Monday, August 10, 2009

some weird pregnancy myths.....

I feel like I am living in the twilight zone over here sometimes with the things people tell me not to do during pregnancy, or what I should do. Some of this stuff I have NEVER heard in my life, and it's quite unsettling. I met an American mid-wife here working in a hospital and she has been great to talk to to clear the air on some of the superstitions/ideas. She also told me that Indians look at pregnancy as more of an illness or condition and that Indian women are much less active during pregnancy than western women.

Here is some of the list of things that have been said to me, or advised of me during my pregnancy:
  • Don't eat papaya as it will cause a spontaneous abortion
  • Do not drink cold water as it will give the baby asthma (I have a hard time drinking room temperature water and always bring a bottle of frozen water to work so it lasts for hours)
  • I shouldn't be walking or taking the stairs in my condition (pregnancy is a condition)?
  • During a solar or lunar eclipse, a pregnant woman should not be outside and should only lay flat and not move for those 2 hours. Going to the bathroom is out of the question, making food (chopping or cutting of any kind). The result is if you cut food, the baby will be born missing a limb or finger, or have a cleft palate, or could have some kind pf permanent birthmark on their body. There was an eclipse 3 weeks ago I think. Luckily it was between 5:30am-7:30am and I was asleep anyway. My pregnant boss (who recently had her baby) sent me home early from work to make sure I was home and ready to sleep by 4am!! I work night shift.
  • During the 8th month (weeks 32-35) I should be extra careful no running, no stress, nothing that could cause me to go into labour basically, because babies born in the 8th month don't live! (HOW MORBID IS THIS)? This is straight from my mother-in-laws mouth. She said babies born in the 7th and 9th month are fine, but not the 8th. When I told her it was a stupid superstition she freaked out and was like no, it's medical!! WTF?
  • After a baby is born, a woman must stay home for 40 days (not 30 not 39 but 40 days, and do limited amounts of activity (not much reading or watching television) because it will affect your health in the future. My friend just told me this (she had her baby 11 days ago) and then she asked me, do women do this in the west? I was like, never heard of this IN MY LIFE!!! I am not staying home for 40 days unless I'm too sick to move!!! and I am certainly not going to stop reading and watching television!!
  • Also during the 40 days the baby should not leave the house for fear of the evil eye. People will send evil thoughts and put curses on the baby because they are jealous of how cute it is. Apparently people think Muscles and my baby will be really cute (of course it will) and have told me very seriously to be careful about the evil eye, and to keep the baby at home and to put kajal (black kohl) on it's face or eyes so people don't get envious of the cuteness of the baby. For GOD'S sake. Are you kidding me. The worst thing is that my husband actually believes this.
So that is about it, I might be forgetting something, because i have had all sorts of crap thrown at me since i got pregnant and been living in India. Some of it is interesting to hear from a cultural stand point, but when you're pregnant and already worried that you're doing everything right for the baby, then you have some of this crap spewed at you it just makes for a very confusing time and can be very frustrating!
I am now 32 weeks pregnant, and am so anxious and excited than soon I'll be able to meet this little feisty boy or girl that has been inside me! But I also wonder what new and interesting things will come up on how to deal with a newborn in India, then how to deal with a toddler, etc. I am sure there will be lots of new anecdotes, superstitions and advice thrown my way. Should be interesting to say the least!!