is followed by an explanation of the lesson. All the exercises and Question Answers given at the back of the lesson have also been solved.


 

 

BSEB Class 12 English Rainbow Book Chapter 7 A Child is Born

By Germaine Greer

 

A Child is Born Introduction

The present piece ‘A Child is Born’ is an extract from Germaine’s book Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility. It explores the cultural peculiarities of the East and the West regarding child-birth and parent-child relationship. 
 
 

A Child is Born Summary

The lesson begins with the discussion about traditional ways of birth and how they can be trusted as they are accepted culturally and collectively. It is normal for a pregnant woman to feel anxious but there are so many rituals related to childbirth that if she starts observing them, it will make her feel more secure and taper down her anxiety levels. Some of these rituals involve her close ones to stay in close proximity with her which does not let her feel lonely at any point. The author also shares an incident of her college acquaintance who took her pregnancy as her term assignment. She did all the physical exercises to ensure natural birth but the hospital refused to believe she was on her second stage of labor till the baby’s head was literally visible. The writer highlights the difference between traditional and modernized ways – the former always attends to childbirth unlike the latter. Nevertheless, it is also true that medicated childbirth has significantly reduced the infant and mother mortality rate over the past half century. 

Post marriage, the woman tends to leave her maternal house and is supposed to now live with her mother-in-law’s house. In cases of arranged marriage, the woman is not made to feel accepted until she bears a child. On the other hand, being amongst unknown people must also make the woman long for a relationship with her child that she shares with her mother. This concept is seen as cruel in the West. Even women who want to raise their voices at international conferences resort to silent opposition due to language barriers. 

In some societies, children are forced to have a closer relationship with the rest of the members of the family than they are allowed with their parents. In many societies of Africa and India, the biological family is deliberately weakened by actual separation from the parents. In such situations, the child is brought into the world after immense pressure from the peer group. Childbirth is also regarded as auspicious and celebratory. A pregnant woman goes to live with her mother for the last few months of her pregnancy where is well taken care of. When a child is seven days old, his naming ceremony is held where people gather to enjoy food, laughter and singing. People from all age groups and gender come, however the singing is mainly done by women and men come to have a look at the baby. 

In Bangladesh, children under the age of five or six are taken care of by other members of the joint family more than her mother. All the children go for a bath in the pond together, have meals together and play with natural stuff. Just when at the end of the day, they come into their mother’s arms to rest and sleep. In such cases, it is common for children to address other aunts as Big mother or Small mother. 

According to the writer, technological advancement brings with it certain issues in society – in fact, one of the most troublesome consequences of westernization is the effect of modern medicine on traditional societies. Allopathy treatment generally requires expensive medicines, superior machinery and loads of electricity, all of which is not available in peasant communities in satisfactory quantities. Foreign medicine worships the system of hospitals but in order to show it’s real power, it generally leads to bad side-effects. When Sheila Kitzinger went to a huge hospital to visit Bantu patients in South Africa, her attention was caught by multiple women shouting in pain in the delivery ward. Most of them were not accompanied by anyone else in the family. According to her, the hospital’s delivery ward was the common point where the ways of old-Africa met new technology of the West. There was blood all over the floor and it looked as if someone had offered it as a sacrifice to the deity. Moreover, Bantu nurses did not bother cleaning it as well and they even left the mothers lying as if they were “witness of the blessings on earth” which are, babies. They ignored the screaming and shouting of women as they paid attention to maintaining the advanced equipment. It was not very hard for the nurses not to pay attention to them as most of them spoke different languages which were hard to understand. One can say that the procedure of childbirth is not carried out how it usually is done but their plight can be compared with the patients of black clinics in American hospitals that are living in large urban separations. 

If childbirth is turned into a disaster from a satisfying personal experience which it is supposed to be, then other problems sound larger than having safe pregnancy with a live and healthy child. It is known that peasant communities have more sound judgment and they are more doubtful towards adopting modern ways than we know. They have opposed our “chromium plated technology” harder than we think. Even though they are well aware that medicated birth is more successful and traditional birth can lead to death but from where they come and live, they know that there are circumstances more unpleasant than death. However, it is quite evident that the only thing stopping technology from being available to each hut and hovel is the state of being poor because otherwise, modern technology is undoubtedly culturally dominant.

The voices of few women are often left unheard by the big noise that modernisation is making. It is just like if we take out the pride and honor out of the satisfaction of having a child, the population will probably stay in check. 
 
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Video Explanation of A Child is Born

 


 
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A Child is Born Lesson Explanation

 

  1. The ways of managing childbirth in traditional societies are many and varied; their usefulness stems directly from the fact that they are accepted culturally and collectively so that the mother does not have the psychic burden of reinventing the procedures. Even though the potential catastrophes are alive in the memory of her community and the index of anxiety high, a ritual approach to pregnancy which hems the pregnant woman about with taboos and prohibitions helps make the anxiety manageable. A woman who observes all the prohibitions and carries out all the rites will be actively involved in holding the unknown at bay. She will have other reinforcements, for many of the ritual observances of pregnancy involve the participation of others who should support her, primarily her husband, then her kinsfolk and then the other members of her community. Some of these behaviours will be sensible and useful, others magical, but they will all increase her sense of security and her conviction that she is conducting the pregnancy, not that it is conducting her. The remnants of this kind of prophylaxis can be found in the persistence of old wives’ tales about pregnancy even in our own superrational and confused lifestyle. 

