Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Asia Austin Colter
The umbilical cord is the lifeline between a developing child and its female parent. Many African cultures consider the umbilical cord as an essential part of birth rituals. The umbilical cord's drying up or falling off connotes the full coming into being of a new person. Once an infant comes into the world from the womb, it remains attached to the mother until the umbilical cord is cut, tied, and then cut or detached in some way. The baby is no longer a part of its mother's womb, but is now a part of the family and community into which it is born. The umbilical cord is reflective of continuity because the baby is usually reflective in some way, shape, or form as a continuation of its ancestors, elders, and family group. The umbilical cord connotes collectivity as the child becomes an extension of its immediate and extended family. The ...