Category Archives: Peruvian Culture

Pregnancy Update: Week 31

Today I am putting up a little bit different photo to show my progress. My husband and I went to a wedding this past weekend and we had a blast. We danced up a storm and there was a waitress who could not wipe the huge smile from her face while watching us. It was great. I found a cute dress in Miraflores from a dress store across the street from Kennedy Park (next to Ripley) for under $100 which isn’t bad especially because I will be able to use the dress again when I am not pregnant. Thank goodness for nice flowing dresses.

week 31

Cravings: Meat. Specifically red meat. I have no reason why but maybe I am craving the iron or protein. I had a delicious hamburger the other day and I cannot get enough of lomo saltado (a stir fry dish with fries, onions, tomatoes and red meat strips).

Reading: I was just sent this article from a friend about dreams. I have had my fair share of dreams but they are pretty much just dreams that make no sense. I don’t give a lot of thought to my dreams because who knows what they really mean. Fortunately, I have not had nightmares or anything related to not being able to get to my baby or there being imminent danger. I did have a few dreams about my baby being a girl with curly hair though. 🙂

Pre-Natal Class: This week we had a good discussion about what contractions will feel like and how we will know if labor has started. I am positive that I have experienced braxton-hicks contractions because occasionally the bottom part of my uterus will tighten but it doesn’t last long and it’s not unbearable. I usually take it as a sign that I need to drink more water and I do. We did physical exercises and we did my favorite which is the middle school slow dance moving my hips in circles. I know that one is going to be clutch when labor comes along. My husband also met Sarah this week. She is headed to England to visit her son but she will be back in November so we will set up a time to have a more extensive chat with her.

Nesting: I met up with my wonderful girlfriend E this week since she was in Lima visiting from Cusco and getting errands done. She just had a baby boy this past July. We had a wonderful time catching up and bonding. There is nothing like having a girlfriend who knows exactly what I have gone through in terms of adjusting to life in Peru and coming to grips with things. We are both expats married to Peruvians and we will both soon have little bitties that we will be able to commiserate over. She and her husband gave us a set of three long-sleeved onesies with footy pants and I gave her a cute boys top and a pacifier. It was super nice. The clothes will be going in a dresser soon. We have yet to get one for the room but it is high on the priority list since we are gathering clothes and it is all in bags right now.

Comment/Event of the week: We went to get our licenses this week on Wednesday and while we were there the proctor of the theoretical exam was super chatty and at one point stuck his hand out and patted my tummy. It caught me off guard but afterward I asked my friend if she thought that was weird. She thought it was totally weird. He was nice and friendly and I definitely did not get a bad/harmful vibe from him but seriously dude, I don’t know you. I had read various people’s posts about this kind of thing happening but I had yet to experience it myself. I have no problem if you want to feel my tummy because it is pretty freaking cool that a little baby is swimming around in there but don’t just reach out and touch. I found the situation more amusing than anything.

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Teaching Kids Honesty

Honesty is such an important value and I stumbled across a blog entry today from Kids Activities Blog about teaching your child honesty. It made me think about how honesty is valued here in Peru. I have found that people here would rather save face and not show up to something and then give an excuse instead of being honest. This has happened to me multiple times with parents who go as far as to set up a meeting with me about violin lessons and then don´t show without as much as a phone call. When I do finally get in touch with the person, I get excuse after excuse. I would be a much happier person if you just told me that you don´t think lessons are a possibility right now for whatever reason.

This, of course, does not mean that all Peruvians are excuse makers and liars but there is a tendency to give excuses and I experienced more of it when I lived in Cusco. Often, there was a whiney voice to go along with it. I understand if something happens that wasn´t expected but you can tell me in a normal voice. Upping the pitch of your voice does not make me empathize more with you. I respect when someone tells me the truth and I keep that in mind for future reference. I do not hold grudges but I will be much happier to work with someone who takes responsibility and tries his or her best. I only hope to pass this value along to my children and this excellent post has provided some first clues as to how to go about doing it.

