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Grandmother

Delivery, Role of the Father

3:41 min. - The man in Innu society was the provider, the hunter. He brought food home. Women stayed in the camp and were responsible for children, the tent, fishing and small game hunting near the camp.

Transcription

Laura Pinette - What is the future father's role when the woman is pregnant?
Evelyne St-Onge - In the past, men's and women's roles were very definitive. The man was the provider, the hunter. He went out to get the food. Women stayed in the camp, you teach and heal the children, using uatnan, among other things. In the bush, the woman took care of the children and the tent... The man provided food...
Magali Ineke - Men were sufficiently involved in their wives' pregnancy. They provided necessary assistance. Women perpetuate their ancestors' advice, which holds that pregnant women mustn't exert themselves physically, that they should avoid carrying heavy objects and shouldn't do too much laundry. So, many men that we interviewed on this subject, report that they perform these household tasks during their wives' pregnancy.
When we asked one woman how her husband helped during pregnancy, she said, "Ah! Very well! He does the laundry, cooks, tidies up the house. And I sit there like the boss". That's an example of how men cooperate during pregnancy.
They don't allow their wives to perform heavy tasks because they want to avoid miscarriages, or "failures", as they say here.
Men held their wives' heads. So we started asking them why they did that during labour or delivery. It made the woman feel that the man was giving her strength. They unite their energy so that the woman has more strength to give birth. For example, some women can't give birth without their husband's presence. Sometimes labour is prolonged and delivery takes longer. In that case, the person delivering the baby will ask her to put on a sweater belonging to her husband. She'll take the garment and wrap the sleeves around her belly. And they tell her, "Don't worry!" "Your husband is here with you".
Evelyne St-Onge - Did you know that in the past, pregnant women were not allowed to look at the bear brought back to camp by the hunters? They said it was dangerous for their delivery.
Laura Pinette - I hope that doesn't happen to me.
Evelyne St-Onge - Have you seen a bear lately?
Laura Pinette - No.
Music - Kathia Rock

Young couple listening attentively to a grandmother’s teachings
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