A Tale of Two Pregnancies

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“A Tale of Two Pregnancies” by Lila Abu-Lughod When doing her research on women in Bedouin, Egypt on their stories of pregnancies, she, at the time was not yet interested in having a child with her husband but wanted to learn more about the birthing process of the women, whom seemed to have a perfect grip on handling their pregnancies, later to learn that most experienced some kind of miscarriage or stillbirth over time. During Lughod’s time spent in Bedouin, she become close friends with a two women: Kareema and Zaynab who both encouraged her to conceive and to her stories of their friends who were also “searching for children” and explained the theory of blocking; how conception could be blocked by a sudden fright, by being confronted with someone who has come back from a funeral or by a donkey who has just given birth. After describing this to Lughod, Zaynab offered to take time away from her children to show her through the three treatments known in Egypt to prevent or diminish the idea of blockage from a woman’s body. Lughod was first taken to the Pharaonic temple where she was first given a tin container from Zaynab with water inside of it to bathe in. When exiting the temple afterward, she was told that she must leave through the opposite path of which she entered to help reverse the blockage in her body. Later she discovered from another woman that Zaynab should have brought a second woman with her to hide above the shaft and drop a stone to frighten her when looking down, but it was left out of the treatment for reasons unknown. This example clearly describes the concept of blocking and fright. A second scare can undo the effect from the first, and leaving the temple through a different route will open up a new path, meaning the path to conception and birth. The second time Lughod went to the village to visit Zaynab still not pregnant,
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