Originally Posted by Meg Murry.
I would love, LOVE to see objective statistics on Yequana death rates. I don't think TCC is necessarily an unimpeachable source.
And back to the wolf example: I'm not an expert, but I've read all of Jean Craighead George's Julie of the Wolves
books. One thing that was interesting to me, was that when Amaroq and his mate had their first litter of pups (in Julie's Wolf Pack
), they grieved over the ones who died (if I remember right, it was 4 out of 7: I think 2 acted unwisely and approached a mama bear, and 2 fell off a cliff), but they didn't seem to feel guilt in the same way that I
would, and in the same way that I think most people
would, at the death of even ONE child, let alone four.
Of course, the book is one human's guess as to what wolves are actually thinking and saying to one another -- but if it really is common, as the author says, for only a few from each wolf-litter to survive, it stands to reason that there wouldn't be the same overwhelming remorse as what people experience at the loss of even one child.
On the one hand, I realize that wolves do guide their young. At the same time, they (like the Yequana) do seem to leave it up to the young to figure out more things on their own. So I wonder if people like the Yequana might also cope with a child's accidental death without becoming overwhelmed by guilt -- I don't mean I think they wouldn't grieve
, I just wonder if the grief would be as likely to turn to self-recrimination.
Of course, I'm speaking from the vantage point of living in a privileged nation where it's unusual for babies NOT to survive into adulthood. I imagine the coping-mechanisms are way different for mothers in countries where the death rates are much higher (and of course, I'm not sure if death-rates are higher among Yequana children).
I'm not saying those mothers love their children any less deeply than I love mine -- only that maybe they wouldn't feel as responsible as I'd feel if one of my children suffered an accidental death.
They'd still grieve as much -- only maybe they wouldn't be as sure that it was "all their fault."
I'd be interested to learn more about the degree of responsibility that Yequana mothers feel if their children get into accidents that cause them to be killed or severely injured.
The only example Liedloff (TCC) shared (that I can remember) is of the boy who accidentally shot another boy in the abdomen (I think) with an arrow. Liedloff said the injured child's mother heard about what happened, but went about her work rather than rushing to Liedloff's tent where she was treating the boy. She stopped to check in on him once, then went back about her work, seemingly unconcerned even though Liedloff was worried about the possibility of internal injury.
So again, I'm thinking there are many aspects to other cultures that are quite a mystery to me. If something like this happened to my child, I can't fathom not dropping everything to stay by her side.
Just as it would be wrong for me to criticize this other mother for her seeming unconcern (unconcern as it appeared to me), when I really don't understand how the situation was perceived by her -- I think it's wrong when others criticize parents in our culture for our seeming "over-protectiveness."
Respect for all cultures should include respect for our own culture.