Being British Indian, Marriage, Pregnancy blog, Relationships

Not washing hair when pregnant

‘The important thing is to not stop questioning.’ The famous words of Albert Einstein. Growing up as a British Indian woman, it’s become apparent to me that woman from an earlier generation didn’t follow these wise words.

I’m engaged in conversation with my mother in law about yet another Indian custom which baffles me, and I have yet to be provided with a logical explanation on why it should be followed. To date the responses to my question of ‘Why’ have been various versions of ‘Because.’

Let me clarify, ‘Because’ does not offer any form of explanation or clarification. In fact, it confuses things.

The latest debate follows a friendly Q&A about washing hair during pregnancy. It used to be a conversation that was the pinnacle of laughter. I remember shortly after getting married my mother in law joked I would have to go without washing my hair when I fall pregnant (assuming I will, of course). I believed this to be some sort of wind up at the time. I couldn’t honestly be expected not to wash my hair for 9 months!

After getting pregnant and sharing the happy news, it was assumed I wasn’t washing my hair. This was based on my previous jovial (yet non committal) responses to discussion of this custom.

Since then there has been numerous conversations about Indian rituals that were followed hundreds of years ago and supposedly passed down. The sceptic in me can’t help but think there’s been an element of ‘Chinese whispers’ where tradition has been tainted with personal views and no longer makes sense. Whilst I am a believer of keeping alive the spirit of my religion (the parts of it I understand), this is made increasingly difficult when many of my questions are met with the unhelpful ‘Because’ response. Even more discouraging is that further probing usually leads to the response ‘In my day we didn’t question things, we just did as we were told.’ Is that an explanation of some sort or a dig at my appetite for knowledge?

I realised very quickly that sometimes the only way to let both sides feel ‘satisfied’ is to try and discuss the reason why we do things, but accept there may never be mutual agreement and acceptance.

I’ve put together a list of some of the Indian traditions and customs that have been introduced to me over the years and left me baffled (and which I am still seeking answers on).

1. Don’t eat coconut when pregnant as it’s bad luck
2. Don’t visit a newborn baby within the first 6 weeks if you are pregnant as it’s bad luck for the new mother.
3. Don’t visit your parents house when pregnancy (until the baby is born) as it’s bad luck.
4. Don’t put the rubbish out at the same time as leaving the house as it brings bad luck.
5. Don’t pass scissors in the hand to anyone. If you do, you’ll argue with that person forever.

The ‘not washing hair when pregnant’ still fascinates me the most. At least Albert will be proud of my never ending quest for answers.

Pregnancy blog

Have a very pregnant Christmas

Starters minus the Sauvignon Blanc

Starters minus the Sauvignon Blanc

Swapping steaming hot chocolate for customary mulled wine

Swapping customary mulled wine for steaming hot chocolate

This blog is a top 5 list of how Christmas time feels different when you’re pregnant.

1. No alcohol

I like to enjoy the ocassional tipple and Christmas time is the perfect excuse to treat oneself to an extra glass or two. I had decided to go teeteotle for my pregnancy so even a sip is out of the question. Hence I waved goodbye to a large chunk of my social life; namely number 2 of this list.

2. Parties.  What parties?

Ahhh how I reminisce on crisp winter evenings; meeting friends in a cosy pub, finding a table next to a roaring fire and sipping cinnamon infused mulled wine while listening to yet another Christmas song. This year, the thought of taking my bump to a night of idle conversation over orange juice just hasn’t had the same appeal. Bring on the invitations and polite refusals.

3. Not another crowded train!

The first trimester tiredness was bad enough but is there anyone who enjoys boarding a train with a bump and having drunks as travel companions.  Not only do you envy their free spirit but yet another reminder of how the days of being merry on an All Bar One tab are are a thing of the past.

5. Office festivities (someone shoot the young lad belting Silent night. Or I will)

Looking back I was probably one of those annoying people in the office; spreading my festive cheer to fellow grumpy colleagues. Oh how the roles have reversed!

