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‘The Last Straw Was When My Husband’s Grandmother Tried To Feed Salt To My Baby Girl’

31 Mar 2017

I was born into a conservative family and by the time my 23rd birthday arrived I was married into a suitable family chosen by my parents. I had always known that this would happen and was comfortable with the idea. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that my husband and I got along very well and he was a very supportive person. His family, however, was even more conservative than mine. In fact for them, the difference between men and women was unbridgeable. To the extent that none of them ever ate or drank in their married daughter's home. I let it pass, not wanting to upset things in my marital home.

Things started to affect me when I got pregnant. There was a lot of pressure on me to have a boy—prayers were offered, I was made to eat special kinds of food that ensured a boy child according to my in-laws. The one time I tried to explain the science behind a baby's gender I was very harshly told to shut up. When I gave birth to my beautiful daughter, I felt a cold terror grip my heart.

None of the usual prayers and celebrations were held for my daughter. While I was upset, I ignored it. The usual care and attention given to mother and child that I had always experienced in my family were not extended to us. In fact I was left alone to tend to myself and my newborn child. When I mentioned this to my husband, he hired a maid for me, but didn't raise the issue with his family. Every day my in-laws would turn away from my daughter when I took her out of the room. My husband's grandmother would say that she is a bad omen for our family. I would run into my room and cry and then try and get on with the day. I loved my daughter and so did my husband, but no one else seemed to care.  When I would tell my husband about the treatment she got from his family, he would brush it aside saying he too had a sister—they may have wanted a boy but they wouldn't hurt our daughter.


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I tried my best to believe him and overlook the taunts that came our way. I hoped that one day they would come to accept and love my daughter like I did.

But then one day I came across a sight that horrified me. My husband's grandmother was liberally sprinkling salt in my daughter's milk bottle. When I confronted her she shouted at me and walked off, saying I was uttering nonsense. But fortunately for me, she left the milk bottle there. I called my husband home immediately and made him taste the milk. He was as shocked as I had been. We both knew that large amounts of salt can be deadly for a baby. He called his parents and grandmother and told them that he had hoped they would change their attitude but refused to stay in a house which was not safe for his wife or child. We left that very day.

While I was glad he had supported me, the trauma of the last few months and his lack of trust in my instinct had taken its toll. Upon a friend's advice we talked to a counsellor and that helped us air our issues and rebuild lost trust. Together we worked on our relationship and have vowed to bring our child up in a more liberal and loving home. 



Type your message in the Chat  To connect instantly & privately to an expert EPsyClinic psychologist NOW




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Tags: baby, girl, stigma, dogma, beliefs, well being, coping