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Old 11-10-2012, 06:56 PM   #1
The Oracles
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Default (01) Birth

ACCEPTANCE CEREMONY
It is the practice in noble families that whenever a lady gives birth, the midwife (or nun assisting the birth, depending on circumstances) will present the child if it is living to the father or in the greater houses, to the head of the family, by laying the child on the ground at his feet, in the presence of a member of some holy order. The father or familial elder (read: head of the household, especially for nobles) will pick up the child and grant it a nurse-name (often called a milkname), signifying the acceptance of the baby into the family.

Should the father or familial elder refuse to pick the child up, it is considered a refusal of paternity and familial association - the child is now illegitimate and unacknowledged, without name or any claim to one. The member of the faith will then take the child, and carry it to the foundling home, or perhaps to the arms of a childless couple. In many families the entire ceremony is only a formality but lawfully a father or head of the family is entirely within his rights to make the choice.

-Commoners with little or no property, or serfs, do not generally observe any acceptance ceremony though in hard years some peasant families must make the choice to feed the mouths they have and not accept a new one. In the mountains they call it the "skysleep" and has been known since ancient times, as there are years when not even the local church could keep an extra mouth alive- especially in winters when there is too much snow for too long and food becomes dearer than gold. And there are remote mountain villages where no church is accessible to even offer the choice.

In Southshores and Kingsreach the Church is more readily accessible and food is not often scarce, so such practices have almost died out. However, it was once common to give children one could not feed or care for to the ocean or a river (remnants of pagan beliefs say such children become merfolk or river nymphs).



MORTALITY RATES

-When a woman gives birth, the family’s priest or the local one is all but required not only for the ceremony of acceptance but to administer burial rights should the birthing be fatal to mother or child. In general the rate of death in childbirth is 30% but puerperal fever claims many and more mothers soon after the birth- up to 50% in some areas (protip: no one has invented gynecology and it’s a lucky woman whose physician doesn’t believe her uterus is floating around in her body somewhere [You're welcome for that mental image, m'lady]).


NAMING
-When a child reaches one year old, it will be given its true name by its mother (or father, or other relative should the parents be unavailable or deceased). Commoners often name their child on the next harvest or planting season rather than by a strict calendar. Many a child is haunted by his/her milkname into adulthood, however.


OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
-Most noblewomen employ a wetnurse to ensure they are able to conceive again more quickly.

-A majority of children from the mountainous regions of Westridge, where the winters are the heaviest, are born from late summer to early fall.


NEXT:
Childhood || Illegitimate Children || Education

SEE ALSO:
Family Dynamics
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