Birth traditions old and new: on art and presents

Having evolved into a “fishnet feminist”, as More magazine refers to the latest generation, I was delighted with Andrea’s choice of birth present for me: a beautiful black Gucci bag. It’s an Italian tradition for a man to give his partner a fancy gift for birthing his baby. My sister-in-law got a laptop, for example. The tradition dates back to at least the Renaissance. In fact, according to one theory, that’s what Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo was, i.e. a birth present from Agnolo Doni to his wife Maddalena Strozzi, with the added nifty play-on-words of the patron’s last name, which means “gifts”.

Speaking of art, a couple weeks before Peanut was born I decided to conduct a more contemporary ritual by making birth art, as suggested by Pam England in Birthing from Within. It was a thoroughly satisfying and therapeutic experience, guided by my inspiring artist friend Sarah. I’d highly recommend it to all mammas-to-be out there.

It also makes a great decoration for the baby’s room afterwards :)