New baby, old ways
Would you move in with your mother because tradition says you should?
(Musaed Abrahams)
“So do you ever have to go live back at your parents house once you’re married?” asks my friend Mumtaz one day. The question confuses me because I am married and surely there is no rule saying I should go live with my parents again? I mean, there was a reason I got married. “What do you mean?” I ask.

Well, it turns out there is an Indian tradition when a woman has her first baby she goes to live with her parents for 40 days. I’m of  Malay descent  and we don’t have this practice so it was all news to me, especially since my husband is of Indian descent. Luckily for me this tradition concerns Indian daughters and not the sons’ wives.

According to my friend, the new mother’s parents will “fetch her out of love and excitement” for the new addition to the family and also so that her mother can help her with the new baby.  It only happens with the first baby because it’s new territory for any woman and no one is better equipped to guide you than your mother.

It all goes back to what I like to think of as the Female Collective. There is something deeply female about pregnancy and giving birth that a man will never understand. And the woman closest to you (it could be your mother, sister, grandmother or aunt) will always intrinsically know what you need and how you’re feeling. Because they’ve been through this thing too.

They have knowledge that you need and that can help you to harness your instincts as a mother. Once you give birth you are part of the Mommy Club, and your mother is there to welcome you to it.

Mumtaz does point out though that’s it’s not a hard and fast rule anymore because of how “modern” society has become and that not all families do this. The old ways are slowly becoming optional or are being altered. For example, the grandmother will more than likely move in with the new parents for a while, to lend a helping hand and support.

In a way that’s a good move because even though I love my mother and all her wisdom, I would prefer being in my own home and welcoming my child to it.

Do you think traditions are worth anything in our modern age?

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