I came across this on my Facebook timeline and thought immediately of the adage that the nuns used to tell us at Saint Camillus that when you sing you pray twice.
These mothers truly sing/pray their children into the world. That prayer follows the child all through his/her life even to death; the whole village will eventually know that child’s prayer, and by knowing that prayer they know the spirit of the child.
Here is a tribe in Africa where the birthdate of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it