Each morning there is the ritual bragging of the night before; who shagged who, who had slippery nipple shots through their nose and who has still not made it to work after ending up in A&E. Call me old fashioned but what happened to coming to work and actually working? I know it’s what I’d rather be doing when faced with the office circus and their bragfest.

5. Hosting

I used to love hosting! Spending the day cooking and experimenting. Googling the latest food trends and having friends and family be my guinea pigs. Thinking about the little details to impress like candles and the perfect playlist. I’m no alcoholic but I’ve come to realise all this was fun primarily because of the little glass of red keeping me company throughout.

In amongst all this scroogness there is of course the end goal which I know will make everything worthwhile. It may be a momentary pang when listening to other peoples Christmas antics, but that little kick from inside is the only reassurance I need to know everything is exactly how I want it.

Humour, Pregnancy blog, Uncategorized, Work

Secret Santa

It’s that time of year when names are drawn and the countdown begins. Like it or loathe it, secret santa is as much part of the Christmas festivities as mince pies and the office drunk.

The most dreaded of all is the work secret santa draw. On the one hand it’s only a bit of harmless fun. On the other, you could end up over analysing why you’ve been given a Gillette gift set. The innocent explanation being that it was on sale for a fiver. Or it may just be a gentle reminder to remove the extra fluff from your face.

As the customery tea mug is passed round (the next best thing to using a hat) I see each person carefully picking a piece of scrunched paper. Creased eyebrows and general nonchalance are amongst the possible reactions. Mine is the latter. At least I’ve drawn someone I’ve had more conversations with than just the obligatory hi and hello.

As the week passes on, the day of reckoning arrives. There is the ardous task of laughter and merriment whilst names are called and presents are opened in eager anticipation. I try and wait patiently for mine (not one of my strengths as mentioned on previous blogs).

As my manager hands me a weighty parcel I know immediately that it’s a book. Hurrahy! Finally a gift that might have a home; instead of being passed over to some poor sod next year.

As I tear away at the rudulph wrapping paper my excitement turns to disappointment. The words ‘comfort eating’ bring on the first stab. The mood around the room is jovial but inside a hatred has built up for whoever thought it would be amusing to buy a pregnant woman a book with a 100 recipes on comfort eating. I want to throw up.

Now some might say my reaction is excessive. After all, most of us love comfort eating. However call it pregnancy hormones or insecurity, for me, it was a personal stab at the stage in my life where comfort eating sums up what people associate me with.

Mascara, socks, a puzzle! So many possibilities which would suggest I’m vain, like warm feet and enjoy a brain buster. Any of these associations would have been preferable.

After reciting this story to amused family and friends I’ve been assured it must have been given in jest and good humour. I’ve still added the sorry santa to my hit list. Now all I need to do is figure out who the culprit is.

Humour, Sod's law

Sod’s law

I’ve decided to create a new section to my blog titled ‘Sod’s law’. This section is dedicated to all the little things in life that make you say ‘typical’, ‘joy!’ and other more imaginative words that make you question the ways of the universe.

Today’s blog is dedicated to my father in law.

My in laws telephoned to say they were popping over for a visit as they were in the area. As they live almost 100 miles apart from us, it’s not usual for them to make frequent visits so I thought I would make a special effort to cook something nice for the family.

I spent the afternoon slaving away in the kitchen. I chopped, mixed, boiled and stirred to make sure my curry was cooked to perfection. After 3 hours in the kitchen, the food was ready.

We sat down around the dining table. I took my seat opposite my father in law. I should mention at this point my father in law is one of those people who I always want to impress. I felt like this from the day we first met. I can’t place my finger on why, but a compliment or positive words from him could make or break my day. He has got this way about him which both annoys and intrigues me.

I served up plates as we sat down. I remember Storage Hunters was playing in the background and occasionally everyone’s attention turned to the tv to see the profit or loss of each bin sold.

