Thursday, November 2, 2017

"An Gewachsen"

      David was only four months old when one of Daddy's sisters got married and we all went to the wedding. It was a thrill to be able to travel several hundred miles to the community where they lived and to see Grandpa And Grandma and all the aunts and uncles once again.
      The only draw back was that is was cold and the ride to church was especially so since the community where Grandpas lived did not have storm fronts in their buggies.
      Mom tried to keep David from getting too cold but the wind kept blowing into the buggy and by the time we got to the place where the wedding services were held we were all thoroughly chilled.
      After church started David was very cranky and Mom and I went into one of the bedrooms where she tried to comfort him, but nothing seemed to work and he kept crying lustily.
      Finally an older woman came to see if she could help. With twelve grown children she had lots of experience with children already. She asked Mom what seems to be the matter and she tried to explain how his little belly seems to be very tight. The lady reached for David and felt him and calmly stated that he is "An Gewachsen" Mom agreed that he had all the symptoms of the dreaded ailment that occasionally afflicts Amish babies between the ages of 6 weeks and 8 months usually after a long buggy ride.
       The lady said that there is something she could do to help him. I watched in horror as she took a firm hold at his ankles and held him upside down and gave him three hard shakes. Now instead of only crying he started howling and kept on until he was totally worn out and fell into a fitful sleep. From that point on he was a very fussy baby. And no wonder because the treatment he had received gave him a hiatal hernia at that young age.

      I grew up with a fear that babies can get the ailment of "An Gewachsen". It wasn't until after I had several of my own that I realized that it is only an old wives tale.
      The Amish definition of "An Gewachsen"... a condition in which a young child's intestines grows to the liver after an especially bumpy ride.
      In reality it is nothing more than a bad case of gas/indigestion from swallowing too much air.


  1. Replies
    1. Agreed. Just reliving the memory awakens the Mama bear in me.

  2. Oh my!!! Poor baby David! I can't even imagine such a "treatment"!

    1. It was horrible! I can't imagine that being done to my child.

  3. Really frightening for a small baby to go through buggy ride with chilly wind entering unhindered.

  4. Oh no! That sounds absolutely horrible.

    1. I'm not sure my Mom ever truly got over that.

      It all happened so fast.

  5. Good to meet you.
    Every society or age does things that make you think "why?"..some worse than others

  6. Those old 'wives' tales' were so firmly embedded in our parents, especially our mothers. It must have been such an awful experience for your mother and poor baby David as well.

  7. I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains. We had such an ailment too. It was called "livergrown" and had a very similar treatment. Amazing.


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