Childbirth- the process of giving birth to a child

Varied- incorporating a number of different types or elements; showing variation or variety

Psychic- mental, related to the laws of the mind

Reinvention- the action or process through which something is changed so much that it appears to be entirely new 

Catastrophes- disaster, extreme suffering 

Rituals- activities which are part of a religious ceremony 

Index- a sign or measure of something

Hems- surrounds or hedges something to control  

Taboos- culturally forbidden activities 

Prohibitions- works not allowed by law to be done 

Anxiety- worry or nervousness 

Reinforcements- acts of making something stronger

Rites- a social custom, practice or conventional act

Bay- at a distance, at arm’s length

Kinsfolk- a group of people related by birth

Conviction- a firmly held belief or opinion

Remnants- remains 

Prophylaxis- action which is taken to prevent a disease

Persistence- the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition 

Superrational- beyond the scope or range of reason; intuitional

The lesson talks about the multiple ways of giving birth to a child that have been continuing since the traditional times. This helps the mother get rid of the mental burden of creating a new way as the already existing methods are useful, culturally accepted and followed by all. Despite the recollection of memories of sufferings due to childbirth make the mothers anxious, the ritual attitude towards pregnancy that is filled with myths and superstitions, helps control the anxiety. 

It is well-known that a pregnant woman who follows all restrictions and engages herself in all the suggested activities protects herself from any unknown problems. There will also be other ways of strengthening this, that would involve the love and support from those around her – family and people of the community but above all, her husband. Such behavior practices are mostly comforting and realistic, some might be a little superstitious but all of it will make her feel safe and give her an idea that she is in control of her pregnancy. She will begin to believe that it is she who is in control of her pregnancy and not her pregnancy controlling her. The after-effects of such preventive measures can be verified in the various stories that have been passed on from one generation to the next.

 

One university graduate of my acquaintance who approached her pregnancy as if it were her term assignment, meticulously footnoting every development, clung to her pre-natal exercises as a form of ritual observance as well as a helpful preparation for the physical exploit of childbirth, performing them in deep silence and total recollection at the same time every day come hell or high water. As well, she observed the old diehard superstition that acquiring equipment and apparel for baby before the birth was bad luck, and so one of my godchildren shot into the world without crib or napkins. Considerable effort had gone into seeing that the mother had every opportunity to enjoy her baby, but, after her training for unmedicated childbirth for months, in the event the hospital refused to believe she was in second stage labour until her daughter’s head had appeared … The hospital staff was so uncooperative about breast-feeding that mother and daughter discharged themselves after two days.

Acquaintance- a person who knows slightly, but who is not a close friend

Meticulously- in a way that shows great attention to detail; very thoroughly

Footnote- an explanatory or documenting note or comment at the bottom of a page 

Clung- adhere or stick firmly or closely to; be hard to part or remove from

Pre-natal – before birth

Physical exploit- a brave, exciting act

The author recollects the case of her casual friend who followed the rituals as if pregnancy were an assignment given to her. She made a note of each progress and did pre-natal exercises to follow the rituals and also to prepare her body to undergo the toll of childbirth. She made sure to perform these in complete silence while being mindful and did it at the same time each day without any miss, regardless of any obstacle. She even went to the extent of following the conservative myth that owning clothes and toys for the baby prior to its birth is considered ill luck which actually resulted in the author’s grandchild being born into the world without any crib or napkins. A lot of efforts were made to make sure the mother enjoyed every step of her pregnancy however, the hospital did not admit that she was in the second stage of her labor till the time the baby’s head was literally visible. This was after she did everything she could to make sure her delivery was natural. Not only this, the hospital staff did not cooperate with them to let her breastfeed her infant, so they left the hospital in two days.

 

  1. This birth was virtually unattended. In non-technocratic societies, except for remarkable accidents, birth is always attended.

Virtually- nearly, almost 

Unattended- not supervised or looked after

Non-technocratic- not so expert in science or technology 

Remarkable- worthy of attention; striking

The story of her friend’s labor was the case that was not looked after so closely but generally, in traditional societies, with less access to technology, childbirth is always handled with care, apart from a few cases that catch the attention.

 

  1. Clearly infant and mother mortality is greater in traditional births, but in our anxiety to avoid death we may have destroyed the significance of the experience for the vast majority who live.

Infant mortality- the death of an infant before his or her first birthday

Mother mortality- deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth

It is clear that death of an infant or the mother in the process of childbirth is more likely to happen in traditional ways of giving birth. However, on the other hand, medicated childbirth can also be seen as taking away the experience of many to undergo natural labor in order to avoid chances of death.

 

No one would deny that each infant and particularly every maternal death is a tragedy to be prevented if at all possible, nor that modern obstetric care, which has developed in the hospital setting, has been at least partly responsible for the dramatic decrease in both maternal and pre-natal mortality over the past half century. But it is not necessarily perverse to question whether our present priority should be to reach minimum figures for perinatal mortality at any price when this includes giving up things which free human beings have often felt to be more important than their own survival — such as freedom to live their own lives their own way and to make individual choices in line with their own sense of values. ( Kitzinger, Sheila, and John A Davies (eds) The Place of Birth (London 1978) p. v) 

Obstetric- branch of medicine concerned with birth of children 

Perverse- contrary to the accepted or expected standard or practice

Perinatal- relating to to the time, usually a number of weeks, immediately before and after birth

It is well-accepted that infant and maternal death must be minimized at all costs. Modern obstetrics has played a major role in drastically doing so over the last half century, even though they are known not to care about life or death. However, it would not be contrary to think what our current priorities should be – to minimize the perinatal mortality rate at all costs or to save things that have been considered more important than survival such as the freedom to make decisions about their own life with their senses and to live as they please.

 

  1. In many societies women still go forth from their mother’s houses at marriage to live with a mother-in-law and the wives of their husbands’ brothers. It is a truism of anthropology that such women do not become members of their new family until they have borne a child. If we consider that in such societies the marriage was quite likely to have been arranged, it is understandable that the bride too longs for the child who will stand in the same intimate relationship to her as she with her own mother. The western interpretation of such mores is that they are backward, cruel and wrong; it is assumed that the sexual relations between the spouses are perfunctory and exploitative and that all mothers-in-law are unjust and vindictive. 

