Day 12 – Reflections and Relaxation


I really had high hopes that after the lovely relaxing and laughter-filled day yesterday, that last night I would get a knock on my door. However, I have to be patient as I always tell women and accept that baby will come when she is ready. Sofia did tell me this morning that she had been aware of cramps during the night, so at least we are getting some positive signs.


Last night I finally finished, not only 2 seasons of Game of Thrones but also all my caramel eggs have now been, most enjoyably, eaten! So now both my milestones have come and gone. I am just praying now to my birth angels that the next milestone, my birthday, will not come and go with me still here and still waiting, because by then I am sure it will not be quite so patiently. The good news, however, is that when I told Sofia that my night watch ING (bit of a pun there on night watch MEN, for those readers who are Game of Throne fans) had come to an end, she instantly made a phone call and, hey presto, within 15 minutes’ series 3,4 and 5 were delivered to the door. There are some benefits in countries where the rules are not always the priority.



Talking to the maids about their experiences of childbirth is both amazing and shocking. Rumi has had 4 children, 2 of which she had at home and 2 in a village hospital. The two she had at home sound as if they were easy, straightforward and, most interestingly, the things she says and advice she gives to Sofia are spot on. Like walking and squatting cuts the pain and how hot water makes the milk flow from the breast and the baby flow from the body. She talks about those births with so much instinct and control. She describes how she knows that when the pains come close together the baby is close as well and that she removes her knickers just at the correct time.


“Woman’s rights in childbirth just did not exist, let alone basic compassion or respect in many places.”


However, as soon as she talks about her hospital births (don’t read “hospital” as anything you may have seen in the west) her whole manner changes and instead she talks about what she was allowed to do and what they told her was happening. How “they” know best because she knows nothing. It upset me to hear that they make the women remove their clothes and they are kept naked from as soon as contractions start. They are given no privacy from male hospital workers and if they refuse to do what they are told they are often slapped! I later discussed this with Dr Azra and she confirmed that woman’s rights in childbirth just did not exist, let alone basic compassion or respect in many places.



Sofia had to visit an aunt for lunch today and so I was left for a couple of hours to my own devices, which being a lover of my own company, I quite enjoyed. I am never completely alone because the house is always a bustle with the staff cooking or cleaning, or visiting from upstairs. The upstairs chef bought my lunch on a tray and I knew, as Sofia has previously told me, that he has a tendency for his dishes to be slightly spicier/hotter. I had buttered chicken, which is a curry in a creamy sauce, a fish dish, also in a green sauce of some kind, aubergines in a yoghurt dressing, a salad, which I love because the lemon dressing they add make them taste so divine, and to round it off and to mop up at the end, one of the light breads he makes called roti, similar to a naan but not so stodgy or large. It was lovely and watching the telly as I ate (or in this case my laptop) what could be better?


Sofia was back by 3.30, then it was off to the beauty spa we go. Sofia had received a gift voucher for treatments and at the rate of £3- £4 per treatment, I was not going to pass up a chance like that. I had chosen a leg wax, manicure and blow dry, and the leg wax was first. Being dark skinned most women here are hairy and hate it, so they are obsessed with hair removal. My hairs are fine, blond, and hardly visible, but still I dislike the odd stray ones on the bottom half of my legs so decided to get rid. After getting me to put on a very (not) flattering elasticated skirt I hopped up onto the table where she proceeded to apply the hot wax… With a knife! Yup I kid you not, a typical stainless steel knife you would eat your dinner with and she certainly was not gentle. Ouch! Putting the wax on hurt more than stripping it off and the ouch factor was not from the heat. But not only did she wax my legs, she waxed my TOES! I have not even ever seen any hairs on my toes!



Next came a very relaxing manicure. The manicurist sat me in a great big lazy boy recliner and turned off the lights while she made my short nails look as best she could. The blow dry came next which I loved best because I hate blow drying my own hair, well actually I CAN’T do it myself without a few heated rollers to help me. All finished and now to pay the bill, grand total of £10.32 (1600 Rupees). Bargain!


“Home is what you make it and this is where Sofia grew up and where her heart is.”

Yesterday I wrote quite a lot about the pollution and poverty and last night showing Sophie, my daughter, some of the pictures via email she asked ” why do they live there”? Knowing that Sofia has a British passport I have often wondered the same. However, home is what you make it and this is where Sofia grew up and where her heart is. To be honest it’s not all doom, gloom and dirt. As the days have passed I can honestly say I have grown to love being here despite all the issues. The shopping mall I went to was modern and bright and the beauty parlour and restaurants nice too. The beach was wonderful even if unlike western beaches where life is mostly vibrant and exciting. The area where Sofia lives might be a bit of a building site now, but that’s because it’s area 8 whereas area 7 is finished and looks very habitable with nice roads, big individually designed houses, clean streets, flowers and greenery (even though there are still beggars to remind you of the horrors not far away). But life is not all about how something appears on the outside or the difficulties we face, it is about how you feel on the inside and overcoming difficulties to see the positives. I feel very comfortable with this group of people, I feel happy to be here, I feel positive vibes, I feel almost at home… Almost!