Love usually means having children.
Women in many countries, however, opt not to have a child. In the
, for example, the percentage of
women in their 40s with three or more children fell from 59 percent in 1976 to
29 percent in 2010. In US ,
a nation with a tradition of large families, the percentage of women in their
40s with four or more children dropped from around 17 percent in the early
1980s to less than 5 today, according to Yale Global. Italy
Women's choice to be childless is apparently connected to parental, financial and career concerns as well as anxieties about the high rate of separation and divorce among couples.
But women who are childless by choice still remain the exception rather than the rule. Women still want to experience motherhood and men still want assurance of a lineage. For women, the instinct to nurture predominates. Men, on the other hand, tend to see their progeny as a form of immortality and assurance of continuity through generations of blood passed on.
The desire for offsprings is as old as earth itself and ensured as well as encouraged through many ways in different cultures. In-vitro fertilization is an acceptable modern method to encourage conception.
Other methods are not as scientific. Potions, certain foods chants, amulets and rituals are used to ensure fertility.
|Photo by Lakbaybayan.com|
Cantonese women in
rub their bellies against a coffin in the belief that the deceased is somehow
able to share their procreative abilities. China
At the Hounen Matsuri Festival held every March 15 in
, volunteers carry a long
wooden phallus in the hope that its regenerative powers will help childless
Photo from independent.co.uk
It was once believed in India that a fertile marriage would result if virgins were first deflowered by means of the lingam, a stone phallus symbolizing the god Shiva.
Infertile women in
are lowered naked by priests to a sacred pool located in the highland town of Lalibela. A
picture of one such rite is shown bow. Ethiopia
Photo by Gali Tibbon
Childless couples in the
who cannot afford medically induced conception are advised to eat plenty of
cucumbers, apples, basil, myrtle and hazel and to wear tie pins or necklace
pendants depicting a unicorn or a fish. Men are told to carry a piece of
mandrake root at all times and women, three pieces of hazel nuts. US
As for me, I'll take oysters anytime.
- Ariel Murphy