As the world gets ready to witness the longest solar eclipse of the century on July 22, to-be parents are trying to make sure their babies aren’t born on this supposedly inauspicious day.
Blame it on superstition or myth, but several couples who were scheduled for caesarean deliveries on July 22 have changed their mind as most parents don’t want an ‘eclipse baby.’
Aastha Kakkar, an expecting mother says, “My astrologer warned me that the baby should not be born between July 18 to July 27 because this is the period of the solar eclipse and that the baby will have a bad future if born at this time. Thus, I postponed my delivery date to the 28th.”
Dr. Shivani Sachdev Gour, gynaecologist at Fortis Hospital says, “This is a belief deeply rooted in the Indian society, especially in North India. Couples are willing to do anything to ensure that the baby is not born on that particular date.” Gour recalls that once, one of her expecting patients went hysterical when she realised that she had stepped out of the house during an eclipse. She explains that some people believe that if a baby is exposed to the sun during an eclipse it is born with deformities.
None of these beliefs however, have any basis in science, says Dr. Parul Sehgal, Infertility and IVF specialist, Maharaja Agarsen Hospital. She adds, “Even though there is no study to support this, parents who opt for planned deliveries ensure that their baby is not born on the same day or even week as an eclipse.”
Sehgal says this superstition gets fuelled by astrologers. “People consult astrologers to ensure that their baby is born with the best stars and they [the astrologers] tell them to avoid eclipses.”
Despite scientific contradictions, astrologers stand firm by this centuries-old tradition. Dr. Prem Kumar Sharma explains, “The sun is the signifier of the soul and also of the first house as a result this planetary position puts a bad effect on the soul and shadows the child’s future.” Sharma says a lot of parents come to him to look for solutions in case their child is born during an eclipse.