The first shock was watching my father in law discreetly place a long string of hair on the side of his plate. This was bad. I remember thinking ‘please don’t be anymore.’ The next gesture was less subtle. I couldn’t blame him really. He sounded like he was choking. He looked around the table and as the others struggled to make out what he was saying I instinctively passed over a box of tissues. He hurriedly took a handful from the box and spat out the food. I wished at that point the ground would swallow me up.

The rest of the meal continued in awkward silence. There were a few feeble attempts to change the subject but the mood had taken an uncomfortable turn. My father in law has a great presence and even us other hair free diners took caution with each bite. So much for a round of applause and pat on the back for my efforts.

So that was my Sod’s law moment of the week and the birth of this new blog space. I have a feeling there will be more to follow and this may become my most active blog section. After all where would the fun be in life without these moments? Possibly hair free but not half as exciting.

Pregnancy blog

Counting down

I’ve always been impatient. Always seeking answers and wanting them now.

It was no different when I found out about my 12 week scan. 12 weeks. You would think the title of this invitation would ring fence my impatience; it’s not allowed to make an appearance until after the agreed time has passed. If only.

I spent almost every moment counting down in some form or another.

‘We’ll train the new intakes week commencing 4 August’ announces my boss. 23 days before my 12 week scan.

‘Are you going to the engagement party this Saturday?’ enquiries my aunt. 17 days before my 12 week scan.

‘Shall we go to the cinema next Wednesday?’ suggests my friend. No can do, that’s the day of my scan.

So now I’m less than a week away and suddenly overtaken by a new emotion. Fear.

The countdown is now of a different kind. Suddenly whenever it dawns on me how close the scan is, I freak out. This new fear supersedes impatience. It tramples all over any thoughts about how long I’ve been counting down for this day. I’m tangled by thoughts of worry on what the doctors might say. My heart beats faster when I play out the different scenarios in my head.

I recall at my first hospital appointment (3 weeks before my 12 week scan) the mid wife sensed I was battling between having to wait so long for my scan and feeling fearful of things going wrong. She tried to put me at ease and told me not to worry. That was like telling Miley Cyrus to tone it down.

I hope Baby hasn’t inherited my lack of patience. On the other hand, here’s hoping it has and I can look forward to a short labour. Sounds like the optimist within me hasn’t burnt out after all 🙂

Pregnancy blog, Uncategorized

The joys of eating out whilst pregnant

In celebration of my husbands birthday, we recently went to dinner at Chiltern Firehouse. A natural foodie at heart, I didn’t feel any sense of excitement at the thought of supposedly fine food. There was one reason for this. I’m pregnant.

You hear of these stories of woman who go nine months with no sickness, fatigue or loss of normal self. How I envy them! I can’t say it’s been the worst so far, but at 11 weeks there’s definitely been a greater splurge of moodiness and unpredictable behaviour on my part. My husband begs to differ. Apparently I’ve always been partial to 13 hours sleep and mood swings. Hmmm…image image image

Pre-pregnancy I was a very adventurous eater. Octopus, steak tartare and pigeon had all been consumed and enjoyed. These days  it’s vegetarianism all the way. I saw our waiter groan when I requested if they had any other vegetarian options (aside the variations of salad on the menu).  In the end I ordered three ‘sides’ to make up a main course; fries, sweet potato and creamed corn. Carbs galore! Most of it went uneaten. I’ve discovered another quirk of pregnant hormones is making fickle choices. The fries that were the most tempting thing on the menu might as well have been poop scoop when they arrived.

There’s one part of my palette that hasn’t changed; my sweet tooth. Dessert was a glorious end to the night. Strawberry sundae with caramel an shortbread. Delicious. As they do in fancy restaurants most of it was deconstructed in the bowl: a blob of caramel sat politely next to a scoop of ice cream, and a pinch of buttery shortbread nestled beside strawberry foam. By the time I’d finished with it, it might as well have been blended to a blitz like a Harvesters special.

Chiltern Firehouse may not have set my taste buds alight, but if the dessert was anything to go by, maybe another visit post pregnancy is due.