A society's birth customs (e.g., Jordan, 1978; MacCormack, 1994) dictate the birthing position of the mother (Naroll, Naroll, & Howard, 1961), the use of special equipment, such as a birthing chair, where the birth will take place (whether out of doors, in a secluded room, or in a crowded communal dwelling, as among the Mundurucu of South America), and whether the mother is alone or attended by a midwife or certain relatives. The role of the father can vary from being excluded to performing the actual delivery, as reported for the Utku of Northern Canada (Briggs, 1970). The nursing of the baby (Hull & Simpson, 1985; Raphael, 1972) is only one of the many complex activities that are involved in motherhood, a subject for which Hrdy (1999) has provided a particularly rich and complex analysis that combines evolutionary, historical, psychological, and anthropological perspectives. As for what a society views as good mothering, B. B. Whiting (1996) has shown that, among the Kikuyu, this definition is not fixed but has been changed by "modernization."
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