40 day curfew (After Delivery) – A Bane or boon?
Let us all agree to one fact, giving birth to a baby is not as easy as it is portrayed in our Hindi films or shows. It’s a mixed emotion that every mother feels. She is overwhelmed with excitement and love for the baby and at the same time she has to accept, manage and nurture her small bundle of joy that is going to be completely dependent on her for the next few years.
Thus this 40 day period is set aside as for the new born and her mother where both of them are getting accustomed to each other. The mother does none or minimal amount of physical activity as she also has to recover from the birth giving process. It’s the time when mothers eat all the good and nutritious food, hires a maalishwaali for her and baby’s massage and pampers herself in all possible ways. For some mothers it’s a bliss time where she has to do nothing but be with her child, for some it can be a sheer nightmare.
In Indian culture where we take our customs and traditions so seriously this 40 day confinement period is literally burdened on some mothers. I know a friend of mine who was not even allowed to leave her bedroom and not allowed to talk on cell phone even with her husband as he was in a different city. Even though we all fixate on the fact that the health of the baby is utmost important, many of us forget that a healthy mother (mentally and physically) is equally important to raise a healthy child. By confining her for 40 days her physical health is taken care of but many a times she is mentally disturbed.
It’s the time when she is learning many new skills like breastfeeding, changing diapers, understanding the crying language of the baby and mind you all this is done while she is sleep deprived and physically not her best. Not being in touch with the outside world while raising the baby may take a toll on the learning ability. She may at times also feel inadequate to take care of the baby when she is mentally drained. So it is very necessary to take out time for other activities like reading, catching up with friends and relatives, music though not in huge proportions so that it makes the coping up procedure very easy.
Hence even though the 40 day confinement is necessary and recommended to new mothers it should be always left to the intelligence of the mother how far she wants to be confined. As she is the one who gave the birth and coping up with the new born her intelligence regarding this matter can be easily trusted.
Ruta Seth is mother of two, experienced in Oil and Gas Industry