Hey! I’m coming to you from one of my most comfortable places on earth – my bed. I decided to let my laptop do its job, which is to sit on my lap rather than sit on the small office table where it always sits. At least this way, I can feel more relaxed and write before (maybe?) going for another round of pregnancy-induced sleep.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how different it is to be a pregnant woman in Cameroon and a pregnant woman in America since I have been pregnant in both societies. These are two different worlds with two different cultures. When it comes to pregnancy, there are so many differences in both countries which I can’t help but think about.
First, in Cameroon, as a pregnant woman, you get preferential treatment a lot, especially in public places. For instance, if you are in a queue, people will allow you to get to the front simply because you are pregnant.
One time in Cameroon, I went to pay a bill and there were lots of queues of people waiting to pay their bills. Since I was evidently pregnant with a protruding belly, someone suggested that I move right to the front to be served and others (who were there before me) accepted with no argument!
In America, I have experienced no such thing. I get to queue up like others in the grocery store or in other places that have lines to be followed. In Cameroon, no one wants to keep you waiting simply because you are pregnant.
Doctors visits are quite different in both societies. Here in the United States, I go to see my doctor and it’s a meeting between just the doctor and me with the doctor being assisted by a nurse.
In Cameroon, the average woman goes for “ante-natal clinic”. Ante-natal days are special days set aside to attend to pregnant women in hospitals. There is often a huge crowd of pregnant women at the hospital on such days. They all do tests together, sometimes sing songs and are taught lessons about pregnancy all by nurses.
The only time I have known of a pregnant woman going to see a gynecologist in Cameroon is when they have high-risk pregnancies.
Another great difference between pregnancy in both countries is food after delivery! In America, the hospitals offer food after delivery. In Cameroon, there is no such thing. You have to cater for your tummy but it is awesome because, for the average person, you get to have family members pouring in to see you with all sorts of homecooked meals.
In fact, you are treated like a queen when you give birth. I got to eat so many different meals from friends and family members after giving birth in Cameroon.
Honestly, I miss that treatment. I miss having people ask me “you wan chop na weti when you born?” meaning, “what will you like to eat when you give birth?” Then they will go out of their way to make your dream come true.
Here I basically just have to cook what I will want to eat and store in the fridge then take along with me to the hospital. And in this pregnancy right now, what I will want to eat is Ekwang– a Cameroonian delicacy made by grating cocoyams then wrapping small portions meticulously in leaves, then cooking with red palm oil and other ingredients. Finger-licking goodness! Anyone wants to offer me a helping (Ekwang-wrapping) hand??