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 - 4. Naming

india,birth,water birth,pregnancy,baby,infant,newborn,delivery,midwife,swaddling,swaddle,diaper,breastfeeding,hospital,fertility,contraception,sterilization

I was frequently asked, till the baby turned two months if we had already chosen his name!

Indeed, in India, the baby is named at the end of the safety period, generally 40 days. It gives time for the astrologer to find the name, or at least its first letter. Meanwhile, the baby is called baby, and evil spirits are kept at bay!


And if everything goes well, the family organizes at the end of the 40 days, a 'naming ceremony' during which the baby is introduced to the world and sweets are distributed to everybody they know (especially if it's a boy). It is usually on this occasion that hijras (cf my posts on the topic) come to claim their due, ‘guarantee’ that the evil eye will be kept at bay.

I was not too happy when the watchman let them, by the way better informed than the municipality, come up.


Some Indian local customs go even further by having the new mother observe complete bed rest (for example during the first 10 days in Kerala). During this period the new mums have nothing to do but get to know her baby and recover from this undeniably physical hardship. The idea seems good but hyperactive women might fear boredom...


(To be continued...)


Babies made-in-India - 3. Confinement

india,birth,water birth,pregnancy,baby,infant,newborn,delivery,midwife,swaddling,swaddle,diaper,breastfeeding,hospital,fertility,contraception,sterilization

Let us go further with my doctor’s assumptions (cf Babies made-in-India - 2) and consider the following scenario: an Indian girl is married by her parents and go live with her in-laws, to the delight of her mother-in-law who delegates  (more or less kindly) the hardest chores to her (as her mother-in-law had done with her). At the age of 15, the young bride gets pregnant. Then she usually returns to her mother for the birth, where she would remain for several weeks, or even several months. Double advantage: 1. It is reassuring to have your mum not too far during this scary experience and 2. It saves the girl from her mother-in-law who could kill her by not relieving her from chores like breaking stones (or grinding grain, or looking for wood).


india,birth,water birth,pregnancy,baby,infant,newborn,delivery,midwife,swaddling,swaddle,diaper,breastfeeding,hospital,fertility,contraception,sterilizationThen, according tradition (but it varies depending on regions, religions, castes, customs) the new mother remains confined for 40 days. What makes sense when we know that more than 3% of Indian babies do not survive the first 28 days (3).

Disease, pollution, wild insects and beasts, evil spirits (not cool, evil spirits), it is recommended to keep the newborn inside instead of exposing him to such dangers... And like this, the relatives are also protected from the pollution of the mother and the infant, the process of birth being considered as extremely impure.


(3) According to a study by Unicef, 3.1% of Indian infants die before the 28th day (i.e., 15 times more than in France) and 4.4% before the first year – this rate was 8.8% in 1990, so imagine what it was hundreds of years when traditions emerged...


Sources: - prof.pdf .


(To be continued...)


Babies made-in-India - 2. Abstinence

india,birth,water birth,pregnancy,baby,infant,newborn,delivery,midwife,swaddling,swaddle,diaper,breastfeeding,hospital,fertility,contraception,sterilizationIn order not to have children without using a birth control, there is also abstinence... Forced abstinence because sex before marriage is not allowed. Abstinence due to physical incompatibility of spouses who have not chosen each other. Or when woman are forced to marry stray dogs (cf article)… The reasons are multiple.


To give an idea of the context, I would like to quote my Gynec and her theory on the benefits of episiotomy for Indian women [from middle and high class I presume].

My Gynec likes it very much, comparing Indian and Western people. For example, on the question of the weight (an obsession with her) she told me many times (every time I would climb on her weighing machine actually) that Indian women are genetically programmed to put on more weight than others. And since they think they should "eat for two" the weight gain can go far… Like over fifty kilos for my landlady who simply doubled her weight during pregnancy!


To go back to our main topic, to pass time while she was quietly stitching my vagina, she gave me her theory on the elasticity of the organ in question depending on the species. According to her, Indian girls are virgin when they get married. They get pregnant during the first intercourse, or quite rapidly, then stop indulging in this sinful activity during the nine months of pregnancy. So when they give birth, they are almost in the same state than Virgin Mary. So it hurts! And so it is better to cut a bit to be sure that the baby comes through...


(To be continued...)