In a society like ours, I wonder if we can ever escape unsolicited advice. I had my fair share when my pregnancy started showing; which was somewhere around my fourth and fifth month. The first time I went for my ante-natal appointment, I was gloriously late and had to ask someone else who attended the class what had been discussed.
She gave me her note and as I was jotting down, she asked “Have you heard that it is not good to eat pepper while pregnant?” I thought she meant chowing raw pepper, so I said “I don’t even eat pepper on a regular day, so I guess I’m fine.” “Really?” she continued “How do you spice your food then?” Realizing she was talking about adding pepper to meals, I replied “I use a lot of pepper oh, I like my food very spicy. In fact, that was how I survived the nausea of my first trimester”. She got very alarmed and said “No oh! You have to stop it! Eating pepper would make your baby’s skin very rough, because pepper is harsh”. I looked up from the note she had given me, blinked twice and asked “Was that what they taught you guys in ante-natal class?”. She responded in the negative, and then told me she was informed by her aunty, with the story corroborated by her elder sister.
She was also a first-time pregnant woman, and apparently ready to swallow any tips, hook, line and sinker. My first instinct was to try to prove her logically wrong, but then I thought; what grounds would my words hold against that of her aunt and sister? So I kept mute and completed my jotting. Funny story? I had spicy food till I gave birth, and my daughter’s skin is as smooth as silk.
Another wonderful opinion on pregnancy I got, was to desist from drinking cold water. This one came from my mother and two of my aunts. “Cold water would not allow the baby to move freely” one aunt said, the other said the baby was still forming and cold water was going to make her prone to pneumonia. My mother said cold water was going to make the baby so cold that she was going to feel too comfortable in the womb, and would not be ready to come out when she was due. These people were more experienced than I, and were, of course, well-educated, so I believed, and tried to follow suit.
The only problem was that I was always hot and thirsty when I was pregnant, and the only thing that could quench my thirst was cold water, or ice. In fact, there were days when I spent the entire afternoon chewing ice cubes, much to the chagrin of my mother whenever she caught me. I did ask my doctor about it and she said cold water had no interference with the baby, and if it made me more relaxed and comfortable, I was free to go on. I however discovered that the baby jerked and got very active whenever I drank cold water, so i kept drinking. To disprove what mama said, my angel came into the world two days before her due date. And I drank cold water the day I gave birth!
One time I went to my husband’s office when I was pregnant and one of his colleagues, that I get along with, asked me if I was wearing a pin on my dress. Wearing a pin? I couldn’t grasp it. She then explained that I needed to attach a pin to my clothes anytime I went out. My head was already spinning again, as I wondered what that had to do with my pregnancy this time. “It would prevent you from having still birth oh” Onyie was saying. I laughed so hard, and asked her how it was going to do just that. “You do not know that it is not everyone you see that is normal oh. Some people you see on the road just hate to see pregnant women, and they can cast a spell that would kill the baby. The person would be walking around, not knowing that her baby is already dead”. I said ooookay, and promised to do the pin stuff. I never did it though, I was more conscious of my God in heaven, than the bad people on earth.
Every day I ran into Onyie, she was sure to ask if I had my pin on. Whenever I replied no, I was in for another lecture on unforeseen principalities and powers. One day, I went by their office and this time, she had an office pin waiting for me; which she quickly attached to my gown. “It would send any arrow back to the sender” she explained “Iron cannot penetrate iron. Take this thing seriously Ify! What would it cost you to just protect this baby”. I couldn’t blame her though; if she knew the amount of prayer I did every night, she was going to understand why I wasn’t scared of any principality.
The crowing glory of all the funny opinions I got was from a nurse at a hospital. A family friend had given birth while I was still pregnant, and I went to visit them in the hospital. Imagine our shock when we got there, and the nurse, while ushering us into the room, said “Please don’t carry the baby oh! Only your husband can carry the baby”. I already knew it must be another pregnancy myth, and wasn’t even going to push it, but hubby asked, with an undertone of irritation ”Why can’t she carry the baby?”. The elderly nurse replied “If a pregnant woman carries a new born baby, the spirit of the new born would be calling on the spirit of the baby that is still in the womb, and it can lead to premature birth”. Coming from a nurse who looked old enough to be my mother, I was going to obey. I certainly didn’t want my baby to arrive when I hadn’t even completed baby shopping, but my friend’s baby was so cute! He had the cutest tiniest fingers, pink skin and curly hair. He smelt of powder and peace, and I just had to carry him; against my husband’s reminder of course. So I said a prayer and carried him, and luckily he was asleep, so his spirit couldn’t call on the spirit of my unborn baby. Lucky me, right? LOL!
It is not funny when you are bombarded with all sorts of advice, opinions and tips from all angles, once your bump starts showing. Everyone has an opinion once you are pregnant; those that have been pregnant before, and those that are yet to be, as well as those in the same shoes as you. Your parents, siblings, aunties, friends, colleagues and church members would have something to say. Some of these opinions are even conflicting and you don’t know which one to take; for example you might hear that you should be give money to every cute baby you see, so your baby would also be cute. And then you hear that you should not be giving money to cute babies because your own baby might get jealous that you are spending on other babies. Be assured that even if you decide to follow their opinions and advise, you are soon to get overwhelmed.
If there is any one of them that gives you concern, it would be a good idea to speak to your doctor about it. Otherwise, you would do just fine without most of these opinions. Your doctor would most likely tell you all you need to know and do.
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