When you are pregnant you are a target for some of the most strange and odd myths. Even before you begin to show people start to determine the sex of the baby. One of my best friends announced that I was carrying a boy because of how I ate. She stated that because I was only eating vegetables that was an indicator. Perfect strangers walk right up to you on the street and tell you the weirdest things. You don't even know them, but they assume it's alright to talk with you about the most intimate detail of your life: your baby. Pregnant women become public domain.
Not only do people give you advice, but they will pat, rub, and touch your stomach as they talk with you. Do they ask if it's okay to invade your space and touch you? No! They believe that it's their responsibility to inform you of all the hazards you may encounter. An example is lifting your arms above your head. They say if you do that, it will strangle the baby. Well, I had already done that, so for months I stressed about whether my baby was going to be fine. I was afraid to ask someone for fear that I had hurt my baby or that the question was stupid. Guess what! I worried for nothing; that was an old wives tale. I loved strawberries, so during my pregnancy, I ate a lot of them. Again I was stressed after meeting a woman in a restaurant who told me that if I continued to eat strawberries, my baby would have a strawberry mark on its face.
I guess what I really want to talk about is how important good information is to a pregnant woman. Most of us will follow directions from family and friends about how to take care of ourselves during pregnancy and we want good, clear information. We would like strangers to ask for permission before touching our stomachs. Please let us know if the information you give us is an old wives tale, folklore, or myth.
Many of us who listened to the stories in the past did not seek advice and were stressed needlessly. Today you don't need to be stressed like I was. Ask your doctor or health provider if you have a concern. Check with programs like Great Beginnings for Black Babies or Black Infant Health. Each of these programs provides resources for African American and Latino women who are pregnant.
Great Beginnings for Black Babies
3311 Manchester Blvd, 3rd Floor
Inglewood, California 90305
Black Infant Health
Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health
Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Programs
600 S. Commonwealth Ave., 8th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Loretta Jones is the Executive Director of Healthy African American Families II (HAAF), a non-profit, community-serving agency whose mission is to improve the health outcomes of the African American, Latino, and other minority communities in Los Angeles County by enhancing the quality of care and advancing social progress through education, training and collaborative partnering with community stakeholders, academia, researchers, and government. Please visit HAAF's website at www.haaf2.org for more information.