There’s A WakWak In Your Lawn (Or Your House’s Roof)
Filipinos are a funny lot (don’t get me wrong, I am one).
The Philippines, accordingly, is the only nation in the Southeast Asian region (I guess in the whole of Asia) whose citizens are predominantly Catholic. Yet, even with this fact, many Filipinos especially the older people never forget their pagan roots and are thus extremely superstitious people.
If you are pregnant and live with your mom, expect a whole bunch of warnings for almost everything that you do. This happens more often if you live with your grandmother or your aunts. Or sometimes when you have a slightly lesser educated neighborhood friend who happens to be of same age with you but just had a baby three years ahead of you. Or if you have nosey neighbors. Or if you live in the province (but even so if you are a confessed city girl).
Aside from the superstitions, there are also those causes that I believe had no connection to their said effect.
Among the things my mom warned me about:
1) Do not sit with your hips (or your legs) too wide apart.
It will apparently make your baby’s head big. Sheesh. Those things were exactly what Lamaze (introduced by the mother, by the way, but unfortunately no classes here in Cebu and not many in the entire Philippines) and pregnancy yoga taught. You had to keep exercising the muscles and the cervix area and keep it as wide as possible to help for a fast and easy delivery.
2) Put garlic on your windows to ward off…whatever there was to ward off.
Filipinos are often big believers of the wakwak, manananggal and other similar supernatural beings. I’m not (although I wouldn’t want to be given proof that they actually exist, either). But then, who was I to disappoint my mom? Each time I entered the room, it smelled like garlic and I think I reeked of one too if I spent a considerable amount of time inside. *Sigh*. The downside of being a good daughter.
3) Drape a black cloth over your tummy at night to keep away…whatever there was to keep away.
Pretty similar with item two but this was told to me by my friend in the neighborhood. Apparently, the wakwaks and other supernatural beings disguised as cats keep at the roof of a pregnant woman’s room. Never experienced that though. I think these wakwaks and manananggals hate the city lights.
4) Bathe in oil (baby oil, I hope) when going to sleep to prevent panuhot (gas and flatulence).
I still could not connect the cause and effect here. All the scientific and medical literature I’ve read tell me that certain foods cause gas. Swallowing air (so sleeping in front of the electric fan may not be such a good idea) – and not burping them out – would eventually lead to gas buildup though but the oil to prevent/treat it? I’m not so sure. Does the oil give off a protective shield against air? Hmm but my partner uses the oil to massage my back (extremely painful as your belly grows) and my legs (to make sure blood circulation is perfect and prevent edema) though.
5) Do not allow a visitor stay by the door of your house when you are pregnant.
Because apparently it will make labor and delivery very difficult for you. Haha. Enough said. That was funny enough. I. Can’t. Even.
6) Do not let your child sit on your shoulder while his/her teeth are still growing.
This is not, of course, applicable to a pregnant woman but to one who has already given birth. Apparently, the baby’s teeth will grow crooked or something. I’m not sure about the effects and I don’t really care because obviously, the cause and effect do not meet at any point, no matter where I start the line.
Hmmm I could no longer remember other
unsolicited advice that had been given to me. All througout my pregnancy, I have usually made my decisions based on scientific literature. Anything science says is not good – but said to be quite okay based on gut and experience – is still not good for me. Even now as I try to raise my infant daughter.
PS. I was planning to share the link of this post on Facebook and I’d thought about how my mother might react if she reads this. Well, she’s pretty much aware that I don’t believe in superstitions so I guess it’s just fine. And, if you believe in these things then by all means, continue doing so. Yes, nothing will be taken away from you if you do.
PPS. There was also this issue on getting the belly massaged during pregnancy because it was apparently a norm in our country. Thank goodness I didn’t have go through it mostly because I was scared something might happen to the baby. I read about it and the literature said that babies will tend to position themselves correctly as full term approaches. There will still be cases where optimal fetal positioning (OFP) will be needed (or CS) such as if the baby is in a) breech or b) transverse positions. Baby was in (c) position, thank goodness.
What superstitions did you have to put up or are still putting up with? I’d love to hear from you guys!