Free hit counter


By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.


Babies made-in-India - 5. Versus French ways

india,birth,water birth,pregnancy,baby,infant,newborn,delivery,midwife,swaddling,swaddle,diaper,breastfeeding,hospital,fertility,contraception,sterilizationSince there is nothing wrong in getting pampered, these customs of returning to the maternal fold, staying at home and keeping bed rest persist through the ages and social classes. Several times I have asked colleagues, newly elevated to the rank of fathers, if they were not too tired. And got the reply “no no, you know, my wife and baby are at my in-laws, they’ll come back only after three months!".


New French mothers don’t have this luxury of a ‘safety period’ (although apparently (according to Tracy Hogg) British ones do, for 40 days as well) and they soon have to do everything alone: cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc, in addition to taking care of the newborn. That is what I tried to explain to my Indian circle: being an independent businesswoman and daughter of an independent businesswoman, I was genetically programmed (except for medical complication) to get on my feet very fast. And on top of that, with the 'services' we avail in India, i.e. maids, home delivery from shops and restaurants, it is even more manageable than in the West…


As for childbirth, fathers traditionally don't attend, as it was the case till the fifties in the West, where the necessity and benefits of the man's presence are still debated (but at least the choice is open). So in India, you usually have your mother or mother-in-law in the labor room...

After the delivery, help is generally required as some hospitals don't even serve food. So, my mother-in-law kindly offered to stay with us at night in the hospital (4)... As tradition has it, it was her role to get up at night when the baby would cry; not mine, nor her son’s or the nurses’. To pass me the child for me to feed him. Well, to be precise, it was the role of my mother, who was with us but obviously not keen to sacrifice her sleep! My mother must have seemed quite irresponsible by spending more time dragging her counterpart to shopping sprees every day rather than squatting our hospital room! In fact she was doing her job as the mother of the Samurai, meaning she ensured that the three of us would get some privacy all three of us… (And ‘Privacy’, ‘Intimacy’ are definitely not Indian concepts, even though they were the key words of our birth plan!!).


The hospital that we had chosen was topnotch. Which means that not only did they serve food, but they also had a nutritionist and a lactation expert to help us in the transition. Also, by imposing strict visit timings they were 'pro-intimacy' (which is very innovative in India because normally, once the baby lands in the world, the whole family comes visit. Imagine the chaos!). And a plethora of nurses was there to ensure we would not lack help and that our intimacy would not be too complete...


(4) In India, each patient has the right to have a relative sleeping over; hospital staff even looks at you like you are some kind of alien (a lonely alien (like most of the expats)) if you don't have anyone staying in your room. And I am convinced that this type of moral support helps healing.


(To be continued...)

The comments are closed.