Song of birth (African parenting method)

Some friends are posting this story on Facebook, it’s a nice story but is a true story?

Sounds like BS to me. Or to be specific, romanticized BS of the New Age variety.

Are “Ancient Celts” and Native Americans past their sell-by date in these circles?

Sounds like complete twaddle of the Noble Savage variety.

Since the tribe is unnamed in the OP, I was going to say it was almost certainly made up. However, the tribe is identified here as the Himba. Although that doesn’t vouch for the story being true, it at least gives a starting point for investigation.

Uh, not all kids are planned and thought of first. Many times you just find yourself pregnant.

Here’s a bit more. This blogger did some investigation and gives the original source as “Tolba Phanem, African poet.” However, Phanem’s name only seems to appear in Google in connection to this story, making his own existence suspect.

Of course not. But many things are believed that are contrary to demonstrable fact.

Must suck to be one of those unplanned kids though, no song and all

The way I read it it allows for it, basically saying even after conception it starts when the woman ever thought of having a child.

This could be as a little girl, or long after conception as I read it.

Here’s another suspect bit in your link- Phanem refers to mother taking the kid into the “jungle.” The Himba are traditionally found in northern Namibia - which is arid semi-desert. one wonders how far they would have to travel to find a “jungle”.

Here’s a less idealized view of the Himba today. Whatever their birth mythology may be (or have been in the past), at present it would seem many Himba children may not have been “invited” in advance.

Another site indicated that Himba women have an average of 8.9 children.

I noticed that.

At least part of it I’ve heard a very similar (and similarly apocryphal) version of in isolation. It’s also made the Facebook rounds a couple of times. I found this version here:

Now, is it possible that one “African tribe” is singing song while another is performing a storytelling intervention? Sure. One would expect similar but not identical cultural practices in societies that share geographic space.

But I find the vagueness and similarities rather…uncompelling. I’ll continue to believe it’s feel good Noble Savage Myth (while at the same time thinking it’s not a bad way to handle things in small social groups) until at least some names are named.

Also, there are times you want to be pregnant, and try, but things don’t work out the way you’d like them.

That’s obviously just because you didn’t sit out under a tree and listen for your kid’s song first.

There’s a similar practice called healing circles in some Native communities in Canada (and maybe the U.S.). I think it’s a revival of a traditional practice, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Facebook accounts have a germ of truth to them. But it sounds like that germ of truth has been taken to ridiculous extremes.

I forgot to include a clip from my link in the previous post:

A source on this concept: West African writer Patrice Malidoma.

A page that refers to the contents in one of his books and mentions “… tribe honors that gift before birth…” See: