Pregnant in India

April 2011

I was really glad that I found a modern, private hospital with a good reputation in Almora. The clinic is run by a gynecologist and her husband, who is a pediatrician. The waiting room is always full, even the hall is crowded, which is partly because the women come in company of their husbands, children, sisters and mothers-in-law or even with all of them. Many are from remote villages and have to travel a long way for their checkups. As you have to take off your shoes before entering, you can approximately tell by the amount of sandals piled up, how many hours you will have to wait.

When it was finally my turn, I informed the doctor that my pregnancy test had turned out positive. She frowned and asked me skeptically:

“…and you want to have that baby?”

“Of course!” 

I replied, feeling a bit angry inside because I perceived some kind of prejudice towards a western woman getting pregnant in India.

I was lead to another room where I got an ultrasound scan to make sure that everything was fine. I guess the staff was not used to have men witnessing the procedure; they seemed pretty surprised when I wished to share that moment with my husband. The doctor confirmed that all looked okay and for the first time I saw the little peanut-shaped being that was growing inside of me on the screen. The thought that me and all of us looked just the same in the beginning of our big journey crossed my mind.


The weeks passed and somehow I still couldn’t believe that I was pregnant. I didn’t feel any different physically and was eagerly waiting for any typical sensations or pregnancy-related symptoms people always talk about. But nothing of that ever happened. I never felt nauseous, did not have swollen feet, back aches or strange cravings. The only thing that I felt during a couple of weeks in the beginning of my pregnancy was that my breasts felt again the same as when they were starting to grow in puberty and in the last month I didn’t sleep really comfortably anymore. That was it, nothing really annoying. I was still me, with the difference that an immense sensation of happiness invaded me every time I thought about the baby. I was going to be a Mum! I admit that sometimes the latter thought scared me a bit. Again a new chapter of my life would open, with new challenges and responsibilities.

But I trust in life; life knows better, come what may!

In India, same like in Europe, women usually wait until past the third month to announce their pregnancy openly. But while western women may wear nice pregnancy clothes showing proudly their growing baby bellies and celebrate welcome-baby-parties, in India women keep it hidden as well as possible to protect mother and child from bad energies and of course from the evil eye of jealous people. Actually one might think that there are no pregnant ladies on Indian streets, but the truth is that under a saree the tummy is barely visible and you have to be in the right angle to be able to tell.

When the news spread that we were expecting a baby, each and every village woman would stop me to give me some advice. Mostly they reminded me that I should cover my belly better or told me how much to walk, what to eat and what to avoid. One advice was to drink only warm water, as cold water would make the baby feel cold. I know they meant well, but it was becoming pretty annoying and I got really good in smiling while imagining that I was invisible and all the blabla was just passing right through me.

Once I went to town to buy some basic baby clothes, as I did not have anything. The saleslady asked me how old the baby was and when I told her that it was not born yet, she was shocked and refused to sell my anything, because it would bring bad luck. “You buy something when baby is born!” She said. Great, so my baby would have to stay naked until someone with some clothes would show up? I just went to another shop and asked for clothes for a newborn.

I never had any pregnant woman I felt close to near me. None of my friends had children and when my sister was pregnant I was already living in another country and so I lived her experiences only from a far distance. Internet turned into my most consulted adviser. For my gynecologist my questions and the information I gathered were pretty irritating. My experience here with doctors generally is that they don’t like it very much if they are asked questions or the cause or even the name of a disease. They are used to village people who barely ask why, but just swallow the medicines prescribed.

My belly was growing well, but in my opinion it was not really big. We don’t have large mirrors at home and I mostly saw my belly from above. When I look at the photos now, I have to say:


Time had come to start dedicating some serious thoughts to where and how the child would be born.

2 thoughts on “Pregnant in India

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