Truism- a statement that is obviously true and says nothing new or interesting

Anthropology- the study of human race (the origins, beliefs, etc)

Borne- carried or transported by the thing specified 

Interpretation- the action of explaining the meaning of something

Mores- conventions 

Perfunctory- done as duty without real interest 

Unjust- not based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair

Vindictive- spiteful, harmful

It is a common practice among many societies for a woman to live with her mother-in-law and their side of the family as she leaves her mother’s house after marriage. However, even though she begins to live with her in-laws, it has been proven in the study of the human race that she will not be truly accepted by them unless she bears a child. We can assume that in societies like these, it is common to have arranged marriages and in such situations, even the woman must wish to have a child that would share the same closeness to her as she does with her mother. However, western societies consider these conventions as backward, brutal and unjust because they believe that sexual relations in such situations are maintained primarily to fulfill a duty and not with real interest. They believe that all mothers-in-law are unfair, vengeful and unforgiving. 

 

One of the greatest difficulties in the way of feminists who are not chauvinistic and want to learn from women who still live within a female society is the tendency of those women to withdraw into silent opposition when participating in international fora conducted in languages which they cannot speak with fluency; women officials of the Sudanese government told me that they had given up going to international conferences, even though the trips were a tremendous treat, because they were tired of being told about their own lives instead of being consulted.

Feminists- the believers of the idea that women and men should have equal rights and opportunties

Chauvinistic- related to an aggressive belief that one’s own country or culture is better 

Opposition- resistance or dissent, expressed in action or argument 

Fora- places of meeting for exchange of ideas

Sudanese- relating to or characteristic of Sudan or its people

Tremendous- very great in amount, scale or intensity

Women who are feminists and dont think anyone is superior, generally face the obstacle of having to resort to silent conflict in international conferences due to language barriers even though they want to learn from women living in female-centric societies. The author shares that one of the women officials of Sudanese government told her that they have lost their hope from international exchanges because they were sick of being told about their problems instead of being asked what their problems were, despite the trips being a great treat.

 

  1. Thus we in the West would regard it as outrageous that a woman could lose her own name and become known as the mother of her first-born, once she has borne it-although of course most of us do not protest against the sinking of the woman’s lineage under her husband’s name at marriage. In many traditional societies the relationship between mother and child is more important than the relationship between husband and wife: in some, indeed, the child’s relationship with the rest of his family is as important or even more important than either.

Outrageous- shocking and unacceptable

Lineage- direct descent from an ancestor; ancestry or pedigree 

The western culture might think it is shocking and unacceptable for a woman to lose her identity and to be known as the mother of her first-born after conceiving it. However, there is rarely anyone who is against the idea of a woman leaving her ancestry and being known by her husband’s name after she has fallen into the institution of marriage. In old societies, the mother-child relationship is considered superior to the one between a husband and a wife and in other places, the child’s relationship with the rest of the family is kept above all other relations.

 

… a number of social usages may stress the child’s relationship with the rest of his kin-group at the expense of that with his parents. His aunts and uncles may be permitted greater physical intimacy with him in public than his parents. In many traditional societies in Africa and India the biological family is deliberately weakened, by enforced abstinence or actual separation of parents, in order to strengthen the extended family – thus children are not born at the whim of the parents, but in response to a broader pressure from the whole group. (Caldwell, J,C., “The Economic Rationality of High Fertility: An Investigation Illustrated with Nigerian Survey Data”, Population Studies, vol. 31, No. 1 (1976) p. 5-6) 

Kin-group- a group of people related by blood or marriage 

Permitted- authorize or allow (something)

Intimacy- close familiarity or friendship

Deliberately- consciously and intentionally; on purpose

Enforced- caused by necessity or force; compulsory

Abstinence- the practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something

Whim- a sudden desire or change of mind, especially one that is unusual or unexplained.

In those societies, the rest of the relatives have more social rights over the child than its own parents, like being allowed to have more physical contact with the child in public. In conventional countries like India and Africa, the close relationship between a child and its biological parents is moderated by intentionally restraining their contact or by actually moving them apart so as to nourish the child’s relationship with the rest of the family. Hence, in societies like these, children are not born by the will of the parents but after a large amount of pressure from the family.

 

  1. The woman who satisfies the longings of her peers by producing the child they are all anxious to see, finds her achievement celebrated in ways that dramatise her success. Among the few first-person accounts of how this works in practice is this one from a young Sylheti woman:

If a girl is lucky, and her parents are alive, she goes to her mother’s house for the last few months of her pregnancy and about the first three months of the baby’s life. There she gets a lot of love and care. She is asked, “What would you like to eat? What do you fancy?” All the time she is looked after. The whole matter of pregnancy is one of celebration. When the baby is born it is an occasion of joy for the whole family. 

Longings- a yearning desire

Dramatise-  exaggerate the seriousness or importance of (an incident or situation)

Sylheti- a native or inhabitant of the region around Sylhet, a city in north-eastern Bangladesh

The woman who brings a child to this world fulfills the desire of the people around her who are all excited to see the child. These people then celebrate her success. A story of how this is practically seen is shared by a Sylheti woman who told her personal experience. For the last months of her pregnancy and first 3 months after childbirth, the woman goes to her mother’s home if she is lucky enough to have her parents by her side. There, she is taken care of. She is asked whatever she would like to eat and what she feels like doing. Pregnancy is something well-celebrated and when a child is born, it brings lots of joy and laughter in the family.

