Pregnancy 101 – Where East Does Not Meet West As Yet
Wife: “I need to setup an appointment with the lactation expert”Me: “For what?”Wife: “The OB/Gyn recommended I do, since they give you tips about breast feeding the baby”Me: “I have seen a lot of babies being born in
and every kid was being breastfed. None of their mothers went to the lactation expert” IndiaWife: “Things here are different. The doctor asked me to go and see a lactation expert.”
When we narrated this incident to her parents, her mother commented, “All moms in
are lactation experts!” India
This was a conversation I had with my wife when she was into her eight month of pregnancy. There were so many instances of conversation between us that started or ended with “things are different here”. Here are few of them
My wife was in the 7th month of her pregnancy and it was time to attend the “child birth class”. The one class our doctor suggested was for a total of nine hours spanning 3 hours every week. Knowing me, my wife researched and found out another consolidated child birth class that was for 4 hours and will be over in a day. We signed up for that class. I walked into that class with lot of pessimism but walked out of the class after 4 hours with lot of knowledge. Most of the doubts we may possibly have during the time of delivery were well explained in that class. It also helps the expectant mother to be better prepared for the D day.
Now by the ninth month we signed up for the “hospital tour” where they have a 30 minute class and tour where they take you to all the facilities you may come across when a pregnant lady gets admitted for delivery. They tell you what parameters they check before they decide to admit you and which door to come in and all that stuff – completely spoon fed. My wife’s mother also attended the tour and she was astonished to see such classes.
The child birth class and hospital tour has taught us that any number of people can be present in the labor room at the time of delivery and we are free to take photos and videos – stuff unheard in
. I don’t think any relative is allowed into the labor room in India at the time of delivery. I was inside the labor room and the operation theatre all the time when my wife was there and thanks to attending the child birth class, could understand most of the conversation happening between the doctor and the nurse. Since the classes taught us a lot of stuff about the delivery I was able to ask right questions to the doctor at the right time. India
I am out of
for the last eight years but before that I have seen lot of new born babies. I have never seen fathers changing diapers of the new born babies. It is usually the mother or the grandmother or some other family member who does the diaper change. Now after my wife and baby were taken to the postpartum room, the first time the baby pooped, the nurse called me to change the diaper India
Nurse: “Dad, it is diaper time. Do you know how to change?”
Me: “No I have never done it”
Nurse: “Let me show you how. Before I do that let me ask you a question – Does your culture allow male members to change the diapers?”
Me: “There is nothing like that in our culture”
The nurse showed me how to change the diaper which was so easy. I assume the reason why the nurse asked me if my culture allows male members to change diapers – someone who came there to deliver may have told her that their culture does not allow male members to change the wet diaper of their new born.
Now you go back to work after your baby is born. Here is a typical conversation you will have with your coworker.
Coworker “Congratulations, Brijesh, how are the baby and mother doing?”
Me “Thanks, Both are doing just fine”
Coworker “Are you getting any sleep?”
Almost everyone whom I talked to here in US, the first or the second question they asked was if I am getting time to sleep after the baby was born. I don’t think if I was in
anyone was going to ask me that question. India
Now why all these differences? Answer is very simple. Here in US a child is born to two individuals who are supposed to take care of the kid all by themselves. In
, a baby is born into two families where everyone in the family will be there to take care of the baby and the responsibilities of taking care of the baby get shared between the family members. In US, the grandparents of the new born may visit the baby for few hours while in India the baby will be with grandparents for most of the time till at least the kid is a few months old. India
Now with the concept of nuclear family fast catching up, things are also changing in
. But I prefer the present Indian way of having the entire family take care of the new born kid especially when your first kid is born and is a big learning curve for the new parents to learn how to look after the new addition to the family. India
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