Tag Archives: health

The Women “these” days. Uff!

30 Aug

 

One of my friends asked me recently how I managed to write blogs, while being a “full time” working mother. I said people irritate me enough, that I am always inspired to write. Yay!  That is one source of inspiration you are never going to run out of.

 

I went to meet my lactation consultant last week, to discuss with her plans to safely move my EBFed baby into solid foods , since I am physically joining work back in October. So after telling me what solids to give my baby and how to “only” feed my baby with a spoon. And blah blah blah. She said these lines, “Nowadays (I hate that word), people have such a tough time breast feeding. Earlier (another word I dislike) people fed very easily”. My counter and valid question “ But EBF is a very recent phenomenon, I for one, was never BFed and none of my siblings or cousins were EBFed” Her answer: “Maybe not in cities but the “village” set up beautifully breastfed”.

Only If that wasn’t a hospital, and if she wasn’t older than my grandmother.. Only if..

 

The “village” set up.

 

First of all a look at the facts: India is a developing country, where more than 60% live in “villages”. And why is the Indian government hell bent on making EBF a practice in new mothers? Is it to stop the urban woman from returning to work? Is it to make life for the urban woman who is reading up, studying , attending classes and doing her very best to become a good mother, feel inadequate? Is it because urban mothers are bad and jump to formula?

 

NO.

It is because in these said villages, there are multiple wrong practices, which includes feeding honey, sugar water , unclean water which are fed to babies, who then die of complications relating to these practices. And it is among these people, that infant mortality rates are high. But why is that so, if they “beautifully” breast feed?

Generally the most common cause worldwide has been dehydration from diarrhea, a preventable disease; however, a variety of programs combating this problem have decreased the rate of children dying from dehydration. Many factors contribute to infant mortality such as the mother’s level of education, environmental conditions.

and though it is very easy to misunderstand this sentence as maybe because the mother is “too educated” that she doesn’t “have time” to feed her baby. It is not. A mother who doesn’t know a thing, about hygiene, will essentially feed her baby whatever is available.

So which “village” set up, are people speaking about here?

Squatting and Sweeping

Now while I was pregnant, there was a VERY STRONG notion of how physically active women gave birth “Easily”. Ok . I bought it. I was constantly made to feel guilty for my “desk job”, and how I actually “sat and worked” and how that is going to interfere with my natural delivery. Most phone calls which intended to ask for my wellbeing, always started and ended with, do you walk? And please walk more.

I was the sedentary woman, because I had a job. (Which also took care of all my medical expenses post-delivery and ensures that my child get the best of health facilities, and that I get to see the best doctors, and get the best supplements and that I have access to the latest information on pregnancy health care and babies, but that isn’t vital. A well-meaning husband could also pay for these, while I squat). I have always wondered, if the fact that I was in a mentally stimulated environment, using my mind, solving problems, having creative conversations, studying , improving my work , interacting with like-minded individuals, laughing, having a good and happy time etc would have no positive effect on my fetus. And if the only thing that is going to help my baby is sitting on the floor, sweeping and of course “walking”. So if I am squatting and watching a mindless Hindi saas bahu serial, my baby will be healthier than if I am sitting on my chair doing something very creative?

So then I hear about the “village” set up again, the comparison to cows, (They aren’t surrounded by doctors while giving birth then why are we? (GAWD NO!)), and the worst comparison, the comparison to our grandmothers who gave birth to 16 children. Suddenly we who have improved in every other aspect of life, who use mixers and grinders and washing machines and top of the notch cars, tablets. Phones, slim TVs and what not, wants to follow our grandmother and give birth the way she did, if she can why can’t you? Oh, because “these” days women have “desk jobs”. Better at least start “Walking”.

Secondly, our grandmothers did it with little help, why do you need so many doctor visits and calcium tablets and medical care?

First things first, walking is an overrated exercise and I know that now. More on that later. So yes if you don’t exercise you won’t be healthy even if you are not pregnant and getting some form of exercise is good for everyone. But if you decide to magically turn into your grandmother or feel like you aren’t a woman because you cannot give birth like your grandmother is foolishness. So who knows if your grandmother “Easily” gave birth, what if she had issues, which you didn’t know about. How many of her deliveries resulted in healthy off spring? Do you know if she had still births in between?  Maybe she prayed for an epidural and God decided to make it available for her granddaughter. Most importantly do you intend to have 16 kids? Of course no, you probably intend to have one or maybe 2. So do not go down the cow road, because even if a cow has a malnourished off spring, it will not affect anyone including the cow. But if each and every off spring of yours need to be healthy, you need to have your doctor visits and your supplements and maybe have six doctors around you at the time of delivery and maybe even a c section (ooops!) . And yes even if you squat there are chances that you will have a c section.