 

The naming ceremony is lovely. It is held when the boy is seven days old. A new dress is brought for it and a new sari for the mother. There is feasting and singing until late at night. The women and girls gather and sing songs. Garlands of turmeric and garlic are worn to ward off evil spirits. That’s when the name is chosen … The ceremony is held for the birth of a boy or a girl. Of course it is considered better to have a boy, but the birth of a girl is celebrated with the same joy by the women in the family. We sit together eating pan and singing. Some of us might be young unmarried girls, others aged ladies of forty or fifty. There are so many jokes, so much laughter. People look so funny eating pan and singing. The men don’t take much part. They may come and have a look at the baby, but the singing, the gathering together at night — it is all women. The songs are simple songs which are rarely written down. They are about the lives of women in Bengal. (Wilson, Amrit, Finding a Voice : Asian Women in Britain (London, 1978) p. 22)

Feasting- eat and drink sumptuously 

Garlands- a wreath of flowers and leaves, worn on the head or hung as a decoration

Ward off – prevent someone or something from harming or affecting one

Pan- betel leaves prepared and used as a stimulant

A baby is named when he is seven days old and the ceremony is joyous. Both the mother and the child wear newly bought clothes and people gather to eat, drink and sing all day to their heart’s content to celebrate the birth of a child. In order to shoo away the evil spirits, garlands of turmeric and garlic are worn before choosing a suitable name. People prefer having a baby boy come to their home but both boys and girls are admired equally by women of the family. On the celebration of birth, people come together and enjoy eating pan while singing. Regardless of age, everyone is present – from unmarried girls to middle-aged women of forty or fifty. The atmosphere is filled with jokes and laughter and everyone looks amusing singing while having a pan stuffed in their mouths. It is generally women who do all the singing. They sing normal songs that haven’t been written down but are based on the lives of women in Bengal. The whole ceremony doesn’t involve any major role of men – they may still come and peek at the baby.

 

  1. Among the rewards of pregnancy in this case, as in many others, is that the woman gets to go home to visit her mother and sisters; the nostalgic tone of the description, which is clearly tinged with rose, may be the product of the contrast that this young woman finds in England. 

Nostalgic- related to fascination for the past 

Tinged- added

Contrast- when compared to another

There are many ways in which a pregnant woman is taken care of and one of the major perks of pregnancy in this situation is that she gets to stay with her mother and sisters while reliving the joys of her past. This comes with rose (love and beauty) when compared to young women in England.

 

Another of the Asian women who found a voice in Amrit Wilson’s book gives a similarly-rosy picture of rearing a child in Bangladesh:

In Bangladesh children under the age of five or six are looked after by the whole family. All the children of the joint family are looked after together. They are taken to the pond for a bath perhaps by one daughter-in-law, and she bathes them all. Then they all come in and sit down to eat. Perhaps the youngest daughter-in-law has cooked the meal. Another woman feeds them. As for playing the children play out of doors with natural objects. Here people say that Asian children don’t play with toys. In Bangladesh they don’t need toys. They make their own simple things … In the afternoon they love to hear Rupthoka (fairy tales). Maybe there is a favourite aunt, she tells them these stories. But at night when they get sleepy they always go to their mothers and sleep in their embrace. But other women do help a lot, in fact, they have such strong relationships with the child that it is not uncommon for them to be called Big Mother or Small Mother … (Wilson, Amrit, Finding a Voice : Asian Women in Britain (London, 1978) p. 25)

Embrace-hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection

Rearing- the process of raising, feeding and taking care of a child

An Asian woman shared a story about the lovely experience of raising a child in Bangladesh in one of Amrit Wilson’s books. She shared how children under the age of six are taken care of by the whole family in Bangladesh. All the children of a joint family are raised together. They are taken for a bath at the nearby pond by one of the daughter-in-laws of the family whereas the youngest daughter-in-law keeps the meal ready for the children to feast on when they come back from their bath. It is made sure that they have eaten well by another woman of the family. Children in Asia, particularly in Bangladesh do not play with toys, instead they play outdoors with natural stuff. They know how to make toys from natural objects. In the evening, they generally get to hear fairy tales (known as Rupthoka) by aunties or probably, their favorite aunt. When the night comes, it is the mother who the child returns to. The child sleeps in her arms. In raising a child, a lot of other women of the family are involved who the child maintains a good relationship with. In the process, they come so close that it is common to call them Big Mother or Small Mother.

 

  1. All technological change causes social problems; the impact of Western medicine in traditional societies is one of the most problematic areas of modernization. The prestige of the white-coats is enormous, the respect for their miraculous hypodermics total. The pressure of expectation makes for aggressive and dramatic procedures even when the health status of the patients is too poor to withstand them. Allopathic doctors in peasant communities are dependent upon expensive drugs, sparkling equipment and lots of electricity, most of which they have not got in sufficient quantity. 

Modernization- the process of adapting something to modern needs or habits

Prestige- widespread respect and admiration felt for someone or something on the basis of a perception of their achievements or quality

White-coats – a long white protective garment worn by doctors, hospital attendants

Miraculous- like a miracle, extraordinary

Hypodermics- related to the science of injection

Withstand- remain undamaged or unaffected by; resist

Technological advancement brings with it certain issues in society – in fact, one of the most troublesome consequences of westernization is the effect of modern medicine on traditional societies. However, the respect for the doctors is huge and the admiration towards the extraordinary effects of modern medicine is absolute. There is so much burden on modern medicine that it results in a patient undergoing heavy and complex courses of action even when the patient’s health is not strong enough to bear them. Allopathic treatment generally requires expensive medicines, superior machinery and loads of electricity, all of which is not available in peasant communities in satisfactory quantities.  

