Safety Pin Protection for Pregnant Woman During an Eclipse.

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexican
Age: 73
Occupation: retired
Residence: Chicago
Date of Performance/Collection: 4-10-20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

Background: Below is an account from my informant on an old hispanic belief/ myth on pregnancy. My informant is a Senior Citizen who was originally born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States as a young adult. Spanish is her first language, but she ultimately uses a combination of both Spanish and English to explain this belief. My informant was taught this superstition by her grandmother and always wore a giant safety pin near to her stomach during all five of her pregnancies. 

Main Piece:

When there’s an eclipse if you’re expecting if you’re pregnant you’re supposed to put a safety pin on your shirt on your blouse. You put it near to your tummy to protect the baby from the eclipse. I believe that’s why, I don’t know,  but I believe that’s why uh, uh  some people  that come with something deformed in the body because the people don’t believe in that. The people don’t believe to carry something all the time to carry something metal like near to the tummy. The metal protects from whatever power that comes from… the same way los rayos, uh the same way the metal works to send back the power of the eclipse from the sun and the moon. The moon is more dangerous because some people don’t notice. That’s why it’s good to carry all the time the safety pin to protect you. To protect the baby. 

Context: This conversation took place during the day over a FaceTime call. This was my first interview with this particular informant and I could tell that she was nervous about speaking ‘formally’ about her beliefs. As the conversation went on she became less shy, and even started speaking in more of a combination of Spanish and English in order to explain her point.

My thoughts: I had never heard of this superstition before. At first, I didn’t quite understand that a safety pin is reflective enough for eclipse rays to bounce off of, but then I realized that like most superstitions, people don’t actually believe in them for science. This conversation made it clear to me how much we as humans value information from role models we trust. My informant was given this advice by her Grandmother, and did not once question her. Of course, my informant also shared that this became a familial and community belief, so she was not the only one partaking. After questioning my own family, I learned that my mother did this while she was pregnant with me, and that reason alone is enough to make me tack a pin on when I’m pregnant with my children. Maybe, because it’ll connect me to my mom. Maybe, because it offers guidance during an uncertain time.