Every society has its own unique culture. Every culture has its superstitious beliefs, these beliefs were passed on from one generation to another. be it in Europe, Asia or Africa. In Africa I think Nigeria has the highest number of superstitious belief, I can remember when I was a child my grandma do tell me not to do certain things and as I grew up this superstitious thoughts (I don’t know if I believed them or not, I was just vary of them) grew with me for example she forbade us from eating while standing or sitting at any entrance or even sweeping at night. The funniest thing is that there are different beliefs that are peculiar to every group of people children, men, women, the blind, the hunchback, albinos, and even for pregnant women) or to every situation (in the rain, while eating, while walking etc).
For the purpose of this article I will be focusing on the pregnant women because it’s a phase I completed some 2 months ago and I will more particular about the western part of Nigeria. because I am more conversant with the Yoruba belief, when I was pregnant there were some superstitious beliefs I adhered to, not because I believed it but because psychologically it gave me peace of mind, one of those beliefs is eating dodo (fried plantain), in the western part of Nigeria, we believe that dodo causes “OKA ORI” that is skull disease in English honestly speaking I don’t know how true this is, recently I read an article written by a medical doctor who claimed that scientifically there Is nothing like Oka Ori, from the article I got to understand that the oka ori of a thing is just the division of the skull in order to make child delivery easy and it closes up with time.
Another one of those superstitious beliefs I know about is the attachment of safety pin to ones cloth, the Yoruba’s believe that it wads off evil spirits. Personally I don’t see the connection between a tiny piece of metal and EVIL SPIRIT! And in addition its against my religious belief, so therefore it is a NO NO for me. I didn’t consciously put pin on my body thinking it will protect my child. Yet another belief that I didn’t go in tandem with is that pregnant women shouldn’t eat snail or okro, although here in Malaysia where I currently reside I didn’t have access to snails but I ate lots of okro, as in lots of okro and guess what u need to see the nutritional benefit okro has , its one of the essential foods for any preggie, aside from the fact that its packed with lots of vitamins it also supplements fiber and folic acid which prevents birth defects and helps constipation, it also has an anti-stress effect and helps lower cholesterol level. So what’s not to eat in okro? ....
Although some of these beliefs (not all) may have started as instructions be to protect the mother and child’s health and in order for these instructions to be taking seriously they attach serious consequences to them and convert it to beliefs. An example of such belief is that pregnant women shouldn’t walk in the sun or at night, if they do so evil spirit might take the place of the foetus. It might be that this belief was conjured in order to protect or prevent the woman from stress as we all know that stress isn’t good for a pregnant woman or perhaps to restrict her movement. Another example of such belief is that you shouldn’t cross over the leg of a pregnant woman because if you do the baby will look just like you. It sounds really funny to me and the explanation I can bring up for this belief is that perhaps they are trying to eliminate a fall occurrence because there is every possibility that the person crossing over might fall on the baby bump.
I had a very interesting experience with an elderly Malay woman-a friends mom, I must have been 7 months gone then, this incident happened at a trade fair where I was window shopping. Normally Malaysians are captivated just by the mere sight of you, especially when you are are foreigner they try to interact with you, so when this woman saw me she was all smiles and excitement was written all over her, oh I forgot to mention that they treat pregnant women special too, oh my... they show of love is amazing, before I knew it she was already touching my baby bump and the next thing she said is that it’s a boy, I was shocked ehn you can see surprise all over me, because she got it right,the ultrasound said it’s a boy. I asked her how she knew, she then explained to me that in malay culture there is a belief that if the tummy is tilted more forward then it’s a boy and if not so it’s a girl. I don’t know how accurate that his but it was in my case it turned out true…
What other pregnancy superstitious belief do you know about, either from your childhood, culture, country or state. please do let me in the comment section.
I am a proud wife and loving mum to my awesome little boy. I am a goal setter and a goalgetter. I love having happy people around me because i believe "those around you have a great influence on you". My hobbies are reading, trying out recipes, travelling, and meeting people. I would love to know and hear from you. Lets relate!!!