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Photo trois enfants inuit couleur

photo Family in Pond Inlet

Chapter 2

Uqsuralik Ottokie
When we were small children, we were told to go out quickly after waking up so we would have an easy delivery. This is true. I always used to go out quickly. We were never allowed to just sit around, or to sit at the doorway. We were told if we stayed at the doorway the baby’s head would get stuck. At the hospital, labour takes a lot longer than the way we delivered. If we were handling it, the delivery would be over more quickly. Today we seem to be very cautious about pregnancy, but in those days we never thought it was scary. You had nothing to worry about. Maybe there were a lot of potential complications, but we never thought about them. I think this was because we were always on the move. (Page 31-32)
From the time of conception in their mother's womb until their birth, babies hear, see and feel everything that is going on. Whatever affects their mother's life will have a direct impact on them. The elders recall several taboos: during pregnancy, nothing could escape the pittailiniq. On this matter, Naqi tells us, "Your kamiik laces could not be too long; otherwise the umbilical cord might wrap itself around the baby's neck." (Page 32) Not only did the mother have to follow these rules, but so did the father, as his behaviour had also a direct impact on the foetus.

The mother's emotional, rational or dietary behaviour during her pregnancy could directly influence the child's life. "Pregnant women were not supposed to sit for too long. If they did, the baby's neck could be too short." (Page 33) "We must be very careful and not stress a pregnant woman, because it really does affect the baby." (Page 31) The diet is also directly related to the foetus: "If you eat caribou kidneys, you will have beautiful babies." (Page 34)

Towards the end of the chapter, Uqsuralik tells us, "The baby knows exactly what is going on. But only very few remember afterwards." (Page 36)