Whether you’re married or unmarried (God help you), if you’re pregnant with your first child, prepare to keep mentally stabbing yourself with a pencil because that’s exactly how every aunty with 10 kids will make you feel. I feel like that is just a desi custom and there’s no way around it. Ever.
If you are reading this and you are not familiar with the culture I’m talking about then please count yourself lucky and laugh at my expense. But for us desi girls, man, it’s tough trying to please everyone, whist holding back witty remarks because you got to stay on character..
What character you may ask? A nun.
Or the penguins from Madagascar “smile and wave boys, smile and wave”.
I was explaining this to a Polish friend of mine who came over to join a family gathering hosted by my parents, she kept asking why the ladies keep giving me weird pregnancy related advice and why do I smile and agree with everything. The answer is to give the illusion that I’m Mother Teresa and because aint nobody got time for further conversation. To be frank, majority of the guests I didn’t even know existed but somehow they feel like they “know” me because they know my parents or someone that knows my parents. I feel like this is always the case especially at weddings, like where do all these people pop out from?
So while listening to absurd pregnancy related advice and smiling along like that Blanx whitening toothpaste advert of that annoying lady who keeps smiling even if her man is leaving her for her brother, the funniest thing is when I was spoken to by the elders, they kept referring to me being unwell. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out when I became unwell until I realised “being unwell” was referring to the fact that I was pregnant! Really? Get a grip guys, come on!
Anyway heres some of the advice I was kindly given:
“Don’t eat aubergines because your baby will get bad health”
But isn’t that a healthy vegetable?
“Drink milk with lots of ghee or butter so the baby just slides out”
I swear my digestive system is separate from my reproductive system?
“If you crave sweet things to eat you’ll have a boy, and if you crave sour its a girl”
Because that’s a scientific way to predict gender I’m sure
“Bump too high? It’s a Boy! Bump too low? It’s a Girl!”
Doesn’t that depend on baby size and my own body size? no?
“Drink tea because it is the cure to everything and will keep the baby healthy”
Forgot caffeine was healthy..
“Don’t go out after sunset because you might get possessed”
So now I can’t have a life without something trying to possess me?
“Don’t look at snakes because then the baby will turn out like a snake”
Humans can give birth to snakes? eh?
“The person you look at the most during your pregnancy, is who the baby will look like”
I guess genetics has nothing to do with features, naturally.. Staring at Channing Tatum for 9 months it is
“Eat a lot of spicy food so your baby develops the taste for spice”
Aaaaand that’s what put me into labour early, Thanks ma.
But the main thing to prepare for if you have a desi family, is your whole generation wanting to come to the hospital and see you and the baby AS SOON AS you’ve given birth! It’s totally crazy that just after I had given birth, everyone was waiting outside itching to come in when the midwife wasn’t watching. Awkward!
But eventually when the paparazzi came in, and despite everyone giving me dodgey advice, I realised everyone just cares too much and that’s a good thing.
Basic must-have: Patience.
Like this guy..