I guess every place in the world has its share of superstitions, and pregnancy in India seems to be prime time. For entertainment purposes, here are some of them and some humorous and not so funny things I found out:
- Don’t eat papayas: This seems to be the most popular one, including with some doctors. Apparently, papayas cause contractions. This is based on the fact that raw papayas contain a latex (or something) that can cause contractions. However, there is nothing to say that these contractions are strong enough to cause an abortion in a woman unready to deliver. No special baby killing properties to them and particularly ripe ones, as a friend of mine found out, when she ate loads of the stuff when she got pregnant unexpectedly. She didn’t want a baby that early into her marriage, and she didn’t want the responsibility to abort. She is currently a happy mother of a healthy baby born at full term.
- Don’t eat mangoes, pinapples, etc: If they don’t normally upset your digestion, go right ahead and have a blast.
- Don’t cut a whole watermelon: Apparently, it looks too much like a ripe belly to some women and they think its a bad omen.
- Don’t go out during an eclipse: That’s an old one from when eclipses scared people enough to be thought evil.
- Don’t talk too much about feeling good or praise the baby, etc: Apparently it will jinx your stroke of good luck. More likely, you bore people to tears when you wax eloquent endlessly about your little miracle, and they need a way of shutting you up. Really, appreciating things puts you in a better mood, and encourages nicer things to happen. Don’t see harm in that. In fact, I see a world of good.
- Listen to this music or that and don’t listen to this or that: Babies are well insulated in their comfortable cocoons, and really, loud music is probably the only stuff that reaches them. With all the racket of your heart and blood and uh… digestion around them, I doubt if the distant music is going to alarm them unduly. If it makes you happy, go ahead.
- Pay attention to the words of the song/read religious texts: Probably a way to get you to remember God once in a while. I doubt if a baby is capable of understanding elaborate philosophy, or wicked words. All it probably gets is the sound of your voice and tones at the most. So go ahead, read the telephone directory lovingly if you wish.
- Don’t sit on the floor with both legs on one side: No clue how this one came up. Probably alarmed by the threat of you toppling off the floor.
- Don’t cut your hair: While orthodox Indians are disapproving of married women cutting their hair at the best of times, I was surprised to hear this from a well-educated and “westernized” friend who was convinced that it shortens the life-span of the child in the womb! Not that I’m planning on cutting my hair at the moment, considering how lush and shiny its getting, but this is plain ridiculous.
- Don’t cross your legs when you sit: I got this gem yesterday – apparently, if you do it really fast, you could loop the umbilical cord around the baby’s neck like a lasso.
- Eating a strawberry can make your baby get ugly birthmarks
- Don’t knit: No clue why, but all those films with the deaming of baby and knitting shots are plain wrong – something bad happens. I forget what.
- Don’t make a baby wardrobe or other baby preparations before it is born: Apparently it jinxes the baby or something. This is rather silly, because honestly, who has the time to go shopping for immediate baby needs after its born? The second trimester seems to be when the energy and time support this mission, but….. don’t do it 😀 Possibly a hangover from the time when miscarriage and mortality was much higher, and intended to avoid the pain of looking at the stuff if something happened to the baby it was meant for.
- Look at pictures of beautiful babies to produce beautiful babies: People are trying to give me random pictures of beautiful babies – some with lovely golden hair. Now, there’s going to be a serious problem with the peace in our family if I get a blond child considering how we are all Indians, no matter how beautiful it is.
- Death and crippled people or otherwise abnormal people/children can infect the spirit of the child: This one is plain ridiculous. I can understand that illness carries infection, or death/injuries can cause stress. I fail to see how seeing a Down’s child (for example) can cause Downs in a healthy foetus.
And so on….
I’m sure you know your own treasure of such pearls of wisdom. Care to share?