You know in “villages” and “olden” times, women used to squat on the floor and cook. So they had easy deliveries. So then every baby born in a village should be 100% healthy and all the women should be having a great time and no delivery related deaths, no malnutrition problems. No nothing. They cook while squatting, so then problem solved. Then why can’t the answer of pregnancies be : 1) Sweep 2) Squat. And there, you will have healthy babies and an uncomplicated delivery. Squat is a great exercise for giving birth and it’s great to have strong muscles in your legs. But please don’t compare the village and olden times.

 

Nowadays

Then my lactation consultant continued: In olden days, people used to work to live. Now people live to work. è means you are a bad person because you have a passion in your life, because you are blessed to not be about thinking how to make money for your next meal, so you are just a bad “today’s” person. Oh and it is assumed that we don’t bf.

In the “village” set up, women I am pretty positive didn’t have the time to sit and feed the baby every 1 hour. They had to go to the fields to earn a living, because they worked to live, again no idea what utopian “village” “beautiful” set up is being spoken about. Also ask your mother. Grandmother, anyone and they will cringe when you mention exclusive and say that you should supplement way sooner than six months. So olden days are so out of the picture.

The infant mortality rates and death of mothers during childbirth are much more in these said villages, and the Indian Government is taking lot of effort to decrease these. By Educating the woman (yes that very bad thing), and by increasing access to hospitals etc. So denigrating any of these acts as why women need doctors to give birth, its au so naturale, and your grandmother did it, why can’t you? Are not valid points of discussion and please stop with the village comparison. Instead maybe work for the empowerment of those women in the villages. And if you really like to squat by all means do, but don’t make squatting and sweeping and “Walking” and the village life, the beginning and end of childcare. Btw Women who breastfeed tend to be wealthier and better educated than women who don’t. Proven fact.

 

Oh and in the village set up there will be one job that will definitely be laughed at and guffawed: that of the “Lactation Consultant”

 

P.S: This article doesn’t intend to question women who chose to give birth naturally. I totally respect that and know the effort and dedication that goes into it. This however does question everyone who thinks urban woman are “useless” and know nothing. 

 

Every year, 2 million children under five die in India – the largest number of child deaths in any country in the world. – See more at: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/health/healthcare-and-lobbying-for-change#sthash.CN3A774X.dpuf

 

 

 

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Vacation Reminders

11 Dec

There is this thing about writing. When I know I should do it, and it comes up in my to-do list. But then I think I have to workout, and let everything else go. Now you must be thinking I am a workout junkie. I wish! I am not. At best, I squeeze in 3 days of moderate exercise. But the resolve and mental pressure that goes behind it, makes me feel, if I spend an ounce of my energy anywhere else, I wouldn’t have the energy to workout. I do not enjoy my workouts. I am far from finding an enjoyable way of working out. Something that melts the pounds away, and yet, feels like it’s no work at all. I know, keep on dreaming. Hasn’t  happened to me. So almost all things fall out of the window, cause I need the singular resolve of dragging myself to the gym. Gym wear, warmup, bottle of water et all.

So, hows my weight doing then? I am at that weight in my life, which gets the nod from the older generation. When the daadis and par-daadis tell you, this is the right weight mole(daughter), its time to realize you are overweight. Ok wait, I wasn’t planning to write about weight. Why did I go there AGAIN!

I have just returned from what people call a vacation. I have always gone on leaves, from work. Where I visit my parents or in-laws. This time, I did that but also managed to  wiggled in few days in a resort. So that I could call it a real vacation.

Here I am going to hastily scribble down the variety of things I noticed I should do the NEXT time I go on vacation, before I forget. This includes the ones I did get right this time, and some which I didn’t.

  1. Need to plan my attire. The hassle free, easy look, it seems comes with a lot of hassle
  2. People wear different clothes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They do.
  3. Need to be in the best possible shape before the vacation, to enjoy it. (There with the weight again)
  4. Plan and learn a little bit more about the place you are going to.
  5. Prepare your own itinerary
  6. SAVE before a vacation for *2 of the amount which shows up when you book the package.
  7. Always book an  all meals included package. Guilt free all you can eat buffets should be a part of every vacation
  8. Learn to swim!

 

 

Having said all this. I had an amazing time. Whoever said you can’t have a brilliant vacation just travelling three hours from your birth place was SO WRONG!

I SAY Hail Zuri Kumarakom!!!