Birth and Death in Mexican Culture

I have been attending a small church with a Spanish-speaking congregation for the past 10 years. Most of the adults are from Mexico, and it is what I imagine a small village to be in Mexico to be like. There is incredible support for and celebration of all holidays, weddings and births. Recently, I experienced another touching aspect of this culture: There was a funeral at my sweet church last Sunday. The lovely mother of three women who attend the church passed away. I was amazed that there was an open casket and all of the children of the church were there, too. (These were little ones of all ages.) All of them filed past the casket and kissed, or said goodbye, to their grandmother or friend. I asked Anita, my midwife friend who is from Mexico about this. She said, “Yes, in Mexico we usually have at least three or four days of food, remembrance, family togetherness and celebration of life.”  

I remember when I was almost four, my grandmother, who was the closest person to me in the world, passed away. My dad and mom wouldn’t let me go to the funeral. Now, when I look in the obituaries I see that many seem to pass on with “no service planned.” I had previously thought it might be better not to mark the death with a service, considering the funeral industry in the US; but now I believe that these little children have a more realistic sense of life and death for having participated in this lovely woman’s passing. In death and in birth we should celebrate life. Indeed, this is only the beginning.

Check out these resources on birth and midwifery in Mexico

Jan Tritten
Midwifery Today



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