The child is wiped with a cloth and is sometimes washed. Some ragi, if the child is male, or paddy, if the child is female, is taken in a winnow, and a cloth is put over it. The child is placed on the winnow. The winnow is taken near the doorway. The midwife waves a round grinding stone over it, saying, ‘I will punch you with it’ and someone else tells her, ‘Don’t, don’t’, This is repeated with a sangati stick (a three foot stick of hard wood used to stir the rice while making sangati for meals) and with a firewood stick with live embers. After removing drishti with these, dristhi is also removed with salt and green chillies. Then the child is laid near mother on the mat on straw. The child is given milk by the mother. If the mother does not have milk, then sugar water is given till she starts secreteing milk. Sometimes milk from another nurseing mother is given, but some infants refuse it.
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Friday, 8 August 2014
Women hold the mother hard at the abdomen base when the pains come. The mother clutches hard at whoever is next to her. The mother generally does not cry out much. If delivery is difficult, then castor oil is rubbed over the abdomen and massaged hard, bearing down from back to front. The clothes are loosened as labour progresses and finally she usually has only a saree loosely draped around her. If the pains do not progress coriander decoction may be given to drink, castor oil may be rubbed over the abdomen or a hot water bath may be given. Castor oil is also given internally. The mother is made to walk around, and she may also be made to go on cart rides.
After the delivary of the child, the mother is urged to push out the placenta. Annapurna delivered on the house floor. They then made her lean against a wall to help her push out the sac. The baby was quite ignored for the moment while the mother was being encouraged to push out the sac. Sometimes the placenta does not come out and the mantrasayani removes her bangles, rubs castor oil over her hands and pushes in her hands and pulls it out.
After cutting the cord with a sickle or blade and tying it with a string, the mother is helped to stand and her hands and legs are washed with warm water. A cloth band is tied tightly around her waist, cotton is put in her ears and a scarf is tied around her head and ears. She is then put to rest on a mat laid on rice straw in a corner of the room. Rice straw is considered heating, and is laid out for the mother to lie on. For the next eleven days she sleeps on this. The regimen of a cloth tied tightly on the waist is maintained for three months. In the case of a caesarean birth this cannot be done. Eashwaramma says her daughter Kalpana has a flabby abdomen even now because of this.
In Lakshmamma’s youth, some fifty years ago, in case of a difficult delivery, women would stand in a line from the well and pass a pot of water from head to head to the mother. She would drink the water, and wash her feet with the rest. She would give betel leaf and betel nut to the women, saying ‘naa katiyaanam po’ meaning, ‘my difficulty go’, and then the delivery would happen dharmanga, meaning properly. But Chinapaapakka has not seen it practiced in her own time. She explained that if when a pregnant woman is eating some snack and someone comes by and she tightens her hold over it and hides it to avoid sharing it then God also similarly tightens the baby in the abdomen and delivary gets difficult. Chinapaapakka said that dharmam is to give some of what one is eating to whoever comes by, and not to hide it.
The mother, after delivary, is maintained with care. There are diet and lifestyle regulations. She is permitted to bathe only on certain dates till the eleventh day. She is not permitted to use cold water for washing or drinking. The mother is kept on a light diet and is not allowed to over eat. They say that the wound will heal only on a light stomach. She is not permitted to sleep during the day or to do hard work. When she goes out of the house she is supposed to wear slippers and also carry some broomsticks and a handful of mushti (Nux vomica) leaves. These keep away gaali or spirits. Post delivary care is considered critical as transgressing rules can affect health for life. It can lead to baalyantha noppi (pains of a mother who has recently delivered) which may show up years later.