May 16, 2011

Nez Perce Pregnancy Myths

by Paty Jager
Anna Kathryn, thank you for having me here today!

The heroine in my current release, Spirit of the Lake, is a pregnant Nez Perce woman. While researching for this story I came across some interesting myths the Nez Perce believed.

If a man's wife was pregnant he would have bad luck as a hunter.

A pregnant woman could not see any part of a kill, the blood or skinning for fear her offspring would be deformed.

Pregnant women didn't touch, view, or ridicule any deformed animals or humans because it was believed it would cause the baby the same misfortune.

They also didn't tie knots or do other things symbolic of obstructing the birth.

What are some myths about pregnancy you've heard?

This post is part of my blog tour. Leave a comment on as many of my guest blogs at you can and the person who travels with me the most will receive an autographed copy of Spirit of the Lake, a sweatshirt, and cowboy chocolate. To find all the places I’m visiting go to my blog: The contest runs from May 18th – May 29th covering thirteen blogs. I'll notify the winner on May 30th. In the event of a tie I will draw a name.

Blurb for Spirit of the Lake

Two generations after his brother became mortal, Wewukiye, the lake spirit, prevents a Nimiipuu maiden from drowning and becomes caught up in her sorrow and her heart. Her tribe ignores Dove's shameful accusations—a White man took her body, leaving her pregnant, and he plans to take their land.Wewukiye vows to care for her until she gives birth, to help her prove the White man is deceitful and restore her place in her tribe.

As they travel on their quest for justice, Dove reveals spiritual abilities yet unknown in her people, ensnaring Wewukiye’s respect and awe. But can love between a mortal and a spirit grow without consequences?


His voice floated to the sky as he chanted and swirled circles on her belly with his large hand. The gentle motion and warmth along with the deep tone of his voice soothed her stomach and her fears. One by one she placed the berries in her mouth and swallowed. With each piece of nourishment a new surge of energy filled her body.
His hand remained light, yet heat penetrated her deer skin dress warming her body. The last berry disappeared between her lips, and she swallowed its sweet goodness. She watched him. His long light lashes hovered on his dark high cheeks, hiding his eyes from her. His deep voice continued chanting. The long hard muscles of his arms bulged, contrasting with the gentleness of his touch.
“I have finished the berries,” she whispered, fearful of disrupting his chant.
His eyes slowly opened, and he smiled down at her. “You must remain this way for a short time.” His hand rested on her belly as he shifted to sit cross-legged beside her.
The intimacy of his touch scorched her cheeks.

To read more about the spirit trilogy or my other books visit my website: 

Buy Link for Spirit of the Lake.

Don't forget to leave a comment.


marybelle said...

I can't recall any interesting pregnancy myths. Loved yours though. I love the insight into other times & cultures.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Marybelle,
Thank you for commenting and hopefully joining the tour.

Paty Jager said...

Be sure to check out my blog and follow my tour to win fun prizes.

Sue Palmer Fineman said...

Interesting blog, Paty, and I love the excerpt.

Mona Risk said...

In Middleastern countries, it is believed that if a pregnant woman craves a certain food and doesn't eat it, a mole will sprout on her baby's face or body. So if she can't eat her craving, she should immediately scratch her stomach or butt, so that the mole appears on the baby's stomach or butt, and not on his face.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Sue.

Mona, isn't it interesting what different cultures believe? Thanks for commenting.

Firetulip said...

There are plenty of pregnacy old wifes' tales but the biggest one in my country if a pregnant woman smells something and scratches her itch the baby may be born with a mark where she scratched. They call it the wish. I do know of a boy whose mom smelled straberries and got an itch on her wrist. She scratched and the boy came out with a big mole on his wrist in a shape of straberry. Coincidence? I don't think so.
There's also the one if mom suffers from heartburn during the pregnancy the baby will be born with lots of hair. Heartburn killed me during my second pregnancy and my boy came out with ton of hair. Now scientist are looking into this one and seeing some truth to this.

Paty Jager said...

Wow, great stuff, Firetulip. What country are you from? Is it Middleastern? Because it sounds a lot like what Mona was saying.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I can't recall any pregnancy myths relating to Native Americans. I know a couple from my family. One was don't buy baby things too soon or you'll cause a miscarriage. ?? My grandmother could tell the sex of a child by watching the pregnant mother. My mom said that Grandmother was never wrong.

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Thank you for this wonderful topic.
The Nez Perce are from my neck of the woods as I grew up in eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. The beloved Nex Perce are guardians of the pack of research wolves in Winchester Idaho at the WERC. (WOLF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH CENTER).
I am a bit of Yakama nation but know little of the heritage as I didn't discover it until I was an adult.
I love the info and hope to read more of your work.
Wonderful contest!


Becky said...

Interesting post. I don't recall any pregnancy myths, but I enjoyed reading the ones you have about the Nez Perce. I loved the excerpt.

Paty Jager said...

Caroline, That's interesting your grandmother could tell by watching a pregnant woman. My mom used the old thread and needle method. You have a needle on the end of a thread and hold it over the pregnant woman's belly. If it swung back and forth it meant one thing and if it went in a circle it meant another. I can't remember which was which.

Paty Jager said...

