While I appreciate the comfort that prayers can bring, and I find value in praying for a lot of things, there's one thing that I have never believed could be answered in prayer. That thing is conception. Conception as in: The sperm meets the egg, the cells divide, the cells divide again, and whammo, nine months later you have a bouncing baby. Granted, once you find out you're pregnant I think it's super natural to pray. To pray for a healthy pregnancy, to pray for a healthy baby, to pray to keep your spouse safe. But prior to that, it's biology.
As the second most populous country in the world with a staggering 1.23 billion people, India certainly seems to have gotten the conception trick down. Lately, however, I have to wonder if many people really understand how it all works. The biology aspect I mean. Many women will bemoan the fact that they've been unable to get pregnant. Of the women that have expressed to me, their disappointment in not being able to get pregnant after marriage, one includes a woman who insisted her husband wear a condom every time they "met," another doesn't live with her husband and might see him for a day or two every few months, and a third gets her period twice a year and has never seen a doctor about it. Do the math. It's not rockets. It's not lack of prayers being answered. It's biology. Perhaps if it did happen for any of those women, it would be a miracle and completely change my mind on the topic.
Well, after being married more than a year, and no babies to show for it, drastic action had to be taken today. I was given very specific instructions. They included:
Fast: This means no food, no drink, no smoke, no sex. What one thing from this list is required to make a baby? Nope, can't do that.
Fruit: When it was time to break my fast, I had a very specific seeded fruit I was to eat, seed and all. It was brought from a dargah, which is a holy shrine. I don't know what kind of fruit it was but it tasted like a prune.
Water: After swallowing the seeded fruit, I was to drink water.
Food: After the water I was to eat a bowl of kheer, which is a sort of milky rice pudding.
Prayer: After the food I was to pray.
Recitation: There was a script that also needed to be recited, but as I don't read Arabic, I was S.O.L.
Doing all of the above is supposed to aid in fertility. Considering not a single act from the above list involves what I learned in my 5th grade Family Studies class, I can't say I'm convinced. Biology has to come into the equation somewhere. Yet it would seem that many here don't make that connection.
Putting all of your faith in the above would seem to me to make pregnancy almost impossible without a little physical contact with your spouse coming into the equation.
Wait until I blog about the superstitions pressed upon women during their pregnancy. It's amazing any babies are born here.