Balinese’s View on Pregnancy
Pregnancy is always a delicate case for Balinese, many superstitions or myths in relation with pregnancy still prevail in Balinese culture and widely believe by Balinese. Moreover Balinese believe that pregnancy period is a vulnerable period that if anything goes wrong, it will affect the baby. Here are some superstition and beliefs which complicate the issues of pregnancy in Balinese daily life:
Ngidam: it is hard to define the word “ngidam”, sometimes it is defined as state or condition in early period of pregnancy sometimes as a special request of the expecting mother, but what I know for sure, ngidam is always a trouble for the husband. In a ngidam period, the expecting wife usually make a special request that has to be fulfilled by her husband, it is believed that this request is made by the baby inside the wife’s womb, and have nothing to do with the expecting wife. The request may range from the easy one such to almost impossible one. Balinese believe that this request have to be fulfilled at all cost lest something will be born with defect or has bad behavior when he / she grown up.
The husband is not just expected to fulfill all the “baby” wish during the ngidam but also to avoid some taboos in order to ensure the safety of the baby, such as he is forbidden to cut his hair since it will result miscarriage or defect on the baby; he is also forbidden to do bad deeds, ranging from insulting others to killing persons or animal since it will result on birth defect.
The expecting wife also has to avoid certain taboo, such as: she must not eat octopus meat since it will result on difficulty in deliverance of the baby; she must always be happy; she even not allowed seeing or hearing anything bad, sadness and bad thing can harm the spiritual healthiness of the baby.
Some temples forbid carrying wife to enter the temple or inner courtyard of the temple, breeching this taboo is believed will result on miscarriage or defect on the baby’s body or mental.
Those taboos are applied in my village, other villages may have different taboos but the taboos that are practiced by the husband is mainly the same from one village to another.