THE ART OF BIRTH

Flowers and chocolates are the most common gifts to new mommies. But.. imagine to receive a tray instead! A particular tray decorated by the most famous artist of the moment! This was the object that women, belonging to the wealthy families, used to receive after giving birth (and after having survived the birth), or as a wedding gift to encourage the couple to soon build a family. The practical purpose of these trays was to bring food and beverage to the woman still in bed after giving birth. The woman’s task, as we know, was to give birth to as many children as possible, and the main parents’ concern was to find a husband or a wife for their son or daughter, so to bring the lineage on to the next generations. Wife was often and therefore chosen among candidates considered suitable to give birth. This task might seem very easy.. but in fact it wasn’t at all! The mortality rates for infants and for women during birth were high, so that the big issue was not just having children, but to survive birth for women, and to reach adulthood for children. If we also consider all the plagues, as the terrible big plague of 1348, that killed huge percentage of the population, we cannot be surprised about how people then gave special importance to birth.

Continue reading