Unsolicited Comments and Advice

Photo/Cartoon courtesy of www.newbiemom.com

I would really like to address a topic that seems to be a recurring theme on mommy blogs and articles about pregnancy. It has to do with unsolicited advice and judgement when it comes to a mother’s choice about how and where she wants to give birth.

At our pre-natal class this week, the subject of being overwhelmed by negative comments and advice from friends and family members came up and really resonated with most of the women. I, however, have not had to deal with any of the unwanted advice or concern from others about my decision to have a natural birth. I think it has to do with two things.

1. I don’t have close Peruvian family members. As soon as one of the women talked about the meeting of the tia madres (aunt mothers) everyone gave a little laugh and rolled their eyes as if they knew exactly what was coming. I think it is normal that family members want to chime in with their advice and experience when it comes to having children. That is totally fine but there comes a point when it gets overwhelming and a bit too much. I can definitely understand where this woman was coming from when she started to tear up. It was really nice that they threw a shower for me but there was a point I couldn’t take it anymore, she said. I have seen how aggressive Peruvian mothers can be when it comes to letting people know how things should be done. Even with the idea of the suegra or mother-in-law who can’t seem to be quiet when it comes to her son or daughter’s life and meddles in everything. I am lucky to have a mother in law who is very relaxed and gives advice when asked. I really like her.

My American family has been super supportive. My mother, of course, wants to know that I have a back-up plan should there be complications but I have never received anything but positive reinforcement from her and everyone else. I think people assume that I am doing what is best for me and my family. That may also be an American concept. (I have a feeling that there are plenty of American families with meddling members who have to have a say about everything including one’s pregnancy.) That brings me to my next point.

2. I am very sure of what I want to do when it comes to my pregnancy. A lot of the women say that they have received negative or less than encouraging words when they explain that they plan on giving birth at a birthing center and not at a clinic. One woman said she was made fun of for it. I think that having lots of intense personalities in her family and not being super sure of everything herself, the woman who originally expressed her frustration might have been taken under by all the well-intentioned but maybe a little too aggressive commentary from her family members.

I personally, have received nothing but honest interest in my decision. “What’s a water birth? What is a birthing center? What will you do if there is a complication?” many of them ask. I am happy to explain and diffuse the information so that maybe more women can feel like they have more than one option when it comes to giving birth. I have done research and I am confident so I am not taken advantage of. If people are against the decision, I have yet to hear them go too deep into the topic with me.

Here is my pregnancy decision (supported in full by my husband):

I want to have a natural birth and possibly give birth in water if I find it comfortable. If not, I want to have the freedom to move around and listen to my body as it prepares to release a new being into the world. I can stand, I can squat, I can get on all fours. There is not being strapped to a bed for me unless it ends up being the most comfortable position (although very highly unlikely if you think about how gravity works).

I am going to give birth at a birthing center instead of a clinic. It is a house. There is no emergency on-call equipment but there is a clinic and a hospital within 15 minutes of the center.

I want to have complete trust in my doctor and I know that she will respect my wishes and only suggest things that she really thinks are in my best interest, not because she could make money from it or make the birthing process happen within her schedule like many doctors at clinics do here.

I want to trust my body and be in an environment that is comfortable. Maybe there will be some music. I can listen to my baby and my body and go into the zone as they say pain and all!

On a final note, when it comes to advice, it important to remember not to take offense because most people are well-meaning when they offer their advice. I always listen to people’s stories and I also remind myself that everyone is different and everyone’s experiences are different. I refuse to let fear be a part of my pregnancy.

So a quick side note, Even though this doesn’t have to do with getting unsolicited advice I have noticed myself getting a little defensive when people make the comment that I am so big. I want to just say “duuuhhhh” but I know they are just excited and I am too, so instead I say “yup!” and carry on.

Happy Thursday everyone!