 

Where foreign aid has established that temple of our religion, the hospital, it must make a ritual display of its power with horrible results: Sheila Kitzinger visited an enormous modern hospital for “Bantu patients’ in South Africa, and this is what she saw:

The delivery ward was full of groaning, whirling women – the majority labouring alone. Oxytocin drips and pumps were in widespread use. This was the meeting-place of the old Africa and the new technology of the West. Pools of blood lay on the floor like sacrificial out-pourings, and Bantu nurses were happy to leave them there as a witness of the blessings of the earth, while they busied themselves with technologically sophisticated modern equipment and ignored the labouring women as far as possible, which it was not so difficult to do as they did not speak the same languages anyway … Birth was very far from normal here and it was conducted in such a way that I had seen before in American hospitals catering for black “clinic’ patients from large urban ghettos: impersonal conveyor-belt obstetrics accompanied by a plethora of technical innovations and machinery. (Kitzinger, Women as Mothers. P 109)

Enormous- huge, immense

Ghettos- suffocating separations

Groaning- sound emitted involuntarily under pressure of pain or suffering 

Whirling- characterized by rapid movement round and round

Oxytocin drip- a natural hormone that causes the uterus to contract used to induce labor, strengthen labor contractions during childbirth, control bleeding after childbirth

Widespread- found or distributed over a large area or number of people

Sacrificial out-pourings- blood offered as a sacrifice to spiritual agencies

Sophisticated- advanced and of a higher standard

Plethora- a large or excessive amount of something

Foreign medicine worships the system of hospitals but in order to show it’s real power, it generally leads to bad side-effects. When Sheila Kitzinger went to a huge hospital to visit Bantu patients in South Africa, her attention was caught by multiple women shouting in pain in the delivery ward. Most of them were not accompanied by anyone else in the family. Since all of these women were about to go into labor, oxytocin drips and pumps were widely being used. According to her, the hospital’s delivery ward was the common point where the ways of old-Africa met new technology of the West. There was blood all over the floor and it looked as if someone had offered itself as a sacrifice to the deity. Moreover, Bantu nurses did not bother cleaning it and they even left the mothers lying as if they were “witness of the blessings on earth” which are, babies. They ignored the screaming and shouting of women as they paid attention to maintaining the advanced equipment. It was not very hard for the nurses not to pay attention to them as most of them spoke different languages which were hard to understand. One can say that the procedure of childbirth was not carried out how it usually is done but their plight can be compared with the patients of black clinics in American hospitals that are living in large urban separations. One can see common conveyor belts being used for childbirth combined with huge technical equipment.

 

  1. If we turn birth from a climactic personal experience into a personal disaster, it matters little that the result is more likely to be a live child. Women will not long continue to offer up their bodies and minds to such brutality, especially if there is no one at home to welcome the child, to praise the mother for her courage and to help her raise it. In fact peasant communities are more levelheaded and sceptical of us and our methods than we realise and they have resisted the intrusion of our chromium plated technology more successfully than we like to think. They know that death attends too frequently in the traditional birthplace, but they also know that there are worse fates than death. Nevertheless, all that stops our technology from reaching into every hut and hovel is poverty: the cultural hegemony of Western technology is total.

Climactic- acting as a culmination or resolution to a series of events; forming an exciting climax 

Levelheaded- having or showing sound judgment

Sceptical- having doubts

Intrusion- the process of intruding

Hovel- a small home, especially one that is dirty and in bad condition

Hegemony- dominance

If childbirth is turned into a disaster from a satisfying personal experience which it is supposed to be, then other problems sound larger than having safe pregnancy with a live and healthy child. It is only upto a limit that a woman can let her body and mind undergo such cruelty, in cases where she has to raise the child alone as she has no one to welcome her and the baby at home. Since she is all alone, she has no one to appreciate her bravery that it takes to give birth and help her raise a baby. It is known that peasant communities have more sound judgment and they are more doubtful towards adopting modern ways than we know. They have opposed our “chromium plated technology” harder than we think. Even though they are well aware that medicated birth is more successful and traditional birth can lead to death but from where they come and live, they know that there are circumstances more unpleasant than death. However, it is quite evident that the only thing stopping technology from being available to each hut and hovel is the state of being poor because otherwise, modern technology is undoubtedly culturally dominant.

 

  1. The voices of a few women raised in warning cannot be heard over the humming and throbbing of our machines, which is probably just as well, for if we succeed in crushing all pride and dignity out of child bearing, the population explosion will take care of itself. 

Humming- to make the buzzing noise of a flying insect

Throbbing- beating with a strong, regular rhythm; pulsating

Population explosion- a sudden, large increase in the size of a population

The voices of a few women are often left unheard by the big noise that modernisation is making. It is just like if we take out the pride and honor out of the satisfaction of having a child, the population will probably stay in check because then many women will not be interested in bearing a child. 
 
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A Child is Born Question Answers

 

B.1.1. Read the following sentences and write ‘T’ for true and ‘F’ for false statements:

i. In a traditional society, a pregnant woman has to follow the conventional procedure of childbirth.

ii. Even taboos and prohibitions help to manage anxiety.

iii. Western women suffer mostly because they have to manage everything on their own.

iv. In traditional societies, childbirth is a family affair.

v. The family support and conventional procedure lessen the mother- infant mortality.

vi. Freedom to live our own lives is more important than prenatal mortality.

vii. Western people do not think that all mothers-in-law are unjust and vindictive.

viii. Silent opposition in international conferences is not a major difficulty in the way of feminists.

ix. In many traditional societies the relation between mother and child is more important than that between husband and wife. 

 

Answer-

i. In a traditional society, a pregnant woman has to follow the conventional procedure of childbirth. – True

ii. Even taboos and prohibitions help to manage anxiety.– True

iii. Western women suffer mostly because they have to manage everything on their own.– True

iv. In traditional societies, childbirth is a family affair.– True

v. The family support and conventional procedure lessen the mother- infant mortality.– False

vi. Freedom to live our own lives is more important than prenatal mortality.– True

vii. Western people do not think that all mothers-in-law are unjust and vindictive.– False

viii. Silent opposition in international conferences is not a major difficulty in the way of feminists. – False

ix. In many traditional societies the relation between mother and child is more important than that between husband and wife.– True

 

B.1. 2. Answer the following questions briefly :

1)  How are the ways of managing childbirth in traditional societies useful?

