Of Myth and Legend- Trinidad and Tobago Parenting edition- Part 1

Recently I have been having conversations with some mommy friends of mine and I realised that we live in a country that thrives on myths and legends and old wives tales when it comes to pregnancy and raising children. While I would never dismiss the validity of old-school advice or medicine, some of the things I heard in my conversation were downright ridiculous! I mean, what would throwing a dirty diaper onto your roof really achieve except for a roof that now smells like poop? But, not many people see it like that. Many members of our society believe there is some validity to all these myths and legends and tales…


Somehow, I was able to be pregnant and have my son without any ‘old wives tales’ being slung about – possibly because many of my friends at the time did not have children and those who did only had practical advice for me. However, many of my new mommy friends weren’t so ‘lucky’ as they were constantly bombarded with ‘advice’ from grandparents and parents and in-laws and the random old lady on the street.  My near-hermit pregnancy existence protected me from a lot I guess!

But truthfully, I was only able to live in this bubble because my mother was not in the country at the time and we did not always have a clear line of communication. I knew if she were here, I would have had my earful of things that were ‘necessary’ and ‘life-or-death’. But I was able to rely heavily on advice from my older sister, who had two children of her own. She did not sugar coat things for me (which I appreciated), but she did not get into the ridiculous tales of yesteryear either. I managed to get through my pregnancy, labour, and birth without hearing nary an old wives tale, so when my mommy friends began to speak of the many they were told, I sought to find out how far these myths and legends went.

I spoke to five friends and asked them some questions; the answers I will share over the course of a few blog posts. This post will be on just pregnancy and newborn myths.

Mommy Respondents

Crystine (32), 1 son, (4)

Sean Ann (41), 2 children (10&6)

Jennifer (32), 1 daughter, (3)

Krystal (29), 2 children (1&3)

Aryann (26), 3 children (2 girls; 6&3 and 1 newborn son)

What was the most ridiculous thing you were told to do when you were pregnant?

Crystine: Don’t rub my belly when craving food. I will mark the baby.

Sean-Ann: I shouldn’t do (insert normal task here) because of my “condition”, it was like I was handicapped or something.

Jennifer: When  I was pregnant I was told not to eat too much pepper as the baby would have bad skin and break out in hives and rashes. I guess this is why N has eczema.

Krystal: Don’t eat pepper because the baby will be born with heats.

Aryann:  I’ve been told a lot of ridiculous things, for example: don’t have sex, it will hurt the baby’s head, don’t eat pineapple or pawpaw, you cant go out in the dew because the baby will be asthmatic.

What was the most ridiculous thing you were told to do when your child was a newborn?

Crystine: It’s really a toss-up between don’t wear him in the wrap or feed on demand because I’ll spoil him *eye roll* and throw his dirty diaper on the roof for dew (colic).

Sean-Ann: Don’t wring her clothes while washing, she’ll get gripe.

Jennifer: There were a few well… throw her poop filled pamper on the roof as to prevent maljo.. also to stay out of the evening dew; another way for her to get maljo.

Krystal: Give the baby cereal at 2 weeks to help them sleep!

Aryann: That dew is bad for a baby, that I need thread sucked on for her forehead because she has hiccups and, if her poop is yellow then she has maljo.

If you enjoyed this, then don’t hesitate to share even more old wives tales (from your country or community) and the effect they had on you and how you raised your children.

Next post will be on how they managed to sift through new-school and old-school advice and came out on the better side of child-rearing.

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