Monday, January 19, 2009


Almost everyone offers me advice when they see my pregnant belly, even total strangers. The fruit seller at the market told me that I couldn’t buy her pineapples. The office photocopying lady, who has never ever spoken to me, saw me cooking up instant noodles for lunch and whispered to me that, no, I shouldn’t be eating instant noodles.

Not that I mind, it’s just so unexpected sometimes.

What I do mind is that almost all advice I receive is a no-no. No, you must not eat crabs. No, you must not squat down. No, you must not eat mutton. No, you must not eat certain types of bananas. No, you must not drive nails into your walls. No cold drinks. No, you must not look at ugly people or animals. No, you must not rub your tummy. No, you cannot set up the baby cot before the baby arrives and leave it vacant. No, you cannot cry.

Richard, whom I would not say is a paranoid person, became so superstitious. He refused to let me stay in the house when the gardener came to cut the grass. He refused to let me stay in the bedroom when he changed the bedsheets. He refused to let the men change and take away our mattress when they delivered our new one (the new one is wrapped in plastic and propped up against the wall in the guest room now). He refused to let me visit friends in the hospital who had just given birth or attend their babies’ full month celebrations. He refused to let me be in the same room when he was fixing a drawer.

Well, I drank all sorts of cold drinks. I rubbed my tummy all the time. I ate crabs (not much though). I walked down 26 floors during my office fire drill. I ate instant noodles. I walked past construction sites (I have to - my home and office are next to construction sites). I raised my arms above my head. I squatted.

Okay, I will confess that, in the initial stages of my pregnancy, I did try to be very careful. I did not use a scissors on my bed and I didn’t paint my nails or colour my hair and stuff like that. But my faith that the baby would be all right became stronger with each passing day and with each ultrasound scan. Then, when I hit the second trimester, I started to enjoy being pregnant and I didn’t really want to spend the next 6 months being stressed or scared about what I should or should not be doing. So I just did, ate and drank whatever I wanted. Happy mummy equals happy baby.

I am, however, interested in old wives’ tales that supposedly predict the sex of the baby. They’re lots of fun. One says if your tummy is pointing out in front, it’s a boy and if it’s flatter in front, it’s a girl. Every single “aunty” who had a glance at my tummy KNEW I was having a boy, apparently because my tummy was pointing out in front.

Another tale goes - pick a handful of rice and count the grains. If it is odd, it’s a boy. Even, it’s a girl. We tried this and came up with an odd number. Freaky fun.


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