Answer- 

The ways of managing childbirth in traditional societies are many and varied; their usefulness stems directly from the fact that they are accepted culturally and collectively so that the mother does not have the psychic burden of reinventing the procedures.

 

2)  A pregnant woman in a traditional society does not feel that she is alone. Why?

Answer- 

A pregnant woman in a traditional society does not feel that she is alone because many of the ritual observances of pregnancy involve the participation of others who should support her, primarily her husband, then her kinsfolk and then the other members of her community. Some of these behaviours will be sensible and useful, others magical, but they will all increase her sense of security and her conviction that she is conducting the pregnancy, not that it is conducting her.

 

3) What is the superstition associated with acquiring new clothes and instruments for baby before the birth? 

Answer- 

There is an old diehard superstition that acquiring equipment and apparel for a baby before the birth is considered bad luck. This leads to a baby being born without any napkins and cribs.

 

4) ‘In our anxiety to avoid death we may have destroyed the significance of the experience…’ What is the ‘experience’ the writer refers to ?

Answer- 

‘In our anxiety to avoid death we may have destroyed the significance of the experience…’. Here, the writer is referring to the ‘experience’ that includes giving up things which free human beings have often felt to be more important than their own survival — such as freedom to live their own lives their own way and to make individual choices in line with their own sense of values.

 

5) What is the ‘truism of anthropologies’ that the writer talks about?

Answer- 

In many societies women still go forth from their mother’s houses at marriage to live with a mother-in-law and the wives of their husbands’ brothers.The writer talks about a ‘truism of anthropology’ that post marriage, women do not become members of their new family until they have borne a child.

 

6) What compels women to withdraw into silent opposition in international fora?

Answer- 

One of the greatest difficulties in the way of feminists who are not chauvinistic and want to learn from women who still live within a female society is the tendency of those women to withdraw into silent opposition when participating in international fora conducted in languages which they cannot speak with fluency.

 

7) Why had Sudanese women officials stopped going to international conferences? 

Answer- 

Women officials of the Sudanese government told the writer that they had given up going to international conferences, even though the trips were a tremendous treat, because they were tired of being told about their own lives instead of being consulted.

 

B.2.1. Read the following sentences and write ‘T’ for true and ‘F’ for false statements:

i. A Sylheti woman may not visit her mother’s house during pregnancy.

ii. For Sylheti women, the whole matter of pregnancy is one of celebration.

iii. Garlands of turmeric and garlic are worn to please gods.

iv. The songs they sing are about the lives of women in Bengal.

v. Visiting mother’s house is one of the rewards of pregnancy.

vi. In Bangladesh, Rupthoka is a kind of sweet dish.

vii. All technological changes cause social developments.

viii. Child birth in modern hospitals is more brutal.

 

Answer-

i. A Sylheti woman may not visit her mother’s house during pregnancy.– False

ii. For Sylheti women, the whole matter of pregnancy is one of celebration.– True

iii. Garlands of turmeric and garlic are worn to please gods.– False

iv. The songs they sing are about the lives of women in Bengal.– True

v. Visiting mother’s house is one of the rewards of pregnancy.– True

vi. In Bangladesh, Rupthoka is a kind of sweet dish.– False

vii. All technological changes cause social developments. – True

viii. Child birth in modern hospitals is more brutal. – True

 

B.2.2. Complete the following sentences on the basis of the lesson:

a) The potential……… are alive in the memory of her community.

b) She will have other ………, for many of the rituals ………. of pregnancy involve the participation of the others who should support her.

c) In……….societies, except for remarkable accidents, birth is always attended.

d) The description provided by the Amnesty for Women of typical Muslim marriage was no more than a coarse……libel.

e) In many traditional societies in Africa and India, the biological family is deliberately weakened by enforced……..

 

Answer- 

a) The potential catastrophes are alive in the memory of her community.

b) She will have other reinforcements, for many of the rituals observances of pregnancy involve the participation of the others who should support her.

c) In non-technocratic societies, except for remarkable accidents, birth is always attended.

d) The description provided by the Amnesty for Women of typical Muslim marriage was no more than a coarse ethnocentric

e) In many traditional societies in Africa and India, the biological family is deliberately weakened by enforced abstinence or actual separation of parents.

 

B.2. 3. Answer the following questions briefly :

1) Where do Sylheti women go to stay during the last stage of pregnancy?

Answer-

If a girl is lucky to have her parents on her side, she goes to her mother’s house for the last few months of her pregnancy and about the first three months of the baby’s life.

 

2) What is the reward of pregnancy for a young Sylheti woman?

Answer-

Among the rewards of pregnancy, among many others, is that the woman gets to go home to visit her mother and sisters and relive the nostalgic tone of the description.

 

3) How are children of the joint family in Bangladesh looked after?

Answer-

Children under the age of six are taken care of by the whole family in Bangladesh. All the children of a joint family are raised together. They are taken for a bath at the nearby pond by one of the daughter-in-laws of the family whereas the youngest daughter-in-law keeps the meal ready for the children to feast on when they come back from their bath. It is made sure that they have eaten well by another woman of the family. Children in Asia, particularly in Bangladesh do not play with toys, instead they play outdoors with natural stuff. They know how to make toys from natural objects. When it is the time of the evening, they generally get to hear fairy tales (known as Rupthoka) by aunties or probably, their favorite aunt. When the night comes, it is the mother who the child returns to. The child sleeps in her arms. In raising a child, a lot of other women of the family are involved who the child maintains a good relationship with. In the process, they come so close that it is common to call them Big Mother or Small Mother.

 

4) What is the worst impact of Western medicine in traditional societies?

