Parental and Other Caretaker Roles

Women are the primary caretakers and motherhood is seen as being sacred (soorp). "Sacred" motherhood refers to the Armenian belief dating from Armenia's pre-Christian past when the primary deity in the pantheon was Anahit, the goddess of fertility, morality, and maternity (Zeitlian, 1992). The role of mothers in Armenia has traditionally been to transmit and perpetuate the Armenian culture, Christian faith, values, and traditions. As the hearth (odjakh), pillar (syun), and light-giving lamp (jrak) of the family, the Armenian mother is expected to love and nurture her children and to sacrifice her own needs and desires for those of her family. Women who are not mothers are pitied because they have not attained the highest status a woman can achieve. Meanwhile mothers who do not sacrifice their own needs for the needs of their own children are looked down upon and criticized. The mother-child relationship is the closest relationship among Armenians, regardless of the gender of the child, and mothers act as confidantes to both their sons and daughters. They view their sons as their protectors (bashban) and their daughters as their helpers (ogknagan). In Armenia, the most common pledge is "mors arev" which means "upon my mother's life."

Fathers are mainly concerned with providing for their children, protecting them from strangers, and disciplining them. Fathers strive to set a positive example for their sons and endeavor to make them physically and mentally strong. They also assist their sons to advance politically and in their chosen careers. Fathers make every effort to protect their daughters and to provide them with a good education and cultural training. Children are supposed to love their mothers and to fear their fathers. While this is true in rural areas and in most patriarchal households, in most egalitarian families children love and respect both parents.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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