One of the hardest things about being pregnant and a new mum is the unwanted advice that people feel they have to share with you. When pregnant it was everything from “are you sure you can eat that, do this, go there, wear that” etc. During my pregnancy I had no problem smiling and saying thanks for the advice. After all, they were only trying to be friendly.
I can’t say the same for being a new mum. The Indians are very child-friendly people and they love to have a look, peek, cuddle with a new born baby. We were touched on many occasions in the early days where someone would see Annabelle and want to bless her. She has received hindu blessings, muslim blessings and christian prayers. It’s very touching to watch someone unrelated coo over your child.
However on the flip side, Indians, by their culture, like to offer advice. I don’t know if it’s because I’m foreign or if it’s just normal. First off there’s the 40 days inside that Indian mothers and babies do. It sounds like a lovely relaxing time (not leaving the house for this time), but it wasn’t something I wanted to do. So, we were in Cafe Zoe when Annabelle was 2 weeks old and the young waiter there told us to put a hat on Annabelle even though she was perfectly warm in my arms. It wasn’t a suggestion, it was a command.
After Church one Sunday we met a family who wanted to see Annabelle, first of all they were shocked she was out the house before the 40 day limit, but secondly the old lady said to me “is that your baby”, proudly I replied “yes!” and she said “oh, I thought you were pregnant”, I was like “she is only 1 week old”… yet, she persisted…”you need to start exercising”….
When Annabelle was 5 weeks old i took her for a walk and at the end of the road I picked her up out of the pram, she was fussing a little and I suspected wind. Two women stopped by and started telling me she had a cold and I should take her to the doctor.
My maid is very sweet and clearly dotes on little Annabelle but she insists on telling me what I should be doing whether it be baby massage, using baby powder, changing her nappy a different way or whether it be stating the obvious “she’s not sleeping”…!
I try to take it all with a pinch of salt and be thankful for their interest, but when I’m tired and I have a rough idea what might be bothering my baby, I really do struggle to nod and smile!