Answer-

The impact of Western medicine in traditional societies is one of the most problematic areas of modernization. The respect for the doctors is huge and the admiration towards the extraordinary effects of modern medicine is absolute. There is so much burden on modern medicine that it results in a patient undergoing heavy and complex courses of action even when the patient’s health is not strong enough to bear them. Allopathy treatment generally requires expensive medicines, superior machinery and loads of electricity, all of which is not available in peasant communities in satisfactory quantities. 

 

5) What is the immediate impact of poverty in medical field? 

Answer- 

All that stops modern technology from reaching into every hut and hovel is poverty, and it’s immediate effect is the cultural dominance of Western technology.

 

C.1. Long Answer Questions

  1. What is the role of rituals in managing childbirth in traditional societies?

Answer-

A ritual approach to pregnancy which hems the pregnant woman about with taboos and prohibitions helps make the anxiety manageable. A woman who observes all the prohibitions and carries out all the rites will be actively involved in holding the unknown at bay. She will have other reinforcements, for many of the ritual observances of pregnancy involve the participation of others who should support her, primarily her husband, then her kinsfolk and then the other members of her community. This makes sure that she is never alone. Some of these behaviours will be sensible and useful, others magical, but they will all increase her sense of security and her conviction that she is conducting the pregnancy, not that it is conducting her.

 

  1. Experience of childbirth is very significant. But modern technology has deprived the potential mother of this significant experience. How? 

Answer-

The experience of childbirth is significant. In traditional societies, a pregnant woman has reinforcements, for many of the ritual observances of pregnancy involve the participation of others who should support her, primarily her husband, then her kinsfolk and then the other members of her community. This makes sure that she is never alone. Childbirth is celebrated with naming ceremonies which includes lots of laughter and singing.

On the other hand, modern societies require chromium plated technologies, expensive drugs and continuous electricity. In big hospitals, doctors and nurses do not bother themselves by catering to the screaming and groaning of pregnant women. They primarily work towards maintaining their sophisticated equipment. Hence, this results in childbirth being converted to a personal disaster from a climactic personal experience.

 

  1. Describe the western interpretation of a bride’s longing for a child in a traditional society.

Answer-

In many societies women still go forth from their mother’s houses at marriage to live with a mother-in-law and the wives of their husbands’ brothers. It is a truism of anthropology that such women do not become members of their new family until they have borne a child. If we consider that in such societies the marriage was quite likely to have been arranged, it is understandable that the bride too longs for the child who will stand in the same intimate relationship to her as she with her own mother. The western interpretation of such mores is that they are backward, cruel and wrong; it is assumed that the sexual relations between the spouses are perfunctory and exploitative and that all mothers-in-law are unjust and vindictive. 

 

  1. How do languages come in the way of a better understanding of the women’s problems?

Answer-

Women who are feminists and dont think anyone is superior, generally face the obstacle of having to resort to silent conflict in international conferences due to language barriers even though they want to learn from women living in female-centric societies. The author shares that one of the women officials of Sudanese government told her that they have lost their hope from international exchanges because they were sick of being dictated instead of being asked, despite the trips being a great treat.

Similarly, in large and sophisticated hospitals, women tend to get ignored as they speak languages that are not understandable by nurses or doctors.

 

  1. Describe the rewards of pregnancy as experienced by Sylheti women.

Answer-

As described by a Sylheti woman, if a girl is lucky enough to have her parents by her side, she goes to her mother’s house for the last few months of her pregnancy and about the first three months of the baby’s life. There she gets a lot of love and care. She is asked, “What would you like to eat? What do you fancy?” All the time she is looked after. The whole matter of pregnancy is one of celebration. When the baby is born it is an occasion of joy for the whole family. 

The naming ceremony is lovely. It is held when the boy is seven days old. A new dress is brought for it and a new sari for the mother. There is feasting and singing until late at night. Garlands of turmeric and garlic are worn to ward off evil spirits. That’s when the name is chosen. There are so many jokes, so much laughter. People look so funny eating pan and singing. The men don’t take much part. They may come and have a look at the baby, but the singing, the gathering together at night — it is all women. 

 

  1. Does the writer want to say that the use of western medicine in childbirth is producing horrible results? Do you agree with her views?

Answer-

From this excerpt, the writer surely is in awe of the traditional ways of childbirth. She seems to admire the ritual aspects associated with it and how it involves the woman’s family to be with her, especially her family. In these societies, childbirth is celebrated and naming ceremonies are held which involves people coming together to sing, eat and laugh. After being born, the baby is taken care of by the whole family. However, on the other hand, in her opinion,  modern societies require chromium plated technologies, expensive drugs and continuous electricity. In big hospitals, doctors and nurses do not bother themselves by catering to the screaming and groaning of pregnant women. They primarily work towards maintaining their sophisticated equipment. Hence, this results in childbirth being converted to a personal disaster from a climactic personal experience.

I do not completely agree with her opinion because of the fact that modern medicine has reduced both infant and mother mortality rates. People in big cities regularly visit hospitals and doctors to get their check-ups done throughout their pregnancy. I believe that even though traditional methods of childbirth are widely accepted, it comes with a lot of risk – both in the lives of the mother and the baby. Hence, western advancements in technology have proved themselves more useful over time and more and more people are shiting towards it.

 

  1. What could be the worse fates than death for a pregnant woman?

Answer-

Childbirth is considered auspicious and is generally celebrated. However, if we turn birth from a climactic personal experience into a personal disaster, it matters little that the result is more likely to be a live child. Women will not long continue to offer up their bodies and minds to such brutality, especially if there is no one at home to welcome the child, to praise the mother for her courage and to help her raise it. They know that death attends too frequently in the traditional birthplace, but they also know that there are worse fates than death. 