Darcy, Thanks for stopping. I'm glad you like the information. I'll be posting more during my blog tour.

Paty Jager said...

Becky, thanks for commenting and stopping in. I have three different excerpts you'll read while following the blog tour. Hope to see you on the tour.

Genene Valleau said...

Hey, Paty, congrats on the release of SPIRIT OF THE LAKE. Sooo pleased your Spirit books are being released!

Pregnancy myth: The first baby always comes early. Someone forgot to tell my first son that--he was a week late--so it must be a myth.

Pregnancy myth: The last month of pregnancy is the longest ten years of your life. No myth--this is true. :)

OK, perhaps I made these up. But my sons are both in their thirties and it's amazing how much I remember about being pregnant.

Congratulations again, Paty!

Paty Jager said...

Hey Genene! I like your myths. LOL
Thank you. I'm excited they're being published too!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Paty. Sorry I got your day messed up. It's a great topic. I remember reading that the Puritants (and possibly earlier religions) believed that a baby was born on the same day it was concieved, so a child born on Sunday would get the parents in trouble. It was also believed by some that twins meant a couple had sex twice in the same night. I forget where I read these things, as it was years ago.

Linda said...

Loved all the "myths." I had heart burn the whole nine months for all three of my children. I could eat a saltine cracker and get heart burn. I could eat the hottest mexican dishes and not get heart burn. Go figure.

Paty Jager said...

Anna, Wouldn't' my grandmother blush if I told her that's why she had twins? Great myths.

Linda, it is interesting how we are all different. Thank's for commenting and stopping it.

Renee Vincent said...

Very interesting myths, Paty. Some are actually laugh worthy. Very interesting post and I wish you all the best in your blog tour. May you have many sales!


BTW, love that cover. Very beautiful.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Renee!

I love my cover, too. Thanks for stopping in.

Jean P said...

I don't recall any pregnancy myths. Enjoyed reading all that have been posted. Always interesting reading about other cultures. What a great looking cover on your book.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Paty Jager said...

Jean P. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my cover. I really like it.

Diana Mcc. said...

Thanks for the excerpt of "Spirit of The Lake". Very nice! love the cover.

Teresa K. said...

Hi Paty,

Loved the blurb. I'm Tuscarora Indian. I'm from the Six Nation's the Iroquois Confederacy.

The Tuscarora people believe that you have to go at least 10 full moons before the baby is born. If it means you have to carry for almost 10 months you do. Once that 10th full moon passes the baby will come any day from that time.
In my case my 10th full moon was on a Thursday. My son wasn't born until the following week on a Sunday.
Thank you for the wonderful contest and yes the cover is beautiful.

Teresa K.

hime823 said...

I loved your except.

The only myth I remember was that a pregnant woman could grow plants very easily. My aunt though my green thumb was because I was pregnant at the time. I still have a green thumb and I haven't been preggers in nearly twenty years, lol.

Morgan Mandel said...

Some of their rules are actually very good for non-pregnant women as well. Why make fun of anyone who can't help her condition!

Morgan Mandel

Paty Jager said...

Diana Mcc,
I'm glad you liked the excerpt and cover. Thanks for commenting.

Teresa K.
Wow- 10 months. That's a long time . How do the babies stay in that long? Genetics or do you do something to help? Love all this new to me info. Thank you for your kind words.

I wish I were pregnant. LOL I can't keep anything alive.I don't remember if I was any better when I was pregnant. that was 27 years ago. Thanks for commenting.

I agree- And most Nez Perce myths and legends teach ethics and common sense. Thank you for stopping in and commenting.

Sandra Crowley said...

Paty, fascinating post. I can see the logic behind some of their beliefs. Love your cover and I enjoyed the excerpt, too.

Best of luck.

Sarah Raplee said...

The only thing I can think of that hasn't been mentioned is the old nursery rhyme:
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child has to work for a living.
But the child who's born on the Sabbath Day is sweet and kind and warm and gay.
(I think that's how it goes.)
fun and interesting post, Paty!

Paty Jager said...

Sandra, Thank you. I'm glad you stopped by.

Sarah, I remember that poem. Fun! Thanks for stopping in.

Skhye said...

Thanks for the post, Paty! Ritual pollution is extremely fascinating. The comments were equally informative.

Paty Jager said...

Skhye, Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

J K Maze said...

What an interesting post. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading Spirit of the Lake. I loved Spirit of the Mountain.

Joan K. Maze

Paty Jager said...

Thank you for following the tour, Joan.

Virginia said...

Interesting post! Did the pregnancy really effect the hunter with is hunting is the question? I have heard the one about if you have a lot of heartburn during pregnancy your baby will be born with a lot of hair. My son had quite abit of hair but don't recall having much heartburn during pregnancy. I love this tour, its been great.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Virginia. I don't know if that myth was ever scientifically proven. I'm glad you're enjoying my tour. Thanks for traveling with me.

Anonymous said...

I like this new excerpt. It shows gentleness and caring.
Pregnancy myths - Don't use a treadle sewing machine, it will give your child a cleft palate. If your are scared by an animal, your child will be born with a mole or birth mark resembling it. When the baby is born, bury the afterbirth so the evil spirits will not know that a new child is on the home.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

Paty Jager said...