 

  1. What are the problems of a modern woman in matters of pregnancy and childbirth?

Answer-

Modern women have a lot of facilities and perks in comparison to those available in traditional societies.Despite multiple perks, they even face a few difficulties due to modernisation. Firstly, the families have shifted from being joint to nuclear and since everyone is occupied in their own lives, women have less people around them to make them feel secure and help them implement reinforcements. People nowadays have forgotten about traditions and hence, the ritual observances that help bring down the anxiety index are rarely followed. Moreover, post childbirth, there is hardly anyone else to take care of them and help raise them unlike joint families. Hence, in some ways, modernisation has made things difficult for pregnancy.

 

C. 3. COMPOSITION

Write a paragraph of about 100 words on each of the following:

1 Rituals: their value in our cultural life

Answer- 

In the true sense, ritual means right action, and any action done rightly, with wisdom and compassion, is a ritual. We cannot avoid action as long as we live. For action not to bind us, it must be a ritual not in the personal sense but as a means of connecting with cosmic beings and its movement. Rituals play an important role in the cultural society and play a significant role in the way we live our lives. They give us a feeling of security and loyalty towards a certain group. They are also a main part of religion, and that is where they are commonly found. 

 

  1. Family is the hub of our social life

Answer-

Families form an integral part of one’s life. It is considered to be a child’s first school. A person’s basic values in communication and interaction comes from its family. In joint families, a child is taken care of more by other aunts more than its mother. He/She gets to play with siblings and go to school with them. It reduces the chances of children feeling lonely. A person can have innumerable friends but family makes the hub of one’s social life. All families are unique and different but they have one thing in common, which is love

 

D. WORD STUDY

D.1. Dictionary Use

Ex. 1. Correct the spelling of the following words:

 

anjeetyusefullness bahaviarsacquintanceneccesarily
secratariettechanological comunitiessofisticatedequippment 

 

Answer-

Anjeety- anxiety

Usefullness- usefulness

Bahaviars- behaviors

Acquintance- acquaintance

Neccesarily- necessarily

Secratariet- secretariat

Techanological- technological

Comunities- communities

Sofisticated- sophicticated

Equippment- equipment

 

D.2. Word-formation

Read the following sentence carefully:

‘… a ritual approach to pregnancy helps make the anxiety manageable.’

 

The word ‘manageable’ is made of ‘manage’ (v) and ‘able’ (suffix)

Add suffix ‘-able’ to the following words and fill in the blanks with the new words to complete the sentences (in some cases the final ‘e’ is to be dropped).         

 

workknowledgeconsiderunderstand
acceptagreeusedeplore 

 

i. We did not find Varsha’s proposal…………….

ii. Safdar has already spent ……… amount in the repairing work.

iii. The act of violence is quite…………….

iv. The refills are not ……………..

v. Everyone found his behaviour quite ……………..

……………… knowledge of a car cannot make you a good mechanic.

vii. Nikhat is quite ………………..  ; you can seek advice from her.

viii. Since he has been iII for a long period, his irritating nature is quite………..

 

Answer-

i. We did not find Varsha’s proposal acceptable.

ii. Safdar has already spent considerable amount in the repairing work.

iii. The act of violence is quite deplorable.

iv. The refills are not usable.

v. Everyone found his behaviour quite agreeable.

vi. Workable knowledge of a car cannot make you a good mechanic.

vii. Nikhat is quite knowledgeable; you can seek advice from her.

viii. Since he has been iII for a long period, his irritating nature is quite understandable.

 

 

D.3. Word-meaning

Ex 1. Fill in the blanks with suitable phrases given in the box 

  

At bay at the expense of in order to in response to
to ward off look aftertake care of look at 

 

a) Pragya’s fever was not severe; but it was the doctor’s assurance which kept her fear………

b) It is not proper to ask others to …….. your new born babies.

c) This time team India played seriously …… to win the match.

d) Development of a nation can never be achieved …….. common people’s aspirations.

e) Many women and children joined the freedom struggle movement………   Gandhiji’s call.

f) The teacher infused confidence in the children…………..their fear of darkness.

g) Everyone admiringly……………..the paintings.

h) The new gardener……………the plants with great affection. 

 

Answer-

a) Pragya’s fever was not severe; but it was the doctor’s assurance which kept her fear at bay.

b) It is not proper to ask others to take care of your new born babies.

c) This time team India played seriously in order to win the match.

d) Development of a nation can never be achieved at the expense of common people’s aspirations.

e) Many women and children joined the freedom struggle movement in response to Gandhiji’s call.

f) The teacher infused confidence in the children to ward off their fear of darkness.

g) Everyone admiringly looked at the paintings.

h) The new gardener looks after the plants with great affection. 

 

E. GRAMMAR

Ex.1. Read the following sentences, taken from the lesson, carefully:

a) In many traditional societies the relationship between mother and child is more important.

b) ‘… a number of social usages may stress the child’s relationship with the rest of his kin group…’

In each sentence, the word ‘relationship’ is followed by a different preposition, i.e. ‘between’, and ‘with’ to convey different meanings.

Read the text to find out appropriate prepositions and fill in the blanks to complete the sentences: 

 

a) All the members……………..family participate …………the function.

b) The scientists were actively involved…………holding the natural calamities…………bay.

c) Pregnant women are advised to cling …………. a proper diet habit.

d) The nurses were quite cooperative ………… breast feeding.

e) Modern obstetric is responsible…………the decrease………………….maternal mortality…………the past century.

f) The west thinks that ………………many traditional societies, the relations………….spouses are exploitative. 

 

Answer- 

a) All the members of family participate in the function.

b) The scientists were actively involved in holding the natural calamities at

c) Pregnant women are advised to cling to a proper diet habit.

d) The nurses were quite cooperative about breast feeding.

e) Modern obstetric is responsible for the decrease in maternal mortality in the past century.

f) The west thinks that in many traditional societies, the relations between spouses are exploitative. 
 
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